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GA Rep. Seeks to Criminalize Unauthorized Vaginal Bleeding

February 23, 2011, 6:25 PM

A Georgia Representative has introduced a bill to investigate all unsupervised miscarriages as crime scenes. Don't believe me? Here's the relevant language from HB 1, downloadable from legislature's website:

When a spontaneous fetal death required to be reported by this Code section occurs without medical attendance at or immediately after the delivery or when inquiry is required by Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45, the ‘Georgia Death Investigation Act,’ the proper investigating official shall investigate the cause of fetal death and shall prepare and file the report within 30 days[...]

As I wrote in the latest edition of the Weekly Pulse, Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) may even scare some anti-choicers with this bill. His opening gambit is to declare every developmental stage from the fertilized ovum onwards to be a full legal person. That's a pretty standard anti-choice attempt to undermine Roe. Various states have debated, or are currently debating, egg-as-person laws. Colorado voters have already rejected a personhood amendment twice. U.S. Just this month, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Life at Conception Act this month.

Franklin's bill is radical even by the standards of people who think fertilized ova are people. It's unusual because proponents of ovum personhood swear up and down that they're not trying to do an end run around Roe v. Wade. They will swear up and down that they're just trying to protect pregnant women from violent boyfriends and drunk drivers, or to punish drug addicted moms, or to save snowflake babies, or whatever. Of course we all know what their next move would be if they succeeded, but they know better than to put the egg-person stuff and the criminalization of abortion (or "fetal murder" as Franklin calls it) in the same bill.

Franklin's bill gives the game away by declaring that the while Supreme Court has absolutely no idea when personhood begins, the Georgia legislature knows perfectly well: "The General Assembly knows the answer to that difficult question, and that answer is life begins at the moment of conception." The bill does not explain how the General Assembly purportedly knows this.

It should be noted that Franklin tries to criminalize abortion as murder every year, but the miscarriage police are an interesting twist on a well-worn theme.

There are so many levels of misogyny in this bill that it's hard to dissect out the various threads of woman-hating. The idea of sending police to interrogate grieving women who have miscarried should horrify anyone. Especially coming from a guy who argues that driver's licenses constitute an infringement of constitutional rights.

The bill would also more or less suspend the presumption of innocence to women who lose pregnancies. If a woman failed to carry a pregnancy to term, in accordance with her divinely ordained role, the onus would be on her to satisfy the state that she didn't deliberately kill it.

This bill about as practical as Franklin's earlier bid to make Georgians pay their state taxes in gold and silver coins, as he believes the Constitution requires.

Up to one third of all pregnancies end in miscarriages, oftentimes without the woman ever knowing she was pregnant. So, Franklin pretty much wants to criminalize any unauthorized vaginal bleeding in the state of Georgia. So much for limited government.

Franklin is interesting not because his bill might pass but because he's enough of a fanatic to explicitly articulate his premises, while most of his fellow anti-choicers have enough sense keep their reasoning vague.

[Photo credit: gnevets88, Creative Commons.]



GA Rep. Seeks to Criminaliz...

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