Banning Pregnant Women From Bars Is Discrimination

Photographed by Grace Willis.
News flash to all New York City bouncers and bartenders: If a pregnant woman walks in, you can't stop her or refuse service. The city's Commission on Human Rights just announced a new set of guidelines that protects the rights of pregnant employees, as well as stipulating that women cannot be denied entry to bars or clubs just because they're pregnant. Not only that, the guidelines prohibit discrimination against pregnant women in public accommodation, meaning bars and clubs can't refuse to serve alcohol to pregnant women, nor can restaurants prohibit staff from serving sushi to pregnant women. "Judgments and stereotypes about how pregnant individuals should behave, their physical capabilities, and what is or is not healthy for a fetus are pervasive in our society and cannot be used as pretext for unlawful discriminatory decisions," the guidelines say. Currently, the U.S. Surgeon General advises against alcohol consumption during pregnancy, which is linked to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Bars and restaurants are still required to post warnings of the potential harm of drinking while pregnant, but the commission's officials say that such decisions are up to the woman and her doctor, not a server or a bouncer.

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