How This Bar Is Combating Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

"What we wanted to do is change the culture around pregnancy and drinking."

Bars Handing Out Home Pregnancy Tests Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Imagine walking into a bar's bathroom and seeing a pregnancy test dispenser. That might freak you out, right? Well, that's exactly what you'll find at this Canadian watering hole—and the reason why may surprise you. 

Dirty Northern Public House, a bar in Whitehorse (the capital of Canada’s Yukon territory), sells affordable pregnancy tests in the ladies' room in an attempt to combat fetal alcohol syndrome. The dispensers are sponsored by The Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon, and the organization reports that since installing their dispensers at this particular bar and two others in April 2015, 190 $2 tests have been sold.  

"What we wanted to do is change the culture around pregnancy and drinking," Wenda Bradley, the society's executive director, told The Canadian Press, according to The Huffington Postadding that women who binge drink while unaware that they are pregnant put their babies at great risk. "If they're being told they shouldn't be drinking during pregnancy, then they also need to be able to know if they are or are not pregnant." 

The University of Alaska Anchorage is collecting surveys from Whitehorse and other cities in order to determine the influence these dispensers and the posters that accompany them have on women of child-bearing age. Though every establishment that sells alcohol in the United States is required to post a warning about drinking while pregnant, David Driscoll, who leads the study in Alaska, said patrons have become desensitized to these signs. However, the signs that go with these pregnancy dispensers have shock value on their side—the posters read "Remember the last time you had sex?" a message that will undoubtedly elicit some attention. 

This isn't the first time this topic has come up. As you may recall, we previously reported that the CDC made a stern recommendation aimed at women who are trying to conceive: The organization suggested that women abstain from drinking if they're having unprotected sex. The message was a bit controversial, with women claiming it was a condescending, even sexist, suggestion that women are not capable of making their own lifestyle choices—but it actually addressed a very important issue. Fetal alcohol syndrome can certainly result from unplanned or undetected pregnancies, as plenty of women continue drinking during the early part of pregnancy for the simple fact that they don't know that they're pregnant. 

Tell us what you think: Do you believe pregnancy tests sold in bars will become the norm in the States in the next few years? 

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