Why Criminalizing Abortions is a Horrible Idea, or Another Reason I’m Relieved I Live in Canada.

So I read this article today: Link

It has gems like the following:

Based on the belief that he had an obligation to give a fetus a chance for life, a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered a critically ill 27-year-old woman who was 26 weeks pregnant to undergo a cesarean section, which he understood might kill her. Neither the woman nor her baby survived.

In Iowa, a pregnant woman who fell down a flight of stairs was reported to the police after seeking help at a hospital. She was arrested for “attempted fetal homicide.”

In Utah, a woman gave birth to twins; one was stillborn. Health care providers believed that the stillbirth was the result of the woman’s decision to delay having a cesarean. She was arrested on charges of fetal homicide.

In Louisiana, a woman who went to the hospital for unexplained vaginal bleeding was locked up for over a year on charges of second-degree murder before medical records revealed she had suffered a miscarriage at 11 to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Florida has had a number of such cases. In one, a woman was held prisoner at a hospital to prevent her from going home while she appeared to be experiencing a miscarriage. She was forced to undergo a cesarean. Neither the detention nor the surgery prevented the pregnancy loss, but they did keep this mother from caring for her two small children at home. While a state court later found the detention unlawful, the opinion suggested that if the hospital had taken her prisoner later in her pregnancy, its actions might have been permissible.

In another case, a woman who had been in labor at home was picked up by a sheriff, strapped down in the back of an ambulance, taken to a hospital, and forced to have a cesarean she did not want. When this mother later protested what had happened, a court concluded that the woman’s personal constitutional rights “clearly did not outweigh the interests of the State of Florida in preserving the life of the unborn child.”

Excerpt from an article by Lynn M. Paltrow and Jeanne Flavin

I suggest you read the whole article if your at all alarmed by this. If your not alarmed by this to some extent you should probably check your pulse, and if you do find your pulse you may want to get some help of the psychiatric variety.

Some of you many be asking what the hell is going on, and questioning the legitimacy of these claims. But the war on abortion is due to the nature of it’s goal has been and will continue to be a war a women right’s to their own bodies. Because at the end of the day you can talk about restricting abortions without saying that women have less right to controlling their body then does a fertilized zygote (or embryo, or eventually fetus. each having there own arguments associated with them) There is not way around that problem. But worse then just restricting abortion many state have basically criminalized them, leading to women literally dieing and being jailed.

Worse still many of these women where not having abortions, many don’t even now they where pregnant, some of these women are vehemently anti-abortion. All that need to happen for you to be jailed with many of these laws it having a pregnancy terminated or in risk of terminating, and you lose your right to bodily autonomy.

And because there is not good way of determining a miscarriage from most abortions these laws regardless of intention where doomed to succeed only in criminalizing female side of reproduction. Given miscarriages occur somewhere in over 20% of all pregnancies. Given how many women become pregnant in a year imagine if this becomes a problem through out the USA? Women might need to flee the country just to have children, or if they do have a miscarriage they will have to hide it, even if they are risking their life due to complications, because they might just get sent to jail!

Is it any wonder why they where calling these laws the war on women? I hope for the sake of women through the States that everyone reading this will spread the message, and help stop this atrocity before the anymore women are unjustly abused by this laws and policies. There has already been at least 380 of these cases, and the rates are only on the rise.

If you actually want to reduce the rates of abortions like most sensible people do. Then support sex education for children. The best way to stop abortions is to make sure pregnancies can happen unless they are wanted.


26 responses to “Why Criminalizing Abortions is a Horrible Idea, or Another Reason I’m Relieved I Live in Canada.

  • meharbharatiya

    It’s stupid. I think it’s just stupid. It’s a woman’s choice. And even if the child is born, what if it lives a life of misery, poverty and starvation? Is this life? Is this better than never being born? The pain of reality? People often don’t think of the consequences the child will have to deal with when it is born.


    • equippedcat

      It a woman’s choice, up to the point where her choice has significant impact on others. I don’t think that laws about abortion are a good idea, but I also don’t think that people who are against abortion should be forced to pay for someone else’s elective abortion (via government funds or insurance). Also, birth is an artificial delineation between human and not human. It is easy to pinpoint, but can you really say that one second before birth a child is not a child and one second after birth they are a child?, A more accurate point might be when the child can exist outside the womb with “minimal” assistance. Of course, even if we could agree on the definition of “minimal”, I think it unlikely that we could accurately identify that point. It seems to me that the best compromise might be something like:

      – a requirement for education about the possible negative consequences prior to any elective abortion

      – parental consent for this or any other medical procedure on a minor

      – no abortions or agencies who primarily advise for abortions supported by public money

      – no insurance policy which pays for elective abortions unless it is via a deliberately requested rider which is paid for by additional cost ONLY to those covered by the rider.

      – no other restrictions on abortions in the first trimester plus some part of the second trimester TBD.

      – fairly strict restrictions on abortions in the third trimester and possibly a part of the second.

      – partial birth abortion is renamed to what it really is, partial birth murder, and is treated as murder and conspiracy to commit murder

      Is this perfect? Nope. Would it please everybody? Probably very few people; mostly those who don’t hold a decisive opinion either way (is there anyone besides me?). Is it a reasonable compromise? I think so, but realize it is unlikely to happen.


