Scroll To Top
Women

Utah to Criminalize Miscarriage?

Utah to Criminalize Miscarriage?

A bill that was passed by the Utah House and Senate will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage. If the governor signs the bill, it would also make induced abortion a crime in some instances. The proposed law is different because it is specifically designed to punish the pregnant woman, not those who assist or cause an illegal abortion or unintended miscarriage. The bill could make women legally responsible for miscarriages caused by "reckless" behavior.

This news came out a few weeks ago, but we thought it was important enough to post since it flew under the radar when it happened.

A bill that was passed by the Utah House and Senate will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage.

According to RH RealityCheck, if the governor signs the bill, it would also make induced abortion a crime in some instances.

Lynn M. Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, says the proposed law is different because it is specifically designed to punish the pregnant woman, not those who assist or cause an illegal abortion or unintended miscarriage.

The proposed bill would criminalize any actions taken by women to induce a miscarriage or abortion outside of a doctor's care, with penalties including up to life in prison.

The basis for the new law was a 17-year-old pregnant girl who paid a man $150 to beat her in an attempt to cause a miscarriage.

"What is really radical and different about this statute is that all of the other states' feticide laws are directed to third party attackers," Paltrow explained. "[Other states' feticide laws] were passed in response to a pregnant woman who has been beaten up by a husband or boyfriend. Utah's law is directed to the woman herself and that's what makes it different and dangerous."

The bill also creates a standard that could make women legally responsible for miscarriages caused by "reckless" behavior, such as drinking alcohol. This theory could cause women to hide substance abuse and stop them from seeking treatment. The bill also does not exempt domestic violence.

"The standard is so broad," said Missy Bird, executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Utah, "there nothing in the bill to exempt a woman for not wearing her seatbelt who got into a car accident."

While many states have fetal homicide laws, most apply only in the third trimester. Utah's bill would apply in the first trimester and miscarriages could become the basis for a murder trial.

Follow SheWired on Twitter!

Follow SheWired on Facebook!
30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Pride Staff