Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'd thought this was typical hyperbole

Georgia Lawmaker's Anti-Abortion Proposal Could Punish Women for Miscarriages:

A Georgia state representative has reintroduced an anti-abortion bill that would make miscarriages a felony if the mother cannot prove there was no "human involvement."

I first caught word of this on some typically-hysterical abortion advocacy sites, so at first I'd thought they were exaggerating. Evidently they're not. Some clown actually came up with an idea that bizarre.

Aside from being stupid, it's wrong and totally unworkable.

Let's start with the blatant evil of the presumption of guilt. That's totally antithetical to our Constitution, and to the basic human virtue of giving people reasonable benefit of the doubt. And that's assuming that the pregnant state really is one in which there was an embryo. Sometimes you'll get signs of possible life -- elevated HCG levels, cessation of menstruation, and even a gestational sac on ultrasound -- when the woman is actually carrying a blighted ovum or hydatidiform mole. So this law requires you to legally presume not only that the woman caused the victim's death, but that there actually was a victim in the first place.

Now we can move on to cases in which there actually was an embryo or fetus that died. We don't presume homicide with born people. There has to be some evidence of foul play before a homicide investigation. Considering the naturally high rate of natural death at the earlier stages of life, natural death is a reasonable presumption. To simply presume foul play unless proven otherwise for the unborn makes as much sense as presuming foul play every time an ailing elderly person dies. What a waste of law enforcement resources this idea would precipitate!

Then we can move on to the cruelty of treating grieving women like criminals.

The entire proposal warrants a big fat raspberry.


Unknown said...

Actually, every death is first treated by the police as a homicide, then a suicide, then an accident, and then natural causes. However, that doesn't mean that anyone is under any obligation to "prove" that a person's death wasn't a homicide. It means that if the police receive word that someone just died, they look at the death as a homicide until they see some clear indication otherwise. (This is why if someone hangs himself/herself, you're not supposed to cut down the body if it's clear the person is indeed dead - it can count as tampering with a potential crime scene because the police haven't looked at it yet.) So if "Grandpa Bob", age 94, is found dead in his favorite armchair, the police will be interested in whether there are any signs of foul play. But does that mean they're going to demand that everyone in the house with Bob prove that they didn't kill him? No.

Christina Dunigan said...

Every UNEXPECTED death is put thru the "rule out" routine, and how vigorously depends on the circumstances.

If somebody had been sick, sometimes the coroner/medical examiner won't even do an autopsy. Autopsies are rare in "attended" deaths -- when somebody was under a doctor's care and the doctor fills out the death certificiate with a cause of death that makes sense.

Since early pregnancy loss is so common, there'd simply be no cause for suspision unless somebody complained -- the baby's father, say, or if the mother suspected somebody had slipped abortion drugs to her.

Unknown said...

They won't do an autopsy, no, but they do do a cursory look to make sure that nothing seems fishy, even if "Grandpa Bob" was 94 years old and had two previous heart attacks. But, yes, if Grandpa Bob was already in the hospital and just eventually stopped breathing, that doesn't get investigated. You're right that miscarriages aren't investigated either. I just wanted to comment on "we don't presume homicide with born people", because if you call the cops, they DO presume homicide for at least a few seconds just as a matter of course.