Utah bill,is it possible to police pregnant women?

[deleted account] ( 34 moms have responded )

Utah Continues Reckless Efforts to Lock-Up Pregnant Women

On Thursday, a Utah legislator withdrew a bill that would allow sentences of up to life in prison for a woman who experiences a miscarriage or stillbirth as a result of her "reckless" behavior. This move has been attributed to a "firestorm" of opposition. Almost immediately, however, Utah legislators revised the bill to exempt women who commit reckless acts but permit the prosecution of women who commit "knowing" acts that may result in stillbirths and miscarriages from the earliest stages of pregnancy.





What does this mean? Under this bill, pregnant women who "know" that their cancer medications or other prescription medications could risk harm or cause pregnancy loss could still be arrested. Pregnant women who stay with abusive husbands who they "know" to be angry about the pregnancy could still be arrested under this law. Pregnant women who continue working in jobs they "know" pose hazards to their pregnancies could still be arrested under the law. And even pregnant women who "know", from reading the side of their cigarette packages, that smoking is hazardous to their pregnancies could be arrested under this law.



http://advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/blo...

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Hayley - posted on 03/11/2010

3

21

0

i think once you start putting the rights of the baby above the rights of the mother you are on a very dangerous path, you run the risk of turnng woman in gloryfied pods wit no human rights at all, there are t many fantatics out there that think that the second a woman becomes pregnant she is no longer a person , but se is she is THE most important person, ask any hospital who they sae if its between the life of a mum or her baby and they will pick the mum every time, i do think women who take drugs i.e coke, spliffs ect or drink very heavy should be given extra suppor to insure that the distructve behaviour stops but smoking as vile as it is should not be policed, its a breach of her rights and as for abusive men i am really sorry but by taking away a child of a mum who has a parter that hits her is like saying she did something wrong , what should alway happen is the one doing thehiting gets put where they belong. we are a person first....always, if you take that away we take a step backwards, woman every where foughtfor these rights.

Carolee - posted on 03/11/2010

21,950

17

567

Okay, here's the thing. Drugs are illegal. Smoking and drinking are not illegal. If you get caught doing drugs, you should go to jail (pregnant or not).



At what point are YOU okay with somebody ELSE making decisions about your body for you? And at what point does the law end? Does somebody who goes 5mph over the speed limit go to jail if they are pregnant (most states give a 3-5mph leeway) because any additional increase in speed increases the chances of a crash and/or harm to the fetus? For that matter... does a woman who drives while pregnant automatically go to jail because it has been statistically proven that walking or riding on a plane are less hazardous? Will they throw somebody in jail for not having the "optimum" pregnancy diet? If you wear heels during pregnancy, which gives a pregnant woman a higher chance of falling, and they walk down a set of stairs, will they go to jail for that?



I'm not condoning people being stupid during pregnancy, but it's not right for a law to intervene! If the family is concerned, then the family should approach the mother... NOT THE POLICE!!!

Firebird - posted on 03/11/2010

2,660

30

521

I was reading about this somewhere else. This bill was created because a 17 year old paid someone to beat her until she miscarried because if she didn't abort the pregnancy her boyfriend was going to leave her. She didn't miscarry and the person who was paid was arrested but they had no grounds to prosecute the expectant mother.

The bill is being reviewed and amendments will be made to ensure that women can't be arrested and charged under this bill because for example: they have a job that could be hazardous to the pregnancy, tripping over a shoelace that was untied and falling down a flight of stairs or taking cancer meds ect.

This bill is so women who try to illegally abort a pregnancy can be prosecuted. It was worded very badly though so it needs to have some serious alterations done to protect the rights of women.

Charlene - posted on 03/11/2010

631

29

25

I am absolutely appalled that people think it's a good idea to put a woman in jail for staying with an abusive husband while pregnant. RIDICULOUS.

Leaving an abusive spouse is not just as easy as walking out the door for most women. A lot of them are brainwashed into believing that they deserve it. Also, do you not realise how many women are KILLED because they tried to leave an abusive partner?

It really frustrates me when people blame a woman for staying with an abusive partner.. you don't know their story, so quit judging.



This bill is ridiculous. It's one thing to try to persecute a woman who goes out of her way to attempt to cause a miscarriage, but to charge them because they didn't quit smoking? What about those women with a pack+ a day habit? In a lot of cases it would be riskier for a woman to quit cold turkey. Would she be charged if she did that and had a miscarriage?



