Alaska has the highest rate of fetal alcohol syndrome in the United States, so apparently, the obvious solution to lawmakers is to put free pregnancy tests in the restrooms of local bars so women can make sure there’s no bun in the oven before they order a beer.
I don’t know about you, but nothing gets me fired up for a an after-work drink quite like peeing on a state-funded stick.
The brains behind this operation is Republican State Senator Pete Kelly, a dude who has publicly stated that he believes birth control is for women “who don’t want to act responsibly.” When Kelly first mentioned the idea a few months ago it sounded like an astronomical joke, but alas, the Uterus Police are officially set to descend upon the good people of Alaska this December. In the two-year program, tests will be placed in 20 bars and restaurants throughout the region.
In his March interview with the Anchorage Daily News, posted above, Kelly shared his plan:
“Literally, you can go into the bathroom at the bar and test. So if you’re drinking, you’re out at the big birthday celebration and you’re kind of like, ‘Gee, I wonder if I — ?’ You should be able to go in the bathroom and there’s that plastic, Plexiglas bowl in there.”
All of this is absurd enough without the knowledge that Kelly vehemently opposes abortion access and refuses to provide women with greater access to contraception —which would help prevent the necessity of abortions in the first place. Instead, he uses his political power to avoid being part of any solution and instead leaves women alone to deal with unwanted pregnancies — in smelly bar bathroom stalls, no less.
I’m all about decreasing fetal alcohol syndrome, but it seems like approaching this issue at its source — alcohol consumption — makes a hell of a lot more sense. Alaskan women of baby-making age are 20 percent more likely to binge drink than their peers in other states. Maybe it’s time to focus on providing more resources to recover from alcoholism instead of seeing this as yet another window for rich white guys to talk about women’s personal choices.