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Utah Women Could Be Prosecuted for Miscarrying

Utah Women Could Be Prosecuted for Miscarrying

A disturbing bill is making its way through the Utah legislation. HB 12 has passed both the State Senate and the House and is now awaiting a signature from Governor Gary Herbert. The bill is a response to a case where a young, pregnant Utah woman allegedly paid a man to beat her so she would miscarry.

 

HB 12 was supposedly designed to criminalize illegal abortions, treating them as homicide. However, some language in the bill has dangerous implications for pregnant women. The bill states, “A person commits criminal homicide if 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.”

 

What is reckless is using that very term in the bill. The law is open to interpretation of just what is “reckless” behavior by a pregnant woman. Is it having a glass of wine, eating fish or soft cheeses, staying in an abusive relationship, or wearing high heels? After all, falling down the stairs while pregnant is a criminal offense, too.

 

Critics of the bill also dislike the fact the bill is designed to prosecute pregnant women, not someone who might cause that woman harm. And, it may cause women to avoid necessary medical treatment. Substance abusers could shy away from getting help for fear of being prosecuted. And women who suffer miscarriages, even in the first trimester of pregnancy, could be viewed as suspects in a homicide.

 

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, sponsored another bill recently, HB200, which would allow clinics to provide ultrasound images of a fetus to a woman before she undergoes an abortion. However, a woman seeking an abortion already has the option to view an ultrasound if she wishes. 

 

Wimmer told the Deseret News, “the intent of the bill is simply to give women more information about the procedure free of charge if they want it.”

 

Wimmer is proud of the work he has done to “chip away” at Roe v. Wade. His stance is “basic human rights for the unborn.”  Apparently, he has no interest in the rights of women already born.

 

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photo credit: thanks to jordanfischer via flickr

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189 comments

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2:44AM PDT on Mar 17, 2010

"As a country that has free speech and all kinds of opinions we must respect all of them...."

That's not quite how it works, Eileen. Yes, we should respect everyone's right to an opinion, but I don't have to respect a bigoted, or fanatic religious opinion as i would a soundly reason or humanistic one. The pepople who created this law and voted for it are unfeeling idiots or fanatics who don't even know their own religion. They do indeed have the right to their opinions, however stupid or destructive they are as laws, but what they don't have is the right to force them on everyone else to the detriment of people and conditions they know nothing about and haven't bothered to learn. This law should be struck down as unconstitutional. It defines a fetus as being a person with more rights than the woman whose body it's a part of, in certainly interferes with her natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it violates the separation of church ans state (because there simply IS no other rationale for it, good or bad) and it has no scientific basis whatsoever - or biblical basis either for that matter.

Ian

8:24PM PDT on Mar 16, 2010

thanks for this article

8:23PM PDT on Mar 16, 2010

this is insanity

10:36AM PST on Mar 8, 2010

This is a broad attempt at having a law put into place that clearly tries to overturn Roe vs Wade. The ambiguous language can easily be interpreted that ANY abortion can be cause for prosecution. Utah needs to wake up and kill this bill immediately.

6:06AM PST on Mar 2, 2010

This is just discrimination against women. Period. Discrimination. Discrimination. Discrimination.

5:24PM PST on Mar 1, 2010

As told by the legendary Eve Ensler in the Vagina Monologues, men are afraid of the power women have. They are in denial that women are biologically proven to be the hardier sex. It's in our chromosomes. So therefore, that's why we didn't get the right to vote until 1920! This is also why men try to control what women do with their bodies and life decisions. Lest they become lower on totem pole so to speak.

2:59PM PST on Mar 1, 2010

How disturbing! :-(

7:33AM PST on Mar 1, 2010

Absolutely ridiculous....I don't even know what to say.

12:15AM PST on Feb 28, 2010

How long til some other country has to make petitions to free our women from tyranny?

12:00PM PST on Feb 27, 2010

...and the US and is over in Iraq fighting to bring North American "values" to the Iraqi people, part of which means liberating the Iraqi women. Why not clean up your own backyard first? The same goes for the Canadians over in Afganistan, but at least we recognize the right for women to chose what happens to her own body.

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