Pregnancy Discrimination Around the World: Mandatory Pregnancy Tests??

default author image11.26.2018

Just last month, a City College in the Phillippines issued a policy requiring all female dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy students to undergo pregnancy tests.  If the test comes back positive, the student may be prohibited from certain classes.  In the memo announcing the policy, the school requested that the deans from each school provide a list of female students, and noted the cost of the test would be added to those students’ fees.

The  Gabriela Women’s Party released a powerful statement condemning the policy as discriminatory.

The school, of course, defended its policy by saying it was designed to protect the students.  Nobody wants to endanger unborn children.  So what’s the harm?

Remember that Women are Human Beings

My own nifty #lifehack for evaluating whether a policy is discriminatory is to remember that women are human beings.  Pretend for just a moment that pregnant women aren’t just vessels or incubators.  Remember for a moment that over 90% of women are sexually active, and that only misogynists think women should be punished for sex.  Make a wild guesstimate as to how many surprise pregnancies during college are wanted.

A woman who has a wanted pregnancy has every right to protect her pregnancy and to make informed choices about the timing of her courseload.  If we remember that women are people, we can assume that a pregnant woman is logically concerned about the health of her unborn child and will take all appropriate measures to protect it.  We don’t need paternalistic laws mandating this behavior as though the pregnant woman were a petulant child in need of guidance and structure from the wise government bureaucrats.

But I think what we all know is that laws like this have absolutely nothing to do with protecting unborn children.  They have to do with punishing women for sex.  Your typical college student taking a pregnancy test in college is desperately hoping and praying the results are negative.  Abortion is not legal in the Phillippines, but we all know that does not stop desperate women who are not ready to have children from making every effort to avoid doing so.

Reproductive Penalties Are an Easy Way to Discriminate Against Women

Can you even imagine another scenario in which an institution required a list of its female students in order to make them pay more?  While this situation sounds straight out of the Handmaids Tale, it is rooted in the same sexist beliefs that motivate pregnancy discrimination in all its forms.  Pregnancy and childbirth are used all over the world, including the US, as pretexts to discriminate against women.  It’s important to fight these efforts wherever they arise.  Our firm is proud to represent women (and men!) facing pregnancy and caregiver discrimination by their employers.  I can say from experience that no industry is immune from these outdated attitudes.  Keep in touch with Crumiller P.C. and let’s keep working together to root out discrimination wherever it arises!