They Paved Paradise, They Put Up a (Natalist) Parking Lot

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Sacramento legislators are bored again

California lawmakers are considering granting special parking privileges to women in the final three months of pregnancy and the first two months after birth.

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

As it turns out, pregnant people don't actually like being called "disabled." 

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."

Sacramentan Sarah Nolan, 30, said she was granted disabled parking privileges years ago because of complications that required "modified bed rest." She does not support awarding placards to all pregnant women, however.

"It's what our bodies were made to do," Nolan said of pregnancy. "You become as big as a house, and you get to moan and complain about it, but that kind of goes with the territory. It's not disability."

DeVore's best defense is probably this classic Onion article

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  1. The big mall here in the south Seattle area has pink parking spaces near the entrances for pregnant women.

    Frankly, having been to the mall with the pregnant and post-pregnant versions of my wife, I’d much rather have special reserved parking for families with infants. Getting my wife out of the car was easy — I mean, it’s not like she couldn’t walk. Getting 7 months of raging tiny baby out of his carseat, into the Baby Bjorn, and into the mall? Yeah, closer parking would be useful.

  2. Well, somebody might as well use those spaces…

    Seriously, it’s been about twenty years – can’t we admit that we don’t need about 90% of the handicapped spaces?

  3. pregnant people don’t actually like being called “disabled.”

    That’s ok. We’ll find another name for it. Like changing “refugee” to “evacuee.”
    Simple PC. Even a caveman can do it.

  4. That’s ok. We’ll find another name for it. Like changing “refugee” to “evacuee.”
    Simple PC. Even a caveman can do it.

    Was pregnant not a PC term?

  5. Not sure if “pregnant” could be considered PC but changing the condition to the plural (the sickening “we’re pregnant”) makes me want to vomit. I probably need sensitivity training.

  6. Kerry, I thought you were libertarian-minded folks on this site, not Randian objectivists. My bill, AB 1940, would add less than 9 percent to the already 2.6 million disabled parking placards and license plates in California.

    Are pregnant and newly post-partum women by definition “disabled”? No, but neither is the athlete with the leg broken by a skiing accident. But in the latter case, society acknowledges the temporary condition and makes allowances. Why not for women in their last trimester and first two months after giving birth?

    Am I bored? No. As the lead Republican on tax policy in the Assembly (Vice Chairman of the Revenue and Taxation Committee) I have voted against billions and billions of dollars in new tax proposals advanced by liberal Democrats. As a member of the Budget Committee, I am constantly seeking ways to reduce the size of government. I’ve introduced two bills this session that the Reason Foundation would support: AB 1849 to sell the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and AB 1850 to create the Office of Public-Private Partnerships and authorize $25 billion per year for ten years of private funding for critical roads, bridges and dams.

    That said being all fiscal all the time makes for a one-dimensional lawmaker. A constituent of mine who recently gave birth to her second child suggested this measure. My wife, the mother of my two children, also supports the measure. I think it’s a worthy measure. The National Organization for Woman opposes it. Most of the things Reason supports NOW opposes – take another look at my bill.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    California State Assemblyman, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  7. Actually, walking and other forms of exercise are usually beneficial for pregnant women and their babies. I’ve heard physically fit women have easier deliveries with shorter labor times too.

    And considering how many women have a problem getting rid of the weight gain afterwards, a good walk now and then wouldn’t hurt then either.

  8. Whoa, is the DeVore post for real? Somebody tell Chuck that one of his staffers reads reason and posts under his name here.

  9. I don’t see the problem with this proposed legislation. As assemblyman DeVore notes above, we give people with temporary conditions like broken legs temporary placards all the time. Why would this be different? If we are going to be making allowances for people who aren’t as able bodied, who decided that pregnancy doesn’t/shouldn’t count?

    Ms Greico should feel free to refuse to apply for a placard, but many other women (my pregnant wife included) would be quite happy parking up front in her third trimester.

    With so many mockable things going on, this is the best Ms. Howley could come up with?

  10. Chuck (and I am assuming that the above poster is the real deal, because no troll would go to such trouble),

    Let me suggest at least one reason (drink!) for opposition to your bill. You state as follows:

    Are pregnant and newly post-partum women by definition “disabled”? No, but neither is the athlete with the leg broken by a skiing accident. But in the latter case, society acknowledges the temporary condition and makes allowances. Why not for women in their last trimester and first two months after giving birth?

    Chuck, do you not see the difference between an accident victim with a broken leg and all pregnant or newly post-partum (let’s call them PONPP) women? While all persons with a broken leg are operating under a temporary physical disability, only some of the class of PONPP woman could or would claim the same. Further, there is already a mechanism for such claims — if a pregnancy causes a medical condition that causes a physical disability, the woman may then have cause to request special consideration related to that condition (e.g., preeclampsia). Thus, there is no need to treat the entire class of PONPP woman as disabled; simply allow them to petition for temporarily disabled status as needed, based upon the occurrence of disabling conditions during or following the pregnancy.

