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Nonprofit Installs Pregnancy Test Dispensers In Mankato Bar

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Babies and bars don't mix, and one nonprofit found too many pregnant mothers were saddling up to the bar – some not even realizing they were expecting.

So, the nonprofit Healthy Brains for Children came up with an idea: install pregnancy test dispensers at bars.

"I think it's a little weird," says Pub 500 patron Crystal Dervetski.

People keep asking Pub 500 proprietor, Tom Fredrik, if he's really putting the machine in his Mankato bar?

"At first you might think it's strange, but then you realize it makes sense," he said.

Finding out is easy. It's $3 per test, and all you have to do is swipe a credit or debit card.

"How many times have you heard people say, 'Oh, I didn't realize I was pregnant,' and they weren't trying to conceive," says Jody Allen Crowe of Healthy Brains for Children.

His nonprofit is committed to preventing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

"That early brain development is so critical," said Crowe, who wrote a book titled "The Fatal Link."

The book looks at the connection between prenatal exposure to alcohol and school shooters.

"The damage starts to occur at 18 days of pregnancy," Crowe said.

The test dispensers send a serious message in what some consider a comical place. But the bar doesn't mind if it becomes a novelty item.

"Humor is a good educator, as well," Fredrik said.

The dispensers keep people talking and thinking before drinking.

"It's either a cocktail or a kiddie cocktail from that point on," said bar patron Trish Bordonaro.

If the idea catches on, Crowe wants to expand the machines beyond the bar.

He says we could start seeing them in places like locker rooms, gas stations and malls.

Crowe believes placing the pregnancy tests in upscale bars targets the demographic most likely to drink while pregnant.

He says that group consists of financially stable women, in urban areas, over age 30.

The vending machines were announced on the same day the federal government revealed that one in 13 pregnant women in the United States reported drinking alcohol.

The Centers for Disease Control surveyed 14,000 pregnant women and of those who said they drank nearly one in five said they went on at least one binge, which is four or more drinks.

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