Quick Hit Update: Utah miscarriage criminalization bill withdrawn

Whew. New York Times reports:

A sweeping anti-abortion statute in Utah that would have allowed up to life in prison for a woman whose fetus died from her intentional or reckless behavior was withdrawn by its sponsor on Thursday and will be revised to be narrower in scope.
The original bill, which was sent to Gov. Gary R. Herbert, a Republican, for his consideration — and set off a firestorm of anxiety and criticism from abortion rights and women’s advocacy groups around the country — now goes back to the Legislature, neither signed nor vetoed.
The sponsor, Representative Carl D. Wimmer, a Republican, said he had removed a key clause that would have allowed prosecution under Utah’s criminal homicide laws for a “reckless act of the woman” that resulted in death to a fetus. Language will remain, he said, that makes a woman’s “intentional” actions, if resulting in the death of her fetus in an illegal abortion, a felony.

But don’t be fooled: the new legislation they create could still potentially criminalize women who have miscarriages or illegal abortions, and we can’t let that happen.

Join the Conversation

  • supremepizza

    I feel like this is a loser for the pro-choice movement. After having spun our criticism of the bill as being focused on the “reckless” language of the bill, how can we shift to a different rationale for opposing it now? Worse, it makes us look as if we support this poor girl’s behavior. And, finally, I think pro-choice voters themselves are pretty split on this. In a country where so many people have moved from the pro-choice position to the pro-life position that pro-choicers are now in the minority, I think this makes us seem out of touch, and even parochial. Having excluded the offending language, what more needs to be done here?

  • bifemmefatale

    In fact, although the label Americans choose for themselves has shifted, he percentage of people who think abortion should be legal under some circumstances is almost exactly the same as it was in 1975: 54%.

  • saeltheavenger.livejournal.com

    Reckless behaviour? Does that mean if she is beaten by her husband while she’s pregnant and then miscarriages, SHE will be charged with her own reckless behaviour? Obviously, everyone sees where I’m going with this.
    Good Lordisa, I’m glad I live in Canada. This stuff is crazy.