    Finally, on a separate note, you state as follows:

    A constituent of mine who recently gave birth to her second child suggested this measure. My wife, the mother of my two children, also supports the measure.

    While I am sure that you believe that this anecdote shows how “in touch” you are with your constituents, it make me as ill as any glimpse into the sausage grinder would. A constituent tells you of her pregnancy experience, your wife gives her own view of pregnancy, and — voila! — let’s create another entitlement! As the old saw goes, to the man with only a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Presumably, as you are a legislator, every problem must look like a lawmaking opportunity.

  11. Are pregnant and newly post-partum women by definition “disabled”? No, but neither is the athlete with the leg broken by a skiing accident.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that is what disabled means with regard to the skier. As for pregnancy, some are, some aren’t.

    Ms. Howley, I think your snark is misplaced. The target ought to be Helen “could send the wrong societal message” Grieco. It’s about assisting women who may be disabled by their pregnancy. What do you think, Ms. Grieco, should we repeal this for “framing pregnancy as a disability”?

  12. If they don’t like being considered disabled, then they don’t have to park in a handicapped space. Problem solved.

  13. Assemblyman DeVore, this law won’t make that much difference in the world one way or the other, so I’m not going to get worked up about it. But, really, do we need yet another law adding that little bit of bulk to the tomes of laws we already have? Have you thought about the administrative requirements of processing all of the applications, verifying the authenticity of the pregnancy?

    Want to do something of substance to help pregnant women? Work on repealing laws that make it a pain in the ass to start a midwifery practice in California.

  14. Yes, it’s me. I love to adopt good ideas from Reason, libertarians, or anyone else for that matter (liberal Democrat Assemblyman Mark Leno and I were the “Joint Authors,” an unfortunate, but official term, for the Industrial Hemp bill last year and the year before). I’m a small, government, free-market lawmaker.

    That said we already have laws mandating the use of disabled parking.

    To those who do not see being pregnant or having just given birth as disabled, again, let me try to inject some common sense and situational awareness here: having just given birth, with a 2-week-old and a toddler in tow, swollen, painful feet, and a dozen errands to run during a hot summer day is what I had in mind with this bill. Yes, doctors can, per their discretion, grant temporary disabled placards – but most docs couldn’t give a whit about the above situation as they would not view it as a medical necessity, yet, many post-partum women may simply just avoid going out at all to avoid the pain and discomfort. This is hardly a strategy for such women getting exercise, is it?

    As for the shock of a lawmaker reading Reason, why the heck are you running the operation anyway? To run a bunch of interesting but useless thought exercises or to actually impact law and government? I should think you’d welcome the fact that I have been acquainted with and reading Reason for more than 20 years.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    California State Assemblyman, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  15. Perhaps what should happen is to create an expedited process for women with difficult pregnancies to obtain a temp placard. Of course what will likely happen is they’ll hammer out a bill that will be the worst possible result.

    Never underestimate what can happen when good intentions meet the DMV.

  16. Mr. DeVore,

    Perhaps you could also make a name for yourself by cracking down on people with handicapped parking passes who are not handicapped. you can see people often parking in such spots with a ticket dangling from the rear view mirror who are as able bodied as myself. While they may have a disabled family member, why does one never see the disabled person parking? It seems to be against the spirit of the law.

    Why not do something to really put teeth into the disable parking laws? That way we would not need as many designated spots and it would be easier for mothers and children of all kinds to get parking closer to the mall entrance.

  17. Assemblyman DeVore, please understand my cynicism is directed at the sausage factory and not at your well meaning proposal. I understand that “occasionally an innocent man is sent to congress”.

  18. Chuck–In my neck of the woods, east coast, not west, many shopping centers managed to do this without any prodding from the political class.

    I know my wife appreciated these spots, reserved for cars with expectant mothers or with infants, when she was preggers, so we tended to shop where these spaces were in place. The stores there reaped the benefits of ours, and other pregnant women’s, business.

    What the state (thankfully) didn’t provide, the market did and those that did were rewarded as a result. That’s how it should work; not through another layer of legalities of “should” and “must.”

  19. Mr. DeVore, I find it odd that you both profess to possess an understanding of libertarians and find it surprising libertarians have objections to this bill. Someone who respects the free market would not step in to regulate it, which is exactly what your bill does. It mildly extends existing (and unlibertarian) state control over private parking lots.

