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Proposed Georgia Law Would Make Women Who Miscarry Guilty Until Proven Innocent

In all honesty, I cannot think of a rational reason why anyone would support a bill like this:

Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin—who last year proposed making rape and domestic violence “victims” into “accusers”—has introduced a 10-page bill that would criminalize miscarriages and make abortion in Georgia completely illegal. Both miscarriages and abortions would be potentially punishable by death: any “prenatal murder” in the words of the bill, including “human involvement” in a miscarriage, would be a felony and carry a penalty of life in prison or death. Basically, it’s everything an “pro-life” activist could want aside from making all women who’ve had abortions wear big red “A”s on their chests.

I doubt that a bill that makes a legal medical procedure liable for the death penalty will pass. The bill, however, shows an astonishing lack of concern for women’s health and well-being. Under Rep. Franklin’s bill, HB 1, women who miscarry could become felons if they cannot prove that there was “no human involvement whatsoever in the causation” of their miscarriage. There is no clarification of what “human involvement” means, and this is hugely problematic as medical doctors do not know exactly what causes miscarriages. Miscarriages are estimated to terminate up to a quarter of all pregnancies and the Mayo Clinic says that “the actual number is probably much higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn’t even know she’s pregnant. Most miscarriages occur because the fetus isn’t developing normally.”\

I can’t believe that this bill has any chance of becoming law and, if it did, it most likely would be struck down by a Court within short order. Nonetheless, there seems to be a lot of crazy abortion-related legislation coming down the pike these days, this is just the most extreme example.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jack says:

    Forget why anyone would support a bill like that, why would someone propose it in the first place?

    That is the truly scary part.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  2. michael reynolds says:

    The GOP is absolutely determined to get Obama re-elected. Bless their hearts, as they would say in Georgia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  3. Chad S says:

    If anyone ever wonders why we have federal courts…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  4. wr says:

    Why do the Republicans hate women so much? First there was the bill that will allow hospitals to let them die if they happen to disapprove of the only procedure that will save her life, now they want to execute her if she doesn’t have photo evidence to prove she isn’t a fetus-murderer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  5. legion says:

    Your definition of “rational” is clearly outdated and unamerican.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  6. mantis says:

    This is the logical end result of the anti-abortion movement, anyway. They want the end of any pregnancy to be a crime, but a lot of pregnancies (as many as half, by some estimates) end naturally in the womb via miscarriages (also known as automatic or spontaneous abortion). Will Republicans outlaw nature? Will they arrest Jesus for killing all those babies?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    All the republicans are proposing abortion laws on the national and state level because they ran on a platform of job creation.

    Duh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Mantis is exactly right. I’ve been (well, not just me, but I’m taking credit) pointing out for literally decades that outlawing abortion would inevitably lead to criminal penalties against women and any pregnancy as probably cause.

    Zero surprise. Except of course to anti-choicers who haven’t thought through the inevitable real-world consequences of their fatuous, smug, self-righteous moralizing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  9. Herb says:

    “All the republicans are proposing abortion laws on the national and state level because they ran on a platform of job creation.”

    I guess you first create the people, then the jobs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  10. legion says:

    I’d take the reductio ad absurdem path and ask if they intend to make it a crime to have a period, since that egg could have become a human being, but I bet someone somewhere would start a campaign…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  11. legion says:

    Herb:
    Say’s Law: Supply creates its own demand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  12. sam says:

    There’s a dearth of righties in this comment thread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  13. Neil Hudelson says:

    Herb,

    I haven’t quite worked out how it works, but since I did pay attention during the campaign, I do know that the Republicans ran on reducing the deficit and creating jobs.

    You might say that has nothing to do with abortion.

    I might say you should watch the Underpants Gnome episode of South Park.

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/151040/the-underpants-business

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  14. wr says:

    Legion — Firsts they’re trying to get rid of contraception…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  15. RWB says:

    If you smokte cigarettes and miscarry, there is a better than even chance that you lost your baby to a marlboro abortion. Smoking , first and secondhand, aborts about 200000 babies a year. This is going to be an interesting law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  16. Kate Cree says:

    I have never laughed so hard in my life. This sounds like a conservatively raised 7th grader’s Global Studies assignment.

    Teacher : Good effort Bobby! But now you should try to revise your ideal, because laws should be fair!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. James Joyner says:

    In fairness to Republicans everywhere, Bobby Franklin is a known crank. He continually comes up with idiotic bills that go nowhere. Even in Georgia, public support for criminalizing non-intentional miscarriages is nigh unto zero.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. sam says:

    “In fairness to Republicans everywhere, Bobby Franklin is a known crank. He continually comes up with idiotic bills that go nowhere.”

    Ahhh, damn. We all had him primed for poster boy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. tom p says:

    In fairness to Republicans everywhere, Bobby Franklin is a known crank.

