The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act tests the integrity of the pro-life movement

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would ensure that all pregnant workers can get minor workplace adjustments they need to continue working during pregnancy.”

This is not a rare problem for women who cannot afford to lose their income. The National Women’s Law Center has compiled a six-page list (.pdf) of real cases involving real women all over the U.S.

Jill Filipovic has a sampling of those cases here. Go read them.

These women are being confronted with an awful set of choices: Lose your job or terminate your pregnancy or take a big health risk.

None of those choices is good or fair. No one should be forced to choose among them. I don’t want anyone to lose their job, and I don’t want anyone compelled to terminate a pregnancy, and I don’t want the health of pregnant women or their future children put at risk.

Anti-abortion Christians in America are rightly outraged by reports of compulsory abortion in places like China. We have compulsory abortion here in America too — it’s just compelled by market forces and the private sector rather than by the state.

Like about a third of my fellow evangelicals, I’m pro-choice. That means I don’t want anyone — the government or some corporate employer or some evangelical institution — dictating to women what they must choose. So I support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The more vocal two-thirds of my fellow evangelicals who identify as “pro-life” ought to support it too.

This is yet another one of those places where such pro-lifers get to show the rest of us whether or not they are who they claim to be. If they are really motivated by the value they place on the lives and health of the unborn, then we ought to see them lining up to support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

But if they are really motivated by an anti-feminist impulse to control and punish women, then we should not expect to see them supporting the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Or if abortion politics are really just a convenient tool for getting the “social conservative” rubes to support anti-worker and anti-union policies, then likewise, we shouldn’t expect to see the “pro-life” claim translate into support for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

This legislation matters first of all because it would protect the rights of pregnant workers. But it also matters because it tests the integrity of the pro-life movement. So far, that movement is failing that test.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    This is more or less on topic so this seems to be a good opportunity to share a baffling argument I recently came across:

    Why should a state or employer provide day care, child care, comprehensive pre-natal and post-natal health care, or other more pro-family policies when pregnancy is a private choice, and when women have no other excuse besides their own decision to have a child? By holding up free contraception, Plan B, and sterilization, society is effectively washing its hands of the need to provide more equity for women who are mothers in the work force.

    http://catholicmoraltheology.com/is-contraception-necessarily-good-for-women/

    Doesn’t the second sentence cancel out the first, and couldn’t this just as easily be reversed? It seems to suggest a fundamental misunderstanding of what “choice” means. I can see the point if someone supports only one set of policies or the other- whichever one or the other- that they are effectively limiting choice. But supporting both sets of policies allows the most options for a woman who faces a decision about her pregnancy. How on earth is that society washing its hands of the issue?

  • Nathaniel

    Bu-bu-but, Fred, the sluts! What about the sluts? I mean, if we enact such laws, it wouldn’t just be protecting the pregnancies of good Christian women obediently  under the headship of their Lord Husbands. It would also protect the pregnancies of godless lesbian sluts who get drunk and pregnant at strip clubs! Protecting sin isn’t the Christian thing to do. I would hope you could see that.  

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Heaven forbid that any of the male pro-lifers I’ve ever seen actually push for policies that would make them look less like woman-controlling douchebags.

  • Lliira

    Next, we test the flying abilities of the snapping turtle.

    You can’t test what’s not there. It would be nice if we could stop pretending the anti-choice movement is anything but what it is: an attempt to control women by controlling our bodies.

  • Tricksterson

    Hey!  Leave the turtles alone!

  • smrnda

     I think their position (as idiotic as it is) is that there is no need to accommodate pregnant workers unless pregnancy totally unavoidable and involuntary, like disability, since workers could always choose not to be pregnant. As you said, it misunderstands ‘choice’ meaning ‘here are two choices and you should be able to make both of them.’

  • Gotchaye

    The idea is that being pregnant and having a kid is a choice exactly like any other.  It’s a hobby, basically, so mothers don’t have any special claim to accommodation.  And in fairness we do see some people genuinely believing something like this.

