Pregnancy and Disability

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3 Responses

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    While I’m sympathetic to giving adoptive parents more time to bond with their children, one could also argue that your proposal equates — at least in an expressive sense — the disability of not being able to give birth with the physical impacts of giving birth. That isn’t very convincing.

    Maybe a better idea would be to remove the disability logic altogether from your argument, and emphasize the care & bonding aspect. This might not result in the uniformity you seek, but could be an improvement, while still preserving some distinctions that might be reasonable. E.g. maybe 10 weeks off for parents with newborns or adopted children younger than a certain age, while pregnant women might be eligible to take another, say, 3 weeks or so off before their expected due date. (BTW I’m entirely agnostic about: (i) whether it should be 10+3 or 11+2 or whatever; (ii) whether prospective fathers perhaps should be able to take leave before the birth too, such as when there are complications to the pregnancy; and (iii) whether 13 weeks is an adequate interval anyway.)

    Another possible tweak to your proposal: while 5 days sounds too short in any case, there probably should be progressively shorter times for leave based on the age of the adoptive child. Newborns, two-year-olds, and four-year-olds, e.g., don’t have the same needs. An argument based solely on the logic of disability wouldn’t recognize this (IMHO, reasonable) distinction.

  2. My wife and I were very fortunate when we adopted that both of our employers gave us several weeks of parental leave. It is especially important when adopting to have time to get to know and bond with your child.

    Neither of us was disabled or had diagnosed infertility, and if we had it wouldn’t have made this time any less important.

    Ms. Krill’s suit seems interesting and novel, but really these issues should be addressed through better policies, both public policy and HR policy.

  3. Jennifer Hendricks says:

    Thanks for the comments — I agree that better policy is the real need. The “disability” angle is interesting primarily in terms of thinking about what policies serve the goal of sex equality (which was the focus of the PDA and of Hibbs) rather than the (related and overlapping) question of what best serves families.