A new law in Virginia could allow a woman to legally drive with her baby seat in her car, according to a lawmaker who is sponsoring the measure.
Democratic state Rep. Karen Fong is the sponsor of House Bill 2105, which would allow pregnant women to have a seat in the back of their car, regardless of whether or not they have a child in tow.
Fong, a Richmond Democrat, said the bill would make it easier for women to stay at home with a child and help women stay on their feet and financially secure.
“I think women should be able to have some sort of mobility,” she said.
“I think they deserve it.”
Virginia is the first state to pass a law allowing a woman, when she is pregnant, to use a seat belt, according in the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.
But Fong, who was appointed by Republican Gov.
Terry McAuliffe to the House of Delegates in 2016, has been criticized for allowing a law to become law that could be used to discriminate against women and people of color.
Virginia is among the few states in the nation that does not require pregnant women or people with disabilities to wear a seatbelt, and Fong said she would not be supporting House Bill 1125, which requires women to wear the seatbelt while driving.
But the bill has garnered bipartisan support in the state.
“This is not about being a woman.
This is about the safety of women,” said state Rep, Dwayne Allen.
“This is about protecting the health and safety of the people we serve.”
Allen, a Republican who represents parts of the Richmond and Norfolk areas, said he was also trying to push for a bill that would provide for pregnant women and other disabled people to ride in vehicles with a seat.
“We’re looking at some really, really exciting opportunities for women and our children,” Allen said.
The bill would not apply to drivers of passenger vehicles, including commercial trucks and buses.
But it would apply to commercial vehicles, Allen said, because the seat belt does not cover the passenger compartment.
“When we’re in a car, we need to be able [to] see the passenger side,” he said.