Statistics show that miscarriages account for around one quarter of all pregnancies, however it is contested that the rate may be much higher, as they occur early in the pregnancy, and the woman does not even know she is carrying yet. Recently, Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin has proposed a bill which would make abortion completely illegal and potentially put to death women who suffer a miscarriage.
Rep. Franklin’s 10 page bill states that any miscarriage in which the mother could not prove that there was no ‘human involvement’, would be classed as a felony and punishable by life in prison or the death sentence. Further, the bill makes all women are responsible for protecting their fetus from the moment of conception. However the bill doesn’t go into specifics like what actually constitutes ‘human involvement’, and doesn’t specify how you can protect your fetus from conception, when you can’t even tell you’re pregnant until at least three weeks into the pregnancy. I guess when you’re a crazy old man, who has no chance of miscarrying yourself, and presumably have had all your children already, then you don’t need to worry about the specifics. Like considering that doctors do not even have a clear picture of what causes a miscarriage, how can human involvement even be defined?
It reminds me of the proposed law in South Dakota, which made homicide legal, if it were to protect the life of an unborn child. Again the details were vague, leaving doctors at abortion clinics at the mercy of any crazy person who felt justified in killing them. Thankfully the law there was shelved.
But the vagueness of the law isn’t even really my main problem. What really annoys me is the fact that miscarriage is being talked about at all. And by a bunch of middle aged males, who obviously have no ideas about medicine, or for that matter- women and their bodies. Having watched family members and friends suffer from miscarriages, I cannot even begin to fathom how it could be believed that someone would deliberately put themselves (and their families) through it. As if the pain of being told your child has died isn’t enough to have to deal with, imagine then being blamed for it and left to spend the rest of your life in prison.
I’m not going to get int the whole debate about abortion, because I really don’t think there is a clear cut answer. My point is that miscarriage is not abortion, and thus, there should not, I don’t believe, even be a debate about the legality of miscarriage. Isn’t the main classification of a miscarriage that it was unintentional?
It seems to me that this bill is just another example of the law makers trying to exert control over a woman’s mind and body. It fits in with a rape victim being blamed for the crime for dressing too provocatively, or Lara Logan being blamed by some quarters for being attacked because she was too attractive or ‘asked for it‘. Women are, in this case, being blamed for a common biological occurrence that not even the doctors can explain. You have to wonder if, if having children rested on male shoulder’s, would there be a push to criminalize miscarriage?
I don’t believe that someone who has had no experience with suffering a miscarriage, can try and force their own opinions on an entire state. Hopefully, the policy makers and residents in Georgia share some of my sentiments and those of Mother Jones’ writer Jen Phillips who called it ‘the apex…of women hating craziness’, and this bill is shelved also.