More from the fetus as a person campaign

Do legislatures these days just sit around all day looking for new and more abhorrent ways of instantiating their hatred of women?

There’s one making its way through the process in Kansas that would mandate the reporting of all miscarriages.

A bill advancing in Kansas would mandate reporting for miscarriages at any stage in pregnancy, the first step along the path to criminalizing pregnant women’s bodies. Under an amendment attached to HB 2613 — which was originally intended to update the state’s procedure for issuing birth certificates for stillborn babies — doctors would be required to report all of their patients’ miscarriages to the state health department.

HB 2613 initially sought to provide an alternative to the state’s current stillbirth certificate, which some parents believe over-emphasizes their child’s death in an emotionally painful way. Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R), one of the most ardent abortion opponents in Kansas, added the miscarriage reporting requirement last week. Now, the bill’s original author is withdrawing his support from his own legislation.

Nice that it’s a woman doing the hating.

…enacting additional regulations related to the end of a pregnancy threatens to turn pregnant women into suspectsin the eyes of the law. National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) has documented hundreds of cases of women being held criminally liable for decisions they made while pregnant, particularly if they later suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth. Anti-abortion advocates also tend to pressure states to increase the criminal penalties for violent acts that result in the loss of a pregnancy, an area that can open the door to potential attacks on reproductive rights.

According to Nash, HB 2613 fits into this broader approach.

“The whole point is to further the idea of the fetus as a person. It’s a way of establishing the groundwork for making abortion harder to get, and eventually illegal,” Nash [Elizabeth Nash, the states issue manager for the Guttmacher Institute] explained. “This is one tiny piece of that overall effort. At the end of the day, this is not the way to go to provide support for a woman who has had a later miscarriage. This doesn’t make up for the loss of a wanted pregnancy, and could also end up infringing on abortion rights.”

Which was the goal.


  1. Seth says

    It’s all about punishing women for having sex. These people don’t actually think fetuses are people; i doubt they even think (poor, esp. non-white) babies are people. Babies are a woman’s punishment for slutting it up, for daring to go outside of her father’s house before she’s married. And when that mother needs help feeding and clothing ‘the consequences of her actions’, these same fucking assholes are there to scold her for being poor. They aren’t pro-life. They’re full of contempt for any actual living, breathing person; that’s why you don’t see them donating blood or bone marrow or offering to donate their organs upon death. They really don’t give a shit; it’s all about feeling superior to sluts.

  2. jaytheostrich says

    So, every time anyone has sex, they could send a few million ‘reports’ to the government, for each and every sperm that didn’t successfully fertilize an egg?

  3. Onamission5 says

    Requiring doctors to report all miscarriages to law enforcement will have the effect of deterring some pregnant people from seeking early prenatal care, particularly if they have miscarried before. You can probably guess what the effects of that will be considering that early prenatal care is closely correlated with safer and healthier pregnancies.

  4. Menyambal says

    There’s an amendment that says folks don’t have to incriminate themselves. Unless there are going to be uterus police, there is no way to make that work. Of course, uterus police are probably the goal, there.

  5. iknklast says

    Do legislatures these days just sit around all day looking for new and more abhorrent ways of instantiating their hatred of women?

    Rhetorical question, Ophelia?

  6. Blanche Quizno says

    Before I moved from Minneapolis, MN, I was mentoring this mixed-race girl (age 15). I knew her casually, but when she found herself pregnant, she called me, so I had to get involved. I provided her with information about all her options, and, when she had made her decision (to abort), I went with her to tell her mother, who then informed the girl that, if she had decided to carry that pregnancy to term, she would have been kicked out of the house. Nice, huh? I ended up driving her and her mom to Planned Parenthood, waiting with them during her procedure, and then taking them out to dinner afterward.

    Anyhow, during this process, which lasted several days, I confided in a friend about what was going on. She said to me, “I know someone who will adopt her baby if she goes ahead and has it!”

