Step aside, condom machine. That dusty, crank-lever dispenser in bar bathrooms reminding you to make safe choices while drinking has met its challenger. An upscale bar in southern Minnesota has installed a pregnancy test dispenser in its woman’s bathroom. For Pub 500 owner Tom Fredrik, “it took about 30 seconds to say yes,” he told local news channel KARE.
The decision came about after one of his regulars, Jody Allen Crowe, who just so happens to be an expert in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, proposed the idea. Female customers can purchase a $3 test from the machine with a swipe of a credit card. The machine lends a not-so-subtle voice to the chorus of studies that say not to drink (heavily, at least) while pregnant. The bar hopes to make women think over whether to have a drink — or another drink — if they suspect they’re pregnant.
The profits from the vending machines, which cost around $1,000, will benefit Crowe’s non-profit charity Healthy Brains for Children, which aims to spread the awareness of prenatal exposure to alcohol. But really, it’s not about the cash for Crowe and his organization. As a former schoolteacher, he has seen some of the results drinking can have on children: “I’ve seen wonderful, wonderful children who struggle mightily learning how to read and do math,” he told KARE.
The federal government has revealed statistics that one in 13 pregnant women in the U.S. reported drinking alcohol. The vending machine also features a message telling women to take a pregnancy test every two weeks to prevent further alcohol exposure.
Crowe and Fredrik are hoping that the idea takes off in other drinking establishments possibly becoming as common as condom dispensers. “If it prevents one child [from having fetal alcohol spectrum disorder], well worth it,” said Fredrik.