Utah criminalizes miscarriage, manages to become worse at being a state

Utah, the most comically awful state in the union, is now becoming substantially worse, in a decidedly non-comical way.  Both chambers of the state legislature passed new legislation that will define  miscarriages due to reckless behavior as criminal homicide, which could result in the guilty party facing up to life in prison.  To prove “reckless behavior,” a prosecutor might only have to argue that a woman drank too often, or even stayed in an abusive relationship.  She could also be found guilty of a crime if she attempted to have an illegal abortion that resulted in a miscarriage. 

A blogger at DailyKos writes:

Utah’s “Criminal Miscarriage” law:

* expands the definition of illegal abortion to include miscarriages
* removes immunity protections for women who have or seek illegal abortions
* assumes women are “guilty of criminal homicide of an unborn child” if a pregnancy ends after “intentional, knowing, or reckless” behavior.

But even among states that punish illegal abortions, this “Criminal Miscarriage” law is unique.  It doesn’t punish individuals who perform illegal procedures; it punishes women.

The post quotes this passage from a letter (PDF) written by the Utah ACLU:

Practically speaking however, this bill changes the presumption that abortions obtained in this state are legal. If this bill is signed into law, women in this state will essentially be in the uncomfortable and unfortunate position of having to prove that abortions they obtain (or miscarriages that they suffer) are not unlawful.

Anna over at Jezebel spells out what this means:

Women might also make themselves open to prosecution if they failed to wear a seatbelt and got in a car accident, if they stayed with an abusive partner, or even if they fell down the stairs, like a woman in Iowa who found herself jailed on suspicion of “attempted feticide.” This woman eventually got off only because she wasn’t yet in her third trimester — but unlike Iowa’s feticide law, Utah’s new bill would apply throughout pregnancy. Given that 15-20% of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, 80% of those in the first trimester, Utah could have a lot of work ahead.

So there’s your 12,057th reason not to go to Utah.  Ugh.

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11 Responses to Utah criminalizes miscarriage, manages to become worse at being a state

  1. April Peveteaux says:

    Wow, just…wow. At least we know what the Utah legislature really thinks of women. What’s next? Women of child-bearing age aren’t allowed in bars or to sample soft cheeses at the Costco?

  2. Pingback: A new Utah law could charge women with homicide if they miscarry – today’s headline « Life After Miscarriage – The “New Normal”

  3. Kelly Hardy says:

    Far be it that women finally be held accountable for protecting their unborn child instead of murdering it..Good reason to move to Utah and admire their humanity among this heartless unethical leftloon attack on America.

  4. kett says:

    Would it surprise you to know that the minority leader in the Utah State Senate is a woman? Even the women in Utah hate women.

    Don’t forget that we are also passing a bill to make it illegal to do anything illegal around a minor. We just feel the need to make things double illegal in Utah. Come and visit us any time you want!

  5. Pingback: Jailbird « She Started It

  6. sarahj says:

    “mangages to become worse at being a state”

    “mangages”? Whoops.

    But this just clinches how ridiculous this new law is:

    “Utah’s new bill would apply throughout pregnancy. Given that 15-20% of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, 80% of those in the first trimester, Utah could have a lot of work ahead.”

    Guilty until proven innocent? Nice work, Utah. You suck.

  7. Pingback: THE MISEDUCATION OF TRENT FRANKS « Semi-autonomous Collective

  8. Pingback: Rather Than Hearing, Criminalize! « Non-Happy Endings

  9. Pingback: Utah, the state where nothing is too crazy, might kill man by firing squad - John Knefel - Making a Mockery - True/Slant

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