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Reaction to Utah Miscarriage Law

Turning Women Into Incubators? Reactions to Miscarriage Law

Intentional miscarriage now counts an criminal homicide in Utah. The new law, signed last week, was a response to a case in which a 17-year-old pregnant girl paid a man $150 to beat her in hopes that it would induce a miscarriage. Because no law made this a crime, the legislature decided to respond. The original version left room to punish pregnant women who may have recklessly fallen down the stairs or remained in an abusive relationship dangerous to the baby, but lawmakers reworked it to only count an "intentional or knowing" miscarriage as homicide. Despite this "concession," the new law has unprecedented consequences.

An article in the Guardian today asserts that Utah has reduced women to incubators. Utah does not give women much of a choice when it comes to pregnancy. With requirements like a 24-hour waiting period, mandatory counseling that discourages abortion, parental notification, and minimal funding toward abortions for low-income women, the state already significantly limits access to legal abortion. In addition, the state only has one licensed abortion clinic. This limited access creates a demand for intentional miscarriages, which now count as homicide. Basically the state wants it both ways: no illegal abortions and no legal abortions. But if all American women have a constitutional right to safe and legal abortion, does the state really have this prerogative?

So as Utah attempts to make it nearly impossible to get a legal abortion while criminalizing intentional miscarriages, I'm wondering if it would be best to focus resources on preventing unintended pregnancy in the first place. But I guess that's too obvious.