This is just a way to push back women's rights.. you know.. those things our grandmas and great grandmas fought so hard to win.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

34 Comments

View replies by

Janelle - posted on 03/14/2010

3

5

0

Gee, Utah...what a joke!!! All I can see here, apart from the basic stupidity of this bill is that the judicial system will be clogged with pregnant women, with sad storries to tell, AND the lawyers rubbing their bloody hands together, seriously, how sick is that country!!! Absolutely appauling, thank god I live in Aus!!!!!!

Sue - posted on 03/14/2010

42

20

1

I agree with the smoking. But prescription meds that you need to save your own life? What is wrong with these people? If you die before baby is born that is a waste of two lives. And if you have children at home? I have severe genetic blood pressure problems and until I knew I was pregnant there was nothing I could have done while on the meds. And cancer? Seriously, isn't the life of the mother worth anything any more? What would happen to my family if I died? I was on birth control and it didn't work. And I am married. My older child has residual developmental issues due to the preeclampsia I experienced in my first pregnancy. What would happend to a child like that whose mother dies and father is left with that heartache and the added child or death of a child. EVERYONES life is worthy.

Iridescent - posted on 03/14/2010

4,519

272

1078

It's good to see they're changing it before just putting it through.

How is this going to change the standard of medicine in regards to emergency treatment? As things are right now, if for any reason there is an emergency threatening the life of the mother and/or the baby, the mother's life is to ALWAYS be given highest priority. This is basic standard medical care. If saving the baby will kill the mother, it is not to be done, period, on our current medical practices. This is not going to change because of one bill.

Dawn - posted on 03/14/2010

1

0

0

This was in the Utah paper on March 5th 2010....

Utah Bill Criminalizing Miscarriage To Be Resubmitted

At the request of Utah’s governor, a bill that would criminalize miscarriages has been withdrawn, to be resubmitted without the “reckless” standard.
Two weeks ago a bill passed by both the Utah House and Senate made it a homicide for a woman to “knowingly” or “intentionally” cause an abortion or miscarriage, with penalties including up to life in prison. However the bill also included a standard of “recklessness” which in effect meant that the behavior and actions of any woman who miscarried would be under scrutiny and could lead to criminal charges.
The Associated Press reported:
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert spokeswoman Angie Welling said Thursday Herbert wants to ensure there are no unintended consequences from the bill that would make abortions not performed by a doctor through a medical procedure illegal.
For example, Welling says the governor is worried a pregnant woman who has an accident while skiing could be charged with a crime.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
Melissa Bird, executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Council, said the new bill would be an improvement, but it is still not a good bill.
"He certainly has narrowed it," she said. "It was one of the sticking points because it was so ill-defined and opened a large window for potential issues."
Marina Lowe, government affairs director for the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said it is difficult for prosecutors to discern a woman's intent and the change fails to address the real problem.
"I also don't think it solves the underlying problem. The question we need to be asking ourselves as Utahns is how did we get here in the first place," said Lowe. She said the measure does nothing with respect to access to birth control, family planning, counseling and mental health services.
The new bill would the original version and would still make any illegal abortion a prosecutable homicide, a change in Utah law which currently does not criminalize actions taken by a woman to secure an abortion, lawful or unlawful. The bill was spurred by a case of a pregnant 17-year-old who paid a man $150 to beat her, hoping to cause a miscarriage. Such cases would still be a crime under the new bill.
The bill’s sponsor told the Salt Lake Tribune:
"I don't want the controversy to follow Governor Herbert," [State Representative] Wimmer said, adding that his intent by including reckless behavior was to target mothers who use illegal drugs and cause a miscarriage.

I really want to see what becomes of this law, as to me the wording is still very vague!!

