Another Law That Treats Women As Nothing More Than Incubators

On Monday, March 8, Governor Gary Herbert signed Utah HB 462. The bill stipulates that a woman can be charged with homicide for "the death of her unborn child", unless the death qualifies as legal abortion, which is defined as "a medical procedure carried out by a physician or through a substance used under the direction of a physician."  This has become known as “the miscarriage bill.”

So now the women of Utah left with a new law that criminalizes illegal abortion in a state that increasingly discourages legal abortions and is trying to do everything it can to get rid of them altogether.

Utah already requires parental notification and consent for minors seeking abortions, mandates a 24-hour waiting period to terminate a pregnancy, subjects women seeking abortions to state-directed counseling which (there is no secret about this), overtly and intentionally discourages abortion, and allows public funding for terminations only in cases of rape, ******, fetal abnormality, or threat to the women's life or physical health. (What about our psychological health?  Forget about it! These good men know that women would just lie about that to get an abortion because there's nothing conceivably traumatizing about being forced to carry a pregnancy you don't want to term.)

There were six abortion providers in the whole of the state in 2005, and currently the entire state has only one licensed abortion clinic – I checked this morning..

Utah has is one of the frontlines in the war against legal abortion. Yes, Roe is still in place, but anti-abortion, anti-women, activists are doing their best to render a largely empty statute, killed by legislation that takes away abortion rights with "partial-birth abortion bans" and "parental consent laws" and mandatory harrassment like "look at your fetus on an ultrasound.”

Safe and legal abortion is only worth as much as the number of women who have reasonable and affordable and unencumbered access to it, and that number is dwindling: the National Abortion Federation reports that 88% of counties in the US have no identifiable abortion provider – a figure that rises to 97% in non-metropolitan areas.

That's not merely an inconvenience – between travel expenses and time off work, especially when a 24-hour waiting period necessitates at least two days of one's time, the cost of securing an abortion can become an undue burden. It can put legal abortion out of a woman's reach.

That's what state legislatures like Utah's are hoping. And because even the most publicly mendacious anti-choice activists know that even criminalizing abortion doesn't stop women from getting them, they know that merely restricting access to legal abortion isn't enough – a woman who doesn't want to be pregnant will find a way to not be pregnant.

So they came up with  their current strategy -- to make legal abortion as inaccessible as possible and criminalize everything else. An abortion performed by someone other than a doctor is ergo illegal. An abortion performed on a minor without parental consent, or on an adult without state-mandated counseling and a 24-hour waiting period, is therefore illegal. An abortion late in the pregnancy is therefore illegal. Inducing a miscarriage is therefore illegal. Terminating a pregnancy by any other method than the one which has been most ruthlessly restricted – via piecemeal legislation and the slashing or removing the funding of clinics and the virtually encouragement of terrorizing all abortion providers – is illegal.

In Utah, women still have a technical legal right to abortion, but very little means to exercise that right.

And now, in pursuit of ensuring that women's right to abortion is as limited as possible, the state has opened the door to prosecuting women who miscarry after having a drink of caffeinated coffee or a beer or a cigarette, or take a vigorous walk, or miss a prenatal care appointment, or shoot up heroin, or go to spinning class, or any one of a number of things that pregnant women do every day, good and bad, during pregnancies that come to term, if there's someone who will testify she did it to miscarry; she was trying to miscarry; she told me.

In pursuit of ensuring that women's right to abortion is as limited, the state has conferred personhood on fetuses, and reduced women to incubators. Basically, our rights as women to be considered independent, intelligent EQUAL HUMAN BEINGS, is gone. GONE.

The originators of this legislation insist it was not designed to punish women, oh no, it’s just there, they say,  to protect the unborn. Except that this comes from the same bunch who oppose universal healthcare, attack bills that would fund education and day care for children -- or any other legislation that would make a material difference in the lives of the born, but support unrestricted spending upon the death machines of the military.

SaratogaGirl SaratogaGirl
26-30, F
6 Responses Mar 16, 2010

the law maker are getting paid for doing **** work.
They should be charged

I don't know how to feel after reading that... sad, furious, scared.. all three? Legislators continue to attack women's right through bills like these. You said it all when you wrote "the state has conferred personhood on fetuses, and reduced women to incubators." Sad because it's absolutely true. And the scary thing is, I think this is the road we're heading down in this country. Soon what's happening in Utah will be all too common in other states. =/

Doesn't this stuff just infuriate you?? **** you, Governor Herbert. The dude has 3 sons, 3 daughters, and 10 grandkids. Let's hope none of those 16 people ever find themselves at his mercy.

That is less than a poor excuse for legislation.. How could lawmakers and representatives say they are representing women when reducing them to the likes of mindless beings that are ok to torture! Thank you for sharing this!

Exactly! To these right-wing jerks, we are just here to have children. And more children. And more.....

Thank you for the post, very well put. They seem to want us not to have many right at all, even thought they say we do.