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Alaska bars to stock free pregnancy tests in restrooms

Researchers plan to give away free, state-funded pregnancy tests in the bathrooms of 20 Alaska bars and restaurants beginning in December.

The two-year, $400,000 University of Alaska effort aims to study if posters that warn women against drinking while pregnant work better when pasted on pregnancy test dispensers rather than simply hung on a wall. Alaska has the highest known rate of fetal alcohol syndrome in the U.S., with women of child-bearing age 20 percent more likely to binge drink here than the national average.

The study underlines new and growing interest from state governments in using pregnancy tests as a prevention tool for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, said Jody Allen Crowe, founder of a Minnesota non-profit that has installed test dispensers in bars, convenience stores and a youth center in that state. Crowe is assisting with the Alaska project.

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