To claim a disability is not something one ought to do lightly. Pregnancy, however, presents a very difficult and interesting case. Pain, discomfort, and inconvenience are often daily aspects of pregnancy, and pregnancy itself can cause physical, as well as social, impediments that substantially interfere with one's day-to-day work and life. The kind of “pregnancy-related disability” that is built into current laws falls short of addressing the real question of whether pregnancy itself, rather than certain conditions brought on by pregnancy, ought to be understood as a temporary disability. I suggest here that pregnancy may, at present, warrant such designation.
Should Pregnancy Be Considered a (Temporary) Disability?
Devora Shapiro is an associate professor of philosophy at Southern Oregon University, where she also serves as affiliated faculty for the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program. She holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota, as well as an MA in Clinical Medical Ethics from the University of Tennessee, and a BA from Johns Hopkins University.