      • hessianwithteeth

        No no no no no.

        Ugh this is no compromise it’s making abortion all but illegal for a massive part of the human population (basically if your not upper middle class or rich). It’s despicably narrowly sighted and does not take into account the many circumstances.

        In order.

        – They already do that

        – Well you better hope none of these minors have abusive parents, or parents who are willing to allow their child to die instead of having an abortion. And sometimes the parent is also the fetus’ parent

        – There are agencies that receive government (USA) funding that promote anti-abortion agendas. Why should pro-abortion agencies be restricted?

        – Lol so you want safe abortions to be for affluent people only? Do you think it’s better that the taxes go towards paying for the kid for 18 years?

        -That’s basically how it is in most places anyway.

        -Again this is generally the case anyway, particularly third. However, this brings up the problem of unwanted children. Your very concerned about public money being spent on abortions, but remember children are extremely expensive. So is legislating and enforcing all of these rules. There’s no way this is going to lead to lower costs, and worse still we already know from other place enforcing this kinds of legislature that they don’t reduce abortions rates at all. All this does is make some morally offended people feel better. Though they’ll still generally get their daughter an abortion if it might embarrass them at church. (That last one might seem unfair but it’s a a terribly common narrative)

        -Well that really sucks for every poor distraught mother who needs a medically necessary late-term abortion. Now the doctor needs to tell her she is murdering her baby. *slow clap* Good work I think we are done here. You do realize that late-term abortions are usually only done out of medical necessity, right?

        I really doubt you can give issue much though or research. Otherwise you’d know these things have been put into effect in different parts of the world to ill effect. Good job you’ve allow for the tyranny of a minority to make the lives of women every where that much more difficult. (unless your rich because they’ll have their abortions regardless)

        I probably sound like I’m being decisive here, but really. Truly. These things bring about bad, often terrible consequences, and while I don’t believe in the place. The road to hell is all too often paved in good intentions.

        We need to do want we can to bring about good. Not sing platitudes and make ourselves feel better while we let the world burn. Some times that means we must choose between bad choices, and abortions are far preferable to the sort of world where we police a person’s uterus.


        • equippedcat

          I tried not to say anything against medically necessary abortions. To be clearer, if the mother’s life is in danger, then the abortion is, in all ways, a regular medical procedure. No extra laws, no special insurance, no extra restrictions on public money being used. There are some people who think any abortion under any circumstances is not to be tolerated. You might want to save your best ire for them.

          My goal is not to discriminate against poor women; my hope is that people who are against abortion are not forced to pay for other peoples abortions. If I want to drive, I go out and get auto insurance and I pay for it. I don’t whine to the government to pay for it with the money they take from you in taxes, and I don’t make you pay for my insurance. By all means, have abortion insurance available – requested by and paid for by premiums of people who want that option. I’m not against abortion in general, but I am against me being involved with an abortion. Other people’s abortions are their business, so it irks me when they demand I pay for it.

          Abusive parents is a whole different problem to address. If I am responsible for a child, then I make the medical decisions for them. If I make one which is demonstrably harmful to the child, then I should be subject to the penalties of child abuse. Better me and my doctor making medical decisions for my child than Planned Parenthood (who at a minimum, have a bias in one direction) or a school principle or unless I’m a raging lunatic, a judge,

          Perhaps I am wrong about partial birth abortion. What percentage of the time does it occur that excessive danger to the mother is not detected until birth commences? Somehow I was led to the conclusion that it usually was for purposes other than the mother’s health, but thinking about it, I find it hard to believe that a woman would go through 9 months of pregnancy and THEN decide to end it just as birth commences without having a darned good reason.

          Abortions are necessary in some cases, and they are preferable to the alternatives is some cases, They are not wonderful, and always should be considered the least terrible option.


  • story teller

    I do not understand why people do not get, ‘my body my wish’
    Abortions that are medically necessary should be allowed, the price of a living human being is worth more than an unborn one.

    Living in India I always thought that women here bear the brunt of stifling laws and cultures that prevent them from exercising their rights, more than the others.
    Apart from abortions, foeticide and infanticide particularly for girl child is rampant in India.

    Here is the link of an abortion case that was sensationalised in India – http://m.thehindu.com/news/international/indian-woman-dies-after-being-refused-abortion/article4097428.ece/


  • Mony Baloney

    Thanks for drawing attention to this article, and the events described within the article. One of the authors was one of my college roommates. i am proud of the work she is doing. Thanks for helping to get the word out.


  • T. K. Greene

    Yeah…I really hope that the influence of our neighbour to the south will never actually push us to start a similar discussion of whether or not abortion should be legal, or else whether or not a woman has the right to decide what to do with her body when it comes to an unborn foetus. Seeing “pro-life” groups campaigning on Canadian university campuses is disturbing enough.

