Utah criminalizes miscarriage

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Interruptor Jones
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Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Interruptor Jones » 27 Feb 2010, 00:19

No, this is not an exaggeration. In response to a desperate woman who paid to be beaten and miscarry (which didn't work), Utah is waiting for its governor to sign approval of a bill, already passed through the house of representatives, that would allow criminal prosecution of a woman who has a 'suspicious' miscarriage.

In which even the Salt Lake Tribune is hesitant: http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_14429070

SomethingAwful chimes in with a sincere 'what the shit': http://forums.somethingawful.com/showth ... genumber=1

And then there were macros, which made me feel a bit less rage: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showth ... genumber=1

Now, it seems to me that any woman who would pay to be beaten is at the limit of her options - I cannot think of anyone who would choose that route if a safe and affordable abortion were available to them. And the response to her actions is to punish women who miscarry in any unacceptable fashion. Who determines this? How much evidence is necessary to lay charges against a woman? And can anyone tell me how this law does even one iota of good for anybody?
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Heathen » 27 Feb 2010, 01:18

SCOTUS has left quite a lot of room for States to introduce bans of varying severity on post-viability abortion, so I would ask whether this was a case where the foetus was entirely viable and in no way threatening to the woman's life and where she therefore couldn't seek an abortion (Roe didn't establish absolute abortion on demand, contrary to popular belief), something which isn't clarified in the article you linked.

If that is the case, this really isn't that new a concept, as many states choose to provide pseudo-personality to the foetus, not to mention that you can't legally consent to be the victim of a crime, barring narrow exceptions. The questionable step isn't in criminalising the activity, it's in assigning the liability to the expectant mother, and even then if the above proves to be true it's not entirely novel.
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Interruptor Jones
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Interruptor Jones » 27 Feb 2010, 01:35

There is no mention of viability in the legislation - http://le.utah.gov/~2010/bills/hbillint/hb0012.htm

48 (1) (a) A person commits criminal homicide if [he] the person intentionally,
49 knowingly, recklessly, with criminal negligence, or acting with a mental state otherwise
50 specified in the statute defining the offense, causes the death of another human being, including
51 an unborn child at any stage of its development.
52 (b) There shall be no cause of action for criminal homicide for the death of an unborn
53 child caused by an abortion, as defined in Section 76-7-301 .
54 (2) Criminal homicide is aggravated murder, murder, manslaughter, child abuse
55 homicide, homicide by assault, negligent homicide, or automobile homicide.

Assigning liability to an expectant mother, when 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage anyways, is an extremely slippery slope. How much time after a 'traumatic event' would a miscarriage be considered criminal for? As in, say, a woman is in a car crash, but miscarries one week later - was the crash responsible? Was she driving, and therefore liable? How do you perform the autopsy?

As an added bonus, assigning personhood to a fetus establishes a legal precedent towards abortion in any sense being reconsidered as murder. Consider it a shoehorn under Roe v. Wade; if an illegal abortion - sorry, 'assisted miscarriage' - is criminal, then why is doctor-assisted abortion any better? Law is all about precedent. Can you guarantee that this law will be applied even-handedly, free of bias, or even enforced at all?
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Nevrmore » 27 Feb 2010, 01:40

No one wants to be born in Utah and yet Utah is making any avenue of escape more and more impossible. They are fascists, I tell you.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Heathen » 27 Feb 2010, 01:58

You somewhat misconstrued my point with regard to the relevance of the viability of the foetus. I wasn't referring to the proposed statute, I was referring to the availability, or lack thereof, of a legal abortion procedure for the woman in question, and the fact that such limitations (again, on a legal abortion alternative, not in this statute) based upon viability would be perfectly within Utah's margin of appreciation. So, either she had a reason for not even seeking a legitimate procedure or was ineligible under State abortion law.

Now, that aside, the rest of your concerns appear to be procedural in nature. Though I admit to not being familiar with the proclivities of Utah State Courts as regards submissions of "no case to answer" and their willingness at first instance to dismiss cases lacking prima facie evidence for initial indictment, I doubt that many cases would ever see full trial. And with regard to precedent, it isn't quite as set in stone as you seem to believe, in everyday practice there are multiple avenues via which a Judge may avoid following an odious superior decision, not the least of which is simply to distinguish.

Setting the Bill itself aside for a moment, I do disagree with this in principle. I feel that where a government wishes to extinguish a given behaviour, they need to attack the enablers. If you wish to quash drug abuse in your jurisdiction, pursue the dealers and the distribution chain. If you wish to prevent under-age drinking, pursue the bars and licensed retailers wilfully violating the law. If you wish to prevent back ally abortions, pursue the horrible creatures who prey upon the desperation that creates their market.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Jillers » 27 Feb 2010, 02:42

This makes me want to go to Utah, get pregenent, carry it into my thrid trimester, and fall down a flight of stairs, just to get arrested and convicted of feticide.

