Criminalizing Miscarriages?

1 February, 2010

On of the things I admire* about the radical religious right wackos is their ability to get you coming or going.  First, they fight tooth and nail against any possibility of teaching our children actual facts about reproduction, sex, and all of the various ways to prevent pregnancy (abstinence, condoms, birth control pills, sponges, aspirin, IUDs).  Then, if a girl and boy do what teenagers do and (because they have been lied to about the effectiveness of birth control) she gets a little bit preggers, they make it as difficult as possible to get a legal abortion (by intimidation (of doctors, nurses and patients at women’s health clinics) or violence (up to (and including) murder).

Out in Utah (a bastion of progressive thought), a new law has just passed out of committee.  The “bill tightens the definition of what an abortion is and removes a legal immunity for women if they intentionally try to have an illegal abortion.” (this (and all others (except where noted)) is from KCPW‘s website). 

Representative Carl Wimmer’s (R – District 52 (Utah)) bill is in response to a frightening case in which a “a Vernal teenager paid a man to beat her so that she would have an abortion.”  The girl’s boyfriend threatened to break up with her unless she terminated the pregnancy (Salt Lake City Tribune).  So (and I’m guessing here), given the lack of reproductive health services in the Beehive State, the girl (who had already made an immature decision  in failing to take proper precautions before having sex) made another immature decision and paid 18-year-old Aaron Harrison to kick her in order to induce a miscarriage.

There is a problem with the bill.  I have read through it (turgid reading (and (I freely admit) I am not an expert when it comes to reading proposed legislation)) and noticed a problem.  Others have also noticed this problem.  It appears that a woman who miscarried could be prosecuted if she cannot prove that the miscarriage was the result of an illegal abortion.  And others have noticed it:

 at a committee hearing yesterday, questions were raised about it possibly subjecting those who have miscarriages to prosecution. But bill sponsor Representative Carl Wimmer said that would not be the case.“It’s absurd to think that a woman who has a miscarriage would be charged under the law right now. We know that that probably would not happen, although it technically probably could the way that the criminal homicide law is written,” he said.  “My bill doesn’t affect that. My bill does nothing to change that, whatsoever.”


“Most of the time when a woman miscarries, she has no idea why. And this bill requires her to prove the sole reason it happened,” she said.  “And so as we’re moving forward with this piece of legislation, we would respectfully request that the committee and the sponsor look at continuing to ensure that women who want to have their babies and lose their babies to miscarriage will be protected.”

With Wimmer pledging to work on separate legislation to address these concerns, the House Health and Human Services committee voted unanimously to move his bill forward for a vote on the House floor.

That’s going to take a rather large investigative organisation considering that (from babycenter.com):

About 15 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and more than 80 percent of these losses happen before 12 weeks. This doesn’t include situations in which you lose a fertilized egg before you get a positive pregnancy test. Studies have found that 30 to 50 percent of fertilized eggs are lost before a woman finds out she’s pregnant, because they’re lost  so early that she goes on to get her period about on time — in other words the woman doesn’t realize she was pregnant at all. 

One in five known pregnancies, up to half of all pregnancies, end in miscarriages– spontaneous abortions. 

“Ma’am, you told your husband you were pregnant.”

“Yes, I did.”

“And now you aren’t?”

“That is correct.”

“Can you prove that you didn’t hire someone to perform an illegal abortion?”

Not to worry, though.  Mr. Wimmer “know[‘s] that that probably would not happen. . . .”  And we all know how trustworthy and honest GOP right wing religious zealots are, right?  They would never lie about health care/insurance reform, right?  They would never lie about the effectiveness of comprehensive sex-education or birth control, right?  They would never lie about gun control, right?  They would never lie about gay marriage, right?

Yeah.  I trust him. About as much as I admire him.

*I admire them the same way that I admire other horrible things:  The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Ishtar, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Oakland Raiders, Beck, Steele, Limbaugh, Palin, et al.  In other words, my admiration is more for the fact that they can get away with this shit with a straight face than for the fact that they are actually doing it!



  1. Those people truly do hate women.

  2. And THIS is why I spend so much bloody time on Adam & Eve. It’s the root of misogyny for so many of these windbags. Get people to doubt the story, and you doubt the premise that women are somehow inferior.

    I wonder, will a woman have to cry to prove she wanted the baby? How horrible that girl resorted to such a terrible thing to try to end the pregnancy. They’ve probably made her out to be some kind of monster, when they’re the beasts who put her in such a situation.

  3. I’m so proud.

    Miscarriages, god’s little abortions.

    Here’s the thing, the doughy white mormon men who run the state I live in are clueless.

  4. I hate it when I accidentally hit enter.

    Anyway, those idiots up at our capital are more than happy to waste money on a law like this that they are probably going to have to fight in court.

