What do you get the man who has everything?
How about a false pregnancy?
According to the Metro, just in time for the holidays, sellers have been posting ads on Craigslist for positive pregnancy tests. One post got right to the point:
“I have positive pregnancy test for those of you who need a little help holding onto your man through the holidays, shoot me a message for $20 each”
What a horrible holiday surprise! And it raises a very ugly question: is this is a new trend?
Only one way to find out. I hopped online to investigate and a quick search of the Philadelphia area Craigslist resulted in 4 posts for positive pregnancy tests. One seller laid it all out in their sales pitch:
“Hey girls , you ever wanted to play a joke on you boyfriend/husband ? Or get revenge on that horrible ex boyfriend ? Hey boys , you ever wanted to scare the shit outa mom and dad ? Well , whatever the reason you need one , I got them , plenty of them , im pregnant and im only 9 weeks , so for the next 31 weeks i’ll have them . I will buy the test myself , pee on it for you and we can meet up and I sell it to you . I heard they go for about $25 but , you can throw an offer and I’ll try to work with you .”
Whoa! How casually callous. Looks like it’s time to find out if this is a national trend. Are people around America selling positive pregnancy tests?
After a wider search, I found there weren’t a lot of tests for sale in the surrounding Philadelphia area. There were none for sale in Northern Jersey. None in Southern Jersey. There weren’t any positive pregnancy tests for sale in Baltimore. But there was one seller in Louisville, Kentucky:
Then in Atlanta, there were three more for sale:
To find out if the trend spread west, I checked the other side of the country. There were none for sale in the San Francisco/Bay Area. But in Sacramento, there was a woman offering the same holiday sentiment:
What about a hard luck city like Las Vegas? Surprisingly, there was only one positive pregnancy test for sale. And there were none for sale in Reno.
Ready for another surprise? Of the American cities I checked, guess which one had the most positive pregnancy tests for sale.
For comparison’s sake, there were only two tests for sale in the Los Angeles area, and only two for sale in New York City. There were none for sale in Detroit. But Phoenix was a motherlode of false motherhood.
Typically, a seller posed as a woman. They advertised the positive pregnancy test as a “prank.” Twenty dollars appears to be the standard market price across the nation. But some sellers will only charge $15, if “you supply the test.”
It seems that the market in Phoenix is so robust that to stay competitive some sellers will deliver the test to you:
One seller from Phoenix explained why she chose to sell tests and why it’s such a popular “gag gift” for the holidays:
“Yes, you saw that right! I am selling pregnancy tests! Ever since I became pregnant, I have been asked numerous times for a positive test, so I decided to start charging for it. I will take the test the same day you want to pick it up. I don’t care what you use it for, not my business ;) or urine for your own test … please email for details”
In case you’re wondering, unlike laws that prohibit a person from selling “clean urine” to evade a drug test, there are no laws against selling a positive pregnancy test. Of course, illegality doesn’t stop the Internet. It doesn’t even slow it down. There are plenty of businesses like Oriana Labs and Dr. Urine that sell “clean urine” or adulterants you add to a urine sample to chemically mask the presence of drugs and beat the drug test. What they leave out is that it’s often illegal.
Just ask Glenn Beck, he can tell you, selling bodily fluids is a confusing legal grey area. A few years ago, he got into trouble when he tried to sell a Mason jar filled with urine. He’d added a figurine of President Obama and called it art. He planned to sell his masterpiece, “Obama in Pee Pee” for $25,000. According to Slate, Beck ran into trouble when EBay canceled his auction for violating their policy prohibiting the sale of bodily fluids. Hoping to salvage the sale, Beck admitted that the urine was fake. It was actually beer. Of course, this admission got him into more trouble because, in Texas, where his headquarters is located, it’s illegal to sell a “beverage” that has more than 1.5% alcohol by volume without a permit. It would have been perfectly legal for Beck to sell his urine in Texas, as long as it wasn’t alcoholic, and he didn’t plan to help someone defraud a drug test.
Other than laws against cheating a drug test, in most cases, selling bodily fluids online is, generally-speaking, legal. For instance, you can find plenty of women who sell breast milk, either fresh or frozen. Thanks to a little hustle on the Internet new mothers can make a little extra diaper money by selling their breast milk for a small profit.
But what does it mean when someone purporting to be a woman sells her pregnancy?
As a few of the sellers in the Craigslist ads clearly state, a positive pregnancy test is a “great way to hold onto your man through the holidays.” Because nothing says “Happy Holidays” like lying to the man in your life and tricking him into believing he’s about to be a father. Not only is it immoral, it can also be illegal. This is, presumably, why the smart sellers claim that a positive pregnancy test makes a great “gag gift.” The legal trouble they hope to skirt: fraud and blackmail.
If a buyer uses a positive pregnancy test to trick a man into marriage, or into paying for a child, or to pay for an abortion, that’s blackmail, which is illegal in all fifty states. If someone knowingly contributes to an act of blackmail, they can be prosecuted for their involvement. Any positive test-providing pregnant woman could wind up spending her first Mother’s Day behind bars.
This relatively new national trend of selling positive pregnancy tests seemingly confirms what some men fear: women will go to unethical lengths to trick a dude into marriage, or to make him believe he’s the father of a child in order to manipulate him or extort money from him. However, based on the numbers of tests for sale on Craigslist, it seems like only a small handful of people are selling tests. It’s not a major epidemic of illegality and baby fraud. And, since it’s online, there’s no way to know if the persons posting the ads are indeed women.
All we know for sure: there are some garbage people out there who are willing to conspire online to ruin a stranger’s holidays, possibly their life, and they’ll do it for $20.