Women Criminally Liable for Illegal Abor

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2005
Women Criminally Liable for Illegal Abor
13
Thu, 03-11-2010 - 11:07am
What do you think? Should women be held liable?
New Utah Law Holds Women Criminally Liable for Illegal Abortions

(March 10) -- In Utah, women who seek out illegal abortions can now be charged with criminal homicide.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Monday signed the controversial law that allows women to be charged "for killing an unborn child."

The push for the legislation began after a 17-year-old caused an outcry in May when she paid a man $150 to beat her in the stomach in the hopes of ending her pregnancy. A Utah judge said the girl could not be prosecuted because there was no law holding women responsible for the death of their fetus. So Republican state Rep. Carl Wimmer introduced legislation to put an end to such acts, which he has called "heinous."


....


And critics say it goes too far.

"It's pretty extreme to target the women themselves and to criminalize behavior during their pregnancy," said Jordan Goldberg of the Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights group. He said that while the case of the 17-year-old girl was "tragic," education and better access to legal abortion would have been a better way to address the issue. "The fact that she was desperate enough to pay someone to beat her means the answer wasn't to lock her up," Goldberg said in a phone interview.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2009
Thu, 03-11-2010 - 2:12pm

Perhaps it would just be easier to not put obstacles in the way of them getting a legal abortion...no conflict with Roe v. Wade, etc. But legal knots are not an obstacle for the pro-forced childbearing crowd.

"A Utah judge said the girl could not be prosecuted because there was no law holding women responsible for the death of their fetus."

I just have to wonder what will constitute "illegal abortion" or "being responsible for the death of their fetus" - falling down stairs? Violating doctor's orders for bedrest? Not calling a physician soon enough when a woman suspects that she's having a miscarriage? Getting in a car accident? Getting pregnant after multiple miscarriages, knowing that another might be likely?

Or...doing exactly what Sarah Palin did, and when her water broke, indicating premature delivery of what she knew would be a special needs child - she did not go to a hospital. She gave a presentation, then got ON A PLANE for several hours, drove past hospitals that had NICUs to get to her OB. Is THAT the kind of behavior that would land a woman in jail in Utah - if Wimmer gets his way?

Roe v Wade states that ending a pregnancy, pre-viability, is the right of a woman, and is at her discretion. This is an attempted end run around Roe, and a BLATANT attempt by this politician to keep repeating this gruesome story and portray himself as the lone opposition of such atrocities.

The atrocity is that this desperate teenager found it easier to hire someone to beat her than to get a legal, safe abortion. That's the atrocity lawmakers should be addressing.




Edited 3/11/2010 2:21 pm ET by mom_carmina
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Thu, 03-11-2010 - 8:56pm
I suggest that everyone read the bill, in total, for themselves. I'm attaching it to this post.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Thu, 03-11-2010 - 9:08pm

I know that you don't know the laws surrounding abortion in Utah (most people don't), so my responses are intended to inform a lot of people on this particular controversial issue.

<>

Getting an abortion for convenience is not legal in Utah. So it would not have been legal for her to get an abortion. Since 2004, the only reasons a woman in Utah can have a legal abortion are:

(a) the unborn child is not viable; or
(b) the unborn child is viable, if:
(i) the abortion is necessary to avert:
(A) the death of the woman on whom the abortion is performed; or
(B) a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman on whom the abortion is performed;
(ii) two physicians who practice maternal fetal medicine concur, in writing, in the patient’s medical record that the fetus has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal; or
(iii)
(A) the woman is pregnant as a result of:
(I) rape, as described in Section 76-5-402;
(II) rape of a child, as described in Section 76-5-402.1; or
(III) incest, as described in Subsection 76-5-406(10) or Section 76-7-102; and
(B) before the abortion is performed, the physician who performs the abortion:
(I) verifies that the incident described in Subsection (3)(b)(iii)(A) has been reported to law enforcement;

<>

The law seems pretty specific. The woman who seeks abortion services outside of these caveats is criminally liable. They made exceptions for women whose fetuses die as a result of refusing doctor's orders or a c-section, for example. Before the law passed this week, it was just the doctors who were liable.

