Friday, February 25, 2011

This Is Totally Reasonable Because- Look Over There!

[trigger warning: miscarriage, abortion. please enjoy this delightful otter instead.]

I will start this by saying that miscarriage can be traumatizing, and we should never overlook the pain another person feels. It is not hypocritical or inconsistent to sympathize with the suffering of a woman after a miscarriage, even if it was in the first trimester, and even if you support unlimited first trimester abortions. I can sympathize with your pain without involving politics or personal beliefs, without having experienced it myself, because I have felt pain and I have felt the relief of sympathy. That's just being a decent human being.


Anyway, I've seen a lot of GAH! over the Miscarriage as Murder Bill. Vox Nova (the Catholic slacktivist) walked away from the GOP. Feministe is starting a campaign to mail pictures of your possible miscarriage (i.e., your period) to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Franklin, which I will be participating in.

Here's a different reaction to the bill, from a commentor to Vox Nova named doug:

The bill puts an unborn person on the same legal footing as a person who has been born. In most, if not all states, deaths are to be reported, and investigated if not occurring with a physician in attendance. If a woman calls her physician, that physician to seek medical advice in the matter, that would amount to having a physician in attendance. It only requires an “investigation” if no physician is in attendance. Typically for any death that occurs outside of a medical facility, investigation is minimal unless there is some affirmative reason to suspect foul play. When I was working in assisted living and a death occurred, we simply reported it to the police and that was the end of the matter.

Perhaps you should write to the legislature in that state and suggest amendments. I think a reasonable amendment would be to simply allow reporting, and an investigation only if there is reasonable suspicion of foul play. We had three miscarriages last year, and my wife sought medical advice for each one. The process can take quite some time to complete. As I read the bill, my wife would have had no reporting requirements, and it would be taken care of by the doctor’s office. If we didn’t have medical insurance, however, I certainly would not want someone probing into it, although I wouldn’t object to simply reporting it. Government does have a legitimate need to monitor both deaths and births. Government does not have any need to intrude into private matters unless there is affirmative evidence of a crime. Having a miscarriage does not constitute evidence of a crime. I would resent a government investigation if we couldn’t afford a doctor during a miscarriage. A report of a beating and subsequent miscarriage is evidence of a crime that should be investigated.

Well, I couldn't possibly deal with that all at once- we're a little verbose, now aren't we there, douggie?- so we'll parse it piece by piece.

The bill puts an unborn person on the same legal footing as a person who has been born.

That's ludicrous for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, current law concerning abortion, the fact that zygotes and fetuses are not the same, the fact that reality is as it is and not was one wishes it to be, I could go on. I would say that, correctly stated, what douggie meant to say is, "This bill seeks to put an unborn person on the same legal footing as a person who has been born", which would actually be true.

In most, if not all states, deaths are to be reported, and investigated if not occurring with a physician in attendance. If a woman calls her physician, that physician to seek medical advice in the matter, that would amount to having a physician in attendance. It only requires an “investigation” if no physician is in attendance. Typically for any death that occurs outside of a medical facility, investigation is minimal unless there is some affirmative reason to suspect foul play. When I was working in assisted living and a death occurred, we simply reported it to the police and that was the end of the matter.

Let me count the ways he is wrong. First of all, the bill calls for reporting of suspected "suspicious" miscarriage by any person, and that person will be kept anonymous. (Click here, go to lines 234-242) Now douggie is kind of right. People die in medical facilities all the time, the police don't investigate each and every death. However, if I call the police and say that Mr. Johnson's death at the hospital last night was murder and spin them a tale, they'll investigate it. It's happened at the nursing home my mother-in-law worked at. (Grieving relatives do this more often than you might think.)

So, your nosy neighbor who totally hates your poorly maintained law calls the police and tells them he thinks you were lifting 50lb bags of fertilizer for a purpose other than lawn maintenance, and you're faced with discussing the inner workings of your uterus with Officer Edward. Good luck proving yourself innocent.

Anyways, somewhere between 30-50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriages before the woman even realizes she is pregnant. I could be having a miscarriage every month for all I know, I don't care until I miss my period. Most obstetricians won't even make the first appointment until after 10 weeks because they don't want to be bothered seeing all the women who would miscarry between the first and second appointments. That's how common it is.

Which brings me to calling the doctor. Even if I realize I am miscarrying, I may not call the doctor. Lots of women don't. They realize what's happening and if the bleeding doesn't reach "Wow! That is a LOT of blood!" levels, they deal with it at home*. Now I have to skip work and pay for a doctor I may not need and don't want to see? Because the State of Georgia considers me a de facto murderer until proven otherwise?

Perhaps you should write to the legislature in that state and suggest amendments. I think a reasonable amendment would be to simply allow reporting, and an investigation only if there is reasonable suspicion of foul play. We had three miscarriages last year, and my wife sought medical advice for each one. The process can take quite some time to complete. As I read the bill, my wife would have had no reporting requirements, and it would be taken care of by the doctor’s office. If we didn’t have medical insurance, however, I certainly would not want someone probing into it, although I wouldn’t object to simply reporting it. Government does have a legitimate need to monitor both deaths and births. Government does not have any need to intrude into private matters unless there is affirmative evidence of a crime. Having a miscarriage does not constitute evidence of a crime. I would resent a government investigation if we couldn’t afford a doctor during a miscarriage. A report of a beating and subsequent miscarriage is evidence of a crime that should be investigated.

Shorter doug: I like this bill, unless I don't like it- look over there! Beating a woman is already a crime, douggie. It's called assault and battery. Why should it be investigated all special-like because a zygote was also on the scene? Honestly, I cannot say this enough, prolifers never seem to remember that any discussion of pregnancy involves a woman and that women are actual human beings to whom laws apply. We don't need to make assault and battery extra special illegal.

Douggie, what you seem to be missing is something important: only women miscarry. Ultimately, only women would bear the onus of investigation and punishment under this law. Reasonably, any man involved could say, "Hey, I had no idea she was pregnant and should not have gone horseback riding." Why would he know unless she told him? Very few women "show" in the first trimester.

Imagine the world douggie supports oh-so-reasonably. I will have to come up with proof, every month, that I was not pregnant, or, if I was, that I did nothing to cause my own miscarriage. To do that, I would have to abstain from anything that could possibly, in anyone's imagination, cause a miscarriage:

coffee, alcohol, cigarettes (all still legal for men)

exercising too vigorously (walking okay, running not? I have no idea)

not exercising enough

eating poorly (have you seen all the diets out there? who even knows what's right)

not taking prenatal vitamins at all times

lifting anything over 10 lbs (does that include my vacuum? I have no idea)

working too hard (there's no real definition of "hard" in this context, so I guess women shouldn't work at all)

experiencing too much stress (again, "too much" has no meaning here. guess you shouldn't have taken that job cuddling puppies.)

coming into contact with chemicals (which ones? i don't know. how would I know they are there? no idea)

taking any and (almost) all medications (it's too bad you need lithium for bipolar disorder. if you were a man, i'd be able to treat you.)

according to bill itself: marriage difficulties. avoid those or get investigated.

being poor. poor people are far more likely to seek abortions. poor people will be investigated.


I can't help it. Douggie tries to make it sound reasonable, but all I can see is Moira from the Handmaid's Tale film pointing out that women don't need hands and feet for what they do. Look at that list above and ask yourself, would I need anything more than what a cow is given to fulfill the role Franklin has put forth for me? Would I really need my hands or feet? My eyes? My tongue?




*That can be dangerous. Sometimes, not everything gets expelled and you can end up with a uterine infection, so I'd say go to a doctor, but last time I checked, adult Americans have the right to refuse medical care for themselves, even if it is inadvisable.

6 comments:

  1. And this is why I think liberals need to be arguing in favor of infanticide, so the compromise point isn't so skewed by the insane right.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i just...


    SO MANY fucking pregnancies end - i mean, it could be argued that EVERY PERIOD is a "miscarriage" [of at least ovum]. where would this END?



    you know, maybe this ISN'T just about controlling women. maybe these guys [and some women] are, like, feeling post-partum FEAR of never having been born? maybe it's REALLY fear that we women will just up and QUIT if they don't stop treating us like shit - and so they're trying to get all these laws in place, laws that won't LET us quit. like, they're terrified if we aren't FORCED to do it, we won't have babies anymore! [as in, the majority of women we aren't some flavor of fundy] and THEN where will we be? we'll be like EUROPE {GASP!}

    ReplyDelete
  3. OMG. i went and started reading the bill. it is NOT a "Miscarriages are Murder bill" it is a "Any loss of pregnancy ESPECIALLY ABORTION is murder" bill

    it's a flat out fucking challenge of RvW and states "The General Assembly [of GA] KNOWS that "life begins at conception" and Georgia has the duty to protect citizens from the moment of conception until natural death..."

    THIS IS A LAW MAKING ABORTION ILLEGAL. PERIOD. WHAT THE FUCK I CANNOT FUCKING DEAL WITH THIS SHIT THIS IS ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT I CANNOT FUCKING BELIEVE THEY ARE CLAIMING THAT THEY "KNOW" AND HAVE *PROOF* THAT "LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION"

    and just fucking FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!! somewhere between and quarter and a half of pregnancies END IN MISCARRIAGE and we don't know the number for sure because, as PF pointed out, if it miscarries before we know we're pregnant then we don't even know it happened and FUCK ME FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK

    *sob*

    ReplyDelete
  4. "THIS IS A LAW MAKING ABORTION ILLEGAL. PERIOD. "

    Yes, that's exactly what it is, which is one reason there's little reason to get too worked up about it. Franklin is a fringe extremist whose ideas are even rejected by more mainstream pro-lifers. See this post for example. In the unlikely event that his law was actually enacted, it would quickly be struck down as unconstitutional. You don't have to be a lawyer to know that Georgia can't just pretend that Supreme Court rulings don't apply there.

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  5. UN -

    i want to believe that. and then i look around at the ABSOLUTE SHIT that the fucking Right has been pulling for the past fucking decade - and it may not go thru RIGHT NOW, but give it a few years. if THAT

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  6. Apropos of nothing, other things can cause miscarriage, too.

    Ignoring the leakage of amniotic fluid.

    Getting on a plane at 8+ months of pregnancy (change in air pressure, y'know - oh, and lack of OB/Gyn's up there).

    Avoiding larger hospitals (like the ones in Texas, at the beginning of the plane trip; or the ones in Alaska, for the end of the trip) in favor of a small clinic miles from anywhere.

    Now, further than that, say that you know that the child had Down's Syndrome, and raising a Downs child is a challenge. And say that you'd just been elected the youngest governor (and the first woman governor) in Alaska's history. What is an up and coming, dedicated pro-life politician to do? Wouldn't a miscarriage have been convenient?

    I'm not suggestng anything. I'm just sayin'...

    ReplyDelete

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