Insane Georgia Bill Could Criminalize Miscarriage


A bill currently before the Georgia House of Representatives would not only outlaw all abortions — it would also require that women who miscarry undergo investigation to make sure there was “no human involvement whatsoever.” They could also face jail time and even death. Herewith, some of the bill’s most insane provisions:

On life

Justice Blackmun, writing for the majority in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), wrote: ‘when those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer [to the question of when life begins].’
The General Assembly knows the answer to that difficult question, and that answer is life begins at the moment of conception;

On law

The United States Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to hear or decide the case of Roe v. Wade or any other case pertaining to a state’s punishment of the crime of prenatal murder;

On “prenatal murder”

‘Prenatal murder’ means the intentional removal of a fetus from a woman with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus; provided, however, that if a physician makes a medically justified effort to save the lives of both the mother and the fetus and the fetus does not survive, such action shall not be prenatal murder. Such term does not include a naturally occurring expulsion of a fetus known medically as a ‘spontaneous abortion’ and popularly as a ‘miscarriage’ so long as there is no human involvement whatsoever in the causation of such event. […] Any person committing prenatal murder in this state shall be guilty of a felony and, 124 upon conviction, shall be punished as provided in subsection (d) of Code Section 16-5-1.

Subsection (d) of Code Section 16-5-1 specifies the penalties for murder: “A person convicted of the offense of murder shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for life.”

On miscarriage (or “spontaneous fetal death”)

A report of spontaneous fetal death for each spontaneous fetal death which occurs in this state shall be filed with the local registrar of the county in which the delivery occurred within 72 hours after such delivery in accordance with this Code section unless the place of fetal death is unknown, in which case a fetal death certificate shall be filed in the county in which the dead fetus was found within 72 hours after such occurrence.
[…] When a spontaneous fetal death required to be reported by this Code section occurs without medical attendance at or immediately after the delivery or when inquiry is required by Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45, the ‘Georgia Death Investigation Act,’ the proper investigating official shall investigate the cause of fetal death and shall prepare and file the report within 30 days;

On miscarriages that happen in cars

When a spontaneous fetal death occurs in a moving conveyance and the fetus is first removed from the conveyance in this state or when a dead fetus is found in this state and the place of fetal death is unknown, the fetal death shall be reported in this state. The place where the fetus was first removed from the conveyance or the dead fetus was found shall be considered the place of fetal death.

Jen Phillips of Mother Jones helpfully outlines some reasons the bill is insane (“the bill holds women responsible for protecting their fetuses from ‘the moment of conception,’ despite the fact that pregnancy tests aren’t accurate until at least 3 weeks after conception”). She also says, “I doubt that a bill that makes a legal medical procedure liable for the death penalty will pass.” Indeed, the bill appears to be yet another example of bullshit legislative theater, much like the recent “heartbeat bill” in Ohio. It may not actually send any women to the electric chair over their miscarriages — but it has already let them know exactly how much bill sponsor Rep. Bobby Franklin cares about their rights.

Ga. Law Could Give Death Penalty For Miscarriages [Mother Jones]

Image via Hadi Djunaedi/

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