I had no idea that such a restriction existed since 2004. People are up in arms about this new bill, but it's 76-7-302 (the law codified in 2004) that's the real trouble. If women could get abortions pre-viability for any reason, this new bill would be unnecessary.

Did I mention I'm moving back to Utah in a few short months? This bill made me consider whether I really wanted to do it.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2009
Fri, 03-12-2010 - 7:54am

Laws that violate Roe are unenforceable - there are many laws on the books in states that are unenforceable, but waiting to go into effect the minute Roe is reversed.

Yes, that girl is an illustration of why such bans don't work - even when enforced, because childbearing isn't about convenience. It's so huge, it can be a matter of desperation. A teen that can get pregnant should be able to go to a medical professional for advice, and if necessary, medical treatment, without the caveat of a court order or parental involvement. Teenagers especially are in that grey zone where they can get into very adult situations, but do not yet have adult judgement. When they feel cornered, they might do something like this teen did.

Does Utah have restrictions on Childbearing "for convenience"?

No, because no one would describe a woman deciding to have a baby for "convenience" but it's common to describe deciding not to have a baby in those terms. Even if a woman is getting pregnant simply to get a lover to leave his wife, or keep a husband from leaving her - which I think are incredibly immoral and irresponsible childbearing decisions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2009
Fri, 03-12-2010 - 1:18pm

Odd state, Utah. It seems that miscarriage could result in a woman going to prison but... hot tubbing nude with a minor and then paying her off to keep quiet about it gets hugs and sympathy from the same legislators.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700016009/House-Majority-Leader-Kevin-Garn-admits-to-incident-with-girl-in-past.html

Just about says it all, doesn't it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Fri, 03-12-2010 - 2:41pm

<>

Not really. Did you read the text of the bill that I attached in post #3? Just in case, here's what it says specifically:

(3) A person is not guilty of criminal homicide of an unborn child if the sole reason for the death of the unborn child is that the person:
(a) refused to consent to:
(i) medical treatment; or
(ii) a cesarean section; or
(b) failed to follow medical advice.
(4) A woman is not guilty of criminal homicide of her own unborn child if the death of her unborn child:
(a) is caused by a criminally negligent act or reckless act of the woman; and
(b) is not caused by an intentional or knowing act of the woman.

In other words, she's only guilty of criminal homicide in this context if she deliberately and knowingly seeks abortion services outside the allowed reasons for having one. This is significant because this bill overrides a bill passed just a few weeks ago, which did not make this distinction. The bill passed March 10 was passed specifically to make this distinction.

I also disagree with your assertion that these laws are designed to sit around until Roe is overturned. Rather, these laws are created with the idea that their constitutionality will be challenged up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which the bill's sponsors hope will use the case to overturn Roe.

I agree that on paper the law is unenforceable. But there are precious few places to get an abortion in Utah. I could find only two. Not even Planned Parenthood provides abortion services there.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
Fri, 03-12-2010 - 4:45pm

Holly, you're moving back to Utah? Why/when/etc? (email me if you prefer to talk off-board)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-07-2008
Sat, 03-13-2010 - 10:21am
So if the woman goes outside Utah is she all good then? I also thought RvW superceded any state laws.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Sat, 03-13-2010 - 12:49pm
That would appear to be correct. Yes, my understanding is that such laws are, in effect, unenforceable. But as I was saying to mom_carmina, these laws are passed with the idea that they will be challenged in court. The law's proponents are hoping that the challenging of the law will make it all the way to SCOTUS, which they hope will use the law to overturn Roe. We saw it a couple years ago on this board with a law from South Dakota, where the people who proposed the law hoped just that sequence of events would happen.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-07-2008
Sat, 03-13-2010 - 12:59pm
Here's hoping it fails miserably AND that they get to look stoopid at the same time. Double win ;)

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