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Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's illegal now to be a fertile woman in Utah
Posted by Jill | 9:37 AM
So it's official now: If you have a miscarriage in Utah, you can be subject to criminal investigation:
Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law Monday a bill that would allow a woman who arranges an illegal abortion to be charged with criminal homicide.

The new law is in response to a case last year where a 17-year-old pregnant girl paid a man $150 to beat her in hopes of inducing a miscarriage. A judge ruled there was no law on Utah's books allowing the mother to be charged with a crime.

The bill's original version drew national headlines because it allowed criminal charges if the mother's behavior was "reckless." That raised concerns that a mother who fell on the ice or was an avid jogger and suffered a miscarriage could be charged with a crime.

Herbert balked at signing that language and the bill's sponsor, Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, quickly revised the legislation to remove the word "reckless."

Herbert vetoed the original legislation, HB12, Monday -- his first veto as a governor -- and signed the revised version, HB462.

"I appreciate the willingness of Representative Wimmer to re-evaluate the impact of potential unintended consequences arising from the inclusion of 'reckless' behavior" in the original bill, Herbert wrote in his veto letter. "[The revised bill] is more consistent with the true intent of the legislation and addresses those situations in which the termination of a pregnancy is intentional and is not conducted at a physician's direction."

Let's say you're trying to quit smoking once you get pregnant, and you fall off the wagon. Or you have a glass of wine ONE night while out with friends. Or you're shoveling snow because, say, your husband just shipped out to Afghanistan. And then you have a miscarriage. None of these things can be construed as "reckless" (though for some purists, perhaps the glass of wine can), but all of them could subject you to criminal investigation as an "illegal abortion."

Between ten and twenty percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage
. The number of actual miscarriages, including those which happen before pregnancy is confirmed, brings the number up closer to 20-30%. This means that two to three in every 10 women who become pregnant will have a miscarriage, for a variety of reasons. In some ways, the legislation was better off before they deleted the word "reckless." Because now, any woman who becomes pregnant in Utah has to worry about miscarriage, not just because of the loss, but because a miscarriage in Utah now makes you a suspected criminal.

Still think they'll stop with abortion?

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Blogger SeDress said...
if abortion is legal in Utah, what constitutes an 'illegal' abortion?