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Yes, Women Are Being Arrested for Having Miscarriages October 13, 2011

Posted by frrobins in Uncategorized.
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Regarding my previous post about the Personhood Amendment, some people would say that I’m blowing the consequences of it way out of proprtion. They say women won’t be prosecuted for having miscarriages. Then why is there legislation in Georgia pending that would require women to prove that their miscarriages happened naturally? Or why did Utah try to pass a law that would charge women with homicide if they miscarry?

So. Women who suffer miscarriages are guilty before proven innocent. This is a complete reversal of a fundamental principle of our justice system: that people are innocent before proven guilty.

Pretend that you’ve desperately wanted a baby. After months of trying you finally get that positive pregnancy test. You’re over the moon! You tell your spouse who is thrilled. You tell your parents who are dancing on the roof. You tell family and friends, all of whom are excited and happy. Everything is going fine. Until one morning a few weeks later when you start bleeding. You rush to the emergency room and hear the worst: a miscarriage is happening and there is nothing you can do.

You’re heartbroken. You realize that in 7 to 8 months time you will not be taking your beautiful baby home from the hospital. Your grief threatens to overwhelm you. You start wondering how you are going to tell your family and friends this devastating news when a police officer comes in and says he needs to take a report.

He inquires about every aspect of your private life. What you eat. What you drink. What drugs, legal or illegal, you take. What toxins you are exposed to. Without thinking you mention that you drink unpasteurized dairy products.

Before you know it you are charged with a felony. There’s no evidence that you caused the miscarriage by drinking unpasteurized dairy products, but there’s no evidence that you didn’t either. Sure, 60% of miscarriages are cause by chromosomal abnormalities. Sure, most of the rest of that 40% are caused by deformities in the uterus, fibroids, hormonal imbalance, severe mineral deficiency, but you can’t prove that any of those were the cause of this miscarriage. You’re seized with guilt, wondering if it was the milk.

You go to court, where the prosecutor paints a picture about how you never wanted to be a mother, you just wanted the attention a pregnancy draws without the responsibility, so you deliberately drank unpasteurized milk to cause a miscarriage. Your defense bring out family and friends who say you wanted the baby but the prosecutor says it was all an attention bid. You cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you wanted the baby. You cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not cause your miscarriage.

Think I’m blowing things out of proportion? Ask the woman in Iowa who was arrested for falling down the stairs while pregnant if I am.

Every woman who has suffered a miscarriage should be in an uproar over this. Every woman who plans to get pregnant should be fighting this tooth and nail. Every man who loves the women in his life should stand with her. Every women who does not plan on having children should fight this for the women in her life that she does love.

Here are the cases I’ve found where a woman has been charged with having a miscarriage or attempting to cause one, and this is just the tip of the ice berg. In South Carolina alone, an estimated 300 women have been arrested for actions taken during pregnancy. Still think this is not happening?

Christine Taylor of Iowa found herself arrested and sent to jail after she fell down the stairs while pregnant.

South Carolina’s Regina McKnight was sentenced to 20 years for having a stillbirth.

Rennie Gibbs of Mississippi age 15 faces life in jail after a miscarriage, Bei Bei Shuai of Indiana has been charged with foeticide and sits in jail without parole, and Amanda Kimborough of Alabama, mother of 3, faces 10 years behind bars if convicted of causing her miscarriage…and her three children risk losing their mother.

And for those saying Shuai deserves it because she tried to kill herself, may be you should read her story before being so damn judgmental.

Related:

Lynn Paltrow, heroine of our movement! Defender of the rights of women who have been charged with having miscarriages. It’s sad though that there are enough cases that a lawyer specializes in it!

So yes, women are being arrested for having miscarriages. This is an established fact, not a slippery slope argument.

Next up: If these personhood laws are so women and child family, then why are their effects so damaging? A thorough examination of the harm these laws will cause. And what would help women who are addicted to drugs or attempt suicide while pregnant? It’s certainly not jail time!