    They are sneaky and know exactly what they are doing. They like to skate the slippery slope of making all abortions illegal. More mormon babies, more money for their churches coffers.

    Here’s the thing, what the girl and her friend were doing was already illegal. Battery.

    Oh and BTW, Utah is also highest in teenage STD’s. Abstinence education works!

  5. The women I know who have miscarried have suffered substantial depression, wondering, “What did I do wrong? Did I somehow cause this?” and generally feeling guilty as hell for “failing.” Some have never been the same afterwards. How many women will be pushed further into depression and suicide when accused of causing the miscarriage? How many depressed women will accept responsibility for their tragedy and confess to something over which they truly had no control? How many more lives can be ruined? Oh, never mind; they’re just female lives, and there’s always a fresh new crop of 12-year-olds just coming up.

  6. My Rev’d Cuz-in-Law started getting a bit suspicious of religion and it’s motives a while back (it led to an early retirement) when a bright spark at her church proposed, even demanded that “churching” be required before women could be allowed back into the congregation for worship.

    She was very surprised (she asked the man if he was insane) when a lot of women thought it would be a good idea, too.

    The upshot was that this was the same bunch who were “month counters” (after a wedding, how long until the baby comes, gossip, gossip…)and when she asked them why it was business of theirs, they told her that this was “concern for the woman’s health”.

    But it was mainly a peek into their reproductive status, and it was a look at what was going on with them “morally”.

    Being able to detect a possible abortion by this means was also mentioned.

    I have heard people who regard children as a “gift” and “sacred” in the next breath discribe them as “punishment” for the sexual act…and then a drain on their own pocketbooks.

    Can’t really figure it out, me.

  7. Buffy: I’m not sure if they take women seriously enough to hate them. I think they view them as annoying children.

    Angie: I suspect that whether the woman wanted the baby or not is immaterial to minds such as Wimmer’s. After all, to certain theists, women are immature vessels for the propagation of the species.

    I’m not sure which has the greater impact: the Adam & Eve myth from Genesis, or Augustine’s woman-hating writings.

    Poodles: I think what upset Wimmer the most was that the girl was not charged.

    Mutzali: The legal process getting involved when a woman has suffered a miscarriage would add to the guilt. Depressing as hell.

  8. Sarge: Good morning. (((Wife))) and I had our first child ten days short of our 1st anniversary. My grandmother approved.

    The obsession with other peoples sex life is possibly the most pernicious part of modern religion.

    I’ve also run into the child as gift or the child as punishment depending on the marital status of the woman. The hypocrisy is astounding.

    Then again, religion without hypocrisy would be pointless.

  9. the various ways to prevent pregnancy (abstinence, condoms, birth control pills, sponges, aspirin, IUDs).

    Aspirin? How is aspirin birth control?

  10. Mellochthon (I hope that’s just a nom de web): Old joke. The girl holds the aspirin between her knees. Makes intercourse very difficult.

  11. We know that that probably would not happen

    The admission that it’s possible should have been enough to abort the bill right there and then.

  12. Ah, but Philly, that would be admitting a mistake. Something that the current definition of conservatism does not allow. Because they get their commands from god(s) and god(s) do not make mistakes.

    • Sure he did. That’s what that whole Jesus thing was about. I mean he tried fixing everything once with that Flood, but that didn’t work so he decided if you want shit done right, you have to do it yourself (although it wasn’t exactly himself, but it sorta is ’cause Jesus is him, but also not, but…)

  13. […] examples of this lack of empathy and putting religion before people, before reality. Another is a ridiculous new bill in Utah which will make women who have miscarriages murders, all because the Mormons are more caught up in […]

  14. I know Utah is uh, unique among American states, but it’s still hard to imagine that any state in the USA in the 21st century would craft such a piss poor bill.

    More mormon babies, more money for their churches coffers.

    This may be more accurate than I like to think.

    The obsession with other peoples sex life is possibly the most pernicious part of modern religion.

    I wouldn’t just credit modern religion with this obsession. Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter in the mid-19th century. The apostle Paul wrote his bullshit in the 1st century. And whoever the hell wrote Genesis wrote who knows when. The obsession with other people’s sex lives goes back eons. To be fair, this obsession is not limited to religious nuts; check out the tabloid headlines the next time you’re in the supermarket. Those rags are read by all kinds of people.

  15. Philly: So Noah Zark was wholesale (cheap), now it’s retail (expensive)? That would explain the contant drumbeat for money.

    Chappie: Yeah, Utah is kinda strange.

    And I stand corrected. The obsession with sex goes back to the Israelites. My bad.