    But it doesn’t actually seem to be widespread, and this is confusing to libertarianish types who are trying to understand liberals.  They get some of the way there – they can make sense of wanting women to be able to choose between being mothers and not being mothers in the context of a particular incentive structure without government interference – but they can’t wrap their heads around the idea that liberals might still want the government to positively alter the incentive structure.

  • Matri

    As you said, it misunderstands ‘choice’ meaning ‘here are two choices and you should be able to make both of them.’

    They also misunderstand “biology”, “pregnancy”, “empathy”, and “Christian”.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Why is it so damn hard for “pro-family” types who trumpet the virtues of their idealized mommy-and-daddy-with-the-white-picket-fence vision of the family, to actually work to put that into practice?

    If anything, one step to constructing a 1950s economy for a 2010s society would be to create a veritable army of neighborhood day-care centers staffed and operated by local people who could care for children from the ages of 2 to 10 (I go for post-kindergarten because some parents need to have their children looked after beyond K-12 school hours; by about the age of 10 or 11 a child should be trustable with their own house key as long as they don’t live too far from school), which would mean a virtually guaranteed job for life for people who have the kind of interpersonal skills to relate to kids.

  • Becca Stareyes

    The only way I can parse that as making sense is reading that quote as saying ‘pro-choicers are hypocrites because they don’t support policies that support pregnant women/new mothers, because pregnancy is ‘just a choice women make’, but do support options to prevent or terminate pregnancy easily’. Which is incorrect and shows a basic ignorance of a lot of feminist movements*, but at least logically consistent. 

    * Many of whom argue both for abortion and contraceptive services AND for policies that support pregnancy and parenthood. Because pregnancy tends to affect women regardless of how it ends, as does things like childcare. 

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Just to clarify, the piece I linked to is from a pro-life Catholic who seems to think that supporting abortion and contraception access is indistinguishable from being prejudiced against mothers; therefore she thinks it’s silly for us to also support policies that help working mothers. Like I said, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of choice.

  • http://twitter.com/WayofCats WayofCats

    I think I made the classic mistake early on: I equated the so-called pro-family values crowd with sincere motivations to support a happy home life… even though I thought their ideas were out of date, idealized, and impractical.

    But now I think that was just a cover story; it’s really about enforcing certain lifestyle choices and anyone who doesn’t fit that box suffers.

  • http://snarkthebold.blogspot.com/ Edo

    The argument seems to be that by offering birth control, “we’ve” given women control over their reproduction. Ergo, onus is on them to not have kids if they can’t afford them, since they can control that, always, and providing support is a perverse incentive or something.

    It’s a (perversely logical) libertarian argument; hell, I’m pretty sure that I’ve actually seen libertarians argue it before, although I don’t know where. But it’s not a tenable Catholic position to hold at all, and I have no idea what the hell logic is going on that makes the author set up that position to explore in the first place.

    (To be honest, the college Marxist troll in me would actually be curious about the last questions, in a college-Marxist way. But that would be a sociology research project, not blog-comments “discussion.”)

  • Lunch Meat

    Just to clarify, the piece I linked to is from a pro-life Catholic who seems to think that supporting abortion and contraception access is indistinguishable from being prejudiced against mothers; therefore she thinks it’s silly for us to also support policies that help working mothers. Like I said, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of choice.

    That was going to be my guess. It’s a false dichotomy; since liberals don’t believe that pregnancy is the ideal choice for every woman, we must hate it and think it’s evil. So it’s illogical to support policies that make it easier for women to have children, and we must be doing it because we like big government or something.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    It’s a badly worded argument. Coming from a conservative Catholic, my educated guess is that it’s not a libertarian argument–that pregnancy should be viewed as entirely a matter of personal choice and responsibility; rather, she believes that having children is a social good and therefore society has an obligation to support people who have children.

    The writer is arguing against the idea that society owes parents no assistance in raising children. Her concern is that very strong advocacy of contraception (and abortion) helps to push that libertarian idea.

