Alaska State Sen. Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, wants the state to place pregnancy tests in bars and restaurants to combat fetal alcohol syndrome but has no interest in increasing access to contraception.
Kelly said “down the road,” involuntarily committing women who drink during pregnancy will be on the table, but not free birth control.
“Birth control is for people who don’t necessarily want to act responsibly,” the lawmaker said in an interview with Anchorage Daily News. “I’m not going to tell them what to do or help them do it. That’s their business.”
Kelly wants free pregnancy tests in private business “under the notion that if you know you’re pregnant you won’t drink – that is true for much of the population.”
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“Senator, would you support doing the same thing with birth control, making free birth control available in bars?” the interviewer asked.
“No, because the thinking is a little opposite,” Kelly responded.
“But isn’t the act of using birth control in itself acting responsibly?” the interviewer asked.
“Maybe, maybe not,” Kelly replied. “That’s a level of social engineering we don’t want to get into. Down the road, we haven’t had this discussion yet, as a community or as a legislature, we haven’t had the discussion about involuntary commitment. That may be part of it in the future, that’s not what we’re doing right now. But ultimately, you have to ask yourself if someone is damning their child to a lifetime of mental problems and physical problems as well and it’s gonna end up costing the costing the state, isn’t that time that we have to say, okay, isn’t there some level of involuntary commitment that should happen?”
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“Is that someone you personally would support?” the interviewer asked.
“I dunno,” Kelly said, adding, “We do involuntary commitment for people who are chronic inebriates now.”