2.22.2011

the uterus police: georgia politican wants every pregnancy loss investigated by law enforcement

[allan guest post]

There are far too many US politicians - on both sides of the aisle - who despise equality, hate women, and have no shame in pushing legislation that would sound right at home in any of the world's worst dictatorships. Here are what two of them are doing.

Georgia Representative Bobby Franklin wants abortion classified as murder (of course), but he also wants to force the police to investigate all "miscarriages" (the antiquated term for a spontaneous abortion) to make sure that they were indeed spontaneous. From Daily Kos:
Franklin wants to create a Uterus Police to investigate miscarriages, and requires that any time a miscarriage occurs, whether in a hospital or without medical assistance, it must be reported and a fetal death certificate issued. If the cause of death is unknown, it must be investigated. If the woman can't tell how it happened, than those Uterus Police can ask family members and friends how it happened. Hospitals are required to keep records of anyone who has a spontaneous abortion and report it. ... Needless to say, there are no exceptions allowed. Not for rape victims. Not for incest victims. Not to save the life and health of the mother ...
(I first saw this at Care2.)

Two weeks ago, it was reported that Franklin has filed a bill that would remove the term "victim" from rape, stalking, and domestic violence cases and replace it with "accuser". A post at Creative Loafing notes that Franklin once actually
conjured the phrase "My body, My choice" while discussing a piece of legislation he introduced that would prevent the government from making vaccinations compulsory in the event of a pandemic. Irony at its worst.
Franklin is also not keen on having homosexuals in the military:
The Bible says it's a capital offense. You want someone with unrepentant criminal behavior? And it's not just that, neither should adulterers, neither should thieves, neither should a lot of things.
Well, I actually agree with this. Let's have the US military conduct a rigorous weeding out of its troops by strictly applying the 10 Commandments.

Have you ever said "goddamn it"? Out! Have you ever worked on Sunday? Out! Did you ever disobey your parents? Out! Have you ever stolen anything, ever? Out! Have you ever looked at anyone else in the world who was not your wife/husband and had a sexual thought? Out! Have you ever wished you had the same cool gadget as that guy over there? Out! And even if you somehow passed the test and were sent off to fight in a war, as soon as you killed one person ... Out!

Get 'er done, Congress!

Mother Jones reports that the South Dakota GOP-dominated House of Representatives will soon vote on House Bill 1171, which is sponsored by Representative Phil Jensen. The bill would
expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus - a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. ...

[The bill seeks to alter] the state's legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person "while resisting an attempt to harm" that person's unborn child or the unborn child of that person's spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman's father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion - even if she wanted one.
The bill has already passed out of committee on a 9-3 party-line vote.

Sara Rosenbaum, a law professor at George Washington University: "It takes my breath away. Constitutionally, a state cannot make it a crime to perform a constitutionally lawful act."

The magazine continues:
South Dakota already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, and one of the lowest abortion rates. Since 1994, there have been no providers in the state. Planned Parenthood flies a doctor in from out-of-state once a week to see patients at a Sioux Falls clinic. Women from the more remote parts of the large, rural state drive up to six hours to reach this lone clinic. And under state law women are then required to receive counseling and wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure. [There are ongoing attempts to increase this to 72 hours. - ed.]

Before performing an abortion, a South Dakota doctor must offer the woman the opportunity to view a sonogram. And under a law passed in 2005, doctors are required to read a script meant to discourage women from proceeding with the abortion: "The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being." Until recently, doctors also had to tell a woman seeking an abortion that she had "an existing relationship with that unborn human being" that was protected under the Constitution and state law and that abortion poses a "known medical risk" and "increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide." In August 2009, a US District Court Judge threw out those portions of the script, finding them "untruthful and misleading." The state has appealed the decision.
But, remember: the procedure is still legal -- even though the state has not had anyone able to perform the procedure practicing in the state in almost 20 years. (Also, see this Common Dreams article from 2005.)

An update to the story states that Jensen is considering adding specific protections for abortion providers to the bill. "There's no way in the world that I or any other representatives wish to see abortion doctors murdered," Jensen told the Washington Post.

Oh, my goodness gracious, no.

6 comments:

laura k said...

Thank you for this!

Readers may be interested to know that of all the legal obstacles confronting women in controlling their own reproduction, the waiting period is likely the most insurmountable. Obtaining an abortion in the US usually means travel - an expense, plus organizing child care, time off from work, and so forth. The waiting period means an overnight stay, or continual back-and-forth travel. So many women simply cannot afford or arrange this.

The waiting period is also, to me, the worst affront to women's intelligence and personhood. As if when a woman goes to a clinic to terminate a pregnancy, she needs to be required to think things through. She is so rash, so emotional, so incapable of rational thought, that the state must force her to wait. She must be protected from herself, otherwise she'll just wake up one morning and decide to terminate a pregnancy that she really truly wants!

sassy said...

That has a familiar ring to it, oh yes I remember now ....50 years ago

Romania under the dictator Ceausescu

Excerpts . . .

He began his campaign in 1966 with a decree that virtually made pregnancy a state policy. "The fetus is the property of the entire society," Ceausescu proclaimed. "Anyone who avoids having children is a deserter who abandons the laws of national continuity."

The government's enforcement techniques were as bad as the law. Women under the age of 45 were rounded up at their workplaces every one to three months and taken to clinics, where they were examined for signs of pregnancy, often in the presence of government agents - dubbed the "menstrual police" by some Romanians. A pregnant woman who failed to "produce" a baby at the proper time could expect to be summoned for questioning. Women who miscarried were suspected of arranging an abortion. Some doctors resorted for forging statistics. "If a child died in our district, we lost 10 to 25 percent of our salary," says Dr. Geta Stanescu of Bucharest. "But it wasn't our fault: we had no medicine or milk, and the families were poor."

laura k said...

When I posted this on FB, a few people made the same connection re Romania.

Adam said...

Have you ever said "goddamn it"? Out! Have you ever worked on Sunday? Out! Did you ever disobey your parents? Out! Have you ever stolen anything, ever? Out! Have you ever looked at anyone else in "the world who was not your wife/husband and had a sexual thought? Out! Have you ever wished you had the same cool gadget as that guy over there? Out! And even if you somehow passed the test and were sent off to fight in a war, as soon as you killed one person ... Out!

Get 'er done, Congress!"

Really lovely! We can expand to include boys who make fun of bald men too, I hope. After all, they are putting the entire army at risk of attack by angry she-bears.

impudent strumpet said...

What really surprises me about the Georgia thing is how assholic it is towards people who are struggling with fertility problems. (Yes, it's assholic to everyone else too, but that part doesn't surprise me.)

You desperately want a baby, you're spending thousands of dollars a month to make that happen and your entire sex life is enslaved to optimal conception, and every period is a monthly tragedy. Then, after years of this, all your hopes and dreams are finally fulfilled and you get pregnant! But then, a few months later, heartbreak. You lose your pregnancy and all your hopes and dreams bleed out into the toilet bowl.

And then, on top of everything else, you find yourself subject to a police investigation.

I can't believe people whose goal seems to be to get lots of babies born would do that to aspiring parents!

laura k said...

* clicking "like" *