    Social goods and social responsibilities are very important in Catholic thinking; there is no “your choice, you deal with the consequences by yourself” (except by those who confuse Catholic morality with right wing politics–they’re bedfellows in many places, but they’re not even remotely the same thing).

    I think she went off the rails of logic in thinking that widespread use of contraception necessarily individualises child-raising.  But she’s not saying, as some have assumed, that society has no obligation to support pregnant women. Just the opposite.

  • reynard61

    “This legislation matters first of all because it would protect the rights of pregnant workers. But it also matters because it tests the integrity of the pro-life movement. So far, that movement is failing that test.”

    You were expecting any different? Why? The pro-baby-as-punishment-for-non-procreative-sex crowd has shown time and time again that they’re *not interested in the life, welfare or well-being of the result of sex!!!*. Their *only* interest is in having the fun of experiencing the schadenfreude that comes from knowing that, somewhere out there, there is a woman who is poor and/or suffering because she had sex under “illicit” circumstances (for the baby-as-punishment-for-non-procreative-sex value of “illicit”, of course) that they can look down on and/or point to as an example of “immorality”. (Again, for the baby-as-punishment-for-non-procreative-sex value of “immorality”, of course.)

  • Daughter

     I think she gets it wrong when she assumes that those who support contraception and those who don’t believe in supporting pregnant women are one and the same people.

  • GuestPoster

    I am of two minds about such legislation.  On the one hand, I agree: nobody should lose their job because they become pregnant.  On the other hand…  there’s fundamentally no way to be equal about it.  And unlike corporate sponsored healthcare, where the company must merely increase compensation for any and all workers, pregnancy legislation actually puts employers in a very rough spot.

    Consider: Job A is easy, physically.  Thus, it can go to any man or woman, and that’s that.

    Job B, however, is physically demanding.  There is no way to make ‘small adjustments’ to make it safe for a pregnant woman.  So she just can’t do it.  And since women have a habit, on average, of getting pregnant, you don’t want to hire a woman to do it, right?  But you’re not allowed to discriminate.

    And then, regardless of the job, the woman is going to take some weeks off.  She just is.  Which means she is, essentially, getting more vacation time than any other employee.  Or do you make her use her sick time and vacation time?  Can she use future sick time, since most people don’t get a full month sick leave, but a pregnancy probably requires at least that much time?

    It’s a rough spot.  As I say: I don’t want to see women discriminated against, because of pregnancy or any other reason.  But then – it’s a uniquely difficult spot for employers of all sorts, uniquely costly, and actually makes it more expensive for them to employ women than men (assuming equal paychecks).  I tend to think about legislation, and law, from a position of harm, and real harm is done to either side of this issue depending upon if the law is past or not.  But either way, someone is harmed.  I tend to side with the less powerful side instinctively, but it’s not a good side to arbitrarily harm them any more than anyone else.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Tangentally on topic, I found myself in need of Plan B this week. Being in Arkansas, I was expecting some drama. 

    Thankfully, the most I got was some attitude from the consultation pharmacist. She made it clear she disapproved, but she didn’t raise hell. Was very relieved. 

    So that’s a bit of good news. Also, would appreciate everyone crossing their fingers, sending good vibes, prayers, insert chosen method of Goodness here. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Best of luck! *sends good wishes*

  • Ursula L

    It’s not that difficult a case.

    If someone is able to do the job, at the time they are hired, you hire them for the job.  Anyone can become disabled, temporarily or permanently, at any point in time.  Pregnancy is one such disability.  If someone is temporarily disabled, by pregnancy or any other temporary condition, then you have to make reasonable accommodation, and return them to their normal work when they are recovered.  If someone is permanently disabled, you have to make reasonable accommodation.    

  • P J Evans

    Adding to this, that anyone who thinks giving birth and dealing with a baby is anything like a vacation has never done either.

