Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Horror of Pregnancy Screening by Airlines

Both Kevin and Ming have recently talked about U.S. concerns regarding birth tourism. Let me add my two cents to the discussion.

Like Ming, I was struck by the story of a passenger on Hong Kong Express Airlines being asked to take a pregnancy test in a misguided effort to avoid birth tourism. Here is my personal take on her story: I feel you, and that WHOMPS.

Since hitting puberty at the age of 12, I have been asked if I am pregnant so many times that I have lost count. Doctors have asked me--refusing to listen to my denials, conducting unnecessary tests , and asking me to pay for them. Strangers on the street have stopped me to ask about my nonexistent unborn child.

This is something that happens to zaftig women. Or, put more bluntly:


Being asked if you are pregnant is the worst. It's humiliating. It's embarrassing. It stays with you.

Lest you think this is just a me issue, it is not. Just today I spoke with another woman about a doctor refusing to believe her statements that it would be biologically impossible to be pregnant, conducting a test, and requiring her to pay for it.

So I am just horrified by what this woman had to go through. To not only be asked if she is pregnant but to then have to prove that she is not by peeing on a stick in front of stranger is more than anyone should have to bear.

Putting aside the issue of whether airlines should be screening for birth tourism at all (for the record, they should not!), any airline thinking about asking a passenger if they are pregnant would do well to remember the words of the inestimable Bill Murry: 

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