President Obama might say publicly that climate change is the most pressing threat to America’s national security, but he’s giving a nod to new parents who can be forgiven for thinking a timely diaper change takes priority.
A lot of people are very excited that President Obama has at last managed to sign an actual federal law governing bathrooms, after he clarified in June that his directive that public schools ensure transgender restroom access at the risk of losing federal funding was meant only to “make sure that children are treated with kindness.”
So until every restroom is an all-gender restroom, take pleasure in knowing that men’s rooms will be required to have changing tables thanks to the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, or BABIES Act. (Yeah, we’re not sure what the second “B” stands for either.)
Obama just signed into law the Babies Act — now all bathrooms in federal buildings, including men's, will have baby changing stations
— Claire Cain Miller (@clairecm) October 7, 2016
— Steph Herold (@StephHerold) October 11, 2016
— NARAL (@NARAL) October 11, 2016
Yes, that’s NARAL squeeing over the law, and yes, we do know what the first “A” in NARAL stands for.
— S.W.Chamberlin (@SWChamberlin) October 11, 2016
This is feminism? Maybe; more so than we understood, apparently.
— Slate (@Slate) October 11, 2016
The signing of the BABIES Act inspired Slate’s Elissa Strauss to recount a millennial couple’s experience in a hotel in which the men’s rooms were not equipped with changing stations, leaving the husband to change the baby’s diaper on the floor.
Incidents like these, small as though they may seem, happen all the time and can have a big impact on why and how women tend to internalize the responsibilities of parenting more than men. What makes this particular scenario so infuriating, compared to changing parental leave policies or finding ways for men to be more involved in the feeding of infants, is that the solution is so simple: Install changing tables in men’s bathrooms. This would benefit heterosexual couples, as well as single and gay dads whose babies also excrete waste despite, yes, the absence of a female caretaker.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. David N. Cicilline, who noted that there were no baby-changing tables at all in the Rayburn House Office Building. So unless he was misinformed, the image of men handing off changing duties to women because their restrooms were equipped for the job isn’t quite accurate.
— PhenomenalWoman (@1nePhenomenalMe) October 11, 2016
@Slate thats awesome. People forget men are parents too.
— Deplorable Billy (@FeltzBilly) October 11, 2016
Maybe the president will realize the opportunity he missed and stage a signing ceremony for this very special piece of legislation soon.
.@POTUS signs (or Autopens) 14 bills incl so-called BABIES Act: requiring restrooms in federal buildings to have baby changing facilities.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 7, 2016