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If you miscarry, you can go to jail

by: DocJess

Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 15:32:15 PM EDT


I'm not joking. In Tennessee, there's a new law that has passed both chambers which allows prosecution if a pregnant woman miscarries. Even in the first few weeks when she is carrying an embryo. Let's be clear: about half of all fertilized eggs never become babies, as per NIH.

It is estimated that up to half of all fertilized eggs die and are lost (aborted) spontaneously, usually before the woman knows she is pregnant. Among those women who know they are pregnant, the miscarriage rate is about 15-20%. Most miscarriages occur during the first 7 weeks of pregnancy.

Some common causes include, but are not limited to, obesity, maternal age, diabetes, physical problems with the egg, and physical problems of the mother. Suddenly, this is a crime. Miscarriage can also be caused by accident, exposure to toxins and chemicals and all sorts of other things. For example, if you have cancer and are undergoing chemo and get pregnant, a miscarriage is likely. You're in a car accident. Or you accidentally fall down the stairs. Like this:

Life can't get much worse for Christine Taylor. Last month, after an upsetting phone conversation with her estranged husband, Ms. Taylor became light-headed and fell down a flight of stairs in her home. Paramedics rushed to the scene and ultimately declared her healthy. However, since she was pregnant with her third child at the time, Taylor thought it would be best to be seen at the local ER to make sure her fetus was unharmed.

That's when things got really bad and really crazy. Alone, distraught, and frightened, Taylor confided in the nurse treating her that she hadn't always been sure she'd wanted this baby, now that she was single and unemployed. She'd considered both adoption and abortion before ultimately deciding to keep the child. The nurse then summoned a doctor, who questioned her further about her thoughts on ending the pregnancy. Next thing Taylor knew, she was being arrested for attempted feticide. Apparently the nurse and doctor thought that Taylor threw herself down the stairs on purpose.

Amazing? No - the far right in action in Iowa. 

Let's say you're a drug addict who is raped and gets pregnant. You go for drug treatment so that the baby can be born clean. In Alabama, you can be arrested for child endangerment since you exposed the fetus to drugs, even though the intent is to protect the pregnancy. It's happened to 60 women to date. 

It's hard to know what to say here. You've got a bunch of far right teabaggers who care about cellular clumps, which is what a 2 week old embryo actually is: undifferentiated cells. Care more then they do about actual people. Look at all the couples who try in vitro: most of those embryos are lost. Should they be prevented from trying because of the fear of jail?  Should a woman immediately go to bed and stay there once she knows she's pregnant to avoid any potential threat? The people who write these laws are insane, and devoid of any knowledge of science. And yet they get re-elected. Get up, get angry, and make sure everyone you know knows what they're voting for when they vote for a Republican. 

DocJess :: If you miscarry, you can go to jail
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