Handicapped Parking ... for Pregnant Women?

Cynthia Dermody
21

handicapped parking sign
Flickr photo by thousandshipz
I tune out the same subway announcement every day, but for some reason, today I actually heard it: "If you see a pregnant woman or disabled person, give them your seat. You'll be taking a stand for what's right."

My third trimester was no cake-walk. My feet were swollen, my back hurt, I was out of breath all the time ... but I wasn't disabled, thank you very much Mr. Subway Announcer Guy. I know you're just trying to be nice, but still.

I agree that mass transit riders should give pregnant women their seats ... to be nice. The fact he mentioned disabled person and pregnant woman in the same breath irked me.

And this also irked me: Legislators in Oklahoma recently passed a bill that will allow pregnant women to obtain a temporary handicapped parking placard for handicapped parking spaces.

It all came to be thanks to a woman, seven and a half months along with twins, who complained she had so many physical challenges, like trouble walking and lack of sleep, that she couldn't even go to the grocery store anymore.

Under the bill, pregnant women could, with a doctor's note, routinely apply for a temporary handicapped parking pass. In some cases, this might be totally legit and warranted.

But pregnant women don't need a law for such accommodations. If I were pregnant and really unable to walk, I could ask my doctor for a note right now, apply for a sticker, and probably get one.

What doctor or midwife do you know who wouldn't honor such a simple request from a patient under this new law? Almost every pregnant woman who walks into her doctor's office will likely get a placard.

In addition to fueling the stigma that pregnancy is a disability (isn't that so 1950s ago?), I'm concerned about what a law like this, if it ever spread nationally, would mean for truly handicapped people. Nothing irritates me more that going to the store and seeing someone nab a blue spot and stroll inside swifter than a toddler. Either they're not handicapped or they're "borrowing" a family member's sticker to get a primo spot. Grr, I can't tell you how hard I have to restrain myself from keying their car.

My father is one of those people who legitimately needs and uses a handicapped spot, and he always has difficulty due to a shortage of spots. Open this option up to pregnant women, and my dad might as well never leave the house.

Should there be a law allowing pregnant women to obtain handicapped parking stickers?

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