Good News: Utah Tones Down Miscarriage Bill. Bad News: It's Still Murder


The Utah bill that would have criminalized miscarriage is going back to the State Legislature, which will remove some of its worst elements. However, Utah still wants to make some miscarriage a felony.

Specifically, the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Carl Wimmer, says he’ll take out the provision making a woman’s “reckless act” inducing miscarriage eligible for homicide prosecution. This is the part of the bill that could’ve sentenced women to life in prison for falling down the stairs, drinking alcohol, or staying in an abusive relationship. It’s also the portion that ignited what the Times unfortunately calls “a firestorm of anxiety and criticism,” which makes pro-choicers sound sort of like a bunch of over-involved moms worried about your new boyfriend. In fact, we’d simply like the right not to become moms if we don’t feel like it, and “firestorm of anger” might’ve been more appropriate. In any case, Broadsheet’s Tracy Clark-Flory attributes the bill’s upcoming revision to “the backlash by the pro-choice community” — so if you sent a letter to Utah Gov. George Herbert, or any other Utah lawmakers, pat yourself on the back.

Unfortunately, Wimmer plans to leave in language that criminalizes a woman’s “intentional” act to induce miscarriage — meaning some miscarriages and/or illegal abortions could still open up a woman to homicide charges. All this is in response to a 17-year-old girl who paid someone to beat her into miscarrying — the solution to which, clearly, is to throw her in jail. It apparently hasn’t crossed the legislators’ minds that improving access to safe, legal abortions — by, for instance, removing Utah’s parental-notification law — might prevent girls and women from resorting to such horrific tactics. Or, more likely, Utah still cares more about controlling women than about helping them.

Utah Anti-Abortion Bill Citing ‘Reckless Act’ Is Withdrawn [NYT]
Utah’s Abortion Bill Gets Toned Down [Broadsheet]

Earlier: The Next Anti-Choice Target: Miscarriage

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