Stork parking: do we need it, and is it fair?

September 13, 2013

Do pregnant women deserve special privileges? Some social cues – like giving up your seat to a pregnant woman – have long been expected in society. But specifically mandated rules, such as reserved parking for expectant women, have become debatable.

States have varying rules and regulations. Some states like Oklahoma and Georgia are willing to view pregnancy as a temporary disability. Pregnant mothers are allowed a disability pass that is valid thirty days past their projected due date. Others elect to give mothers-to-be these spaces.  What motivates certain business owners to give up some of the parking spaces to these women? Is everyone a fan of stork parking?

This reserved parking applies to both mothers and fathers with young children.

Evonne Lack, a blogger for baby center, detests stork parking! This child-free blogger, who says she enjoys “zipping into stork parking spots like a bat out of hell,” asks, “How is it fair that only one segment of the inconvenienced population is accommodated with premium parking?”  It’s a reasonable question.  True, pregnancy is uncomfortable.  BUT, so is having a cold. Or being depressed, or having poison ivy, or being post-third-shift, or having a sunburn, or being morbidly obese. So are migraines, menstrual cramps, and toothaches. So is infertility. And poverty. Why not ditch “Expectant Mother” parking in favor of “Having a Crappy Day” parking?

However, Lack does say, “I don’t feel this way about the “Mothers With Young Children” parking. In fact, I think we need more of it. Unlike the expectant mother spots, these parking spaces aren’t about over-glorifying parenthood. They’re about protecting kids.”

Hmmm, not so sure this guy qualifies!

In 2001, Pennsylvania proposed legislation that would mandate municipalities to provide pregnancy parking.

“This bill reached out to me,” said Rep. Jennifer Mann, one of 28 co-sponsors on House Bill 1638. The Allentown Democrat said she was sympathetic to women in the later stages of pregnancy who sometimes struggle with completing simple errands. “If we can in some way make it easier for them, to me, it makes sense to do that,” Mann said.

Baby on the way? Here’s your spot!

This reasoning is logical for store owners who frequently service women and expectant mothers. Babies R’ Us is famous for its stork parking spaces because pregnant women are bound to appear! Places like malls and grocery stores also have a growing number of stork parking spaces in order to make it easier for pregnant women to carry merchandise out to their vehicles.

It is interesting to note that police cannot enforce stork parking. That doesn’t stop store owners from worrying though; parking spots close to the store are prime real estate. Marsh manager Rick Kemp says he sometimes catches people stealing the spots designated for moms.

“Usually a customer will come in and say they’ve seen someone get out of the car that’s obviously not a young mother and will come in and say something to us,” said Kemp.

What do you think? Should special spots be available for pregnant women? Or do you stand behind Evonne Lack, who argues that parking should only be reserved for mothers with small children?


Category: No Parking, Regulations

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