HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pregnant Women as Temporarily Disabled?

Feministing has a post concerning a recent, failed piece of legislation in California that would have labeled women in their third trimester as temporarily disabled so that they could qualify for disabled parking spaces.  While I appreciate the sentiment, why not just have some extra parking spaces just like my local drug store does, for expecting moms.  Anyway, here is blogger Samhita's take on the legislation,

A Republican California assemblyman proposed a bill that would deem pregnant women "temporarily disabled" in the third trimester of their pregnancy and allow them access to handicapped parking. The bill failed, but I think this is really interesting.

The classification of differently-abled people is usually pretty stigmatizing. Disability rights activists have talked about the problem with being overly protective of differently-abled people while overlooking systemic problems in the care of people with disabilities and the lack of appropriate legislation to protect their individual rights.

People with disabilities are constantly fighting against a misinformed public, discrimination and the often erroneous belief that differently-abled people are helpless and can't make decisions for themselves. It is not OK, but we can agree that these assumptions are prevalent. So if that is the case, and we have politicians that want to classify pregnant women as "disabled" these same misconceptions apply on some level. There is then the belief that pregnant women are unable to take care of themselves, make choices for themselves, etc. Is the answer for society's mistreatment of both differently-abled people and pregnant women legislation that will classify women as "temporarily disabled?". . . .

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