Utah law to criminalize miscarriages

A bill passed through the Utah state legislature’s House and Senate, awaiting signing by the governor, allows punishment up to life in prison for an “intentional, knowing, or reckless act” that leads to a miscarriage or abortion without a doctor’s supervision. The bill passed the 59-12 and 24-4 in the House and Senate respectively which means that even if the governor vetoed this bill, the votes are there to override it.


It’s the “reckless act” that’s causing people the most concern. To prove it, all one needs to show is that a woman behaved in a manner that is thought to cause miscarriage. Intent to actually cause miscarriage plays no part in it.
Based upon the proposed law, a woman who rode without a seatbelt and got into a car accident suffering a miscarriage could be charged under this law.
A woman who drank during pregnancy, painted a house, took an Aspirin without her doctor’s permission, accidently fell down some stairs, or stayed with an abusive boyfriend, can all be charged under this new law.
It’s possible the prosecutor need not link up the risky behavior as a direct cause of the miscarriage.


Stupid, needless, and utterly unconstitutional. Did I mention stupid? Stupid. Women of Utah: sic 'em!

I find myself wondering if there are a complete abscence of rational thinking people in Utah, or if they are merely unrepresented in their government.

Well, IANAL, nor do I play one on the SD, but it’s hard for me to imagine such a law being allowed to stand. It seems, at least on skimming it, to be unconstitutional…as well as being a really slippery slope.


Poorly crafted legislation (to be kind), but it was an attempt to address this situation:

I don’t believe the SCOTUS has established a right to abortion on demand in the 3rd trimester. Note that:

Seems likely this will be amended to apply to 3rd trimester only.

Every single time I post that if the fetus is granetd all rights to person hood this is exactly what will happen, people say “prove it.” If the fetus is a person and the woman miscarriages, maybe she took an asprin or a sip of coffee or “had bad thoughts” about the baby.

Every unattended death of a person is investigated. If the fetus is a person, any miscarriage would have to be investigated.

And - one would hope- amended to remove the “reckless” portion of the bill or they’re not realy solving the core issue.

And every time you post that, someone points out that every miscarriage was not investigated when abortions were illegal. Not to mention the fact that this law does not grant the fetus all rights of personhood.

Let’s argue about what this law does, not what some strawman characterization of this law does.

What medical evidence do you have that thinking bad thoughts can cause miscarriage? If you have such evidence, please post it. If you don’t, why do you imagine that it might be construed as such?

Perhaps people would be less likely to ask you to “prove it” if you exaggerated less.


Isn’t the meaning that if someone sees a person having coffee, taking aspirin, or expressing “bad thoughts” about their pregnancy (“Damn it, I wish this thing would get out of me already”) and then the observed person has a miscarriage, it creates cause for an investigation? Or am I misreading what Annie-Xmas meant?

There are plenty of people who believe that ONE glass of wine will do damage to your fetus, despite the fact that there is no evidence that such is the case - and in fact a study that shows that babies who had occasional exposure to very moderate amounts of alcohol have better developmental scores as toddlers.

Pregnancy is, unfortunately, a period in a woman’s life where busybodies with their superstitions outweigh factual evidence (plenty of people do believe you need “good thoughts” - and you know it too, how many times were you or your wife told ‘all you need to do to get pregnant is relax!’ - that doesn’t stop with conception)

Miscarriages are generally ill understood - it isn’t something you usually get an answer on in the anguish of losing a wanted child - and to have that anguish and face an investigation over having eaten deli meats - not something I’d wish on anyone.

I believe you are misreading it. She did not say “expressing”, she said “having”. This is not something one can observe, and therefore it could not trigger an investigation.

She was listing possible reasons for a miscarriage. Caffeine and aspirin are associated with higher incidence of birth defect and spontaneous abortion. Bad thoughts are not (to my knowledge).


And what this law does is make induced miscarriages illegal - so suddenly the parallel with investigating for induced deaths (aka murders) snaps into sharp focus. For this law to be taken seriously every miscarriage would have to be investigated. Which means that the slippery slope wasn’t imagined and is in fact coming to pass, exactly as Annie-Xmas has been saying it would all along.

So, the anti-abortion laws of years past weren’t “taken seriously” since every miscarriage wasn’t investigated?

What legal concept are you referring to with your construct of “for this law to be taken seriously…”? Does every broken bone a child has have to be investigated for us to take child abuse laws seriously? Does every black eye a married women has treated have to be investigate for us to take domestic abuse laws seriously?

No. As I wrote, the statement was that the anti-abortion postion inherently implied that intentional miscarriages would be banned too. And look at this, it’s happening! Wow! Guess those paranoid liberals weren’t wrong after all!

It’s pretty gutsy for you to still be mocking this argument in a thread about a law that exactly bears out their predictions. Presuming that you comprehend the absolute foolishness of what you’re arguing, anyway.

And if enforcement of the law is applied selectively in a discriminatory manner, then that’s illegal.

What is the difference between an abortion and an intential miscarriage?

The prediction that is being mocked is that all miscarriages will have to be “investigated”, which has not be established, and is, in fact, contrary to what we know about the history of such laws.

Not at all. The law can be crafted such that some interested party must ask that charges be brought against the woman for there to be an investigation. Unless you can point to the part of the law which requires all hospitals to report all miscarriages to the police. Hell, some women have miscarriages without ever having seen a physician.

“Abortion” is typically interpreted as referring to a medical procedure.

And before you reject that, keep in mind that if it didn’t, this law would be completely unnecessary. Abortions are already banned, right? So what additional stuff is covered by banning miscarriages too, if they’re not different?

There have been laws specifically criminalizing miscarriages before?

What do you suppose this law means? In your opinion, I mean. Who does it apply to, and how will it be investigated?

Well, that’s the “problem” with the Utah law prior to this new one. There was a difference, hence she couldn’t be prosecuted even though the “procedure” took place in the 3rd trimester. As I noted above, many states have similar laws which apply to the 3rd trimester only. And, btw, do you have evidence that those states investigate every 3rd trimester miscarriage?

Presumably, this law will be found to be unconstitutional if it is ever applied to a woman in her 1st trimester.

It was a crime to induce an abortion-- you didn’t have to see a back-ally doctor to have broken the law. This law only makes “induced miscarriages” illegal. In the same way, it’s illegal to break someone’s arm, but not every broken arm was caused by someone else.

See my note above about broken arms. Same diff.

I haven’t done the footwork on enforcement in other states so I’m going to “concede” it, in the sense that I’m not going to argue it specifically anymore. (I’ll do “general” below, with the broken arms.)

I admit ignorance - there’s something in a constiturion explicitly legalizing first-trimester induced miscarriages?

It’s illegal to kill someone - but not every death results in a murder investigation. Why not? Well, it’s because a cursory examination of the evidence often makes it a non-starter. old man dies in hospital bed - doctors report heart attack. Cops don’t bother to show, film at 11. Similarly, mother brings child to doctor and both state that he fell off the swing. No cops are called. (Instance repeats weekly with assorted bruises and injuried, many in the shape of a man’s hand or belt buckle. Cops show up.)

So. With this law, how is it to be enforced? What will constitute reasonable suspicion of foul play? Woman seen climbing stairs? Woman drinks coffee? Woman seen buying aspirin? Woman heard seriously remarking that she wished she could get an abortion? (Don’t laugh - I bet that would turn heads in a murder case.)

At the absolute bare minimum, the law would have to stipulate that the pregnancy was far enough along for it to be reasonable to expect that the woman would know she’s pregnant. It’s not at all uncommon for conception to occur but for the zygote to die within the first month, for instance.