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Pregnant Women in NYC: Free Parking, Coming Soon?

Pregnant woman sign

One lawmaker in New York City thinks pregnant women with physical or mobility challenges should be able to park for free

Until you’ve walked a mile in a pregnant woman’s shoes, with swollen feet and ankles and tired everything else — or even just schlepped from the door of the grocery store to the farthest possible spot in the parking lot — then you might not understand that the notion of free parking anywhere for a woman with child is a beautiful gesture.

City Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) thinks New York City is a tough place to get around, and plans to introduce legislation this week that would grant special parking placards to women deemed by their doctors to have physical or mobility challenges. The bill would not allow pregnant women to park in handicapped spots or park in metered spots without payment.

The placards would allow for parking — free of charge — in no-parking or no-standing zones until 30 days after their due date, thereby giving some time for late births or those recovering from complicated childbirths.

“If I’m on a train and a pregnant woman walks in, I stand up and offer her my seat,” Greenfield told the New York Daily News. “I consider this legislation to be the same thing – standing up on the City Council for women who have difficult pregnancies.”

Two other states — Georgia and Oklahoma — have a similar law on the books. Still, critics argue that New York City’s parking laws are seriously complicated enough already, and that this law could also lead to further stigmatization against pregnant women. The head of the National Organization for Women in New York City says there is rampant workplace discrimination against pregnant women as it is, and free parking “could feed the perception that they’re weak.” Others are concerned that there would be abuse of the system with people trying to scam their way into getting the placards.

I can’t imagine the law, as lovely as it sounds, is actually going to pass, but if the “free” part of the parking was eliminated, that might make a difference in its viability. After all, there’s no special financial reason why a pregnant woman should get to park anywhere. However, if pregnant women had the option to purchase a pass that allowed them special parking accommodations, maybe the legislation would then be received more warmly than it was by commenters on the New York Daily News website, who were, for the most part, not in favor of the proposed bill:

Sad Truth wrote: I guess every fat woman is “pregnant” too if they want the space – who is going to enforce it?!

Anacondaman wrote: OK, fine, but… how about disabled & the elderly? OR will this include fat, beer-belly men & women who are political cronies, too? What’s the real deal here?

GothamTomato wrote: This is completely ridiculous – and it would be abused even worse than the other ‘special placard’ parking is. The city can’t even enforce the placards they have now. I see people in my neighborhood passing them off to each other all the tine. The same thing would happen with these – even worse. Those pregnancy placards would be passed around between friends and family. And beyond that, getting pregnant is a lifestyle choice. Why should someone who chooses to get pregnant get free parking? But if they do, why shouldn’t I get free parking for my lifestyle choice?

AJS42548 wrote: First of all that would discriminate against men. Secondly and more importantly if pregnant women can get free parking spaces because they can’t get around, what about a person with a broken leg or a sprained ankle? They certain can’t get around as well as a woman with a difficult pregnancy. OF course ALL pregnant women will now have a difficult pregnancy won’t they?

Tampaguy wrote: Ok they want to give them special spots. I am all for that. Meter those as well. Simply, common sense solution

Do you think pregnant women should be allowed to park for free?

Image: Creative Commons

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