    In fairness to the rest of us, it is worth noting that he first got elected to his seat in 1996…. If he is a crank, there are a whole lot of cranks in his district that keep on voting for him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  20. Cara says:

    Is this 2011 or 1011? And this so called “human” is in office? What’s up with the Georgian state? I just got thru reading about mutilation of females in some counties in Africa. How horrendous as I am a female.
    And now I just read this. Absolutely dispicable. Maybe this man needs to be not only removed from office, but removed from the country.
    WTF!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. Hunter says:

    Did you read this? Or just the Mother Jones characterization?

    It appears to be a spectacularly boneheaded proposal, but it specifically excludes miscarriages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. swbarnes2 says:

    It appears to be a spectacularly boneheaded proposal, but it specifically excludes miscarriages.

    Not really.

    Here’s the quote

    “Such term does not include a naturally occurring expulsion of a fetus known medically as a ‘spontaneous abortion’ and popularly as a ‘miscarriage’ so long as there is no human involvement whatsoever in the causation of such event.”

    As long as women are deemed humans, there must be human involvement in a miscarriage. If you wish to argue that the author doesn’t accept that first premise…

    “‘Prenatal murder’ means the intentional removal of a fetus from a woman with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus; provided, however, that if a physician makes a medically justified effort to save the lives of both the mother and the fetus and the fetus does not survive, such action shall not be prenatal murder.”

    Note that killing the embryo or fetus because the mother will otherwise die is not exempted. That position is not unheard of, as the diocese of Phoenix recently demonstrated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  23. Carrie Dahle says:

    I was upset last month when the GOP went crazy suggesting that we redefine rape–now Georgia thinks it is ok to punish women who have had an miscarriage. Treating them like criminals who murder people.

    I have always stood by and watched others stand up and protest against politics that relate to abortion and other personal choices, but this is beyond unacceptable. I am spreading the word and hoping that others will stand up to this nonsense as well. Thank you for sharing and setting people straight.

    Carrie Dahle
    Day to Day Woman

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. [...] Proposed Georgia Law Would Make Women Who Miscarry Guilty Until Proven Innocent (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. [...] Proposed Georgia Law Would Make Women Who Miscarry Guilty Until Proven Innocent (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. [...] Proposed Georgia Law Would Make Women Who Miscarry Guilty Until Proven Innocent (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. [...] Proposed Georgia Law Would Make Women Who Miscarry Guilty Until Proven Innocent (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. Mick Henry says:

    The problem with the term “Pro Life” it that it seems to make the rest of us appear “Anti Life”

    We need a new terminology for these crazy people, maybe Anti Human might fit the bill?

    Mick

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. Michael Dunnahoo says:

    I think someone needs their head examined for even proposing something like this. Just when you think you have seen it all someone like this comes around and makes even the dumbest of people look like freaking genuises. Someone should have told this guy he was idiot and that he would be committing political suicide for dreaming this crap up. I really have a lot anger towards this issue and I am really at a loss about how people can be so damn stupid.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. Dame Dykstra says:

    Someone should inform Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin and his like-minded cronies that the only 100% effective method for preventing miscarriage and/or abortion is CASTRATION, since sperm is the root cause of all pregnancies.

    To that end, I would be more than happy to personally castrate Rep. Franklin and all like-minded men who would do well to get their collective noses out of our uteruses and mind their own little dicks… for little or no charge at all. Consider it a public service! :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  31. What??? says:

    This idiot knows this will never pass; he wants attention. His mommy didn’t give him enough attention as a baby.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. iliana says:

    Had to take the time to tell you, well said Dame Dykstra!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. Nickie says:

    After seeing this report on MSNBC this morning I was to say the least shocked! Making abortion illegal is one issue, and I stand with a woman’s right to choose, but this is a whole different ball game. This is an outright attack on women. It’s draconian. I’ve had two miscarriages and one still birth. If this bill passes I suppose that this lawmaker would want me to go to prison and be put to death. Miscarriages happen to women of all walks of life, Republican’s, Democrats, and Tea Party Activisits. They happen to woman of all religions, of all colors and even to those anti-abortionists. What a stupid stupid man and if this bill passes…Imagine!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Beaugart says:

    Dame Dykstra said “Someone should inform Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin and his like-minded cronies that the only 100% effective method for preventing miscarriage and/or abortion is CASTRATION, since sperm is the root cause of all pregnancies.

