Pregnancy Tests in a Bar?

2012-07-19 15.10.54After being away from Facebook, Twitter, and most forms of the news for a week due to my vacation last week, getting caught up has been a bit of an overwhelming experience.  To go from only the sounds of waves crashing against the rocky shoreline of Rockport, MA, to the noise created inside of my head from all of the information available through social media and beyond has been simply loud. 

There may be no better better word for it.

I scrolled and caught up with the usual – other people’s vacations, the updates about the shooter in Colorado, and pictures of cousins’ babies.

And then my Twitter feed drew my attention to something that I just simply never imagined.

Side note: I have no idea how I started following Babble.com on Twitter.  I am not even sure if I chose to follow the online magazine which was launched in 2006 and was acquired by Disney in 2011.  Twitter seems to decide what I follow or just shows me thinks from people – maybe in a retweet (which is different from any form of “retreat”).  Anyway – they are a black hole of all things parenting … including Disney vacations.

I giggled as I wrote that side not…back to the thoughts…

The tweet: A bar in Minnesota is installing pregnancy test dispensers http://ow.ly/cr1mf

Hold the phone.  Stop the presses.  And sit down for a minute.   Deep breaths…

Pregnancy tests in a bar?  In a Minnesota bar?  A bar in Minnesota has pregnancy tests?

For sale?  In a vending machine?  In a bar?  In Minnesota.  More deep breaths…

I honestly was excited, afraid, interested, shocked, indignant, miffed, and…and…and…

Well, yes, I did click right on over to the link provided; thank you for asking!  And the link provided a great amount of information pertaining to Jody Allen Crowe’s vision to intercede on the behalf of unborn children who may be exposed to alcohol (thus leading to unhealthy brains) because the mother-to-be did not even know she was expecting as she took those drinks.

I further clicked through the Babble.com article to read the Mankato Press article which detailed which bar the test could be found as well as the reasoning behind the tests.  Crowe’s thinking is if a woman suspects she is pregnant and is able to confirm that prior to purchasing her first drink of the night, she may skip the alcohol and save her baby’s brain from damage.

Heart-felt foundation.  Wonderful intentions.  Excellent vision.   But will it work?

Mr Crowe envisions that his $3 pregnancy tests (which he claims are 99% accurate) should be in malls, gyms, and just about anywhere that potential mothers can be found.  And here is where I had to stop and think for a minute.

Is not any woman who has sex a potential mother?

I mean – let’s be honest here – short of surgeries (which are still not 100% effective) there are few ways to be 100% certain having sex does not lead to pregnancy.  In fact, pretty much the only way to completely avoid pregnancy is to avoid sex.  To say otherwise is really not using our brains.  I am not saying that Mr Crowe has said that, but that is where his reasoning leads me to think.  Maybe I am only one who thinks that after reading both articles.

What I am trying to say is that this idea of Mr Crowe’s seems to reduce the responsibility that we need to take for our actions by making pregnancy tests available in places that are easier for us.  For right now, they are available in a bar.  But his vision to increase their availability to places where younger “women” can access them concerns me a bit.  I am not sure that I would want my 16 year old daughter to be able to purchase a pregnancy test in a vending machine at the mall rather than talking to me about her potential pregnancy.  Maybe that is just me.  Maybe that is just me being naïve.

I think what really is nagging at me is why we need to intervene in this way at all.

When Dead Poets’ Society came out in 1989, it seemed that we all needed a punch in the arm and a reminder about carpe diem.  Well, we have been seizing the day ever since and living as if tomorrow will never come.  In fact, the new slogan is you only live once (YOLO) which just adds to the carpe diem effect.

Is this why condom vending machines showed up in various bathrooms right around that time?  So that we could seize the day?

Our young people are pretty good at seizing the day and living as if they only live once, and their music (with songs like We Are Young [which I happen to like as my daughter pointed out as she read this rant] – click here for my post about that) shows that.

If we seize the day with the idea that we only live once, we give little thought to the impact that today’s decisions will have on us tomorrow and on the society in general once we are no longer here.  My husband likes to point out that every action we take or thing that we say has a consequence – negative or positive.  I have re-tooled this idea and think that whatever we do or say has a result.

