Utah Bill Gives State the Right to Prosecute Women for Miscarriage and Illegal Abortions

I am too enraged right now to write any commentary on this. I tried several times, and it just isn’t coming right now. So for now, this article will have to speak for itself:

A bill passed by the Utah House and Senate this week and waiting for the governor’s signature, will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage, and make induced abortion a crime in some instances.

According Lynn M. Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, what makes Utah’s proposed law unique is that it is specifically designed to be punitive toward pregnant women, not those who might assist or cause an illegal abortion or unintended miscarriage.

The bill passed by legislators amends Utah’s criminal statute to allow the state to charge a woman with criminal homicide for inducing a miscarriage or obtaining an illegal abortion. The basis for the law was a recent case in which a 17-year-old girl, who was seven months pregnant, paid a man $150 to beat her in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. Although the girl gave birth to a baby later given up for adoption, she was initially charged with attempted murder. However the charges were dropped because, at the time, under Utah state law a woman could not be prosecuted for attempting to arrange an abortion, lawful or unlawful.

The bill passed by the Utah legislature would change that. While the bill does not affect legally obtained abortions, it criminalizes any actions taken by women to induce a miscarriage or abortion outside of a doctor’s care, with penalties including up to life in prison.

“What is really radical and different about this statute is that all of the other states’ feticide laws are directed to third party attackers,” Paltrow explained. “[Other states' feticide laws] were passed in response to a pregnant woman who has been beaten up by a husband or boyfriend. Utah’s law is directed to the woman herself and that’s what makes it different and dangerous.”

In addition to criminalizing an intentional attempt to induce a miscarriage or abortion, the bill also creates a standard that could make women legally responsible for miscarriages caused by “reckless” behavior.

Using the legal standard of “reckless behavior” all a district attorney needs to show is that a woman behaved in a manner that is thought to cause miscarriage, even if she didn’t intend to lose the pregnancy. Drink too much alcohol and have a miscarriage? Under the new law such actions could be cause for prosecution.

“This creates a law that makes any pregnant woman who has a miscarriage potentially criminally liable for murder,” says Missy Bird, executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Utah. Bird says there are no exemptions in the bill for victims of domestic violence or for those who are substance abusers. The standard is so broad, Bird says, “there nothing in the bill to exempt a woman for not wearing her seatbelt who got into a car accident.”

Such a standard could even make falling down stairs a prosecutable event, such as the recent case in Iowa where a pregnant woman who fell down the stairs at her home was arrested under the suspicion she was trying to terminate her pregnancy.

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Author: KATHY KATTENBURG

  • http://heterodoxus.blogspot.com/ dmf

    wait wait wait. generally when initial reports are over the top… someone misunderstood something or misspoke…

    miscarriage, a crime??

    that can't be right…

  • kathykattenburg

    It's not right, obviously. But it's true. Did you read the article?

  • roro80

    Wow. That's…unbelievable. In Nicaragua, where all forms of abortion are illegal under all circumstances, women who show up to hospitals hemorraging get turned away — even if they aren't pregnant — because the doctors are so afraid of going to jail, just in case the woman happens to be pregnant. Tens of thousands of women die each year due to pregnancy-related issues. The sort of law described in this post will cause a similar fear; women who desperately need treatment will be in a position to choose between their health (possible their life), and going to jail. That's not what we mean when we talk about the right to choose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Axel-Kaspar-Edgren/635450085 Axel Kaspar Edgren

    lol land of the free, home of the brave. How's that whole “A nation for all of those who want to escape religious conformity” working out for you?

    Basically, you're not finished dragging the south into the *20th* century.

    Also, anyone wondering why I will never ever respect vox populi and always think democracy should be limited as much as possible, this is the main reason. Without elitists who disrespect the plebeians and ram things down their throats, the plebeians will keep on hurting one another or resorting to fascism anyway. Without elitists who dare to look down at people less intelligent than they are, the people gets free reign, and they are no less prone to evil and abuse of power.

    It's a balancing act between authoritarianism and complete relativism. It's obvious that the US is ailing because the public is capable of doing things like this, but never to actually use their democratic power for anything meaningful or difficult.