    To that end, I would be more than happy to personally castrate Rep. Franklin and all like-minded men who would do well to get their collective noses out of our uteruses and mind their own little dicks… for little or no charge at all. Consider it a public service! :)”

    You grab the scalpel and I’ll hold him/them down. It’d be my pleasure. :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. No Burkas says:

    Do women have any say-so in any of this? Utah enacted a similar law about a year ago where an “intentional” miscarriage could get a woman arrested for murder…. now it looks like Georgia is following suite. A woman who miscarries now has to prove she didn’t do anything to intentionally kill her unborn fetus? So a miscarriage caused by not wearing a seat belt, or by staying in an abusive relationship — can be construed as contributing to the death of the unborn and land you in prison, or on death row. So are there not enough women to fill the prisons now, they have to find other reasons to fill them? So when do we start donning the Burkas?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. J.m says:

    Wow. A friend miscarried a few months back thanks to cervical cancer. Good to know she would’ve gone from hearing the horrible news that her baby had to heartbeat at 14wks to a jail cell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. David Santiago says:

    This is what happens when brothers and sisters marry. “Hey Bubba meet my wife and sister… same person. He was home schooled by his folks, (aw shucks as if you hadn’t noticed!) was the result of incest and rape and was nicked named “llil as whole” in honor of his dad “BIG AS Whole” “lil as” is the best excuse for abortion in the world. If the ‘publicans had any sense they would pass a bill at the federal and state level to make it ilegal for any woman or male ?RELATIVE to breed with him under penalty of theath (sic). His wife and sister “Sweet As” should have paid attention to her mother “Dum As” when she was told:” Now Sweet As don’t be making eyes at lil as like that” Poor thing has probably been kept bare foot and pregnant ever since she and lil as get their own place when they moved iand rented their big sister “Phat as” uncle’s brother’s cousin’s (who is actually a nephew) outhouse, so they could have a modicum of privacy except when someone came in to use the “facilities”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. sarah says:

    We have a saying in African Zulu culture: Strike a woman, you strike a rock! To this day this is still a ‘war-cry’ for when women are being discriminated/ beaten down or misrepresented. That still happens a lot in our part of the world, but sounds like more in YOUR part of the world… Georgia/ USA…Seriously! It is not time for the women & men of USA/ not just Georgia, take this man on & strike back; because to me this proposed bill sounds more like this governor is declaring ‘war’ on the women of this county, & perhaps YOUR country.
    Do you not you live in a democratic/ innocent until proven guilty country/ a country that is for the people by the people? Why are you standing still – ignorance in not bliss & ignoring a bill such is this hoping it won’t get passed, is not bliss it is criminal!
    Either that, or the politician is trying to divert everyone from the real issues – a politician is a politician is a politician; they will do or say anything not too see their necks/ ‘jobs’ on the line; & burning one field so the townsman don’t see the town burning!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. [...] women. Are you pissed off yet? (and please, don’t give me the “that’s why I’m glad I don’t live in [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  40. oodles says:

    I am for women’s rights – that every unborn woman has the right to live whether her mother or father wants her or not.

    Before I make my judgement on what appears to be insane legislation, I want to read this bill in its entirety to make sure that my feelings are not based on other people’s opinion. If it is as crazy as you say, it will never become law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  41. Georgina says:

    I never understand how those claiming to be pro-life can ever support the death penalty. They just show themselves up as irrational extremists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  42. Irked says:

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. As if our court and medical systems need to be bogged down with this BS!! This country doesn’t have enough to think about right now?

    Too bad this guy’s mother didn’t spontaneously abort him when he was a fetus. This world does not need idiots who have this mentality- coming up with “proposals” that are totally unrecognizable as rational thought. And to top it off he’s probably “pro” created and poisoned the brains of his offspring with his twisted way of “thinking”.

    I eagerly support the castration solution that Dame Dykstra has proposed…while she’s at it, I hope she does it in a dark ally with a rusty scalpel, uh, I mean hanger.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  43. Hey everyone, STOP MAKING THIS A REPUBLICAN vs. DEMOCRAT THING!

    I’m a Libertarian, which is a lot closer to Republican than Democrat, but I’m just as disgusted by this idea as any of you! Don’t lump together all Republicans with amoral pro-lifer nutjobs like Rep. Franklin.

    Anyone who would support a bill like this is an enemy of Humanity. We have a much better chance at rooting them out and getting them out of office if we don’t play party politics and make this into something it’s not.

    It’s not R vs. D, it women’s rights, human rights, people’s rights to their own bodies, and our system of INNOCENT until proven guilty vs. those who want to bring us back to the Dark Ages. Bobby Franklin isn’t doing this because he’s a Republican, he’s doing this because he’s an enemy of civilization.

    Bashing Republicans isn’t going to help, signing petitions and circulating Franklin’s contact info is:

    Rep. Bobby Franklin’s contact information:
    http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/house/bios/franklinBobby/franklinBobby.htm

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. Mae says:

    Totally outrageous!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Cee says:

    All I can say is too bad there isn’t a cure for STUPID!!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. LiquidateTheGOP says:

    What a despicable man. Maybe we ought to pass a law criminalizing stupidity. He’d be first in line for a jail cell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Allison Shaw says:

    There’s a Cheyenne proverb: “A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground.”

