Wednesday, May 17, 2006

well, at least I'm pre-pregnant.

And so are most of you.

Further ETA: Further commentary and clarification over at Bitch PhD. Seems like one of her readers actually looked at the report not just hte WaPo article.

See the Washington Post article, and commentary by Bitch Ph.D. and GrrlScientist.
ETA: I forgot to mention Green Gabbro's commentary and case study.

S and I can think of some good things that might come out of defining all women between puberty and menopause as pre-pregnant
  1. Greater awareness of the negative health effects of smoking and drinking for all people.
  2. Recognition that maternity leave is necessary and providing tougher penalties for employers who discriminate against the pregnant, pre-pregnant, or mothers
  3. Possibly acknowledging that men are fertile all the time and that they may do things that damage their sperm
But I don't think any of those things are as likely as these:
  1. Getting one step closer to treating pregnancy as a given not as a choice.
  2. Providing a basis for discrimination against women in certain activities: "She can't do xxxx, she's pre-pregnant."
  3. Continuing to slide backwards toward women as unequal and merely vessels for the unborn
In the end, I'm not really sure what to make of this report. I think if it had come out in a different administration, it might be raising praise rather than fear. But these are scary times.

What do my pre-pregnant readers think? How about the men?


turtlebella said...

Like you, I am worried about how this essentially good thing will be used against women. OF COURSE it would be good if some of this would help women who don't have access to good health care and good information. But I have a hard time believing in any of these kind of trickle down mechanisms.

Anonymous said...

This is the same crap that I get for being 34 and having no children. Complete strangers remind me "times' a' ticken' girl" whatever!!! I'm NOT pre-pregnant if I don't want a child. Of course if South Dakota has its way, no one will have a choice anyway, you'll be pre-pregnant at puberty, not allowed to know about sex (abstinance) but end up pregnant anyway.... I'm done with this adminsistration, Next!

Propter Doc said...

So I have to give up working in my lab because of potential risks to fetus/prepregnant me from radiation, chemical nasties, high stress. I can't have any alcohol because that would be bad, have to avoid my friends who smoke, care more about my diet....etc etc etc.
Women are not walking incubators and should not be regarded as such.

JTN said...

I'm also pre-retirement... can I get paid to play golf instead of teaching some days?

Right now, I don't want kids and have no plans for them. It's tough enough to be taken seriously as a woman in academia without throwing more labels on me.

What about women of child bearing age who are infertile? Can we also develop a eunuch caste too?

ScienceWoman said...

Anonymous - me too. may it be more enlightened.

Propter doc- "Women are not walking incubators and should not be regarded as such." I think that's the whole reason this has caused such a reaction.

Jointhenoise - Pre-retirement! Your infertility comment is a good point. I think women who have had their tubes tied or have had hysterectomies are definitely saved from being pre-pregnant. But since it seems like pre-pregnant is defined as being capable of conception, not capable of carrying a pregnancy to term, a lot of infertile women would still be pre-pregnant. Imagine how that would make you feel. Perpetually being pre-pregnant with no hope of having a child. Yuck!

Saoirse said...

I'm new to your blog and late to this post, but I actually don't have any problems with the recommendations. I read the CDC report too. It emphasizes preconception health for men and women and does not use the term "pre-pregnant" (at least as far as I can remember).

I think educating people about pre-conception health could be useful. I tend to be in favor of more health education rather than less.

I really do not like the Washington Post article though. I think it is sensationalist and sexist.

Just my $0.02