This isn’t good, folks. A bill passed by the House and Senate in Utah this week could make it a crime to have a miscarriage, with penalties up to life in prison. RH Reality Check reports:
The bill passed by legislators amends Utah’s criminal statute to allow the state to charge a woman with criminal homicide for inducing a miscarriage or obtaining an illegal abortion. The basis for the law was a recent case in which a 17-year-old girl, who was seven months pregnant, paid a man $150 to beat her in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. Although the girl gave birth to a baby later given up for adoption, she was initially charged with attempted murder. However the charges were dropped because, at the time, under Utah state law a woman could not be prosecuted for attempting to arrange an abortion, lawful or unlawful.
The bill passed by the Utah legislature would change that. While the bill does not affect legally obtained abortions, it criminalizes any actions taken by women to induce a miscarriage or abortion outside of a doctor’s care, with penalties including up to life in prison.
Lynn Paltrow of National Advocates for Pregnant Women tells RH that while other states have feticide laws specified to prosecute third-party attackers, directing it at the woman will have severe repercussions. It could create cases where women are prosecuted for having an unintentional miscarriage if there is any indication of “reckless behavior,” like drink alcohol and miscarry, or do any number of other things that could be deemed “reckless.” Next thing you know, you’re sentenced to time in prison for criminal homicide.
The bill awaits the governor’s signature. If you live in Utah, contact him and let him know just how dangerous this bill is. Amplify also has a community post with more ways to take action.