...So there's a motion (AB 1940) that's moving through the California Legislature at the moment that would allow pregnant women in their third trimester (and for two months past delivery) to be allowed to use handicapped parking spaces for the small fee of $6 and a doctor's note.
Apparently pregnancy is about to be considered a "temporary disability". Excuse me? It's already short-term disability if you're employed and need to take maternity leave, but they're going to allow people to take up the handicapped parking now? There are already enough people who abuse the handicapped parking spaces - now we're going to have even more potentially abusing them?
You'd think that they would learn in the Legislature because this already failed once about 4 years ago. But the guy who is putting it through this time thinks that it's a "common sense" measure for women who are already taxed enough perhaps with other children and the burden of running errands for the household.
I, on the other hand, look at it the same way a lot of doctors do - aren't you *supposed* to get exercise while you're pregnant? Walking is one of the best things that you can do while you're pregnant to stretch your legs and keep the lower abdomen muscles smooth and moving. And it is supposed to make labor easier on you in the long run... er, short walk?
I understand that there are women out there for whom walking 20 feet to the bathroom is a tiring chore when they're pregnant because of the weight that they gain (and were small when the adventure started out). I get that, even though I wasn't one of those women. I understand that feet swell and bellies swell and shoes don't fit anymore (never mind the fact that some can't even see their feet for a few months). People come in all shapes and sizes and go through pregnancy in different ways. But I'm not sure that allowing this particular favoritism is the right thing to do.
Temporary disabled placards can be abused. They can be sold off, traded, given away. I watched a young woman drive up at the mall one day in a little zippy convertible, get out of the car to reach over the car and affix part of the soft top into place, and reach into the glovebox to get that snazzy red placard. Shooting them a nasty look and they just smiled smugly and shrugged slightly and walked on into the mall. I wish I'd uttered my statement about brain damage not being eligible as a *temporary* disability so that she could have heard. I wonder if that was her grandma's placard or something. Those things aren't supposed to be passed down by generations.
True true - there may have been something wrong with her that isn't visible, but somehow I doubt that a young 20-something girl who looks like she lives in the gym and the tanning booths and who was wearing 4 inch heels could have that much wrong with her that she needed a temporary card. Still... benefit of the doubt? I don't know. I think that's a stretch.
Now, there are stores that have 'stork parking' like Babies R Us and BabyLand. That makes sense as they cater to specific clientèle that surely will be pregnant. DH and I never parked in those spots when we shopped while I was pregnant with the girls. I carried small, although they laid into my back, and the walking was good for me. But let's get back to the issue at hand.
There's already not enough disabled parking, according to advocates for the truly disabled. Part of that is because of morons who decide to park in those spaces who aren't disabled. Part of that is because the count of parking spaces includes those at workplaces that don't get used as opposed to ones in shopping mall parking lots that do get abused. I think the problem is far bigger than people realize because of that fact. And the guy proposing this says that it's only going to increase the number of placards by 8% - a "modest" increase says he.
All this really is going to do is pit the pregnant against the disabled against the doctors against the DMV. And people are starting to get placards because they're obese too, which further complicates the mess, but that's not part of this bill. This bill is about common sense, about fairness to pregnant women, about making it easier for those already "taxed" with daily chores for the household. It's all about America, isn't it? And what's better than helping out those wonderful women who are bringing new lives into the world...
...and then they'll put those placards to good use when next they're driving a convertible to the mall without the kids.