    The bill doesn’t say it outright and the horror induced by glancing at the 42277-section Vehicle Code drove me from positively determining it, but I assume that Section 22511.59 only carries power because somewhere a fine (state or federal) is waiting for those retailers who don’t offer the spaces and respect the placards. That fine (and necessary attendant police force used to back it up) is the real problem, for it represents interference in the lives of those who did not violate anyone else’s.

    But I suppose that makes me a Randian Objectivist.

  20. Seeing as I think anyone should be able to park in a “disabled” spot, I have no problem letting the pregnantly impaired do so.

    Salami slices, people! Today the pregnantly impaired, tomorrow the overfed, and finally the terminally fucking lazy. How dare you discrminate against anyone by saying they aren’t disabled!

  21. So, Mr. Hueter, I should imagine that you would repeal all laws dealing with disabled parking and an infringement on the free market. What sort of chance do you think such a proposal would have in Sacramento and what sort of chance do you think such a politician would have of getting elected or re-elected? That’s the difference between a perfect philosophy and the practical world. I mine the Reason Foundation and other outlets for every good idea I can find that might also some day become law.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    California State Assemblyman, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  22. I mine the Reason Foundation and other outlets for every good idea I can find that might also some day become law.

    Assemblyman DeVore,

    The best idea regarding law is usually repeal.How large is the California code? In both pages and pounds if you happen to know?

  23. California Code? About 15 feet long and close to 100 lbs, excluding regulations. I’ve tried a couple of repeals too.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    California State Assemblyman, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  24. How about we just make this easy on everyone.

    Just have a small percentage of slots reserved in the middle of no fucking where for those of us in good health who need no special consideration.

    We are obviously a tiny minority and so the cost of certifying this class would be so much lower than the pandering to everyone with a chronic sniffle we do now.

    For fuck’s sake, I pay for these people to have children, I pay for their education, I’m going to get a smaller “stimulus” refund than they are, I even get paid less at my job solely because I do not have children and now someone wants to reward these people with a special parking space.

  25. I give Chuck a shitload of credit for entering the loin’s den.

    As somebody pointed out upthread the term is pregger(s) and of course post pregger(s).

  26. Lion’s den, you idiot! Lion’s den!

  27. Today the pregnantly impaired, tomorrow the overfed, and finally the terminally fucking lazy. How dare you discrminate against anyone by saying they aren’t disabled!

    Don’t forget the underweight. They have an eating disorder too, and hence qualify for victim status.

  28. Please don’t be hatin on those of us diagnosed as TFL. My doctor says my only employment options now are journalism or politics.

  29. “For fuck’s sake, I pay for these people to have children, I pay for their education, I’m going to get a smaller “stimulus” refund than they are, I even get paid less at my job solely because I do not have children and now someone wants to reward these people with a special parking space.”

    You wouldn’t be childless if you hadn’t sacrificed your daughter to the gods, agamemnon.

  30. I should imagine that you would repeal all laws dealing with disabled parking and an infringement on the free market. What sort of chance do you think such a proposal would have in Sacramento and what sort of chance do you think such a politician would have of getting elected or re-elected? That’s the difference between a perfect philosophy and the practical world.

    I’m late to the game, but–I don’t think anyone here’s criticizing you for not repealing the disabled-parking laws; we’re saying you shouldn’t be adding to them.

  31. Helen Greico might be ambulatory but she’s disabled for sure.

  32. What sort of chance do you think such a proposal would have in Sacramento and what sort of chance do you think such a politician would have of getting elected or re-elected?

    I 2nd J sub. And I prefer loin’s den. I like the kinky sound it makes.

    Chuck, I don’t know exactly how it would go down in Sacremento, I can guess not too well, but just imagine how much better a world we would have if people in your position voted their conscience and convictions all the time, instead of their score on a viability scale of a career in politics.

    I can appreciate your honesty about the pragmatic reality, but it doesn’t pass the limited govt. smell test. Add value, not lawyers.

  33. Firstly, I want to thank Assemblyman DeVore for addressing this topic here. And it’s rare to hear me thanking politicians, my usual feelings regarding them having more to do with hot tar and a sack of feathers. I agree that the practical impact of this bill is going to be extremely minimal. But in my philosophy, the purposes of government are to defend our inalienable rights, to enforce contracts, and to promote our common interests. This bill isn’t about any of those things. Sure, it would be nice for pregnant/recently post-partum women not to have to walk so far if they don’t want. But I don’t think the purpose of government is to make the world warm and fuzzy, if nothing else because every new bill imposes costs on all of us in the form of enforcement. Sorry, but that’s just my view of it.

  34. Huh. And here during all 3 of my pregnancies I just carried on as usual. It was almost like my female body was designed to accommodate pregnancy or something. Go figure. Apparently I was disabled during the last 3 months of and 2 months post pregnancy. And no one even sent me a get well card. How rude.

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