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Join The Conversation
GregS GregS 7 years
Anon 27 - Maybe you do have a weak conscience, but you are apparently strong enough to blast anyone for wanting to have an abortion. It's not their choice anymore?? So it's YOUR decision to force them to bear the unwanted worm?
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
All - Check out - We're young women, expressing our passion for reproductive justice! I'm excited to be a contributor - check it out and see if you change your mind (or have your Pro Choice outlook confirmed :-) )
GregS GregS 7 years
So I guess now that the Plan B pill is illegal in Utah since it causes the "fetus" to abort - although at this stage, it isn't even a Zygot. I'll be pro-life just as soon as all the births from unwanted pregnancies, rapes, incest, and others "accidents" are taken care of vis-a-vis adoption. Until then, us pastie white men should keep out of women's uteruses.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
Hmmm... I was so certain it was just the familiarity of a long tube-shaped object touching their palm... but you're right; I just googled it. Oh well. I wonder where I heard that... it must have been somewhere reliable, or I wouldn't have remembered it. Oh well. They hear their mother's voice in utero and respond to it after birth; I guess I'll have to go back to using that as evidence of memory. I'm pessimistic too, when it comes to ever successfully outlawing it. Now that hard statistics are coming out showing 'abstinence only' education is a miserable failure, I have more faith in at least reducing the number of abortions.
xxstardust xxstardust 7 years
Betty, although I'm not arguing your point or your position, I just wanted to point out that the strong grip of infants doesn't have a connection to gripping the umbilical cord in utero; it's generally accepted to be an evolutionary hold over from our primate lineage and the ability of infants to grip onto the fur of their mothers. You can actually pick an infant up on two fingers, the grip is so strong! But because infants don't cling to their parents, that strong grip is lost relatively quickly. I agree with you in a lot of ways, I really do. I'm pro-life in my own life, and could never imagine making the decision to abort a human life. However - I'm pro choice from a political stand point, because outlawing abortion in our country has already proven to be ineffective. Making it illegal doesn't stop it from happening; it just keeps it from happening early on, from happening safely and hygienically, etc. The things you've suggested - a more efficient, practical and positive adoption system, better education, more support for young parents - all of those things could de facto eliminate abortion, perhaps. But (although it may be pessimistic of me) I honestly can't see those things ever improving in those areas to the point where it could happen.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
Ha... when I get carried away, I really DO get carried away...
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
SKG, you know, I guess this is where my pro-life stance comes from: I have yet to hear a logical and scientific argument for why life begins at birth and not at conception. Listen: you can't get a degree without going to school, you can't have a pizza without mixing the dough, and you can't have a baby without pregnancy. The product does not exist without the process. If you drop out of college, you get no degree. If you toss out your dough, you get no pizza. If you terminate a pregnancy, you knowingly and willfully deprive a human being of the life she would have had, had you not intervened. Abortion causes a human being not to live. There's no two ways around it. Did you know that they dream? Babies, I mean, before they are born. Who knows what they dream about... but they do enter REM sleep. Also, you know how when you put your finger in a newborn's hand, she'll grab onto it? That's because she REMEMBERS grabbing her umbilical cord before she was born. A lot of mothers interpret it as a sign of affection, but it's not. It's just one of the only clear sensory memories she has. How can something dream, and remember, and not be alive? And yes, SKG, you're right, I absolutely AM NOT a doctrinaire conservative. I prefer to think of myself as a progressive; I've come to embrace to term 'progressive' because to me, it means someone who believes this country's only hope is radical change. I actually take more liberal liberal view on most things; I am an absolute MANIAC when it comes to defending most of the other rights. Someone has to stick up for women's reproductive rights, but someone else has to stick up for the baby's rights, too. They can't stick up for themselves, you know. In an IDEAL society, we could completely outlaw abortion without any adverse consequences; however we don't live in an IDEAL society. The pro-life movement's most valuable tools are EDUCATION and ADOPTION, both of which I advocate for. Whether we as a society will ever get to a point when outlawing abortion is feasible, remains to be seen. I truly doubt it will happen in my life time. The one thing that I think NEEDS to happen immediately is this: all abortion 'leftovers' should be directly donated to stem cell research; each 'care package' alongside a detailed but anonymous family medical history. Imagine the progress we would be making medicinally! It's bad enough abortion has to happen in the first place, why can't at least some good come of it? I think we can all agree on that one. I know I'm going to make enemies on this one, but... I also think men should have more rights when it comes to abortion. What you see as a choice, your man may see as a child. I don't know the logistics of what I'm asking for... a woman could easily just not tell her man and go have an abortion in secret, I just think it's an issue that needs to be publicly addressed. I do always try to be respectful with my viewpoints, on this and everything. I was 19 when I got knocked up; I know what it's like to get lost in a moment of passion and then miss my period two weeks later. I know what terror and panic are, and I truly feel for any woman who is faced with this decision, no matter what she chooses.
mkls6044 mkls6044 7 years
Actually, mix tape, the Constitution protects state's rights to make their own decisions up to a point- until they intrude on individuals' Constitutional rights (in certain instances, anyway). Privacy is one of these, and Roe v Wade put abortion under the umbrella of privacy and an individual's right to control their own reproduction. What I dont understand is how Utah can say this is homicide when legally, a fetus is not recognized as a person until after the first trimester. Even a "true" homicide (actually killing the pregnant mother) isnt considered a double homicide in many states for this reason. It will be interesting to see how that plays out...
amandachalynn amandachalynn 7 years
Birth control is not always effective. I got pregnant on birth control. My mother got pregnant on the pill, and again after a tubal ligation. Not all women who have abortions are using it for birth control. This law is ridiculous. Shayna is right when she says we need to make birth control more accessible. We also need to make sure sex education is in the classroom so we can try to end this cycle. Telling kids to just say not is not enough.
mix-tape mix-tape 7 years
What IS in the Constitution is the right for states to decide their own opinions on topics like abortion. Although I don't agree with Utah's stance on abortion, I do have to agree with how the government is functioning here.
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
To me this is a reason to make abortion, birth control and plan b, (etc.) all more widely and easily accessible... There is no reason why this had to happen - The only legislature that should have been signed should be eliminating waiting periods, parental notification, and the so called 'counseling' requirements... I used to have a bumper sticker that said "keep your laws off my body"... I still believe in it
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I'm confused - I thought conservatives were all about protecting freedom and limiting government interference?
boredgourdless boredgourdless 7 years
Well, not literally, Anon 11. The Roe vs. Wade decision was based upon the 9th Amendment, "the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Meaning that a woman's decision to abort is protected by her right to privacy.
bchicgrl bchicgrl 7 years
just another reason to not ever live in Utah, this law is majorly f'ed up. How about passing a law that will allow a women to get an abortion if she chooses and not try to shove pro life down her throat. We are in the 21st century for crying out loud.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
I can't believe a woman's own reproductive rights are even an issue in this day and age. When abortions are illegal or scarce and discouraged (such as in Utah), terrible things happen, as bellavita already pointed out. Several years ago in my town, there was a pro-life demonstration outside of one of the high schools and some of the demonstrators' signs had pictures of bloody baby dolls mangled in coat hangers and read underneath "Who's the real coat-hanger victim?" I wanted to fucking vomit. This is Utah we're talkin' about here, though. I don't mean to offend anyone who might be Mormon or from Utah, but that state's religious hold is very strong and some things are pretty ass-backwards.
jocupcake jocupcake 7 years
Good point Tres. If you're against abortion, fine. Then you should be be relying on birth control to not get you pregnant in the first place. I really hate how women are essentially slaves to their uteruses. We can't take bc 'cause that's wrong. We can't have legal abortions, we can't have illegal abortions, and now, we'll be prosecuted if we miscarry? Why doesn't anyone care about all the already living people's lives that are being ruined by these laws?
mandyLove mandyLove 7 years
im pro choice its your body to do what you want with it but abortion or causing one is NOT A TYPE OF BIRTH CONTROL!!! to many girls dont protect themselves and look to other methods to get ride of the mistake they made. educate ppl thats the only way. i dont agree with what they are trying to do band abortion etc.. and bellavita is right in some of her points. but if you dont want a child and still want to sleep around get fixed please because anyway you look at it your taking a life no matter how small it is its heart is beating it feels. speaking for myself miscarriage is a touchy subject for me i was 5mnths pregnant with my son and due to complication in the womb i miscarried i wont ever forget that. i have a beautiful daughter who is 7mnths now and i thank god everyday for her. women who dont want babies can have them and women who cant have babies want them its sad
bryseana bryseana 7 years
I don't understand or agree with intentional miscarriage, but charging someone with homicide when abortion is weird. There should definitely be some law against intentional miscarriage, but I think a homicide conviction is a bit extreme. It seems like it would be difficult to prove in the first place. Will every woman who miscarries be questioned at the hospital?
KadBunny KadBunny 7 years
Amen bellavita.
bellavita214 bellavita214 7 years
It doesn't matter what is legal if there is only one licensed abortion clinic. I hope this makes people see what happens when women do not have choices. Back-alley abortions, paying men to "beat them" -in whatever trimester they may be in (1st or 3rd since that option obviously cannot be regulated), and women who die slowly from a punctured uterus. All because other people tell them what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
Good point, anon #1, the man who beats the girl should face some criminal charges. I'm an avid pro-lifer, but somehow I don't think this will help the cause...
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