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Pregnancy test dispensers could be coming to a pub near you

Breathalyzers have become fixtures in bars to let people test whether or not they are too drunk to drive, and now another test is coming to Canadian pubs – pregnancy tests so that women can find out if they're with child before they consume alcohol.

A pregnancy test dispenser is set to be installed in a campus pub at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., this fall.

Although it will be the first bar in Canada to have one of the dispensers, the group spearheading the initiative hopes to see them installed in drinking establishments across the country.

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"I talk to devastated people all of the time," Marilyn Leiter, the Canadian chair of Healthy Brains for Children, told the CBC. "Their children were born with a disability that could have been prevented... Test[ing]...before you drink could avoid all of this."

Healthy Brains for Children, an organization dedicated to preventing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, has already begun installing pregnancy test dispensers in the U.S., with one going into a bar in Minnesota last summer.

It took some convincing, the bar's co-owner, Jay Reasner, said.

"At first... we cringed a little bit and thought that might be the strangest thing I've ever heard," he said.

But he was swayed by the number of women who drink without knowing they are pregnant.

"In our view, it is an awareness campaign," he said.

There are now reportedly three machines in bars in Minnesota, where Jody Allen Crowe, the founder of Healthy Brains for Children is based.

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The vice-president of student issues at Lakehead University told CBC News that the pregnancy test dispenser, which will be installed in the bathroom, is "something that can affect the whole community."

The tests will cost $3 each.

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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