I have no idea why.

I guess it's like arresting the person who hired the hitman?
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Interruptor Jones
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Interruptor Jones » 27 Feb 2010, 02:45

Fair enough; I just wanted to be clear on the bill's contents. I haven't found any details on where the girl in question lived, so I don't know how possible a legal abortion was - but I like I said above I don't think getting beat to a pulp is a first or even second resort in anyone's book. I'm concerned about the legal details, true, but moreover I'm disturbed by such a poorly-framed law being levied on women who have, one way or another, miscarried. It's the application of the law, you see - it just screams 'HIGHLY SUBJECTIVE LEGAL STANDARDS' that moreover are hugely insensitive to anyone who has just miscarried.

I do agree that those who prey on desperate people need to be prevented from doing so, but more than that I'd like to see a focus on reducing the desperate circumstances themselves.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Heathen » 27 Feb 2010, 03:40

Sadly, in a state in which the separation between church and state, or more problematically, belief and policy, is badly eroded I don't see that being likely.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Anatidaephobia » 27 Feb 2010, 07:17

Interruptor Jones wrote:focus on reducing the desperate circumstances themselves.

I didn't see anywhere that said she was forced to have sex and carry the baby.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Nevrmore » 27 Feb 2010, 12:22

Hey.

She paid a guy to beat the shit out of her in the hope that it would ruin the pregnancy.

If you don't think that counts as a "desperate circumstance" then I sincerely hope you never open up any kind of medical clinic.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Bananafish » 27 Feb 2010, 13:08

Utah has socially stigmatized the idea of abortion so thoroughly and made it incredibly difficult to have one that women are more likely to try far more dangerous methods if only to avoid public humiliation.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Anatidaephobia » 27 Feb 2010, 16:40

Using abortion as birth control is disgusting. The least she could have done was put the kid up for adoption. I see no reason to murder a child because SHE DECIDED to have sex. She could very easily not have had sex, and would have no consequences. The very basic fact of life is SEX MAKES MORE PEOPLE. I don't know why women act surprised when they get pregnant.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Theremin » 27 Feb 2010, 16:52

Abortion as a means of birth control isn't disgusting, any more than using the pill is disgusting.

And sex can be, and is used for pleasure. It's highly probable this woman did not set out to get pregnant becasue of sex.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Rikadyn » 27 Feb 2010, 17:00

Seeing as there are plenty of other versions of birth control, Abortion should really be the last string of defense from having a kid...

Though, this being Utah, it probally teaches "Abstinence Only" so...yea...

Surprised that people don't know about herbal abortives more really...
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Anatidaephobia » 27 Feb 2010, 17:30

Theremin wrote:Abortion as a means of birth control isn't disgusting, any more than using the pill is disgusting.

Really? The pill prevents ovulation completely. Abortion is murder.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Theremin » 27 Feb 2010, 17:34

That's only in your opinion.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Matt » 27 Feb 2010, 17:37

Uhh, no it's not, but thanks for coming out.

You could make the argument that late-term abortions of a viable foetus is morally dubious, but calling it "murder" is simple grandstanding.

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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Anatidaephobia » 27 Feb 2010, 17:49

Murder - To kill intentionally with premeditation.

wat?

edit
Here, I'll have to define kill as well for you.

Kill - To cause to die; put to death, usually intentionally or knowingly
Last edited by Anatidaephobia on 27 Feb 2010, 17:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby sdhonda » 27 Feb 2010, 17:50

Anatidaephobia wrote:Murder - To kill intentionally with premeditation.

wat?


So, if I kill a fly, I'm guilty of murder?

Not that I'm not completely on your side, but try a little harder than that.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Theremin » 27 Feb 2010, 17:51

But 'murder' implies a crime. Which it isn't.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby sdhonda » 27 Feb 2010, 17:52

Theremin wrote:But 'murder' implies a crime. Which it isn't.


Oh, but there may be a crime.

Just murder it ain't.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Theremin » 27 Feb 2010, 17:54

I can agree with you there.
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Anatidaephobia
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Anatidaephobia » 27 Feb 2010, 17:54

Theremin wrote:But 'murder' implies a crime. Which it isn't.

Which is a problem.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Theremin » 27 Feb 2010, 17:56

It's a problem that abortion isn't a crime?

Can't agree with that in any way, shape, or form.
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Re: Utah criminalizes miscarriage

Postby Arius » 27 Feb 2010, 19:26

Guys guys guys.

I've solved it.

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---

We're not going to solve the abortion debate on a comedy forum.

But, as far as I'm concerned, human life starts once higher brain functions begin occurring. Until then, you're a fish.

A bit blunt, but it works for me.
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