Debbie - posted on 03/14/2010

5

24

0

Wooooooooooooow it really irritates me when people say that the mother has more rights than her unborn child and blah blah and once you give a fetus rights it all goes downhill? ARE YOU KIDDING MEEEE???????? I think the entire moral thinking of our society today has seriously gone down the shitter. People care more about themselves than they do anyone else in this world. No matter if you are pregnant on purpose or by accident, 99% of the time, you wouldn't be pregnant in the first place if you had kept your legs closed or used protection. THEREFORE if you are not going to take those precautions, then you are responsible for the outcome. If that outcome, by the grace of GOD is a baby, then it should be considered the greatest gift and blessing given to you and you should protect your baby from the moment of conception. I agree with this bill. Although in reading it, it sounds harsh, as with any law broken, I'm sure they consider each case and the circumstances surrounding it to make a fair decision. If you were to give birth to a child and be reckless and irresponsible, you could be arrested and have your child taken away. Why should any child, even still in formation, not have the same protection? FROM 6 weeks pregnant, you can see and hear the fetus' heartbeat. A heartbeat = life. Sorry but if you can be arrested for killing a preying mantis or throwing a tissue on the ground then it is completely beyond me why anyone thinks it's ok to endanger a baby. I could go on forever but I know that it won't change the minds of anyone who feels they have more rights than their unborn baby. I almost just clicked off of this page but this is a subject that really hits a nerve with me. It's truly ridiculous to me that my 7 year old daughter knows how precious babies are and that abortion or smoking while pregnant or anything else harmful to an unborn baby is wrong yet grown adults take our little miracles for granted.

Diane - posted on 03/13/2010

694

18

30

IMO that law based on the abortion laws in the United States would be unconstitutional. How can you punish a woman who is reckless when she can kill it by having an abortion? It makes no sense. If what the government says is true, then a woman should be able to do anything she wants, its her body. Our laws say the baby belongs to the woman And it is sad that the father has no rights at all when the unborn is in the womb.
Our laws unfortunately do NOT give the unborn personhood.......so how could anyone be charged with anything.
Abortion is murder........it is killing a living human being, but our government looks the other way. They say.......you can hire the killing done by an abortionist........but you can't do it yourself....
Oh how I would love to go in front of our government officials...... hypocrites.

Stevie - posted on 03/11/2010

1,210

42

247

amber i totally agree with that last bit i feel bad for them as well that would be hard to go threw i live in nebraska i think its close enough for me haha yeah i have two kids and then got pregnant again and we arent sure how we lost it either and well were pregnant again congrats on the twins im sorry you lost one of them though i had actually read once that alot of women are actully pregnant with twins but they will lose one very early on but besides the point i havent ever heard of women trying to do that thats kinda outragious but i am totally go for adoption my first my little girl after i had her she got adopted by her family and i love it of course i miss her and wish her to be here but i dont regret it i think i would knowing i killed a child you know but you are totally right thats just taking away from their pregnancy and their joyment

Gwen - posted on 03/11/2010

1,345

7

217

I guess that bill would completely eliminate the Pro-Choice argument that a baby is not "really" a baby until later in pregnancy... "Knowing" that your behavior can result in stillbirth or miscarriage from the earliest stages of pregnancy, acknowledges that this is indeed a human being.

That being said, this bill is totally off base and I'd oppose it too. Sometimes risks are taken out of medical necessity, not recklessness. On the other hand, I do feel strongly against women who are giving birth to crack babies, babies with fetal alcohol syndrome, etc.

Peita - posted on 03/11/2010

459

66

51

I live in Australia and I am amazed at this bill! Are FATHER'S not responsible at all for their unborn child's life??????? It takes 2 to make a baby, a mum doesn't just get pregnant on her own!!!!!!!!!! This really sounds like a bill made by men to protect their own arses and to persecute women if things go badly! Things like a women losing a baby due to domestic violence is just as much HIS fault as it is hers!! There are lots of emotions and life changes involved in having a baby, I would think that more support services to try and prevent things mentioned in the original post would be better than sending a woman to jail!!

Iridescent - posted on 03/11/2010

4,519

272

1078

This is understandable, but over the top. It's the first step in removing abortion as legal for ANY reason, including that of knowing you are having a baby with a genetic defect guaranteed to be fatal within hours of birth. That is so traumatic in and of itself, and adding this to it is beyond excusable. Plus, how does it account for women with an incompetent uterus? Will they be charged every time they become pregnant, because they are knowingly pregnant with a problem that risks the pregnancy? There are so many similar health conditions it isn't funny! Are they going to track EVERY action taken by the mother throughout pregnancy and put her on trial after any miscarriage or stillbirth? Because that is what it would become.

In addition, how would it control IVF frozen embryos? Will they have to give a permit to allow pregnancy shortly after this bill, to prove you are fit to become pregnant?

