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Monday, June 27, 2011

Miscarriage is a Crime

Posted by on Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 12:22 PM

At least 38 states have fetal homicide laws—including Washington State—ostensibly to protect pregnant women from abusive partners and violent attacks by strangers. And at least 21 of these state laws apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy—i.e. "fertilization" or "conception." But instead of targeting abusive men and violent attackers, these laws are primarily being used to prosecute women who suffer miscarriages:

South Carolina was one of the first states to introduce such a foetal homicide law. National Advocates for Pregnant Women has found only one case of a South Carolina man who assaulted a pregnant woman having been charged under its terms, and his conviction was eventually overturned. Yet the group estimates there have been up to 300 women arrested for their actions during pregnancy.

The way the laws are being interpreted whittles down women's importance to what they have gestating in their bodies. Pregnant? Congratulations, you are now little more than a walking womb! Miscarry and you become a criminal:

Gibbs became pregnant aged 15, but lost the baby in December 2006 in a stillbirth when she was 36 weeks into the pregnancy. When prosecutors discovered that she had a cocaine habit—though there is no evidence that drug abuse had anything to do with the baby's death—they charged her with the "depraved-heart murder" of her child, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

I expect someone to quickly point out that this girl somehow deserves a mandatory life sentence for reportedly using drugs while pregnant, just as this woman deserved to be arrested for falling down a flight of stairs while pregnant. Because, in the end, it's always the woman's fault.

Heavy-hearted curtsies to Brendan.


Comments (23) RSS

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nos 1
Will infants be charged when the mother dies in childbirth too? Seems fair.
Posted by nos on June 27, 2011 at 12:29 PM · Report this
With all due respect, the answer to these kinds of laws is simple: Cut 'em off. Don't give the menfolk any more nookie until they change the damn laws. Those laws will get repealed so fast that it will make your head spin.
Posted by PaulBarwick on June 27, 2011 at 12:31 PM · Report this
samktg 3
@2, We need a real-life modern Lysistrata.
Posted by samktg on June 27, 2011 at 12:42 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 4
@1 - No, then it's the mother's fault for gestating a killer child and failing to control him. The mother will be convicted posthumously for her own murder. The father, having no hand in the raising or gestation of his children (it is, after all, women's work), will not be prosecuted.
Posted by MacCrocodile on June 27, 2011 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Vince 5
A modern day witch trial brought to us by the same religious ignorance.
Posted by Vince on June 27, 2011 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Delishuss 6
@2 & 3 Seconded.
Posted by Delishuss on June 27, 2011 at 12:56 PM · Report this
The amicus brief filed with regard to the case --…

Posted by epunch on June 27, 2011 at 1:34 PM · Report this
Allyn 8
I would link to the story of the girl who buried her miscarried fetus (delivered before twenty-weeks) and was charged for killing the baby, until the autopsy revealed that it was stillborn (except that it wasn't - delivered before 20 weeks is a miscarriage, but whatever) but is now facing charges of desecrating human remains (even though it wasn't a human life, since IT WAS MISCARRIED)... except I don't know how to do links.
Posted by Allyn on June 27, 2011 at 1:42 PM · Report this
Lysistrata is all fine and well except that the culture that passes these laws in the first place is the same culture that is likely to then condone and encourage husbands and boyfriends raping the protesting women, and not prosecuting the men who do it. After all, these women are duty bound to make babies, and nothing should stand in the way of that.
Posted by person man on June 27, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 10
Sounds like a Jane Crow law.
Posted by Sir Vic on June 27, 2011 at 1:48 PM · Report this
poor poor Cienna....
won't people let her slaughter her babies in peace?
Posted by poor poor baby killers on June 27, 2011 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Soupytwist 12
And, yet, so many on Slog are worried about what these misogynists think of pro-choice messaging...
Posted by Soupytwist on June 27, 2011 at 3:04 PM · Report this
HelpMeJebus 13
Nobody should live in the South.
Posted by HelpMeJebus on June 27, 2011 at 3:20 PM · Report this
Zebes 14
The ongoing exaltation of the idea of a child. Once they're out of the womb, those little fuckers are just welfare sponges who don't deserve any social support outside of what a church can provide, but before then, they're sacred emblems of the future and god forgive anybody who compromises that.

Batshit fuckin' crazy. Arguing that life begins at conception and therefore abortion is wrong- I don't AGREE with that idea, but I can at least see where it comes from. This sacred unborn child business, however, that's crazy shit without a foothold in reality.
Posted by Zebes on June 27, 2011 at 3:20 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 15

A not completely insane prosecutor who wanted to nail her for *something* would charge her with improper disposal of bio-hazardous waste.

A decent human being would let the girl go.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 27, 2011 at 4:35 PM · Report this

No Liberals should live in the South.
Posted by we'refromthecountryandwelikeitthatway on June 27, 2011 at 5:32 PM · Report this
This is so fucking frustrating, Cienna, isn't it-
maybe if you torture some kittens to death you'll feel better....
Posted by damnifIdon'tkillSOMETHINGcuddlyI'llEXPLODE!!! on June 27, 2011 at 5:34 PM · Report this

Life begins at conception?
whoa- that's crazy talk...
everybody knows fetuses are dead.
Posted by that's why abortionists charge so much to kill them... on June 27, 2011 at 6:34 PM · Report this
venomlash 19
@18: Whoa, embryos and fetuses are composed of living matter? So are ova and spermatozoa.
Are you saying that it's infanticide every time a woman has her period, or a man rubs one out?
Posted by venomlash on June 27, 2011 at 10:44 PM · Report this
@11: Can't slaughter something that isn't alive. Try to keep up.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on June 28, 2011 at 8:05 AM · Report this
at what point is a zygote/embryo/fetus not alive?
is that all you got?
please shove it back up your ass and try again.
Posted by or not. on June 28, 2011 at 8:45 AM · Report this
sorry Junior, you can bob and weave but the Truth will kick you in the nuts everytime.
and that was such a sorry ass lame misfire that it won't merit a response.
see @21 above.....
Posted by please don't let Eliza compose your posts..... on June 28, 2011 at 8:49 AM · Report this
venomlash 23
@22: The truth may kick me in the nuts, but what you're saying is such a tall tale that the kick goes right over my head, if you'll let me torture that metaphor a little.
Zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are alive at all points. However, so are gametes. And so are the germ cells that led to those gametes. If there is a point at which non-living things suddenly sprang to life, it happened nearly four billion years ago. On a human time scale, there is no beginning to life, only when one living thing separates itself from another living thing. And that is at childbirth.
You can't claim the high ground when you have such piss-poor understanding of basic biology.
And who the fuck is Eliza?
Posted by venomlash on June 28, 2011 at 9:17 AM · Report this

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