Wanna wrestle? First take a pregnancy test

Female pro wrestler balks at rule requiring that she prove she's not pregnant before every match.

Published June 12, 2006 3:27PM (EDT)

Before professional wrestler Julie Utley can worry about not getting pinned down during a match, she first has to prove she's not knocked up. That's because the Missouri Office of Athletics passed a new rule in November requiring a woman participating in professional boxing, wrestling and martial arts to take a pregnancy test within a week of every event. Since learning of the new requirement in March, 19-year-old Utley has refused to wrestle, saying the state is violating her privacy rights and forcing her spend the $60 monthly that she estimates it would cost to take the tests, according to the Associated Press.

A spokeswoman for the state's Department of Economic Development, which oversees the office that licenses approximately 900 boxers and wrestlers -- about 100 of whom are female -- said Missouri passed the rule last fall to be consistent with other states, reports the AP. (The athletic office held a hearing on the subject Friday but made no decision about the rule.)

But Tony Rothert, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, told the AP that the rule is an "impediment to equality" and questioned why the tests had to be done by a doctor rather then letting women use drugstore versions. If the state is concerned about legal liability, opponents suggested, wrestlers could sign a waiver agreeing not to sue if they get hurt.

What do readers think? Are these rules appropriate? Should states be enforcing them?

By Sarah Elizabeth Richards

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist based in New York. She can be reached at sarah@saraherichards.com.

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