The problem comes in when we seize the day and act without thinking through all of the possible results.  If we cannot handle the results, we should not act and then hope that none of those results come to be.  And if we thought through this, would we need to have pregnancy tests available in bars, malls, and gyms?

In the end, the problem seems to be here.  The generation that could have turned things around (probably mine) did not.  Instead of trying to help us all think before we act, we have simply gone a step farther and become responsible in our thinking by putting condoms in vending machines and now…pregnancy tests.

Here is something I wonder, though: will having the pregnancy tests in the same vending areas as condoms (as I can only assume they will eventually be) make some people think?

I envision a great series of signs for the machines:

Condoms are not 100% effective, so be sure to pick up a pregnancy test.

Buy one; get one half off.

You get the idea.

In the end, if a pregnancy test helps women choose not to drink because they know they are pregnant, I am all for that.  As an educator, I have seen the impacts of decisions that mothers have made during pregnancy, and I find it very sad.  I am not convinced that most of them were ignorant to the fact that they were pregnant when they chose to drink.  Perhaps there are statistics that support the fact that FASD is caused by women not knowing that they are pregnant when they choose to drink.  That is not my gut feeling.

There could be residual education that comes from all of this.  The machines that dispense the pregnancy tests have a huge sign on them which point out the dangers of drinking while pregnant.  These machines will be such novelties that women will read the signs just to find out what the deal is.  And then information will be passed on that may not have ever been without this.

I have now read and re-read this post, and I think I am going to leave it the way it is – pretty much unorganized, a think out loud (letting my fingers do the talking…), and a struggle with this concept.

I would love to hear other people’s thoughts about whether or not this is a good idea and why.  I know that I am opening up a potential can of worms, but – as I said in a post a few weeks ago – having an opinion can get us into trouble.  I know that.  I really am struggling through my opinions in this to determine what is best from a societal, parental, and educational stand-point; because of that, I would love to hear thoughts…

Thanks for reading this far!

6 thoughts on “Pregnancy Tests in a Bar?

  1. Where will it all end.??? Drugs in vending machines?? Our “new” society is one of self-indulgence. I see so many children without parents involved in their daily lives as it is. Do you really think that the “women” getting tests out of a machine are concerned about being pregnant…..if they were they wouldn’t be in the bar to begin with. Such a vicious cycle………….

    • The jury is still out for me…I am not sure I am against the idea; I just wish the need was not there for the idea at all. And – I am simply not sure that this will reduce the number of kiddos born with FASD.

  2. This idea is no worse than President BHO obamacares policy of installing vending machines (FREE) with ‘Day after PILLS’ in all Public High Schools–may be next in Middle Schools. New world out there since Nov 08

    • You are right there – this idea is BETTER than the ‘day after pills’ idea. This idea simply gives information; that idea gives an action. There are no ‘day after’ machines in my kids’ schools … is that a ‘yet’?

  3. I enjoyed reading your comments. As an educator I have seen the devastation of prenatal exposure to alcohol. As I studied this mostly silent epidemic impacting our schools at levels few understand, here is what I know. Over 30% of married couples are having unexpected pregnancies. Over 70% of women between the ages of 20 and 29 are having unexpected pregnancies with more than 50% of the pregnancies going full term. These are the children who are being exposed to alcohol before the mother knows she is pregnant during the critical early development of the central nervous system. That early damage shows up in slower brain speeds, exhibition of brain damage behaviors that fall under the increased umbrella of autism spectrum disorder, lower reading skills lower math skills, and social behaviors that cause problems for the child.

    • Thank you for chiming in, Jody!

      I want you to know that I am with you in the education trenches. I do not dispute the facts that you shared. What I question is if people will buy the tests prior to drinking. Maybe I am a skeptic about this. I guess, to a certain extent, what matters is if one woman changes her mind, right? One child’s life changed for the better is still that one child. And if a handful of children’s lives are changed for the better, that is a handful of children.

      Please keep in touch – I want to know how things go!

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