Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Femangry! Utah considers bill that could charge woman with homicide if she miscarries

Jezebel is reporting that the Utah legislature has passed a bill allowing women to be charged with homicide if they engage in an "intentional, knowing, or reckless act" leading to a the illegal termination of a pregnancy.  As the Salt Lake Tribune reports, the bill was intended to allow prosecution of mothers who seek out an illegal abortion, for example by having someone beat them to produce a miscarriage, as one woman allegedly did.  But it opens up a whole host of potentially troubling legal implications for women who, for example, fail to hold the hand rail while walking down the stairs and slip, decide to ride a motorcycle while pregnant, go jogging, don't wear a seatbelt, take contraindicated medications--the list goes on.  The point is that a woman's body needs to remain her own, to use as she wishes, whether pregnant or not.  If it isn't, women are vessels, not citizens.  And equality will never be possible.


  1. aaaaaggghhhhhh
    note to self--do NOT live in Utah (nor date anyone who does or ever has)

  2. I agree. Although the bill in theory is trying to do something useful (preventing women from harming themselves), the wording is far too vague, and could be used to prosecute them for all manner of unintended things.

    Revise and resubmit!

  3. One of the frightening things about this bill (to me) is the possibility (albeit, maybe slight) that it could be used to penalize women who unintentionally harm the fetus because they do not realize yet that they are pregnant (for example, by drinking heavily or doing drugs). Although such an action would not be "knowing" or "intentional," I worry that some court might view such behavior as "reckless" in a "if you are having unprotected sex, you should know that pregnancy is a possibility..." way. Many pregnancies are unplanned...

  4. As a woman, I actually don't need the government to make me take care of myself, or to make any decisions about my body, so I think this bill is hands-down wrong, with basically no room for debate.

  5. Bill sent back by governor without signature, then withdrawn by sponsor for revisions. Thank heavens.


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