First the attack on Planned Parenthood funding and now this: State Rep. Bobby Franklin of Georgia introduced a bill in his state last week that, if enacted, would require proof that a miscarriage occurred naturally. If a woman can’t prove that her miscarriage–or spontaneous abortion–occurred without intervention, she could face felony charges.
From the 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, then 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.”
The mind reels. I don’t even know where to begin. “If the cause of death is unknown”?? Does this guy know a thing about miscarriage?
Many miscarriages happen without warning or explanation. Women are devastated. Most occur in the first trimester. Most are not “investigated.” Often we just don’t know why the miscarriage happened. It’s thought that the reasons for many miscarriages has to do with some kind of chromosomal abnormality that makes the pregnancy nonviable. So, if a doctor says, I’m not sure precisely why this pregnancy didn’t continue, what will happen? How will they “investigate?” By asking friends? Asking them what? I can’t even imagine these conversations, the whole thing is so misguided. And miscarriage is common– as many as one in five pregnancies end in on. That’s lots of conversations and investigations of women who have just lost their babies.
The bill is mostly aimed to make sure that any attempt to remove an embryo or fetus from a mother must be with the goal of a live birth. Ectopic pregnancy– which can be fatal to mother and fetus– is no exception. Maternal bleeding, cancer… no exceptions. I doubt it will pass, but this news comes at the end of a really rotten week for reproductive rights.
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photo: Donovan & Meggin Eastman/Flickr