    If I was a woman in Utah I'd purchase a sniper rifle and find a grassy knoll. Just saying – when someone tramples on your human rights out of religious fervor, you do what any self-respecting human being does and resorts to violence and terrorism in the name of self-preservation. *Certain* violent acts against the government of Utah is now no longer anymore irresponsible or immoral than protesting in the streets of Iran without the government's permission.

  • casualobserver

    You should read the article again instead of hyperventilating………as long as there is a law on the Utah books against obtaining illegal abortions……not legal ones, mind you……..you advocate those laws not being enforced?

    If that is not the case, why should the law exonerate the person who is seeking the illegal abortion? Did the illegal abortion performing doctor (or whatever) drag her into the facility against her will?

    And, if to avoid prosecution for seeking illegal “abortion”, the woman who makes a home-made attempt to effect an illegal abortion on her own should somehow be exonerated for the same non-lawful act?

    This seems simply to be effecting a more effective enforcement of the law already existing.

  • Father_Time

    Pregnancy is an awful inconvenience for normal and natural sexual behavior. What were the gods thinking?

  • garyknowz1

    In principle, I against abortion under most circumstances. But this is barbaric.

    If Huntsman were still governor, I couldn't see this bill becoming law. Any indication of Gov Herbert's intentions?

  • kathykattenburg

    dmf, I don't know what to say to you. Read it again? I don't know what else I can say, because I don't understand what it is you don't understand. I don't understand the source of your confusion.

  • kathykattenburg

    CO, I think it's you that needs to read the article again. The Utah law is not about “enforcing the laws against illegal abortion.” The law is codifying an assumption that any time a woman loses a pregnancy — any time she has a miscarriage for any reason — she is, under the law, suspected of having had an “illegal abortion.” A woman can be tried and convicted for having a miscarriage — any miscarriage, if the law decides she did it on purpose.

    If you don't understand why that is barbaric, as gary put it, there's something wrong with you. Seriously.

  • kathykattenburg

    I don't know for certain, but I have to assume he supports the law, otherwise it would sort of be a moot point that the law passed, because everyone would know he was not going to sign it.

  • vey9

    In NY state in the '60's, because there were so many illegal abortions, any miscarriage was assumed to be a crime until proven otherwise. So, if a miscarriage occurred at home, the aborted fetus needed to be brought to a doctor in a bucket or bag. he would then examine the remains and the mother and certify, or not certify death.

    Every state had different laws, back then.

  • kathykattenburg

    And, if to avoid prosecution for seeking illegal “abortion”, the woman who makes a home-made attempt to effect an illegal abortion on her own should somehow be exonerated for essentially the same non-lawful act?

    No, casual observer. In order to avoid prosecution for “illegal abortion,” the woman must take care never to be beaten up by her boyfriend or husband, never to scoop the kitty litter because of the remote possibility she might get toxoplasmosis and lose the baby, never to eat food in a restaurant that turns out to be tainted and get food poisoning, never to allow herself to catch an infectious disease from a stranger or a co-worker or a neighbor who is sick. If she engages in any behavior unadvised for a pregnant woman, like smoking or having a drink — even if only once or twice — and she has a miscarriage, she can be prosecuted and convicted and sentenced to prison for having an illegal abortion. If she drinks coffee or tea or Coke during her pregnancy and she has a miscarriage, she can be prosecuted and convicted and sentenced to prison for having a miscarriage.

    Lord above, is there any extreme of legally sanctioned degradation of a woman's rights that will not draw approval from some people? If it's now okay for every woman in Utah who has a miscarriage to be considered a murder suspect, then why don't we just hand out the burkas and abandon the pretense that there's any difference between the United Sates and Saudi Arabia or Iran?

  • pacatrue

    The thing about this law is it's not clear how useful it is to protect anyone. Yes, a woman apparently paid to have herself beaten, but how often does this happen? It sounds like it's the first time prosecutors have had to deal with it and found the existing statues wanting. Very few women are going to have themselves beaten so hard as to induce a miscarriage. Moreover, even if it works, the supposed criminal has already been beaten half to death. If she was willing to go through that, she'd probably not worry about a prosecution. And yet we are going to put a new law on the books to handle it (and write it in a way that brings up tons of possible mis-prosecutions that you weren't even targeting).

    Sometimes it's okay, Utah, to not have a law for everything ever.

  • Schadenfreude_lives

    Kathy – it may be easy to dismiss your concerns of hyper-prosecutions as well beyond the obvious intent of this law, except that the real world shows that over-zealous prosecutions are de rigeur today.

    The number of laws that are used so far beyond original meaning for the simple purpose of getting convictions, or social engineering (from all sides of the political spectrum) is such a serious problem in the US, and I agree with you that this law is a Trojan Horse.

  • http://ldeg.wordpress.com/ LdeG

    Read the bill. I didn't track down the act it amends, but it seems to me that the “criminalizes miscarriages” is overblown. The bill specifically exempts refusing to follow medical advice or accept treatment.

    http://le.utah.gov/~2010/bills/hbillenr/hb0012.htm
    (3) A person is not guilty of criminal homicide of an unborn child if the sole reason
    69 for the death of the unborn child is that the person:
    70 (a) refused to consent to:
    71 (i) medical treatment; or
    72 (ii) a cesarean section; or
    73 (b) failed to follow medical advice.
    74 (4) A woman is not guilty of criminal homicide of her own unborn child if the death of
    75 her unborn child:
    76 (a) is caused by a criminally negligent act of the woman; and
    77 (b) is not caused by an intentional, knowing, or reckless act of the woman.

  • Father_Time

    Of course it's overblown. What do you expect fro Kathy, objectivity? She'll step over dead babies to make the most of an overblown point.

    Paaahhhh, I don't know why I try so hard.

  • tidbits

    Having read the article, it would be nice to have a link to the actual statute. Having said that, applying recklessness to the definition of prohibited conduct seems way over the edge in the context of miscarriage.

    Criminal recklessness has its usefulness, e.g. recklessly discharging a firearm resulting in injury or death. But, reckless behavior that results in a miscarriage? What constitutes reckless in the context of this statute? Playing golf while pregnant? Painting the walls of the nursery for the new addition to be (both the physical and the paint fumes)? How about choosing to remain with a known abusive partner?

    While I'd still like to read the statute, it strikes me as an unnecessary law, carried much to far. Don't we already lead the civilized world in per capita incarceration? Maybe laws like this will help pad our world record. Beyond that it doesn't seem to serve a useful purpose.

  • roro80

    Hi LdeG, the pinch is in being able to prove the difference between 4(a) or 4(b) and an intentional, knowing, or reckless act of the woman. It looks likely that the woman who paid to be beaten so as to induce abortion did, indeed do so. This is obviously a very extreme case. With the knowledge, however, that the number one cause of death of pregnant women is murder by an intimate partner, take a look at the possibilites of abuse of this law. Also with the knowledge that many, many women lose zygotes/fetuses in the first 3 months of pregnancy, how is one to prove that she did not cause the miscarriage on purpose?

  • tidbits

    OK, I've read the statute, and the problem remains. There is no specific definition of recklessness, or exclusions from recklessness, for purposes of this statute. In other words, whether their is reckless conduct resulting in miscarriage is left to prosecutorial and jury discretion. So many things might be considered “reckless” in the context of pregnancy that it creates some serious issues and justifies the concerns raised by many above.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Wartenberg/1294710396 Paul Wartenberg

    The problem here is you can have an overzealous pro-life prosecutor take this law and go after what he/she thinks are 'bad apples' who have miscarriages 'that the prosecutor is convinced was done with some form of intent.' And perfectly willing to make examples of such women regardless of innocence or fact that actual honest-to-God miscarriages in this day can and do happen. Not to mention the fact that this seems to make abortion itself (which is more often an induced miscarriage, yes?) completely illegal to where this law conflicts with both Roe and Casey decisions.
    Part of me knows this law was designed to be contested in the courts as a means of ending Roe. The problem is, the law itself is so brazenly misogynistic – what woman will want to get pregnant now with this law hanging over her and with the risk of miscarriage so great? – that I can't see any court, even an ultra-conservative one, upholding this travesty.
    One more thought: I know the first ones who will suffer under this law are the pro-lifers themselves. What will their reaction be when one of *their* wives has a miscarriage…? Am I being mean or sadistic? No. It's not my law. And I wouldn't want to wish a miscarriage on ANYONE (just had a Facebook friend go through a harsh pregnancy: hopefully both mother and child are doing fine). But that's the point: miscarriages are a TRAGEDY, not a crime…

  • Leonidas

    I guess those Utah people are sickos who don't want women who are 7 month pregnant to hire people to beat their stomachs to induce miscarriages.

    While the bill does not affect legally obtained abortions,

    So legal abortions are ok?

    Paltrow explained. “[Other states' feticide laws] were passed in response to a pregnant woman who has been beaten up by a husband or boyfriend. Utah’s law is directed to the woman herself and that’s what makes it different and dangerous.”

    You mean like going after the person who hired the hitman to kill someone and not just the hitman?

    Yeah lets go after Guido and leave poor innocent Miss Capone alone.

    Drink too much alcohol and have a miscarriage? Under the new law such actions could be cause for prosecution.

    Miscarriages Against Intoxicated Mothers? aka MAIM

    Wonder what the Utah penalty for Drunk Drivers who endanger others is?

    Ok that being said, I do have one real problem with this law and don't think it should be passed:

    A person commits criminal homicide if [he] the person intentionally,knowingly, recklessly, with criminal negligence, or acting with a mental state otherwise specified in the statute defining the offense, causes the death of another human being, including an unborn child at any stage of its development.

    “any stage of its development” is a disturbing part of this bill. This could mean even day after pills. If they had confined the language to later term abortions I'd have no issue, but “any stage” is just too much.

    So despite some of the silly arguments in the article, I have to ultimately agree with Kathy that this is a bad bill.

  • kathykattenburg

    I have to ultimately agree with Kathy that this is a bad bill.

    Don't do me any favors, Leonidas. Your kind of “support” is worse less than nothing.

  • kathykattenburg

    I admire your ability to stay calm, roro. I am so angry at some of the response to this bill; I know I'm naive, but I really was taken by surprise at the lack of unequivocal condemnation at a bill that prosecutes women for miscarriage.

  • archangel

    comments have been removed from this article

  • DLS

    Obviously this is stupid, and eventually should be corrected.

    Enjoy a laugh at the proponents, ladies: This is the modern USA. Burquas => Prairie dresses

  • Leonidas

    Don't do me any favors, Leonidas. Your kind of “support” is worth less than nothing.

    Sorry you don't like someone reaching the same conclusion without the hyperbole Kathy, but I didn't do it as a favor, I simply posted my position.

  • http://sovereignmind.wordpress.com/ adelinesdad

    I mostly agree with your post Kathy.

    I'm not opposed to making it illegal to hire someone to beat you up, pregnant or not (I'm guessing it probably already is illegal, actually. If it's not explicitly illegal, it certainly qualifies as being an accessory to a crime), but the law goes too far to criminalize miscarriages caused by “recklessness” which I agree is way too vague. And although technically a women who seeks an illegal abortion is committing a crime and therefore is due some minor punishment depending on the situation, I belong to the camp that believes that the one in the much greater wrong is the person performing the illegal abortion, and we should focus our attention on enacting severe punishment for that. I'm not going to lose sleep at night if someone who got an illegal abortion gets off light (legally speaking), as long as the person who performed it is behind bars for a long time.

    Also, regarding this:

    “I don't know for certain, but I have to assume [Governor Herbert] supports the law, otherwise it would sort of be a moot point that the law passed, because everyone would know he was not going to sign it.”

    I don't know anything about the governor, but I don't think there's any reason to assume he'd support it just because the legislature passed it and people are talking about it. From what I've read he has not indicated his support or his opposition yet. I'm sure you'd argue that he should have opposed it vehemently from the beginning (assuming he knew how extreme the bill would turn out), and I think you'd be right, but that doesn't mean he won't decide to veto it now. Like I said, I don't know what he will do. I sincerely hope he vetoes it.

  • alphonsegaston

    If a wife hires someone to kill her husband, and after the murder they are arrested, both of them face murder charges. But if a woman hires someone to abort her baby, only the abortion provider is blamed? This does not make sense, anynore than the claim that abortion is murder when those arguing that position cannot agree on punishment for the crime. And if the woman's part in soliciting the murder is ignored, where are we.

  • oaechief

    A woman who hires someone to beat her so severely as to cause her to mis-carry is a red herring. Assuming that you can find at least one single event that confirms that it HAS happened, it doesn't mean that 99.999998 percent of the women who have a spontaneous abortion, otherwise known as a miscarriage hired someone to beat them up.

    Why don't we redirect our conversation to the women who miscarry b/c they cannot carry to term. Or someone who trips over a defective sidewalk.

    In other words the vast majority of pregnancies that are terminated are not done so wilfully, they leave the woman devastated and that, I think, is more than enough punishment.

  • shannonlee

    “In other words the vast majority of pregnancies that are terminated are not done so wilfully, they leave the woman devastated and that, I think, is more than enough punishment.”

    Completely agree. I think everyone knows someone that has a lost a pregnancy. It is very tough on the women and also the family. I know marriages that haven't survived miscarriages.

  • WagglebutII

    Schadenfreude's note about overzealous prosecutors and political prosecutions is on target for me. It is exactly the Trojan horse for the abortion issue. Does this sort of thing happen so frequently in Utah that it justifies legislative intervention? I'm suspicious. I wonder how many of the legislative gang belong to Mitt's goup?

  • WagglebutII

    “Basically, you're not finished dragging the south into the *20th* century.”

    Utah is not the south. Far from it. You maybe speaking metaphorically but it doesn't translate into much relevance, we stopped lynching on Sunday down heah in the 90's for chrissake.

  • http://sovereignmind.wordpress.com/ adelinesdad

    Firstly, abortion is not murder under the law.

    Secondly, my main problem with the bill is the “reckless” part. So regardless of whether or not women who seek illegal abortions deserve punishment or not, “reckless” is still the main problem with the bill. I don't want an investigator asking me what I had for dinner the night before if my wife has a miscarriage. Some would say that would never happen and that the law would be applied more judiciously. That's probably true, but I'm not willing to bet my freedom on it. If the only thing between me and jail time is a sympathetic prosecutor, I'm not comfortable with that.

    Thirdly, if “reckless” were taken out, I think I'd be OK with the content of the bill in principle. However, I question the motive behind it. Like I said, I'm pretty sure it is already illegal to pay someone to commit a crime in your behalf, or even to ask/encourage them to without any money changing hands. If a particular case warrants prosecution of the woman having the illegal abortion, existing law seems to be sufficient. Therefore, the only reason for the bill that I can see is to send a message to pregnant women that they better watch out. Considering that very few women would ever consider getting an illegal abortion, I don't think that's a message that needs sending, and it only contributes to the devisiveness of the debate.

    Fourthly, I think there are at least some case where the woman should not be prosecuted, or at least not with the full extent of the law, because it's easy to see how a woman could be taken advantage of in this situation. It is the person performing the illegal abortion that understands more fully the severity of the crime he or she is committing. The woman, faced with a very difficult circumstance, may not be in her right mind and may not have the knowledge to understand the legal implications. It's easy to see how someone could say “pay me $x and I'll make your problems go away”, and how that could be very convincing to some in that position. Therefore, the pregnant woman, in some cases, is a victim as well as an accessory to the crime. For that reason, I say we shouldn't paint with a broad brush. Each of these cases should be considered individually, and if prosecution is warranted, then see point #3.

  • CStanley

    I'm as prolife as they come but I feel this law is neither necessary nor judicious. I think that Kathy and some of the commenters are assuming too much bad faith on the part of prosecutors (I can't imagine that a prosecutor would see any point in going on witchhunts against woman who have typical miscarriages) but at the same time I think that laws shouldn't allow leeway for prosecution of that sort. Furthermore, unlike a few of the commenters, my view is that anti-abortion laws or feticide laws should almost always be directed toward the third party abortionist or other person who intentionally causes the death of a fetus, and not the mother.

    This position can correctly be called inconsistent (as some have mentioned, if one person contracts with another for murder than he/she is also criminally liable) but it's my view that this is the most correct way to address and take into account the unique situation of pregnancy. There is an emotional aspect and a burden on women which should be weighed against the right to life of the fetus, and the law should recognize this. Punishment isn't the point, and doesn't have to be a legally proscribed and it can generally be assumed that the loss of a child (potential child if you will) carries and emotional toll which is its own punishment.

    I've come to terms with the fact that there is no such thing as complete logical consistency in ANY position on abortion (on either the prochoice or prolife side- though certainly I consider some positions more consistent and logical than others.) That this is so is entirely logical because pregnancy and the fetal state are not analogous to any other condition of human life (a fetus can be argued to be either a person worthy of legal personhood or not, based on its physical characteristics which are certainly human and individual or based on its state of dependency and state of development which are distinct from that of born human beings.)

  • kathykattenburg

    I'm sure you'd argue that he should have opposed it vehemently from the beginning (assuming he knew how extreme the bill would turn out), and I think you'd be right, but that doesn't mean he won't decide to veto it now.

    I hope you're right, AD, but I'm expecting the worst.

  • kathykattenburg

    Yay, Chief!

  • kathykattenburg

    In a sense, you *are* being consistent though, Christine. Because you've said before that you don't think there should be criminal sanctions for women who have abortions, only for the provider, but that was theoretical up until now, because before now, there was no actual, real bill that does that (i.e., that treats women who have illegal abortions as criminals, and that defines every miscarriage as a potential illegal abortion). Now that there *is* such a bill, your position is the same, and you oppose it. That's being consistent, in my view.

  • CStanley

    True, Kathy, and thanks for pointing that out. :-)

    What I meant though is that I realize there's some internal logical inconsistency in my belief that abortion involves killing of a human (legal) person but that it shouldn't IMO involve the same sort of punishments for all of the people involved as we would apply to murder cases. Again, the reason I've come to accept that inconsistency is the realization that the situations are the same in some ways but different in others, and I think the law should reflect both aspects.

  • Schadenfreude_lives

    CS – I am more bothered by the language “”intentional, knowing, or reckless act” leading to a pregnancy's illegal termination.” That is a opening wide enough to steer the Queen Mary through.

    Besides the example cited, a woman returning to an abusive relationship, one can image prosecutions for drug use, drinking, smoking, etc., by those who want to proscribe fault to all actions that lead to harm.

  • afisher

    The detailed discussion about the definition of recklessness is needed. As the synopsis does say that legal abortions are okay, what is that in Utah? Is the morning after pill available in Utah? If yes, then if a women takes that pill, is that reckless behavior.

    It is amazing that some are willing to write knee-jerk reactionary laws, when the case appears to be a “stand alone” event.

    So watching what is going on in the Healthcare Debate: some want to make legal abortions an out-of pocket expense, buy those who need low cost health care insurance premiums more often than not do not have the cash to spend, so they are in a Catch-22 position….unwanted pregnancy – no money to obtain physician care – so they deliver an infant they can't afford and didn't want and if some have their way, no financial aid, which leaves them where? Drawing on public services that will be cut? Leaving their infants at the firestation, raising the number of unwanted adoptees.

    It seems that some are so intent on a singular objective that they are failing to look down the road for the unintended consequences of what may happen once the “succeed in their singular objective”.

    Admittedly, I am a Senior, with no dog in this fight, and I am for Choice, so I can never understand how a mostly male group has the right to try and legislate for a woman about how to manage her own body. Yeah, maybe some PL will be upset, but I can't see the reason why anyone, even another woman has the right to tell another woman what to do about abortions.

  • ryanliamg

    Obviously prosecutors aren't just looking for an excuse to throw just any woman-who-has-miscarried in jail. The motive should be to be able to prosecute the ones who illegally abort (intentionally miscarriage) their babies. I'm sure that most miscarriages will go without investigation unless there is a reported suspicion that the mother intended for the miscarriage, which may not be obvious in most cases. Investigating every miscarriage would be expensive. Living in Utah is very frustrating. It is my opinion that extremist mormons believe life is better with their heads up their asses, and that we should be forced to join them there. One of the key words to the bill is “reckless”. Reckless can mean anything here in “the place”. Can a woman as well be charged with reckless behavior that doesn't result in miscarriage? simply because it could have resulted in a miscarriage? My mom has pictures of her jumping on a trampoline far along into a pregnancy with me. obviously she didn't miscarry, but she has had miscarried in the past, and I wonder how far prosecutors would go to find evidence to suggest she acted “recklessly”.
    I want to move to Colorado. They have good snow too.

  • CStanley

    I agree Schade…that's why I'm not siding with this law. I personally couldn't conceive of a situation where prosecutors would abuse the opening that you point out, but you might be right, particularly in the case of drug use because that particular rationale would find some public support unlike, say, driving without a seatbelt (only because there's still a sizable portion of the public that disapproves of recreational drug use and might be willing to punish a woman for causing fetal death that way, unlike seatbelt disuse which many people would consider a careless but forgivable offense.)

  • Schadenfreude_lives

    re: the seat belt issue. Imagine where the argument has progressed in say 10 years or so. Look at anti-smoking legislation, even the wearing of seat belts themselves.

    20 years ago the thought of someone being charged with reckless homicide for not buckling up their children, or using a car seat, then getting into an accident would have been unthinkable. Not now, though. How would this be different?

    That is always the danger with these types of laws, not what are current attitudes, but how these laws themselves are used to force behavior changes through ostracization. And that means they will need to make some examples out of people.

  • http://sovereignmind.wordpress.com/ adelinesdad

    “I can't see the reason why anyone, even another woman has the right to tell another woman what to do about abortions.”

    This is a case of two sides talking past each other. If you accept that the other side believes that the unborn child has rights, then it becomes obvious why they feel that they have the right to tell another woman what to do about abortions. The issue is whether the unborn child has the right to live (an endless debate I don't care to get involved in at the moment), not whether or not one person has the right to tell another person what to do.

  • oaechief

    Mrs. Chief is the oldest of four daughters her mother had as the result of full-term pregnancies. A little known and seldom talked about fact is that there would have been a fifth child had not Mrs. Chief's biological father caused her mother to mis-carry her 2nd pregnancy by literally (as I am told) stomping on her stomach.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=525036604 Gina Carveth

    Fuck you ignorant, wretched, stupid Americans who make this shit possible. This shit WILL NOT stand.

  • archangel

    Hi there Gina, and welcome. I am sorry but your comment was removed because it violates the commenter's rules at TMV which are at the top of the home page. Please read them and if you wish, try again. I know the topic is highly maddening for some, and for different reasons, but at TMV we hold to newspaper standards, and certain words used in a comment will immediately cause the comment to be deleted. Thanks.

    dr.e
    tmv deputy managing editor

  • operakitty

    Um, Utah's not in the south, bb.

  • FreyaUna

    My goddess! It seems to me that if a woman goes to such an extreme as to be beaten to terminate her pregnancy there is a bigger problem here. A woman by nature gets to chose her mate because of the finite time frame of her fertility. A woman's ability to control conception is so important. Personally, educating woman about contraception instead of abstinence should be a priority and not blurred by religious idealism. There are very personal reasons why a pregnancy may need to be terminated and safe methods should be made available with proper medical follow up as needed without judgement or fear of prosecution. I am having such a hard time digesting this! To me I can't even believe this sort of legislation would even come about… As someone who has been through early term miscarriage and know I did nothing wrong; was painful enough. To be questioned about it as a potential crime? That is horrible!!!!

  • FreyaUna

    If a woman carries on a lifestyle that is not condusive to raising a child and she purposely terminates a pregnancy because she uses drugs or alcohol then isn't it better off that way? She's harming herself which is bad enough. It's not homicide. Nature prevented a bad situation. Reckless behavior… I don't get it. Woman endure a ton of bull crap. Help is needed not more judgement!

  • tidbits

    FreyaUna,

    I don't know why you direct this to me and I cannot find the article,
    though I do remember it.

    The reason I don't know why you direct the comment to me is because I
    completely agree with what you say. Recklessness should NOT be a basis for
    prosecuting someone for homicide over a miscarriage. That was my main
    problem with this law. It is a terrible law for exactly that reason.

    You are correct that many (both men and women) engage in lifestyles the are
    not conducive to having children and raising families. These laws, like in
    Utah, prevent people from living freely the lifestyle they choose and
    people should decide for themselves their own lifestyle.

    If it was not clear from my earlier comment, I am a lawyer and sometimes I
    look at legal issues from the perspective of whether they are
    constitutional. But, your point is a moral issue which I look at
    differently.

    Please continue to comment on TMV. You have a good point of view.

    —————————————-
    From: “Disqus” <>
    Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 7:09 PM
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: [themoderatevoice] Re: Utah Makes Miscarriage and Illegal Abortion
    a Crime

    FreyaUna wrote, in response to tidbits:

    If a woman carries on a lifestyle that is not condusive to raising a child
    and she purposely terminates a pregnancy because she uses drugs or alcohol
    then isn't it better off that way? She's harming herself which is bad
    enough. It's not homicide. Nature prevented a bad situation. Reckless
    behavior… I don't get it. Woman endure a ton of bull crap. Help is needed
    not more judgement!

    Link to comment: http://disq.us/d3tcw

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