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.