This makes no sense at all! None! Utah criminalizes miscarriage.

Joined Nov 5, 2007
This news just upsets me


In Utah, Miscarriage = Criminal Homicide
Utah is not a state known for its legislative sanity.  This, after all, is a state that recently made headlines for proposing to honor gun manufacturers on Martin Luther King Day and for considering the elimination of 12th grade to cut back on education spending.

Well, it just got a whole lot worse. 

Utah just became the first state in the U.S. to criminalize miscarriageand punish women for having or seeking an illegal abortion. 
Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" law:
  • expands the definition of illegal abortion to include miscarriages
  • removes immunity protections for women who have or seek illegal abortions
  • assumeswomen are "guilty of criminal homicide of an unborn child" if apregnancy ends after "intentional, knowing, or reckless" behavior.
But even among states that punish illegal abortions, this "Criminal Miscarriage" law is unique.  It doesn't punish individuals who perform illegal procedures; it punishes women.

I spoke with activists in Salt Lake City this morning to ask how to help out of state.  They all made the exact same request: Tell everyone you know about this law.

National media attention and widespread public outcry are the only wayto stop women and girls in Utah from being subjected to thisunreasonable and dangerous "Criminal Miscarriage" law. 

Tell someone about this law right now.  Post this on Facebook. Tweet it.  Forward it to five friends.  And ask them all to do the same.

How Utah Defined Miscarriage as Criminal Homicide

Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" law (HB12)makes simple changes to the state's definition of "abortion" and thesection of the Utah Criminal Code governing "criminal homicide." 

This law:
  • defines legal abortion as a procedure "carried out by aphysician or through a substance used under the direction of aphysician."  Anything else that terminates a pregnancy is now defined as illegal abortion - including miscarriages.
  • states that "The killing or attempted killing of a live unborn child in a manner that is not abortion shall be punished as...criminal homicide." (emphasis mine)
  • removes existing immunity from criminal prosecution for women "who seek to have or obtain an abortion" or "upon whom a partial birth abortion is performed."
  • applies the legal standard of an "intentional, knowing or reckless act of the woman" as punishable as criminal homicide.
Translation: If a woman has a miscarriage but didn't know that she waspregnant, she cannot be charged with criminal homicide.  Beyond that,almost anything could leave a woman at risk for criminal prosecution.

Think it couldn't possibly be that bad? The ACLU of Utah is pretty sure that it could.  In their letter appealing to Utah Governor Gary Herbert to veto the bill (Spoiler: He won't!), the ACLU said:
Practically speaking however, this bill changes thepresumption that abortions obtained in this state are legal. If thisbill is signed into law, women in this state will essentially be in theuncomfortable and unfortunate position of having to prove thatabortions they obtain (or miscarriages that they suffer) are not unlawful.

In fact, it's the "recklessness" standard that may pose the greatest threat. Again, from the ACLU:
A woman who fails to wear a seatbelt and is in a car accidentcould be charged with reckless homicide, should she miscarry. Likewise, a woman who has a substance abuse problem is likely to foregonecessary prenatal care out of fear that she could be prosecuted for"knowing" or "reckless" homicide by continuing to use illegalsubstances while pregnant.

The problems don't stop there.  Women in physicallyabusive relationships could be criminally liable for not leaving theirpartner, regardless of their ability to do so safely or securely. Womenseeking lawful abortion may be guilty of criminal homicide if herphysician failed to follow exact procedures set forth in the law.

For a law designed to discourage illegal abortion, Utah's "CriminalMiscarriage" law will only drive abortion further underground for thosewho cannot safely seek or afford legal medical abortion care.

I grew up in Salt Lake City, so it takes a lot for Utah to surprise meanymore.  This time there aren't even words for my outrage. 

Prosecuting women who seek or obtain abortions for criminal homicide won'tmake abortion go away - it will only make abortion dangerous and putwomen's lives at risk.  This law was designed to punish women who wouldconsider having an abortion.  There is simply no other way to look atit. 

Speak Out. Fight Back.

Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" Law passed the Utah House and Senateby overwhelming majorities.  Seriously overwhelming.  The votes were59-12 and 24-4, respectively, meaning that even if Gov. Herbert were toveto the bill (he won't) the legislature could easily override his veto.

Just in case that wasn't enough, the bill's authors included aprovision that with 2/3 members already voting for the bill, the"Criminal Miscarriage" Law would go into effect even if Gov. Herbertdoesn't sign the bill into law.

The Utah Planned Parenthood Action Council, the ACLU of Utah,and their allies have been fighting this fight every step of the way. They succeeded in getting the legislature to drop the much lower legalstandard of "negligence," and in light of such overwhelming oppositionthat success is simply heroic.

So what do we do now?

Utah conservatives love to legislate their twisted version ofmorality -- but they hate it when the rest of the country calls themout on their bigotry. So that's exactly what we need to do. 

More than anything, Utah wants to be liked.  Afterdecades being seen as a backwards, intolerant state, we desperatelywant to be accepted into the political and cultural mainstream. Theyhate it when the state itself becomes a national joke. 

This is all about PR. The state legislature backed off their proposal to eliminate 12th grade when it was ridiculed in the national press. Dropping a year from high school led to "perception problems" -- because of TheOnion! -- but national media has been silent when the state enacts oneof the most dangerous abortion laws in U.S. history.  That silence ends right now.

It's time for everyone to hear about Utah's "CriminalMiscarriage" law.  The media must to cover it.  We must  to startconversations all across the country about what this means for womenand girls in Utah - and what this precedent means if (or, more likely,when) other states follow suit. (A similar case in Iowa should be all the warning we need.)

So post this on Facebook.  Tweet it.  Forward it to five friends.  And ask them all to do the same.

If we turn a blind eye towards Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" law, their shame will belong to all of us.
Joined Jul 6, 2008
is this about miscarriages in general or women forcing miscarriages?

if its the former thats just RIDICULOUS

ham city

Joined Oct 18, 2009
I was gonna come in here and throw a fit, saw the word Utah.

I guess I'm impartial.
Joined Nov 8, 2007
Imagine the possibilities

- Knock up JO
- JO starts talking reckless
- Miscarriage = No baby

*BONUS* Jail time for the bird
Joined Jul 6, 2008
Originally Posted by COOLnificent

Imagine the possibilities

- Knock up JO
- JO starts talking reckless
- Miscarriage = No baby

*BONUS* Jail time for the bird
thats sooo !*%@!@ up but i cant help but
Joined Oct 31, 2008
has anyone realized that Utah is a Morman State? Their views and decisions really aren't noteworthy

Joined Sep 28, 2004
do they full understand and read the laws. ive watched on public access and other channels how some of these meetings go down. they are so twisted in word play that its just easier to go along with everyone else.
Joined Oct 1, 2006
Originally Posted by DaCitySlanga

has anyone realized that Utah is a Morman State? Their views and decisions really aren't noteworthy

i've got Mormon friends and friends that played ball in Utah and this is true...
Joined Apr 21, 2004

So basically a woman can't have a miscarriage without charges being brought against her?

This is no good for women's rights. This no good at all.
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