A woman was kicked out of an Illinois bar last week, where she was celebrating with her girlfriends. Her crime: pregnancy.
According to CBS, Michelle Lee was drinking a glass of water at the Coach House in Roselle, Illinois, when a bouncer approached and asked if she was pregnant. When she said yes, he told her to leave, and said, "If anything happened to you here, we would be responsible." Lee complied — she says, "I thought maybe there was some sort of pregnant woman ordinance." There isn't — the bar staff apparently took it upon themselves to, in the words of NOW president Terry O'Neill, "make decisions for pregnant woman."
The debate on whether bars should refuse to serve alcohol to pregnant women has raged for some time, but this isn't even about that, as Lee was perfectly happy with her water (though she says she was also hoping for a slice of pizza later). Instead, it seems like the bar was concerned about some other liability issue — maybe Lee would get into a barfight and suddenly miscarry! But excluding pregnant women from public venues just because something bad might happen to them is discriminatory — and in fact, federal employment law prohibits keeping pregnant ladies out of dangerous jobs. It's almost like the law thinks pregnant women can look after themselves! (It's worth noting here that Illinois does not have a "personhood" amendment making a fetus a legal "person" with individual rights.)
There is another possibility here, which we'll call the Knocked Up hypothesis — maybe, like the bouncer in that movie, the folks at the Coach House just thought a pregnant woman in their establishment would make them look bad. Maybe whatever image they were trying to cultivate didn't jibe with pregnancy, or they were worried about getting complaints from patrons. That's still discriminatory, however — Lee wasn't disturbing anybody else, and she had as much right to be at the Coach House as anyone. She appears to agree — she's considering a lawsuit.