Death penalty for miscarriages? Are you serious?

I was talking to a friend last night about the House of Representatives’ recent vote to bar Planned Parenthood from federal funding. We both expressed our disgust, and then he shared another story with me, one that I swore had to be some kind of a sick joke. My eyeballs nearly popped out of my head when I read this article from the Mother Jones magazine website.

GA state representative Bobby Franklin wants to make suffering a miscarriage punishable by death. Yes, you read that right. The bill, HB 1 that he is trying to pass would make any “prenatal murder” grounds for life in prison or the death penalty. This not only includes abortion, but also any miscarriage that is not proven to have “no human involvement whatsoever in the causation”.  Franklin does not clarify what exactly “human involvement” entails.

The insanity of this is just completely over the top. Let’s forget about the abortion argument for a few minutes here. A woman would have to prove that she did not cause her miscarriage. She would have to undergo a criminal investigation while suffering through an already deeply distressing time. Miscarriages happen naturally. It’s estimated that miscarriages occur in 20 percent of all pregnancies. Of course, that number isn’t completely accurate because many women miscarry before even knowing that they are pregnant.

I am completely appalled by this proposed law. I am lucky enough to never have experienced the heart break of a miscarriage, but I have been there with friends and family members while they suffered through them. Heart breaking doesn’t even begin to describe it.

I’ve had two scares. The first was when I was about 16 weeks pregnant with my daughter. My husband at the time and I were in a small car accident on our way to my pre-natal appointment. There was no major impact and so I wasn’t really concerned. We went to the appointment like normal and the tech came in to do her usual business. She went to listen to the heartbeat . . . and she couldn’t find it. After a few minutes, she left to get the doctor. Tears streamed down my face. I looked at my husband and told him that if something happens to just institutionalize me because I wouldn’t make it through the rest of the day. All my life I had wanted nothing more than to be a mom, and I loved my daughter more than anything else in the world from the moment that pregnancy test flashed “pregnant”.

The doctor came in and found her heartbeat in seconds. As it turned out, the tech was an idiot and was checking in completely the wrong area. As a first time mom, I was clueless. All that kept going through my head in the few minutes between the tech leaving and the doctor arriving (a few minutes that felt like hours) was how stupid I was for not going straight to the ER. I kept thinking that I had killed my baby by not acting quickly enough. The guilt was overwhelming. Gods forbid something had actually happened to my child, I don’t know if I could have handled it.

The second scare was when I was about 6 months pregnant. I was waitressing and (no exaggeration) about 30 seconds after I walked through the dining room, a car crashed through where I was walking. I stood at the computer and heard the crash. I felt a chair hit me in the leg. I looked over and saw the debris and thought the roof had caved in before I saw the car. Nobody was seriously hurt, though many of us came extremely close. I spent the next month having nightmares that the car had hit me. I dreamed that I had survived, but that I lost my baby. I woke up screaming and crying more nights than I can remember.

As deeply as these experiences affected me, I still got to hold my daughter. I’ve enjoyed watching her grow up for the past 6 years. I can’t imagine making someone who was not as fortunate explain her every move to some investigator.

Under Franklin’s proposed bill, hospitals would be required to report all miscarriages to the authorities. How many women would avoid medical treatment for fear of prosecution? How many more lives would this endanger?

Part of me feels ridiculous for even discussing this, thinking that nobody in their right mind would approve this bill and so it’s not anything that really needs to be worried about. But then I think that this crackpot was elected in the first place. I truly fear for this country and where we are headed.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by kKit on March 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    This is absolutely ridiculous. I can’t believe this and I can’t believe this person got elected.


    • That’s exactly what I thought! I seriously thought this was a joke until I started researching. If you look up Bobby Franklin, you’ll see a bunch of other completely psychotic proposals that he’s made!


  2. Posted by Jackie on March 5, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I have suffered through 3 miscarriages that were truly the worst experience of my life. Beyond the physical pain is the emotional pain that made me want to give up on everything. It was awful enough to go through that and I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be scruitinized during that time. This bill is ridiculous and I cannot believe that anyone in their right mind would even consider this. I hope and pray that this is voted against. I hope and pray even more that no woman would ever suffer another miscarriage again.


    • Thank you for sharing a piece of your story. I can’t begin to imagine what you’ve been through.

      I think “right mind” just about covers it. There’s nothing remotely sane or logical about this bill or the people who support it.


  3. […] by Dayle That’s what I was told anyway . . . a few weeks ago in a comment on my blog about the GA bill proposing criminal investigations for miscarriages. Here is the exact quote, “You like a rhinoceros with glasses; how can anyone – reasonably – […]


  4. […] I discussed the idiocy of Bobby Franklin, a GA state representative who basically wants to make it illegal to have a miscarriage. And I shared letters from my state’s senators regarding HR1 (the bill that would have banned […]


  5. […] At least one governor has already tried to make miscarriage a crime. It won’t be that far of a leap if a law is ever passed granting equal rights to fetuses. […]


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