I personally was prescribed alcohol during my last pregnancy. With my last two pregnancies, I had HG to the extent my second was delivered pre-term as I was starving to death (loss of 34 pounds, which was 29% of my weight). I have no thyroid, and was unable to take synthroid because I could hold NOTHING down. I'd take it, vomit it, take it, vomit it. There was no injection version; I asked for it! I was critically low on thyroid hormone and the pregnancy and my life were at risk. They prescribed injection phenargen so I could come home, and doubled dose of thyroid hormone to account for inability to hold it down long enough to absorb it. Alcohol was prescribed in the hope I could possibly help curb the vomiting some; although it didn't help, it was worth the effort. So would I be charged under this bill? Probably.

Or how about families that have a known genetic defect PRIOR to becoming pregnant, in the hopes that their baby will be healthy. If they have the gene defect and miscarry, are they guilty of murder essentially? It was done in good faith. Even with IVF you get some defective ones that cannot survive and all need to be tested.

Theresa - posted on 03/11/2010

1,310

22

231

I think it's interesting that abortion is completely legal, but doing other acts that can "knowingly" cause a miscarrige is not OK? How does that work. I personally am against abortion, but how can you have one be legal and the other risk jail time? I also think if there would be a bill like this passed it would have to be much more specific. I think there's a big difference in someone taking prescribed meds for cancer like you had said and someone using street drugs. It's a slippery slope!

Jessica - posted on 03/11/2010

31

11

5

All I can say is if I lived in Utah, I'd move. Not that I drank or smoked or did drugs when I was pregnant... Nor is my husband abusive. I would do it to spite the bill and give that state as little support as possible.

[deleted account]

I think they need to look at the bill again and change some of it. Now if the woman is taking illegal drugs and knows she is pregnant, it is different then taking a medication that a doctor gives her. The woman who is addicted to drugs needs help not prison. Addiction is an illness. People in an abusive relationship also needs help not prison. People who smoke can quit if they want, but it is an addiction and may need help from people around them. Unborn children have rights to be safe, just like the mother who is pregnant with them. Prison isn't safest place to be. Utah really needs to rethink this bill.

[deleted account]

Stevie I agree on the whole miscarriage thing... my mom had many of miscarriages and so have i... i had twins on this pregnancy but lost one and they still dont know why.. so i dont think penatly for that is what the bill is talking about or at least i hope not i think its talking about extreme cases where the women is TRYING to loose her baby through a miscarriage instead of an abortion... but yes this bill has to many flaws to pass.. im just glad i dont live in utah bc all of the pregnant women now have to live in fear of the police instead of enjoying their happiness bc some drugged up pregnant crack whore needs to get punished...

Stevie - posted on 03/11/2010

1,210

42

247

i dont really agree with any of it most miscarrages happen before ppl know some might just be finding out they are pregnant and then to lose it and just driving wrecklesly isnt going hurt that baby to much depending on how dangerous the damage that was done in the wreck women lose their babies for many other reasons i just had a miscarrage in nov look im pregnant now again just heard the heartbeat also no i dont drive dangerously but still it could just be the way the baby is developing or some hormonal or chemical imbalence in your body and as for smoking thats kinda dumb also i mean yes you shouldnt do that or drugs but its not like you can just quite i think you should try i think if you smoke or do drugs i think to police if they should have any interference with it is something like the aaa for dui drivers but for smokers or ppl who do drugs i think this bill is rediclous and you know im sure all those women who are with abusive men would LOVE to get out but cant its hard to get away from a man who threatens you they need the police to get her and her unborn child a women with a man who is that abusive cant just walk away she will need a ton of help

Charlene - posted on 03/11/2010

631

29

25

Actually Katt, NO amount of alcohol is technically 'safe'. No one knows why really, but one woman could have one or two glasses of wine and have a child with FAS and another woman could drink heavily and have a perfectly healthy baby. That is why it's not okay to drink while pregnant.

Katt - posted on 03/11/2010

440

26

11

I agree in the terms of women who do drugs, smoke and drink while they are knowingly pregnant. Some people think a women can't carry a grocery bag out of the store pregnant. That bill has gone way to far!

I know a girl who recently had a baby the whole 9 months she had NO idea she was pregnant. No weight gain, no sore breasts, still got her period every month, didn't feel the baby move. She drank the whole time. Not just a little but but a lot. Her baby is perfectly healthy, good weight (8lbs) growing and developing perfectly. That makes me wonder where the line is for drinking while being pregnant. It must take for someone to be completely hammered every day for a baby to have FAS. I'll admit I had a couple beers while I was pregnant, my daughter is growing and developing perfectly. I'm not saying it's okay to drink while pregnant but I mean one or 2 drinks will not harm a fetus. For a women to be arrested for that is ridiculous!