  • Emjb

    First off, society needs someone to have babies if it is going to continue. Continuing the species is a non-frivolous need. Therefore, businesses, which cannot survive without people or a society, have an obligation to assume some of the burden if enabling reproduction to occur. In the past we made women a servant class as a way of avoiding that cost by dumping it onto them. Businesses and the society as a whole are not going to be allowed to do so anymore, because it is unjust and, I would assert, more costly in that it blocks out one half of humanity from adding their creativity to society. Businesses benefit in the long-run by making accommodations for women who reproduce, and society does as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    Maternity leave is both a separate issue, already legally enforced, and easy enough to make equal between the genders (by offering equal quantities of paternity leave, which is absolutely beneficial to everybody.) 

    Also, forcing employees to act against their hypothetical ‘best interests’ (which always seem to favor hiring middle or upper class straight white men as much as possible) is the whole point of anti-discrimination legislation. I’m not going to get concern trolled into not supporting legislation to equalize conditions for the workforce on the grounds that then employers are going to want to act like assholes.

  • Rae

    This logic baffles me – they’re saying that a woman being pregnant is a “private choice,” yet as Catholics believe that birth control is wrong, and that sex is an important part of marriage, meaning that married women who are living as Catholics with they would live will almost inevitably get pregnant not due to a “choice” to have a child but their choice to get married.

  • Brightie

    You really think that there is nobody who identifies as pro-life who really believes that their cause is about protecting developing human lives?

    This is an honest question. From what I’ve seen, I would be very surprised if that were true.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    If they seriously believe their cause is about protecting developing human lives, they should support both easy access to birth control and comprehensive sex education in schools. Both of these have been proven to reduce abortion rates far more effectively than waving a sign and traumatizing pregnant women. 

    I have never seen anyone who self identifies as pro-life do this.

  • WalterC

     There might be people like this, but they don’t write legislation or have any noticeable influence on the political leaders of the pro-life movement. For the purposes of public policy decisions, if they have no impact on policy then they might as well not exist, right?

  • arcseconds

    good luck, baby_raptor

  • Lori

     

    You really think that there is nobody who identifies as pro-life who
    really believes that their cause is about protecting developing human
    lives?

    I think there are people who identify as pro-life who really believe that their cause is about protecting developing human lives. I think most of them are wrong and that’s not actually what their cause is about. I think that’s the point of these kinds of posts.

  • John Mark Ockerbloom

    I found an endorsement of PWFA at the site for All Our Lives:

      http://www.allourlives.org/pregnant-workers-fairness-act-protects-life-health-and-jobs/

    A look around the site will show that they’re pro-life, but rather different in a number of ways from anti-abortion groups people might be more familiar with.

  • Carstonio

    To follow on Marc’s answer, making abortion illegal prevents almost no abortions. Assuming such pro-lifers exist, what are they trying to accomplish? I’ve heard at least one say that criminalizing abortion is about “standing up for unborn,” whatever that means. At best, that attitude views being on the “right” side of the issue as more important than the consequences of one’s stance. Because they treat abortion as a matter of women making “wrong” choices, this strongly argues against the idea that their goal is reducing abortions.
    http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/03/01/challenges-in-the-trans-vaginal-ultrasound-debate/

    Mandatory ultrasound laws are wrong because they are provided in a way that drives up costs, because they make it harder to provide abortion care, and most importantly, because they do not improve health outcomes. They eliminate patient autonomy in how health care information is delivered and received. This is a truly egregious harm about which everyone, no matter their position on legal abortion, should be concerned. 

  • Beroli

     

    You really think that there is nobody who identifies as pro-life who
    really believes that their cause is about protecting developing human
    lives?

    What level of “belief” are we talking here?

    I imagine most people who identify as pro-life and believe abortion should be criminalized believe on the most superficial level of their brains that they care about “protecting developing human lives.” But if you ask such a person, “Why don’t you [do any of a number of things more effective at reducing the number of abortions which that person doesn't currently do]?” it will generally take seconds to get to them implicitly or explicitly admitting that reducing the number of abortions is less important to them than taking a properly condemnatory moral stance toward abortions.

  • GuestPoster

    But why do you ‘have to’?  If they are unable to do the job, then why do you continue to employ them?  Those boxes don’t stack themselves, after all, and if your box stacker is no longer able to stack boxes, what is the point in having that particular person on staff as a box stacker?  At best, you’re forced to increase the workload of other employees.  At worst, you’re forced to hire a new employee.  You argue that you make ‘reasonable accommodation’, but what is the reasonable accommodation for someone physically unable to do the job for which they were hired?  Let them sit around and watch others work?

    In general, proper insurance covers any other disability, with programs like Worker’s Compensation kicking in if the disability forces you out of work.  But pregnancy is different.  It actively harms an employer to have someone unable to do the job for which they were hired, but still be forced to pay them for it.  Sure, some jobs there are ways to make work for a disabled person, whatever the disability.  Others there is not.  If you hire a typist, who loses both hands to a crocodile, and has her tongue eaten by a parakeet, well…  how do they keep making documents for you?  Where’s the line between ‘need to change the job’ and ‘need to replace the employee’?

    It’s really, really not that simple.  Not if you take the views of both parties into account.  Active harm is done no matter how it goes.

    And to PJ Evans later, I use the word ‘vacation’ as ‘vacation from work duties’ as in ‘vacate the premises’, not ‘go to Maui’.  It doesn’t matter WHAT you’re doing to the employer, if you’re not doing your job.  It’s all a vacation at the front office.

  • GuestPoster

    Reasonable answer, that.  Though I think you’d be better off having some sort of tax funded pregnancy program, if you’re going to follow the line of thought where ‘society’ benefits from continuing the species.  You’re also left with the overpopulation argument – we already have too many people for the world to support comfortably, and too many people for the available jobs.  Right now the excess population is hurting business – why should it have to help pay to make more people?

    Again – not saying the old way of doing things is better.  Just trying to bring light to this question as NOT so clear as people often make it out to be, from a simple ‘harm’ perspective.

  • EllieMurasaki

    By your argument, no company should provide paid sick leave or paid annual leave or indeed paid break time, or paid any other time I’ve forgotten where the employee is not actively working during that quarter hour they’re being paid for.

    I hope you do not require an explanation of why it is a profoundly bad idea to not provide paid sick leave, paid annual leave, and paid break time.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Probably some iteration of how they are somehow magically different from pregnancy leave because well shut up they just are.

    Calling it now.

  • smrnda

     I’ve seen enough cases of employers refusing to make even minimal, practically costless accommodations that I can’t believe cost or difficulty is even an issue. A friend of mine was fired for throwing up on the job during an approved bathroom break. Employers and often just nasty little tin-hat dictators who enjoy power and control, particularly over women.

  • smrnda

     People in low wage jobs are often ineligible for benefits such as disability or paid leave or even the FMLA act because they are not full time employees. This does not mean that their employment is somehow recreational – you might want to look into how many people are working multiple part time jobs rather than one full time one.

    You must not know many people who have been disabled or pregnant, since employers are often unwilling to make even trivially easy accommodations. I knew a cashier who had knee problems and wanted to sit on a stool instead of standing during her shifts. Of course the management says no, even though this accommodation would have cost them nothing.

  • Daughter

     Did you read some of the stories at the link? They were women denied simple accommodations, such as a cashier not being allowed to drink water at her checkout station to stay hydrated, or being forbidden to take extra bathroom breaks even though such breaks didn’t interfere with their ability to get the job done. These were NOT situations in which the women could no longer do the job at all.

  • banancat

     Exactly.  Recently, a coworker of mine injured her back.  She had to take a week off, but then our boss made arrangements so she could do some work from home.  Now she’s back but there are still accommodations, some as simple as the company providing her with a special back support pillow for her chair, and some more difficult like arranging important meetings around her schedule so she can make it to all her doctor appointments.  When it happens like this, nearly everyone can see how reasonable this is.

    But when it’s pregnancy, suddenly it’s just too complicated for us to figure out and will hurt corporations if we allow these accommodations to happen.

  • banancat

     I believe that such people might theoretically exist, but they are as rare as that hypothetical woman is 8 months into a healthy pregnancy and decides to get an abortion for shits and giggles.

  • Daughter

    I watched a handful of episodes of “Undercover Boss,” which I know is a controversial show. In one episode, the CEO of Waste Masters rode along side a female garbage hauler. He is shocked as he watches her stop the truck, take out a coffee can , and pee in it beside the side of the road.  He asks her why she would do such a thing.

    She tells him that company policy dictates that they have to complete their garbage runs in a certain amount of time, and are docked and potentially fired if they exceed it. The time frame doesn’t allow them to stop to find a bathroom anywhere.

    The boss at the end changes that policy. The thing that struck me, however, was that he had never even considered the human factor in his policies. He only considered the bottom line. And now, suddenly faced with the real people and the impact of his decisions, he realized what an asshole he had been.

  • Daughter

    When I was pregnant, I had hyperemesis – which is extreme morning sickness for the whole pregnancy. I got pregnant the same year my husband had emergency open heart surgery, so I was taking care of a sick husband on top of being pregnant. That winter was horrible, and my husband couldn’t shovel snow, so if I wanted to make it to work, I had to get outside every morning and shovel. I would throw up in the snow, cover the vomit with some  more snow, and keep going.

    I worked my ass off during my pregnancy, but it wasn’t good enough for my supervisor, although he never said anything to me. Instead, he wrote me a negative evaluation and put me on probation during my maternity leave – when I wasn’t there to express my side of the story.

    In his negative review, he cited me for such things as not being warm and collegial with my colleagues. Well, no duh. It took all my energy to focus on my work, so I had very little left over for socialization. I greeted everyone in the morning, then sat at my desk and focused. I ate lunch at my desk rather than in the cafeteria, because all the different food smells in the cafeteria made me nauseous and if I wanted to get through the day without getting sick, I had to stay away. And I left immediately at 5 PM to go home to take care of my sick husband and then fall into bed to sleep for 10-11 hours each night.

    I filed a complaint about the negative review with our CEO, and he said he agreed that my supervisor shouldn’t have done it without my knowledge during my maternity leave, but not with the essential content of the review. He did allow me to write a rebuttal for my personnel file.

    I would later learn that I wasn’t the only woman at that company who had felt badly treated during pregnancy, even though the quality of our work wasn’t an issue. I  left that job not long after returning to work. When I left, my supervisor had just gotten engaged. My wish for him and his bride was that if they chose to have children, he would come to understand some of what pregnant women go through.

  • AnonaMiss

    Y’all are reading bad faith into GuestPoster.

    Regardless of what ought to be the case, requiring accommodations for pregnant women will in reality magnify the disincentive for hiring women, especially for manual labor jobs which would require the most accommodation.

    Unlike most other disabilities, whose distributions are mostly random and unforeseeable*,  the likelihood of pregnancy ‘striking’ an individual outside of the set of women between the ages of 16 and 45 is small. Since women are as far as I know not correspondingly less likely to be struck by any other disability, this makes women ‘high-risk’ employees for disability. A company trying to keep operations running smoothly will therefore tend to discriminate against hiring young women. This is not the only reason women are discriminated against in employment, but it is a reason.

    The question is, how can we equalize and/or
    remove this disincentive?

    * Except for age-related disabilities, but age discrimination in employment is also a Thing.

  • Daughter

     I share this story because I was working at a professional job, one with sick leave and good benefits, and the option to file a complaint if you didn’t like how you were treated. And still I was made to feel like trash because of my pregnancy.

    So imagine what pregnant women working in minimum wage jobs without those protections go through.

  • smrnda

    This is mostly for GuestPoster, who seems to be thinking that employers should always have a right to do what is optimally best for them, and that their complaints about ‘accommodations’ are somehow justified.

    Listen, if it was up to many employers, workers would be living on site, working 12  or 14 hours days, would have no breaks and anybody who ate too much from the company canteen would be fired and replaced with someone who was more ‘efficient.’ Accommodations inconvenience employers, but we should assume the worst of what they want in their quest for ‘efficiency’ and ‘convenience.’

  • GuestPoster

    Not quite – your logic might lead there, but mine certainly doesn’t.  With paid vacation or sick time, there’s no difference between employees.  A man gets a week, a woman gets a week.  A black gets a week, a white gets a week.  It’s all identical, and many, many places let you ‘buy back’ unused vacation or sick time, so it’s not even like the business loses money specifically on those who use the time.  There is no added cost based on type of employee.  Like paid pregnancy leave, they are in the best interests of the employer to provide (whether he or she believes it or not).  However, UNLIKE paid pregnancy leave, they apply equally – there’s no incentive to hire particular kinds of workers, and no harm from hiring particular other kinds of workers.

    Now consider pregnancy.  It only ever comes up for female employees.  Paternity leave happens, sure – but it’s taken infrequently.  And if you hire only sterile employees, you never have to pay the costs associated with having an employee out of maternity or paternity leave.  Or simply hire employees who’re older, or don’t want any more children, or whatever other factor you care to consider that leads to reduced costs on pregnancy leave time.

    It’s an unequal cost.  It’s unlike any other form of anti-discrimination I can think of just now, because a pregnant person CAN’T do the same work as somebody else – not safely anyways.  It’s not like you’re discriminating against somebody who’s equally capable, merely because of genetalia or skin color or psychology or whatever.

    It actually harms the company to hire women who spend a lot of time pregnant.  This is a harm not inflicted by any other type of employee, and it happens only because legislation says, and continues to say in bigger and harsher words, that a woman can get pregnant as often as she wants, and the employer just has to suck it up and deal with the costs.  But unlike anything else, those who choose NOT to get pregnant don’t get reimbursed.  It’s unequal.  And harmful to everyone who is not the pregnant woman.

    And, in this age of legal abortion, readily available birth control, and other mechanisms to control ones biology, should employers really have to absorb the costs associated with their employees personal choices?  We don’t like it when, say, a business tells employees how to vote, or what pharmaceuticals they may or may not have.  Why should employees get to force employers to hire extra people just because the employees want to spend more time making babies?

    You are continuing to ignore the complexities of the issue.  Knee-jerk reactions are knee-jerk reactions, no matter what quarter they come from. 

  • AnonaMiss

     Wow. I thought you were just poorly explaining reality as it is rather than as it should be, but you honestly think this is how it should be.

    I take it back. You really are arguing in bad faith. And as a woman who experiences this kind of discrimination bullshit because of my sex, when I have a downright phobia of childbirth, may I just say: fuck you too, numbnuts.

  • GuestPoster

    Ok, so consider a biology lab.  In many labs, you regularly handle terratogens (chemicals which have negative impacts upon foetuses).  There is no way to do the job without handling those chemicals – and as we all know, safety equipment only works MOST of the time.  Or consider the box stacking example, where the boxes simply weigh too much to be handled safely by someone 6 months pregnant.  Or consider other examples of jobs that simply are not safe to do for a pregnant person.

    These jobs exist.  The people who run these jobs are required, by law, to hire women who apply if they are the best candidate for the job.  Once pregnant, the women are no longer able to do the job, at all.  Yet the employer is not allowed to get rid of the employee who is not able to do their job, but is instead required to make ‘adjustments’ to make the job doable, quickly getting down to ‘just sit there and smile”.  How is this fair?

    There are issues of pettiness.  They should be addressed.  But so should issues of not pettiness.  It is exactly the same to consider all instances to be the one as to consider them all to be the other.  And it makes exactly as poor an argument to do either.


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