Pregnancy Test Vending Machines Coming to Bar Bathrooms -- So What Does That Mean for Women?

First thought: The obsession with OMG WOMEN ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG WHILE PREGNANT is hitting new highs (lows?) when bars are offering pregnancy tests in the bathrooms to make sure that no woman ever accidentally has a glass of wine after insemination.

Second thought: This does allow women to take pregnancy tests discretely, without having to buy tests in a drug store where they may know the employees or other shoppers. It would also allow women to take pregnancy tests in a space where their partners, parents or other intimates will not discover the results — a good thing for women who may face violence, poor treatment or pressure from their partner, parent or other intimate for being pregnant (or for being pregnant and wanting to stay pregnant, or for being pregnant and wanting to end the pregnancy, or for not even being pregnant but leaving behind evidence of sex by taking a pregnancy test). And at $3 a test, they’re really really cheap – must cheaper than a drugstore pregnancy test.

Third thought: The unintended consequences might be good, but the motivation is pretty bad (“you can use a nearby toilet and learn whether you may proceed in good conscience with the martini you were about to order;” “the classy pub is a fitting location because the women at highest risk of drinking during pregnancy are professionals with disposable incomes and a proclivity for wine at dinner;” “It’s all about protecting a child” and not about, you know, making health information easily accessible to women). But does that matter? Yes, obviously it does, but how much? Enough to say the implementation is wrong? Assuming that the test won’t set off a flashing red light saying “DON’T SERVE THIS WOMAN!!!!,” the women who take pregnancy tests can still choose to drink if they test positive. There’s no requirement to take the test; it’s just on offer. On the other hand, the reason it’s on offer is because lots of folks apparently think women are walking incubators.

I guess I come down on the side of “Cheap pregnancy tests for everyone! Everywhere and not just in bars! Put them in malls and at rest stops and in fast food joints and in restaurants and in workplaces! And put condom dispensers right next to ‘em! And put info about pregnancy health care and options right next to ‘em too! But stop saying it’s just to protect potential babies and to stop women from making bad choices!” Also: All exclamation points, everywhere.

Feministe / By Jill Filipovic | Sourced from

Posted at September 14, 2012, 2:25pm

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