The Debate (?!) Around Giving Pregnant Women a Seat on Public Transit

Astounding though it is, some people still think it's fine to not offer their seat to a pregnant woman. We beg to differ...

Photo by Annie Mole via Flickr (CC)

Photo by Annie Mole via Flickr (CC)

Yes, it’s still being debated. And it’s rage-inducing in anyone who would prefer to believe that kindness and compassion exists within busy cities. So, should people feel obligated to surrender a seat on public transit for pregnant women?

Ken Gallinger (Toronto Star) says: Don’t be alarmed if people don’t offer a seat right away—they may have been chided in the past for trying. Read more: Is it Unethical to Not Give a Pregnant Woman a Seat on Public Transit? 

Many commenters on the above story say: It was your choice to get pregnant, so why should I give up my seat? Plus, you’re not disabled, you’re just pregnant.

We say: Show your fellow passengers some compassion and offer a seat to anyone who may appreciate it, including pregnant women who may be uncomfortable or unsteady. Sure, it is usually a choice to get pregnant, but it’s also a choice to go skiing—if someone injured themselves skiing, does that make them less worthy of compassion? Read more: I’m Pregnant, and Yes, I Would Love to Sit Down

THIS SOLVES EVERYTHING: In London, those who are expecting can apply for a “Baby on Board” badge to be used while riding the Tube. You wear it to clearly communicate that you’re pregnant and would like to sit. If you don’t want a seat, leave it safely stashed. Bring this to Canada, we say. The sooner, the better!

4 responses to “The Debate (?!) Around Giving Pregnant Women a Seat on Public Transit”

  1. Kelly says:

    Nice idea! It’s true, I didn’t always want to sit while pregnant – sometimes I was just going a few stops and it would have been more trouble to get back up! I don’t want to feel pressured to do something just because of my temporary physical state. I was also pressured to sit down when with my baby (strapped happily to me) and I didn’t always find that comfortable.

  2. Ash Ling says:

    I agree it can be offensive when people think you’re pregnant. In Ireland, on the trains and short hop buses, we have designated areas with preferment signs up for infirm, disabled or pregnant women given first refusal. It works well though you do get trampled if yours is the last stop during rush hour!

    I don’t think it should be expected to give up a seat but I have no problem with being asked to do so!

  3. Elizabeth Poulsen says:

    I think that our society has become self serving when this topic even needs debating. A woman should always be offered and if she does not require it for various reasons she can say so. It is still the right thing as that little one could be harmed if a sudden stop caused someone to fall into her. It is such a blessing to express kindness and love always. Try it and see. Remember it may come back to you when you need it most!

  4. Brigitte says:

    Agreed! Gracious behavior, good manners, empathy and kindness will never make you feel bad, will never do harm these attitudes can only make the world around you at that moment a gentler happier place! It can only make you feel good about yourself. And who knows, you might show kindness to someone who desperatly needed some cheering up!