Let’s Face It: Abortion Is a Hard Sell February 20, 2010

Posted by Dindy in abortion, Family Values, health, Religious Right, Right wing, Television.
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Let me start this blog with a disclaimer: I strongly support the right of all women to have access to safe and legal abortion. I consider myself to be a feminist, and I abhor almost everything Focus on the Family stands for. However,  my personal opinion is the Women’s Media Center, the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and other groups did more harm than good with their protest against a Super Bowl ad featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mother. Without apparently having viewed the ad in advance, Jemhu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center, said:

“An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year–an event designed to bring Americans together.”

The protest letter from the Women’s Media Center suggested that CBS should have turned down the ad because of the sponsor, Focus on the Family:

“By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers.”

NOW Action Vice President Erin Matson, in a blog on their website shrilled:

“Make no mistake about this ad: it’s offensive to women. Yes, it features Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother, who had been advised to have an abortion after a serious illness. Standing alone, it sends the message that all women who give birth are heroes; it sends a message that abortion is always a mistake; and it is insulting to the one in three women in this country who have abortions.”

Well I saw the ad, and I sure didn’t see any of those things. The truth is, if I hadn’t been aware of the furor ahead of time, I wouldn’t have realized it was an anti-abortion ad. The word abortion is never mentioned. Pam Tebow talks about Tim being her miracle baby and says his birth was difficult. She says that she almost lost him several times and added, “With all our family’s been through, we have to be tough.” Tim then comes on and tackles her and she scolds him. “Timmy, I’m trying to tell our story here.” A message comes on the screen telling people to go to the Focus on the Family website for more about the Tim Tebow story, and  Tim asks, “You still worry about me, Mom?” She replies, “Well yeah. You’re not nearly as tough as I am.” The interplay between Tim and his mother is rather sweet. My guess is that the dreaded, so-called anti-abortion message skipped over the heads of most people watching unless they already knew about it.

By protesting so heavily against the ad, the women’s groups only came across as shrill and as seeming to be against the very things they claim to support: freedom of speech and freedom of choice. The posts on Now’s Blog for Equality in which they screeched against the ad pretty much bear this out. One comment said:

“This woman chose life. Why would you be against that? She had the right to make her own personal choice, a choice which opposed the advice of doctors. Isn’t that a success story, that a woman had the right to choose? By your outcry, you send the message that abortion is the only choice you support. Please, don’t do this, it hurts the cause.”

A big problem with the pro-choice movement is that abortion is a hard sell. The anti-abortion groups can show inspirational messages such as the Tim Tebow spot; they can show cute babies and children frolicking, they can plaster billboards with a chubby cheeked toddler saying, “My mother chose life,” and there’s not a real good way to argue against that. The pro-choice people can’t exactly show a picture of a child in a wheelchair with the counter message of, “my mother didn’t have the choice to abort me,” now can they?

Let’s face it folks. Abortion is NOT a good thing. We want less of them. Not more. However the message that came through was that these groups only support abortion and that they are against choice. What the pro-choice groups really need to get across is that NOBODY likes abortion. Presumably NOW doesn’t like it. Ditto the Feminist Majority.  They could have used this ad as a stepping point to show what they do support. They could have said something like,

“Pam Tebow had a choice. We support that. We also support universal access to quality medical care such as what Pam Tebow evidently had. We support easy access to birth control and comprehensive sex education. We support programs that give girls and young women the skills they need not to be victims, not to give in to pressure from their boyfriends to have sex and how to protect themselves against rape and incest. We support programs that give all women access to prenatal care and programs that fight against alcohol abuse and drug addiction in women of child-bearing age as these are things that can affect the health of unborn children. We support programs that teach boys about responsibility so they can learn how to be fathers and not just sperm donors, and we support programs that ensure that no child has to go to bed with an empty stomach.

“We support programs that will move us forward to a day when no woman needs to choose abortion. But we are not there yet and until that day comes, we support safe and legal abortion. We support women. We support families. We support choice.”

The women’s groups had a great opportunity with the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad, and they blew it. Rather than attracting anyone to their cause, they alienated a whole bunch of people and ensured that others who probably wouldn’t have even noticed the ad amidst all the other ads on Super Bowl Sunday paid a great deal of attention to it. They enabled Focus on the Family to take the high road, and that is the last place that this  group deserves to be.