  16. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by GlobalAtheist: Criminalizing Miscarriages? – http://galink.us/x9ncp/ #atheism…

  17. Permissivness causes this. If she was not taught ath babies are not human, that they are dispoble, that they are nothing, that they are not a gift from God, theat God does not know each and every on of us befire we are born this would not happen. She assumes that abortoins whether legal or not are the answer to her problem well it is not a problem it is a baby. A bbaby with a soul and loved by God. And notice that no one mentions the father? Did he even know that she was trying to kill his blessed child? Or did she just ’empower herself’ and do it anyway? It is a Miracle from God that the blessed child survived and will be born into a world in which he can have a personal relationship with Jesus and be saved.

    Nowhwere does is say that a miscarriage which is incredibly rare your statsistics are pulld from you pants) could be charged with a crime. You are forcing words that Wimer never said into what he wrote and what will beocme law. is lying necessary to be an atheist or jsut a bonus?

    • (Retch!)

      • Yeah, the whole thing, everytime I heare that someone has murdered a baby I feel queezy. I haven’t acutally retched yet, but I understand your feelings.

  18. Well, no, Matthew. It was your ignorance, your sheer stupidity, your inability to either think or spell, your utterly primitive supernaturalism, your religious arrogance, all of that stuff is retchable. And I know you know that’s what I meant – if you didn’t you’re even more of a pathetic wretch than I thought.

    But never mind. I wouldn’t waste any more time with you in person than I already have here.

    • I thought you were agreing with me about the retchedness of murdering innocent unborn babies. I apoligize for your pathetic life which sees the murder of unborn babies as acceptable.

  19. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Global Atheist, ajackson. ajackson said: RT @GlobalAtheist: Criminalizing Miscarriages? – http://galink.us/x9ncp/ #atheism […]

  20. Matthew: I really try not to insult people, but I’m starting to think you don’t qualify. You are, however, a narrow-minded bigotted asshole.

    No, I take that back. Assholes are useful.

    Ric: Did Matthew actually think you were agreeing? Shit. He’s stupid, too.

    • Hey, I thought I was the designated insulter!

      I don’t know what he was thinking, but it sure sounded like either he thought I agreed or he was being sarcastic. Of course, being a religious type he wouldn’t stoop to sarcasm because it’s hurtful and that’s just not Christian.

      I think he’s just a garden-variety religious idiot whose brain long ago gave up any attempt to think and has settled for regurgitating any old crap the religionists throw at him.

  21. The wretch made Ric retch. Cute.

    • Jeez, you just got that? Sharpen up, kid. Methinks you’ve been out in the snow too long!


    • Oops, wait, sorry Chappie! I read too fast and thought you were (((Billy))).

  22. Ric: I’m Equal Opportunity, here. Anyone can be insluting. Or insulted. I don’t even discriminate against those older than dirt (which would be you and McCain, at this point).

    Chappie: Very punny.

    Ric: You need to get your eyes checked. I (and my avatar) look nothing like the glorious Chappie (and her avatar).

    Ric: What. No apology to me?

  23. There’s dirt and there’s dirt. You need to distinguish.

    I checked my eyes at the (internet) door.

    Apologize? Hell, you didn’t even mention the pun I made. Perhaps the juxtaposition wasn’t close enough for your obviously failing neurons. Chappie had to pull it together for you. I’m beginning to worry about you, kid.

  24. Pun? What pun? I missed it.

    And snow? We didn’t even get a dusting up here. Chappies the one up to her collar in snow.

    • Retch wretch?

      And of course she is, and you’re not. I thought she was you, remember? Hence the snow confusion. But I will sow no snow before its time. It’s a shame to see a mind get snowed, and you so young. I’d pray for you but Chappie and I would have to smack me around for violating my solemn oath to the gods of atheism. Or maybe they’re just avatars. Or was that Ava Gardner? Never mind, you wouldn’t remember her.

      • Okay, that pun I got. I thought you meant a real one.

        I suspect that the snow on your head and in your beard may be adding to the confusion.

        And how do you sew snow? I can see needling flakes, but sewing snow?

        And Ava Gardner was way before my time. I’ve heard of her, but don’t remember her. Of course, you remember when Angela Lansbury was a sex kitten.

  25. Angela Lansbury was never a sex kitten! I can’t stand her. Ew ew ew ew!

    Sow. Sow. Not sew. You can’t stitch snow.

    And that distinguished, elegant color in my beard and hair is a delightful gray earned through years of gathering wisdom and learning while ignoring the jibes of mere fledglings and their parenthetical musings. Snow indeed!

    • Till the Clouds Roll By; The Three Musketeers (with Gene Kelly), and others. Yes, she was. Long ago.

      Sorry. Sew and sow sound the same.

      White, gray, grey, white. Old.

      • You’re a cruel youngster.

        No she wasn’t.


      • No, just honest.

        To some, she was.


  26. […] wrap up the week with some not-lds-related political updates: Frighteningly enough, there’s a bill in the Utah legislature which allows that a woman who miscarried could be prosecuted if she cannot prove that the […]

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