When did Pregnancy become a Disablity?

Chuck DeVore wants to give special parking passes to pregnant women during their last three months of pregnancy and two months after giving birth. Now, I’ve been pregnant, not a walk in the park but most certainly not disabling either. It’s patronizing to say that pregnant women need special parking; I’m tired of our society treating pregnancy like it was an illness or disease. I am quite sure there are special cases and when there are, women can already get a temporary parking pass under current law!

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore’s bill would qualify pregnant women for “temporarily disabled” parking placards from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“Let’s be reasonable here: There are challenges, physical challenges, that arise as a natural part of life,” DeVore said of pregnancy.

The Irvine Republican said it makes little sense to force a pregnant woman who has trouble getting out of her car, and might have a toddler in tow, to park in the outer reaches of a parking lot.

“It certainly makes you realize that for that very short period of time in their pregnancy, they are certainly by any practical definition (impaired),” he said.

I hate to say it, but only a man would describe pregnancy as an “impairment” and considering that the law already allows such accommodations in cases when it’s necessary, why is a Republican asking for another law? Is there a huge pregnant voting block that we are unaware of?

Helen Grieco, executive director of the California chapter of the National Organization for Women, said AB 1940 inadvertently could send the wrong societal message.

“It’s very much a normal part of a woman’s life – we have children,” Grieco said. “So we’ve always been troubled by framing pregnancy as a disability.”

DeVore countered that pregnancy should not be disqualified from state assistance simply because it is a natural function.

“Could you say that somebody who was born blind, it’s a natural function, so we shouldn’t let them have a white cane with special traffic privileges?” he said.

DeVore completely ignores the fact that this could leave people with disabilities, who need such parking spots to function in their everyday lives, parking at the back of the lot? How is that fair? There are more and more stores providing special parking for pregnant women and families with children as well, if there truly is a need, why can’t business take on this cost if they want to cater to a certain segment of the population? Considering that this State is in such a serious budget crunch, do we need to add the cost of verifyng and issuing special parking placards for something that leaves most women perfectly capable of parking further away from their destination.
I would much prefer to see the people who abuse the disabled parking spots punished because they are in such a hurry and just don’t want to bother to find a spot. This abuse is the reason why we have laws to protect people from others who have a blatant disregard for their fellow citizen.
Disclaimer – Gary Pritchard, my husband, is running for State Senate in the 33rd district.

  2 comments for “When did Pregnancy become a Disablity?

  1. March 20, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Well, I like this idea. Especially the part about parents with young children. When I had an infant and an 18-month-old I sometimes abandoned an outing if I couldn’t find a parking spot within an easy walk of my destination. Also I notice that in most parking lots, when otherwise full, there are lots of empty disabled slots. I think more people should be able to take advantage of the disabled spaces.

    However, I do disagree with DeVore about the need for disabled parking in the last three months of pregnancy. For many women who have no special complications, the last three months are a breeze. I found the first 4 months almost unbearable. I remember sitting down on the floor of the post office and super market while waiting in line.

  2. Dan Chmielewski
    March 21, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Heather –I’m the oldest of 5 kids and we’re all a year apart; my mom managed the grocery shopping quite well with all of us in tow and this was before car seats and strollers that folded up. If Chuck really wants to help mothers, he needs to fight for school funding for things like music, art and sports..all essenial to the education experience. It will help fathers too.

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