FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2014
CONTACT: Zack Fields, 258-3077
Alaska’s Pregnancy Tests Make National News
GOP spending $400,000 on “Alaska War on Women” proposal
ANCHORAGE: Fairbanks State Senator Pete Kelly’s pregnancy-tests-in-bars vision is becoming a reality as the State of Alaska spends $400,000 to put pregnancy tests in bars. The state previously rejected funding for family planning and now is installing the pregnancy test dispensers. Kelly, the initiative’s lead, has remarked “Birth control is for people who don’t want to act responsibly.”
Family planning funding would have cost the state $55,000 annually and been matched by non-state funding. The pregnancy-tests-in-bars experiment costs the equivalent of nearly 8 years of family planning. According to APRN, family planning funding could have prevented 360 abortions per year, and family planning also reduced the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
“The War on Women continues as the state legislature rejected funding for family planning while spending almost a half million dollars to install pregnancy tests in bars,” said Kay Brown, Executive Director of the Alaska Democratic Party.
The Alaska GOP’s pregnancy-tests-in-bars proposal is drawing yet another round of national ridicule.
Pete Kelly Earns National Ridicule…Again:
· “Not sure if you’re pregnant? Head to the bar.” — Gawker
· “Earlier this year, the lawmaker [Pete Kelly] made headlines by suggesting that it’s not appropriate to use state funds to put birth control in bars, even though that could help prevent pregnancies in the first place.” –Think Progress
· “Republican Senator Pete Kelly, who has said before that birth control is for women who “who don’t want to act responsibly,” first proposed the program.” –Time
· “The proposal first came about in March, when Alaska state Sen. Pete Kelly (R) came up with the idea… Kelly doubled down amidst the criticism over his birth control remarks, saying that contraception wouldn’t be a solution for women who binge drink.” –Huffington Post
· MSN, ABC, FOX News, The Today Show, and other outlets also covered the announcement.
Earlier this year, Senator Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks) said “he is declaring war on fetal alcohol syndrome disorders” by putting free pregnancy tests in bars and restaurants. In response to a question in the interview, Kelly rejected efforts that would encourage use of birth control: “This assumes that if you know you are pregnant you’ll act responsibly. Birth control is for people who don’t want to act responsibly.”
Senator Kelly’s comments came just two weeks after his GOP colleague Fred Dyson inaugurated what was labeled “the new Alaska war on women” by encouraging women to stop drinking lattes if they can’t afford birth control, and suggested that women can airlift birth control to Alaska.
In addition to reducing the number of abortions, data suggest that wider availability of contraception could reduce Alaska’s highest-in-the-nation rate of certain sexually transmitted diseases.
Alaska Democratic Party