    I just fail to grasp how this is still an issue. I don’t understand how, in this century — in this decade of this century — and on this continent, abortion is still a contentious issue. How is it that a country whose president claims to be the “leader of the free world” still thinks women’s bodies and decisions to carry a foetus and then push out (or have cut out) a baby are up for debate? It’s disturbing. It’s an inexplicable desire of the state to have full control of women’s bodies, and it’s simply disturbing.


  • ejwinner

    The notion that ‘the human’ begins before viability is simply absurd. The notion that the state, politically biased by interest groups (especially religious interest groups), have any right to a woman’s decision over her own body, is offensive.

    The right to abortion is a civil right, and that has already been determined, But unless we want to say women are ‘second class humans,’ then it is a human right as well.

    The current regressive trend in American politics makes me wish I was Canadian, too.


  • mattwilson32

    these were definitely examples of what not to do. these laws were written generally to protect the mother. as usual the unintended consequences get in the way. I would disagree though, with the authors assertion that these examples are not rare. in the span of the study of about 33 years, they found 413 of these cases. in that same time period there were about 115 million births. most of these cases probably involved an initial crime that brought the police out there and they tacked on this charge for that little bit of extra jail time. but this is not by any means rampant. by my calculation these bad laws have affected 0.000004% of live births. this seems to be more of a douchebag prosecutor problem than republican/democrat problem, similar to mandatory minimums


  • equippedcat

    These are indeed horrid examples. There are laws on other subjects which also result in misuse, although usually only incarceration and/or loss of property, not death. Laws, poorly written or enforced for the benefit of the enforcer, ARE a problem, a serious problem.

    The laws about the cases in question seem to have nothing to do with criminalizing “abortion”, but rather, as mentioned, criminalizing fetal death. As is usual is the case when a law is generated to “fix a problem”, the law is ineffective at best and in some cases worse than the problem.

    Laws are supposed to be about regulating society for its own best interest. Far too often, laws are the result of individuals/groups trying to push their views on everybody else, or for the personal benefit of the people pushing the laws. Also, if someone is charged with “a” crime, they are usually charged with many other violations, since every time something “bad” happens, the instinctive reaction is to generate a new law to “prevent” such things. Which is silly, since if a person is willing to violate the “base” law, such as murder, what makes anyone (sane) think they will hesitate at lesser laws, such as carrying a gun, illegal use of a gun, possession of a gun in a school zone, or dumping a body in the desert? In fact, they are probably happy about it, because it gives them a legal “out”. Sure, I’ll plead guilty to illegal use of a firearm and littering if you drop the murder charge..

    Laws and lawyers are the problem here. And people who think laws can control action and lawyers have their clients best interests at heart. .


  • Viability, Fetal Homicide, and Abortion | Amusing Nonsense

    […] tag anything yesterday with Team Pepper, but I am still fine for Nano Poblano). However, this post by Withteeth had me thinking all morning. I posted a comment, but that comment wasn’t really […]


  • George Davis

    The case in DC is from 1987. I haven’t checked the others, but I think the authors of the Washington Post article should have mentioned that. It’s perfectly reasonable to say, things like this could come back, but the way they’ve written the article is misleading. This ultimately backfires on people who are pro-choice.


  • siriusbizinus

    There’s a few comments I wanted to leave here about this post, and I apologize if it’s lengthy.

    For starters, in each of the cited cases except the one in D.C., a fetal homicide statute was at play. These statutes were promulgated in the ’90’s and ’00’s to close a loophole where a person could force a miscarriage upon a woman and not be charged with a felony. What I think is going on here is that these statutes, because of their poor wording, are now getting used outside their original scope – namely to prevent others from getting away with murdering a woman’s child in the womb.

    The good news is that people here in the States can lobby their local legislature for a simple fix to this problem, and thus correct cases like the ones cited above from happening. Ask for lawmakers to create an exemption under the fetal homicide statutes for the mother of the deceased fetus, and an exemption for doctors performing an abortion.

    The other comment I wanted to make was about the article that was linked. It cited Roe v. Wade, although thankfully they didn’t cite it as good law. The notion of weighing the interests of the life of the fetus against the mother’s is something from Roe though. Generally this is expressed as viability. The reasoning behind it is that if the fetus can survive on its own, it no longer needs the mother, and the state has a heightened interest in protecting it.


    • clubschadenfreude

      how simple do you think it is to get a fix to laws that have people being forced to have children and to not have murder charges brought against them in the states? It has proved very hard to get any exemptions added to the laws that anti-choice people have forced into law. Indeed, we can’t even get exemptions added that are based on rape and incest.


      • siriusbizinus

        The short answer is that the ease of getting these laws fixed is inversely proportional to how easy it was to get them on the books. That being said, the process of changing them is the exact same process that got them on the books (because really, these laws were created due to public pandering).

        Yes, it will require getting in touch with your state representatives, and it will require you to voice your opinion on a petition or by voting. It might even require you to get out and demonstrate. But I think these things are worth it if they are done in the defense of women’s rights. Certainly the opposition is willing to do all of them to deny these rights to women.


        • clubschadenfreude

          indeed. however, in many states, such changes to laws can be tabled by the legislature never to see the light of day again and the average person can do nothing if their legislators are not friendly. as you note, it takes a lot of steps to even get close.


Tell us what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: