broadsideblog

Don't Want Your Baby? Utah's New Law Would Criminalize 'Miscarriage'

In Crime, politics, women on March 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm
A pregnant woman holds her ballot before votin...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Because a woman’s body is never hers.

A new Utah bill would make it a crime for a woman to try and terminate her pregnancy through deliberate self-harm.

From The New York Times:

But critics say legislation inspired by an unusual, perhaps even freakish criminal case, could open up a vast frontier around the question of intent and responsibility and give local prosecutors huge new powers to inquire about a woman’s intentions toward her unborn child.

For example, if a pregnant woman gets into a vehicle, goes on a wild ride way over the speed limit without wearing a seatbelt and crashes and the fetus is killed, is she a reckless driver? Or is she a reckless mother-to-be who criminally ignored the safety of her fetus?

Under the bill, a woman guilty of criminal homicide of her fetus could be punished by up to life in prison.

“So many things can happen, and it’s all in the eye of the beholder — that’s what’s very dangerous about this legislation,” said Marina Lowe, the legislative and policy counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, which has urged Mr. Herbert to veto the bill.

Some women’s advocacy groups say the bill simply codifies what many states are already doing, using existing laws about the unborn to prosecute apparently errant mothers.

Just last month in Iowa, for example, a pregnant woman who fell down the stairs at home confided to emergency workers that she was not sure she really wanted to have her child. Though the woman did not immediately miscarry from the fall, she was arrested anyway under a state law that makes it a criminal act to harm a fetus. She was released after two days in jail, and the charges were dropped.

At least 38 states have laws against fetal homicide, generally intended to create additional penalties when a pregnant woman is assaulted or killed. And two states, Delaware and New York, also have laws specifically making self-abortion a crime….

Lynn M. Paltrow, the executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a nonprofit group based in New York, said the focus on the child obscured the bleak story of the teenager, who also deserves, she said, empathy from the world, and the law.

“Almost nobody is speaking for her,” Ms. Paltrow said. “Why would a young woman get to a point of such desperation that she would invite violence against herself? Anybody that desperate is not going to be deterred by this statute.”

Here’s the tricky part.

That “u” in the word uterus? Even in the word fetus?

It’s not the same “u” as in “any of your f——g business.”

Leave our bodies alone.

  1. [...] pisses me off as a female from Utah,) the new legislature in Utah would criminalize miscarriage.  Caitlin Kelly and a piece from amplify.com pick it up nicely as to how this threatens a persons rights. While I [...]

  2. Good to see yoyu back kicking a little Butt (note the “u”). Hope your back is better, too.

  3. Thanks…It’s getting there, slowly…

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