    ‘Valerie,” I said, “the girl is mixed-race and her boyfriend (the baby daddy) is mixed race.”

    “Oh,” she said.

    And she never brought it up again. See, since I’m white, she naturally thought that I would only be involved with other white people…or something…

  7. Wylann says

    I met a few women like Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook when I lived in KS. They were all white, and came from what could conservatively be called privileged backgrounds.

    …and they were odious, odious people. Several of them rather badly lost verbally to my rather erudite and quite liberal wife. Those discussions were a glory to behold, and it makes me wish we had handy smartphones back them to keep a couple of those conversations around for posterity.

  8. M'thew says

    My goodness.

    Considering that about 40% of pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion, often even before the woman in question is aware of it, I think it would be advisable to amend the proposal to investigate all cases of menstruation. Please hand over your sanitary pads or tampons after use, and the state will investigate to see whether there was foul play.

    Remember, these often are the same people who argue for “small government” (so small you could drown it in a bucket or something – the violence of their rhetoric does not seem to phase them).

  9. says

    Blanche @ 6: I don’t understand why that would be an obstacle. Does Minnesota really have protocols in place that would prevent a white person from adopting a mixed-race baby? That sounds extremely counterproductive.

  10. says

    Well, there is that, and I should have made clear that I wasn’t trying to argue that the girl should have gone ahead with the pregnancy. It’s just the way Blanche’s comment was worded, it sounded like any adoption of a baby by a parent of a different race was ruled out a priori.

  11. says

    […]it sounded like any adoption of a baby by a parent of a different race was ruled out a priori.

    It was, but not for legal purposes. As soon as the woman found out that the baby wasn’t pure white, all interest in adoption was lost.

  12. justsomeguy says

    “Babies don’t *cost* money, they *make* money! Especially the little white ones.”

    -Jerri Blank

  13. Gordon Willis says

    It’s just the way Blanche’s comment was worded

    David, I think Blanche’s point is clear. Her friend didn’t say “Oh?” or “Oh? Is that a problem?” Just “Oh”, and nothing more. That really says it all. And I don’t think Blanche was making a generalisation about Minneapolis (Minnesota). Just a relevant comment about someone she knew there in a context which implied that a hostile attitude amongst white people towards people of mixed race is not unusual.

    People think in terms of their own, so “others” are not thought about and occasion surprise when they turn up. And “other” and “mixed” are uncomfortable because they rock boats on calm waters. Suddenly there are different people. Should they be allowed? What will the neighbours think?

    But anyway, I think Seth may be right about the urge to punish women, but I’m more inclined to think that for all of us, both men and women, women represent a complex of emotions which go to the heart of our being social animals and therefore need to be controlled in some way. As no possible control will solve all the problems the problem of women remains (can they be allowed to expose one eye to view the world, and should they have special bicycles which hide their bodily movements, and what about running and jumping and dancing, and should they be made to wear sexy clothes which expose as much as possible, and why should a woman be allowed to refuse me, and why should she have an opinion or a sense of humour…?).

    You’ve got lust, desirability and trade-bargaining, paternal ambition, paternity itself, maternity, maternal ambition, the instinct to protect a foetus (and the desire not to become extinct), the dictates of religion (which bring us back to where we started because while religion condemns lust it institutionalises all that lust requires). I think we are confused, and I see no easy answers, unless women mobilise the way men do and fight for their rights and win.

    But I don’t think that women themselves agree about this. How many women, excited and happy to discover themselves pregnant, feel that there is a person inside them? It’s a mess of emotion and superstition and none of us know where we are. Perhaps many women feel that they ought to be obliging and self-sacrificing, probably because of upbringing, but this is to condemn all their sisters to misery and must be wrong, even if they all like misery (which I have yet to observe, and I suspect that the self-sacrifing impulse is merely a pitiful — and to me intolerable — compensation for inurement).

    I think that the first and most important step is to remove men from the arena. I have no idea how that is to be done, but this has to be a matter for women, and it must be women who decide.

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