Pregnancy, Politics and the Policing of Women's Bodies

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Originally posted at

By Morgan Meneses-Sheets 

Standing in line at a DC coffee shop, I wonder if I will get a dirty look. I'm pregnant and I remember a friend who told me that she was once scolded by a fellow customer for having caffeine while pregnant. Another friend, a doctor and an avid runner, was pulled aside while running and asked if her doctor knew she was doing that. Still, bothersome moments like these barely scratch the surface of a grave truth in this country - women's bodies are under constant control.

While pregnant, I have been amazed by the unsolicited advice that I get on a weekly basis about what to eat and not eat, how much sleep to get, whether or not to have sex, if I should carry my toddler who loves to say "up up, Mommy" and asks me to "twirl, twirl." But I am lucky. I have not been drug tested in order to utilize a safety net program, nor have I been randomly drug tested while still in recovery in the maternity ward. I have not been jailed because I was in pain and used medication, nor have I been locked in a psychiatric ward because I refused treatment for gestational diabetes. Continue reading.

Morgan Meneses-Sheets is the program manager for the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, where she manages the abortion program. She has spent the past 13 years advocating on behalf of reproductive health, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender equality, environmental protection, and health care access.

This article is part of Strong Families Mama's Day Our Way blog seriesStrong Families is a national initiative led by Forward Together. Our goal is to change the way people think, act and talk about families.

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