Pregnant women may get parking passes

Julissa Marquez, a new mom, said she would have loved to have special parking privileges when she was pregnant.

"I gained 35 pounds, and I have to say, it was toward the end, it was difficult," Marquez said.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Jovana Lara's report, including an interview with the assemblyman.

A new proposal, Assembly Bill 1940, may make it possible for the 500,000 California women who give birth every year.

"I think, wow, that's wonderful. Why not, we'll take advantage of it," said Rita Kanberian, who is pregnant.

Irvine Assemblyman Chuck DeVore said a constituent gave him the idea for the bill, giving new life to legislation first proposed four years ago by another assemblyman.

DeVore said that as a father, he can understand how difficult it can be for pregnant women to get around.

"Going to the pharmacy, going to the grocery store while your feet are swollen and you've got other muscle pains and discomforts. This is certainly something that I think society ought to consider giving women who are in the last trimester of pregnancy and in the first two months of pregnancy postpartum," DeVore said.

But the bill is not without controversy. Critics argue that those those with disabilities would lose out.

The National Organization for Women issued a statement that said, "It's very much a normal part of a woman's life -- we have children, so we've always been troubled by framing pregnancy as a disability."

Elissa Marshall, a mother, agreed. "I would hate to take a handicapped spot away from someone who needs it. And unless you're on bedrest or something, you should be walking around anyway, but you know, you should park and walk like everyone else," Marshall said.

Devore said he's working on an amendment to the bill that would make the proposed parking placards valid only in free handicapped parking spaces and when parking alongside green curbs. The placards would not apply in areas with parking meters.

The bill will go before the transportation committee on Monday.


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