1) You’ll be interested to know that if you get fired for breastfeeding, that is not an instance of sex discrimination, according to a ruling from the Eighth Circuit Court that the Supreme Court has decided to let stand, because, well, man can lactate. It’s been known to happen. They just mostly don’t. So, you know, no problem. Also, if your supervisor tells you that you should be at home with your baby, well, he could say that to a man, too, so that’s also not sex discrimination.
A lawyer has linked us to the following: “Just as one final follow-up, here’s a snopes article on the misleading headlines: http://www.snopes.com/info/news/menlactate.asp” Thanks! And sorry I didn’t catch that.
Let’s just get this out there: yes, it is possible for some cis men sometimes to lactate, if they make it a goal and work toward it. The same is true for trans women, and that’s fantastic, in my book, because I have known trans women to whom that would have meant a lot. And trans men certainly can lactate.
That said, I highly doubt the Eighth Circuit Court could give two shits about trans people. Call it my innate cynicism if you must, but I doubt they even thought about trans people. When it comes to cis people, the vast, overwhelming majority of people who lactate are women. End of story. The vast majority of people who are lactating regularly, intensely, and in a way to support a baby are going to be cis women, and then some trans men. Nobody tells men that they should be at home with their babies. Nobody uses men’s reproductive functions to torment them, by, say, refusing a lactating woman access to a room in which she can pump, causing her pain, anxiety, and possible injury (I’ve known women who’ve developed mastitis–it is incredibly painful). This is a throwback to the Rehnquist court, when it was ruled that pregnancy discrimination wasn’t sex discrimination because if a man got pregnant, he’d be subject to the same conditions. And if Rehnquist was contemplating the plight of trans men, I’m the lowest form of life, an anti-vaxxer.
I don’t know how this happened, legally speaking, and I don’t care. It’s a fucking travesty. It reminds me of the title of an opinion piece that ran in the NYT a week or so ago: “Should the Supreme Court Take into Account How Its Rulings Will Affect the Real World?” YES IT FUCKING WELL SHOULD. I don’t see the virtue in adhering to any old document, be it the Bible or the Constitution just for the sake of textual fidelity. This is the REAL WORLD, and we have to live in it, and it needs to be as reasonable as possible.
2) Purvi Patel, in Indiana, is facing up to 70 years in prison for the mutually exclusive “crimes” of having an illegal abortion (feticide) and felony neglect of a dependent minor. The latter charge, of course, requires a live minor, whereas feticide requires a dead fetus, so perhaps you, unlike the Indiana jury, can see the problem here (this is one of the problems with not requiring logical reasoning as a skill in high school). And that’s not even getting into the problems of any kind of abortion being illegal (aside from the kind forced on a pregnant woman against her will–but I know how much juries in this country hate to acknowledge that a woman’s desires matter). Patel’s crime was to order abortifacient drugs on-line and then have a miscarriage/stillbirth. For this she could spend the rest of her life in prison. Not in El Salvador. In Indiana.
What the linked article doesn’t address is how the police got called into the situation in the first place. Patel went to a hospital for heavy vaginal bleeding, and admitted to the doctors that she had been pregnant and had miscarried. So who called the cops? Isn’t there an issue of doctor-patient confidentiality here? Is the lesson that women who do this shouldn’t go to the ER for help, but should just let themselves bleed to death rather than risk public humiliation and decades in prison?
And what about Patel’s race? I wonder what the racial make-up of that jury was, whether it was easy for them to see Patel as some kind of monstrous, exotic child-murderess because she is neither white nor Christian? And where is the father of the fetus in all this? What kind of scumbag lets a woman face this on her own without taking responsibility for his share in her ordeals?