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In a "Milk And Cheese" story, Cheese, after a particularly bad day, screams, "I wish I had a baseball bat the size of Rhode Island so I could beat the shit out of this stupid-ass planet!"  This is one of those stories that makes me go, I know how he feels.  It really makes me despair of being stuck for a lifetime in this world.

Hello, Utah.  Thank you making living in Illinois seem better.

A 17 year old girl in Utah was pregnant and didn't want to be.  She was seven months along when she got the none-too-bright idea to pay a 30-year old guy $150 to give her the Falcon Punch.  Her hope was that the assault would trigger a miscarriage.  It didn't work, the baby was born anyway and put up for adoption, and the guy got thrown in the stir.  However, there was nothing on the law books prosecutors could use against the teen.  I would like to remind everybody that reactionary law is never a good idea.  Just look at the Patriot Act.

Earlier this month, both of its state houses passed a bill that Gov. Gary Herbert (a Republican, I should note.  I bash Obama a lot, but you can't say I'm not bipartisan in my ire).  The bill would make it so women who suffer a miscarriage can be criminally prosecuted and face life imprisonment.  The bill is written in a way to dissuade women from seeking abortions by basically criminalizing what happens in the procedure.  This is bad enough, but the passed bill includes the clause that charges can be filed for an "intentional, knowing or reckless act".  So, in theory (I almost wrote "conceivably" there.  Not the best choice of wording given the subject matter), if you drink one glass of wine too many or slip on icy pavement, you could be spending the rest of your life in the Big House.  There was a movement to remove the "intentional, knowing or reckless act" language from the bill, but it failed.  So any miscarriage is trouble.  This is a real possibility -- it's estimated that 15-20% of pregnancies miscarry.

There's no way this will survive a legal challenge, although it may have to go to the US Supreme Court.  I can't imagine the heavily Mormon state of Utah (which helped astroturf the passage of California's "No gay marriage" Constitutional amendment) striking down this law.  The US Supremes will just have to consider the logistics of prosecuting this -- how do establish this?  Do you send people around to the houses of women every few weeks, make them pee in a cup, and record whether or not they have a bun in the oven, and then if nine months pass with no baby, put 'em on the chain gang?  How do you prove the act was intentional, knowing or reckless?  And if they don't apply it consistently, the law can be deemed unfairly applied and struck down, so they have to go Big Brother to keep this on the books.

The cost of enforcing this are going to be expensive.  Interestingly, there is also a proposal in the state leg to cancel the last year of school for kids to save money.  I say go ahead.  There's apparently no brains to educate there to begin with.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
b_briarwood
Mar. 9th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
The bill is written in a way to dissuade women from seeking abortions by basically criminalizing what happens in the procedure.

I read all about this when it came out.

Unless they made a change there was a clause in there excluding women who seek a legal abortion from prosecution. We'll see how long that lasts. Of course laws like this wouldn't be necessary if men religious freaks people would just realize that all women are entitled to their own choice and not make it so difficult for women who need the service to get it!

What I want to know though is how are they going to handle the miscarriages that occur before the mother even knows she's pregnant? And how about the naturally occurring ones because the fetus wasn't viable? Are they going to conduct forensic exams and pathology reports over every miscarriage? That's the only way this could even remotely be implemented fairly.

Edited at 2010-03-09 12:11 am (UTC)
sinetimore
Mar. 9th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
I agree about the "men" and "religious freaks" angle. It's not the women passing laws like this.

My own stance is simple -- abortion is NONE OF MY BUSINESS! It's not my body, it's not my choice. I'm not sure I could do it, but as I'm never going to be the one making the choice, the question is purely academic, so I should keep my mouth shut. Any woman I've known facing the choice has agonized over it. There's no easy answer. So the last thing they need is me sticking my nose in with my holier-than-thou but I'll never have to back up my opinion bullshit. I think it should be and stay legal.

Yeah, the logistics of it are absurd. Like we don't have enough government intrusion as it is.
b_briarwood
Mar. 9th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
Have you read "The Handmaid's Tale"? It's comin', I tell ya!

I have to admit I did it once a loooong time ago. Wasn't much to the decision, but I would surely not have done it again after that. It's not a simple painless procedure. That's why I took care of that possibility when I had the chance and some decent insurance. And you know? Someone tried to start a program to reimburse and compensate women who got sterilized. The outrage was unbelievable. These people need to make up their minds. They can't help women to avoid becoming pregnant, but they won't give her any options if she does. *raises hackles*

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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