I think abortion should be illegal under certain circumstances. If the women was raped and was impregnated then yes she should be entitled to have an abortion. I know a women who has had 5 abortions just because they didn't want the baby. Someone like that should be penalized.

Hayley - posted on 03/11/2010

3

21

0

i think thats kind of harsh.....i have read so many book on abused woman and it really is not that simple, i see what you are trying to say but the woman is the victim always the victim, its the men tha sould be removed from her not t heother way around. if to this law was used the abusive men would use it to control women more by using it as a threat. i feel so strongly as so many woman who have goten out aftr years and yearsof abusive would be made to feel as if they failed. when in fact they diod not. xxxxxxxxxx

Meghan - posted on 03/11/2010

3,169

33

202

Every child has the right to be born in a happy healthy enviroment and it is a mother's job to make sure she provides that (smoking, drinking drugs are just stupid while you are pregnant). But where do you draw the line...does a mom that has a glass of wine get treated like a mom that downs 4 cocktails? Does a mom who is around smoking get treated the same as those smoking a pack a day? You can't arrest a woman for these things, all be it there are iresponsible. What about a woman driving to the grocery store...car accidents are a number one killer...everytime you get into a car you run the chance of being killed. As far as the abusive husband how are they going to define abuse? Would you throw a women behind bars because her husband calls her names and cheats on her?

Hayley - posted on 03/11/2010

3

21

0

xxxx so on the same page her i think xxxxxxxx lol some tme i think woman are their own worst enemy, you no there is a man behind this...lol, us women should support each other always never judge x

Amanda - posted on 03/11/2010

2,559

3

365

I couldnt agree more Hayley! Once a fetus has rights there goes all abortion laws (maybe that is the reason for this bill). Pregnancy is already the most dangerous time in a womans life (with or not with an abusive husband), now we are going to put mothers in jail because of a bad choice? I understand this law for a crackhead hooker who keeps giving birth to still borns, but the avg woman??



If this law was in place where I live, I would be in jail right now. Over a month ago I miscarried, due to an large cyst, but any good lawyer can argue that cyst was caused by my light smoking therefore I should go to jail.

Kwania - posted on 03/11/2010

4

21

0

If a mom chooses to stay in a abusive relationship while she is pregnant and endanger her unborn child then she should have consequences. No not prison but something. Even if she is staying out of fear, her unborn child deserves to be born and has a right to life. The love of her unborn child should motivate her to go to a safe place for her and her unborn child. We as parents have to make decisions that affect not only us but our children also. We are responsible when we make a bad decision.

[deleted account]

Kwania i could not agree with you more... as every judges opinions differ some women could get in prison for taking meds while pregnant and have the same time as a women who did drugs... the ill would be great but it needs a LOT more work and detail into it...

Kwania - posted on 03/11/2010

4

21

0

Oh I agree they definitely need help and not prison. I understand the reason for some of things on the bill but I believe they take it too far also. But then you get some mothers who just don't care what they are doing to their unborn babies, I think the bill is trying to punish those mothers. It is sad that one bad apple spoils the bunch.

[deleted account]

Alison, dont you think sex offenders and pedophiles need help as well and not imprisonment...SIKE ... everyone could use help but the state is putting this bill out as a consequence.... and now pregnant women will have a consequence for not taking the best care of their babies... some things do need to be revised in this bill bc they are a little over the top but somethings a great i think it should be against the law for pregnant women to smoke drink and do drugs and other crimes that are already in place for kids under 18 but not in place for pregnant mothers and their babies..

Alison - posted on 03/11/2010

2,753

20

466

I'm entirely against the whole principle of the bill. It is definitely stupid and selfish to smoke and do drugs while you are pregnant or to stay with an abusive husband, but these women need help, not prison. Seriously.

Kwania - posted on 03/11/2010

4

21

0

I agree with the smoking and staying with abusive husband. The rest of it is wrong though.

[deleted account]

I agree on the whole smoking thing and protetcting the rights of the child, but this is going a little too far to the right side.... how do you feel about it ... esp if you live there...

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms