If Georgia criminalizes miscarriage, will used tampons become evidence?

You know a bill is bad when completely outlawing abortion is not even the worst of it.

The Georgia bill, proposed by Rep. Bobby “rape victims aren’t victims” Franklin, would make abortion a felony, potentially punishable by death, and require that all miscarriages be investigated to ensure they were not caused by any “human involvement whatsoever.”

Now Franklin is known as an extreme fringe politician and, obviously, a bill that makes a legal, medical procedure a crime punishable by death is going nowhere fast. (I hope, at least–these days it really does feel like any fresh new horror is possible.)

But I still think it’s important to highlight bills like this because they illustrate the inherent misogyny of the anti-choice position. Since Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, all that talk of “choosing life” and “saving babies” and “God loves kids” cupcakes can sometimes feel a little abstract. But this is truly what a perfect anti-choice law looks like. As Jen Phillips writes at Mother Jones, “Basically, it’s everything an “pro-life” activist could want aside from making all women who’ve had abortions wear big red “A”s on their chests.”

Just imagine a world in which women who have abortions are felons, every miscarriage is treated as a potential crime, and you remember that the anti-choice movement really does believe that women lose all their rights once they become pregnant. As Lynn Paltrow of National Advocates for Pregnant Women said recently on GRITtv,

“[Anti-choice laws] effectively legally separate eggs, embryos, and fetuses from pregnant women. And once you do that, prosecutors, doctors, local legislators can literally take custody of a pregnant woman and say you have to get bed rest, you may not work. You lose your personhood, not just your right to choose abortion.”

Of course, given that almost a quarter of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and doctors themselves don’t really know what causes them, I’m not sure Rep. Franklin really knows what’s he’s getting himself into. Furthermore, 50% of fertilized eggs don’t implant at all and are unwittingly flushed out when you get your period. Thankfully, Jill Filipovic has decided to help him out by offering up her used tampons as evidence.

“I would like to be sure that I am not killing any more Georgia citizens — and that if I am, they are able to receive a proper funeral and not a burial at sea, and that our state police can dedicate valuable time and resources to investigating their deaths.

To that end, I attach a picture of my latest used tampon. I am preserving this tampon, as well as all of my other tampons, pads, feminine hygiene products and soiled panties from my current menstrual cycle, so that the Georgia State Police can come collect them as evidence. I would also be happy to drop the specimens off at your office, should you want to examine them yourself.”

I suggest we all do the same.

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/zifnab/ Jon

    Seriously. We never see a “double the Planned Parenthood” bill pass through the Massechuetts Assembly. But hang’m high anti-abortion legislation just runs out of states like Georgia and South Dakota like some terrible river of misogynist filth.

    It’s like there is some kind of political capital to be gained by offering totally absurd legislation that only the right wing can tap into. This guy will server half his life in the Georgia state senate, because his constituents just can’t get enough.

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    LOL, what’s his email? I’ve got a digital camera and about a week or so till my next “art aktion”, if you get my drift…

  • http://feministing.com/members/shmita/ Shmita

    Is there any contact information to send bloodied tampons and other menstrual material to Rep. Franklin? I am always excited by the opportunity to use my menstrual fluid as a feminist political statement.

    I think this is a great idea. Why should the state waste its money using the justice system to invade the privacy and bodies of women who have been through a traumatic incident like miscarriage? (Just like adding extra burden upon burden for victims of sexual assault/violence.) There is money abound to go sloshing through menstrual fluid in the name of enforcing that women meet the maximum god-given baby-making capabilities, but no funds to ensure that teenagers entirely even understand the process of human conception and women’s reproductive functions.

    The one good thing about this is I will actually look forward to having my period. In fact, no menstrual cramps could assuage my excitement of this prick opening up an envelope containing my bloody tampon.

    • http://feministing.com/members/maya/ Maya

      Jill has posted Rep. Franklin’s contact info over at Feministe. It is:

      Rep. Bobby Franklin
      401 Coverdell Legislative Office Building
      Atlanta, Georgia 30334

      Phone: 404.656.0152
      Fax: 404.656.5562


      Photos will have to suffice because apparently it’s a no-no to send bio-hazardous material to an election official through the mail. Also, be sure to check out the awesome letter from Devery Doleman at Tiger Beatdown.

  • http://feministing.com/members/tudorgeek/ Jasmine

    This would be such a pleasant upside to having my monthly visitor. I am NOT happy camper those first 2 days

  • http://feministing.com/members/leebo/ Lee

    I want IVF brought into the abortion “debate” — how many of these people are willing to take on the discarded embryos and fetal reduction procedures that are a huge part of IVF?

    • http://feministing.com/members/caitlin/ MKE

      But when those older rich married people do it during their IVF cycle, it’s probably really well-reasoned and necessary and they are just making medical decisions with their doctors. So, you know, it’s TOTALLY different for them. /sarcasm

      But seriously, this is a fabulous point and I wish it was getting more publicity. My best friend works in IVF, and these are very routine parts of the process. Where are the protestors? Where is the outrage? Not at fertility centers, because the outrage is not about abortion itself — it’s about punishing a certain kind of woman.

  • http://feministing.com/members/magicbeanbuyer/ Missy Miles

    Shmta that is an awesome Idea! I’m doing it! Well a photo at least which is too bad =( Also I’ve decided that it cannot be argued that anti-choice is not misogyny. If you believe that a non-sentient being is more important than a woman (or child for that matter) than you my friend are a misogynist. Maybe a mis-informed, well intention misogynist, and a truly compassionate misogynist, like my sister, but all the same you just do not value the lives of women.