    Need I say more?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. [...] Proposed Georgia Law Would Make Women Who Miscarry Guilty Until Proven Innocent (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. Kat says:

    I have a few reactions to this, not all of them as nice as the ones I am posting. The first being: This is how he is wasting time in office? Don’t his constituents deserve better from him, or are they all this numb? The second one being: He needs to have his asshat removed, because his brain is suffocating.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  50. Michael says:

    Well it looks like the men are taking back power from women, now we will see if the women are determined enough to halt this bill.
    Women are you going to let men push you around? Are you going to let this pig of a man try and send your rights and freedoms back to the 18th century?
    Maybe the women in Georgia are meek, weak and bow down to the dominant superior man. Maybe women in Georgia want to be controlled and forced to do as the dominant superior man insists.
    If that is the case and women allow them selves to be forced by men to follow and do as they are told then beware, not only will things get worse but women will suffer ever more!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  51. Vox Praeter says:

    One wonders if Bobby Frankln’s mother wishes she had had an abortion instead of him..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  52. Missy says:

    After being on the bad end of journalism gone wrong, I just don’t trust even half of what most media puts out there. Find the truth for yourself. From what I read on the bill, the title of the MSNBC article is completely misleading. that the actual bill said:

    The actual punitive portion (reading is your friend):
    (2) ‘Prenatal murder’ means the intentional removal of a fetus from a woman with an
    115 intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus; provided, however,
    116 that if a physician makes a medically justified effort to save the lives of both the mother
    117 and the fetus and the fetus does not survive, such action shall not be prenatal murder.
    118 Such term does not include a naturally occurring expulsion of a fetus known medically
    119 as a ‘spontaneous abortion’ and popularly as a ‘miscarriage’ so long as there is no human
    120 involvement whatsoever in the causation of such event
    In other words, this thread title is complete horse ****.

    so therefore, the bill is not saying that miscarrying is murder. So therefore the title is wrong. The media & uninformed people can twist words until its no longer what was even said. My advice is to think for yourself & find out facts for yourself before you just believe whatever the media puts out there. Why do so many think that just because it was on TV or the web that its FACTS.?.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. Zach Y says:

    Missy, you aren’t fully grasping the implications of the wording of lines 118-120. If a zealous prosecutor, spurned lover, or anyone for that matter knows you had a miscarriage, they could potentially press charges on you for terminating your pregnancy. It would then be up to you to prove that you didn’t do anything to cause the miscarriage. Do you smoke? Drink? A skilled prosecutor could argue that almost anything you did – aside from staying home and being a nice little baby incubator – “caused” your miscarriage. As someone mentioned before, as long as women are defined as “humans”, there will always be “human involvement” in miscarriages. While I might agree with you that the title of the article is extreme, it doesn’t change the fact that the wording of the bill is dangerous, poorly defined, and opens up a legal can-of-worms.

    What I don’t understand is how someone that can advocate “thinking for yourself” can post lines 118-120, and immediately declare that this whole thread is “horse****”. You say reading is your friend, perhaps you should get to know your friends a little better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  54. Barry says:

    No Burkas says:

    “Do women have any say-so in any of this? Utah enacted a similar law about a year ago where an “intentional” miscarriage could get a woman arrested for murder…. now it looks like Georgia is following suite. A woman who miscarries now has to prove she didn’t do anything to intentionally kill her unborn fetus? So a miscarriage caused by not wearing a seat belt, or by staying in an abusive relationship …”

    Or leaving an abusive relationship, which is a prime trigger for more severe violence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  55. tmana says:

    This issue was one of the side-effects of the proposed Human Life Amendment (HLA) to the United States Constitution, circa 1980.

    What the HLA and bills such as the one proposed in Georgia do is, in effect, declassify women as human beings and reclassify them as walking wombs. Some of the “mother-guilt” issues put on women in the 1980′s included culpability for any ill befalling embryo, fetus, or child if the mother: was overweight, underweight, or obese at any time from a year before conception until completion of weaning; did not take prenatal vitamins starting six months before trying to conceive; performing any task, or being involved in any activity or accident, that could put an unborn child at risk; consuming any food, drug, or supplement that might possibly have trace amounts of herbs or chemicals known to have abortifacent qualities (this, btw, includes common seasonings such as rosemary); smoked, was near or around tobacco smoke or tobacco products, consumed anything prepared with potable alcohol, or was exposed to any controlled substance not prescribed by her medical team, from the period preceding conception until completion of weaning…

    The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was supposed to have put a legal end to chattel slavery. Laws such as those proposed here would reinstate it for anyone so (un)fortunate as to have two X chromosomes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1