Sports Outside the Beltway

Pro wrestler miffed by pregnancy tests

From US Today-

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A professional wrestler claimed Friday that the state is intruding on her privacy by requiring her to provide proof from her doctor that she is not pregnant within a week of every match.

Julie Utley also said pregnancy testing is too expensive for many women to continue participating in the sport. She estimated it would cost her at least $60 a month for tests.

The rule took effect in November and is part of state requirements for licensing contact sports such as professional boxing, wrestling and martial arts.

Utley, 19, said she has not wrestled since March, when she first became aware of the rule, because she refuses to submit to a pregnancy test.

The Missouri Office of Athletics held a hearing Friday but made no decision on whether to change the rule. The office licenses about 900 boxers and wrestlers, about 100 of them women.

Misti Preston, a spokeswoman for the Department of Economic Development, which oversees the office, said the change did not result from a particular incident. Preston said state officials just wanted to be in line with requirements in many other states.

Opponents said if the state’s motive is legal protection, it could make wrestlers sign a waiver saying they will not sue if they get hurt.

“There is a lot of punishment in professional wrestling. I knew the risk. I knew I was going to get injured,” Utley said. “That was my personal responsibility. This rule takes control away from me.”

Tony Rothert, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, called the rule “an impediment to equality.”

In particular, he said, requiring the test to be performed by a doctor, rather than allowing women to use tests sold over the counter, and demanding results so often are troubling.

I’ll grant that having it performed by a doctor is a reach. Doctor’s offices use pregnancy tests that are as reliable as those over the counter.

There are women’s health clinics who’ll even do them for free.

The bottom line issue is the health of the wrestler and an unborn child. It isn’t about equality, its about biology. Men and women aren’t the same or has the ACLU forgotten 8th grade health class? If a woman is pregnant, sports like wrestling can be both dangerous to her health and the child’s.

Message to both sides

1- Take the tests Ms. Utley. I’m betting you’re an independent contractor. You can take them as a work expense. Bottom line- The tests are for your own physical well being.

2- The Missouri Dept of Economic Development needs to bring their rules into the 21st century. Healt care has changed.

See everyone can be happy then. Don’t worry be happy.

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