Sen. Pete Kelly proposes paying for pregnancy tests to be put in bars to prevent FASD. Does he know alcohol is available in stores and other places that aren’t bars? Does he understand that alcoholism is a disease and not a simple choice?
FASD is a major problem in Alaska, but so are addiction, rape, domestic violence and suicide. Prevention is the solution.
To prevent FASD alcoholics need more addiction treatment programs, women need access to free effective contraception and families need access to mental health support.
We could implement the Medicaid Women’s Health program that pays for exams, testing and contraceptives for women 19 to 44 who don’t have insurance covering family planning. Ninety percent of this would be paid by the federal government.
The governor or the Legislature could expand Medicaid coverage to 41,000 uninsured, low-income women, children and men. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost for three years.
But the governor and most Republican legislators have denied Alaskans this health care. They should reconsider if they really care about reducing FASD.
— Robin Smith