Monday, 1 March 2010

Horror anti-women law in Utah

Saw this in the Herald this morning and it terrifies me:
A proposed Utah law that would open women who suffer a miscarriage to possible criminal prosecution and life imprisonment has enraged feminists and civil rights activists across the United States.

Adopted overwhelmingly by both sides of the state legislature in Salt Lake City earlier this month, the draft bill is now awaiting the signature of the state's Republican Governor, Gary Herbert.

...While the main thrust of the law is to enable prosecutors in the majority-Mormon state to pursue women who seek illegal, unsupervised forms of abortion, it includes a provision that could trigger murder charges against women found guilty of an "intentional, knowing or reckless act" that leads to a miscarriage.

Some say this could include drinking one glass of wine too many, walking on an icy pavement or skiing.

...Last-minute efforts to remove reference in the bill to "reckless" acts failed, feeding the uproar about a law that some people say would be impossible to implement and threatens basic freedoms of women.

Statistics suggest that 15 to 20 per cent of recognised pregnancies end in miscarriage.

"This creates a law that makes any pregnant woman who has a miscarriage potentially criminally liable for murder," said Missy Bird, director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Utah, part of the national organisation that champions abortion rights.

Critics wonder, for example, about the putative case of a woman remaining with an abusive partner and suffering a miscarriage after an episode of violence. Would remaining in that relationship constitute "reckless" behaviour, they ask?

..."For all these years the anti-choice movement has said 'we want to outlaw abortion, not put women in jail', but what this law says is 'no, we really want to put women in jail'," Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, wrote in a blog.
Click through for the whole article.

If anyone has any links from US feminist blogs that they recommend, please add them in comments, sorry I haven't had time to look.


stef said...

Try here:

Deborah said...

Also Shakesville: Anti-choice gone wild, and a small piece on Feminist Philosophers: Criminalising miscarriages.

Lindsay said...

I am on shaky ground here but I believe that there is evidence that damaged sperm due to the male being a heavy tobacco/alcohol/drug user can lead to miscarriage. So whose 'reckless' act does this legislation extend to?

A Nonny Moose said...


Deborah said...

Pregnant Iowa woman arrested for falling down

Christine Taylor sure doesn't know. This ordeal has turned her life upside and made finding a job that much harder. I guess we've all learned a valuable lesson: when pregnant, you should always act ridiculously happy about it, regardless of circumstances. And, for heaven's sake, don't dare fall down.

Azlemed said...

This is nuts, should I have been locked up for having an ectopic pregnancy, cos obviously I falled as the foetus wasnt implanted in the right place... am glad i dont live in Utah but feel hugely for those women who will be unfairly treated because of this piece of crap legislation