Alito has never been knocked up

I’ll be darned, the ACLU has a women’s rights project. I suppose it’s fully “inclusive.”

Its director is Ria Tabacco Mar, who writes in the Washington Post today about Alito’s cheery view of pregnancy:

Among the many shocking elements of the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, this one jumped out at me: the rosy picture of pregnancy painted by Justice Samuel Alito, who has never been pregnant.

Some wags on Twitter are asking how she can know that. Never mind; she corrects her error soon enough.

But anyone who has been pregnant — or cares to understand — knows that the reality in the United States is not rosy at all. At best, pregnant Americans must navigate a patchwork of leaky protections, a labyrinth of financial costs and penalties, and a health-care landscape that threatens the lives of the most vulnerable.

Ah yes, pregnant Americans. Pregnant citizens, pregnant individuals, pregnant persons – there’s a nice little bouquet of ways to avoid saying “women.” The ACLU probably has a handy list of them for staff. Mar does also use the w-word though – maybe she’s a rebel. Maybe she and Chase Strangio look daggers at each other in the corridors.

…there remains a persistent gap between the letter of the law and the lived experience of pregnant workers. That’s certainly been our experience at the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, where we routinely represent women fired or forced into unpaid leave for being pregnant. These women aren’t anomalies. In the nearly half-century since 1978, pregnant workers have been continually denied reasonable accommodations they need to keep working safely or are outright fired for being pregnant, leading to more than 50,000 charges of pregnancy discrimination in the last decade alone.

In this context it’s reasonable and indeed necessary to say “workers” along with “women” since the subject is employment law.

These trends persist even though women now make up a majority of the workforce, and 85 percent of female workers will become pregnant at some point, with most continuing to work through their pregnancies — and beyond.

If only all of the ACLU could write this clearly.

The United States has the dubious distinction of having the worst maternal mortality rate among wealthy countries. And appalling racial disparities in resources and health care make pregnancy more life-threatening for some than for others. In Mississippi — the state whose abortion ban is currently before the Supreme Court in a case that the Alito draft addresses — the maternal mortality rate for Black women is nearly three times higher than that for White women. And in Washington, where the Supreme Court sits, Black people make up just 45 percent of the population but 90 percent of pregnancy-related deaths.

This is very important information, that everyone should be aware of. That’s why it’s crucial to state it clearly – to say both “women” and “Black.”

But in the very next paragraph…

Despite the fact that he has two children of his own, Alito displays astonishing ignorance about what many pregnant people and their families face in the wealthiest nation in the world…

At least women are there in the final paragraph.

I, for one, would love to live in the country that the draft opinion describes, where pregnancy is physically and economically safe, valued and supported. Unfortunately, we live in this one — where even a wanted pregnancy and birth can be among the most economically disruptive experiences most people can expect to face. In this America, reproductive autonomy remains a pillar of women’s equality and livelihoods. Until Alito has lived in our house, he has no business knocking down its walls.

And of course he never will live in our house, because he’s a man.

8 Responses to “Alito has never been knocked up”

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting