A controversial  bill is awaiting the signature of Utah Governor Gary Herbert.  If the governor does nothing, the bill becomes law.  Why is this bill so dangerous?

In a nut shell, the bill criminalizes reckless behavior that causes a miscarriage.  The bill’s sponsor, State Representative Wimmer (R) says of course not wearing a seat belt would not cause a pregnant woman to be prosecuted.  However, the lawmaker could not give real assurances that this wouldn’t happen.  He did add that taking drugs could be determined reckless behavior.

The bill, ostensibly, was created because some teenager paid another person money to beat her in hopes of aborting.  The fetus lived and Utah law failed to provide a means to prosecute the girl beaten or the person who did it.  Wimmer also says that this bill’s intent is not to restrict legal abortion.  (note raised eyebrow)  It would seem that this law is just poised and perched to be a test case for legal abortion to be criminalized.

According to ABC News

critics argue that allowing homicide charges if a woman’s “reckless behavior” causes the unborn child to die opens up the possibility that prosecutors could seek a murder conviction against women who miscarry after not wearing their seatbelts or returning to a partner who has a history of physical abuse.

One of the 4 senators who voted against the bill had this to say

“This could be misconstrued or construed too aggressively,” Democratic Utah state Sen. Ross Romero said. “We all make bad choices in our lives and most of them don’t come with criminal burdens. This one does, or may, I should say.”

A spokeswoman for the governor also adds:

“He understands that the intent of the bill is not to criminalize miscarriage, nor to restrict a woman’s ability to seek a legal abortion. However, he is also aware that concerns exist about possible unintended consequences of the legislation,” Welling wrote. “That will be key to his analysis of this legislation, as it is with all other bills with which he is presented.”

Pro Choice advocates around the nation maintain that the right to legal abortion as outlined by Roe v Wade is the law of the land and that Utah and other states cannot simply outlaw United States laws. They expect a test case to go before the Supreme Court. Rep. Wimmer thinks otherwise, publicly, which speaks volumes. My guess is that is his exact intent. He wants to challenge Roe.

‘Reckless behavior’ is far too general of a term to be sticking in a bill about abortion or any other law actually.  ‘Reckless behavior’ would seem to be open to the  interpretation of every prosecutor  and judge in Utah.  Perhaps Utah should team up and offer Delegate Bob Marshall a spot out there in the Beehive State.  ‘Reckless Behavior’ seems to go hand in hand with medical lies and ‘punishment’ mentality.  ‘Reckless behavior’, de-funding Planned Parenthood of whatever magic funds Marshall feels are out there all seem like a war on women to me.

20 Thoughts to “Utah Bill Criminalizes Reckless Behavior Causing Miscarriage”

  1. Elena

    The issue is that this teenager felt so desperate she willing to endanger her own life to abort her fetus.

    What the hell happened to the republican mantra of government stay out my health care issues, oh wait, that only pertains to issues THEY think are government intervention.

  2. Apparently the govt is ok if it is in someone else’s uterus.

    I guess I want to know what ‘reckless’ means. Talk about vague.

  3. It sounds like dangerous legislation to me. RECKLESS means different things to different people.

    How about speeding 16 miles over the posted speed limit which could result in a reckless driving charge…and an accident happens causing a miscarriage?

    Too many what ifs for me.

  4. marinm

    When we provide the govt more power to legislate our lives; we get what we want. More government involvement.

  5. So dont have delegates?

  6. marinm

    Delegates are fine. Restrict what laws they can and cannot pass. Hold them to it. Erect a guilotine as a reminder of what happens to tyrants.

    If we complain that parents aren’t smart enough to be responsible for their kids and govt knows best – the natural result is that women will be turned into incubators for the State and men will be chained to provide labor. We’re either free or we’re not.

  7. PWC Taxpayer

    Moon you are really out there on this one. The bill was, ostensibly, to clarify assult. Its a little dicy to argue that two consenting adults cannot beat each other up. The problem here was that there was another individual involved and was a victim of the assult. The law – so studiously framed to protect the mother from any attack from the Right to Life folks, prevented any claim of assult on the unborn. In otherwords, the mother almost had to be beyond the 3rd trimester or would have otherwise sought a legal and safe abortion. Moon , would you still object to the law if it permitted punching to invoke an abortion but permitted the guy to cut it out?

  8. What a ridiculous statement. Do you seriously think your question deserves an answer.

    Had you read the thread you would know that my concern is the word ‘reckless.’

    I am curious how someone is beyond the third trimester. Don’t we call that birth?

    Obviously the pregnant girl didn’t have the means to get a legal abortion. I believe she was 17 weeks. She might not have known how to go about getting one. She might have just been scared as hell. Regardless, her behavior was not acceptable in any camp I can think of. I imagine a bunch of old moss back men would want her put in jail. I feel certain this young woman has undergone all sorts of humiliation and personal punishment. The state doesn’t need to jump in.

  9. marinm

    MH, what PWC is pointing out is that the word reckless has a legal meaning. Your thinking of it as a dictionary word. Look up the legal definition of the word – wreckless.

    A lot of the concern that you see on websites over this issue are over dramatizing something that already is on the books for countles other activities.

    I don’t know the guy (delegate) or if he’s got an agenda but the bill (posted above) doesn’t have anything that I saw that was cringeworthy.

  10. Captain Idiot-Face

    God, I love Utah! I love Virginia, too, but man Utah is Cool!

  11. marin, laws vary from state to state. Actually I am reading the news. I really haven’t run in to drama. Reckless is a very vague term. Also, I am sure as a 2nd amendment advocate, you are familiar with whittling away of rights concept? Camel’s nose under the tent?

  12. Captain, I agree about Utah being cool. The fact that there are at least 5 National Parks there that are beyond cool. I have seen 3 of them. I haven’t been to Canyonlands, Arches or the dinosaur park. But the others rule. What a gorgeous state!!!!

    I don’t care much for their theocracy but …I don’t stay long.

  13. PWC Taxpayer

    No, it is you who objected to a law that would have clarified that punching a pregnant woman is illegal – even if consensual. Apparently you do not object to the courts current finding under the current law – resulting no charges. And since you do not object to the punching how far does a woman’s right go? 17 weeks is not legal or safe – and lets not play loose here it was probably more and the child viable. Its not just about her – Moon, although I understand that you can’t go there, the state – those old nasty men you so want to run everything else – has some responsiblity here to the child.

  14. Al

    When are women, roughly half our population, going to start working to balance our electorate at all levels so they stop becoming the subject of decisions made exclusively by men?

    Come on, ladies… go to Richmond, Washington, get on our BOCS (in larger numbers). We need a more balanced view of the world driving our public policy. I’m guessing health care, for example, would be a different discussion if half of the folks negotiating it were moms.

  15. PWC Taxpayer

    Al said. I’m guessing health care, for example, would be a different discussion if half of the folks negotiating it were moms.

    I agree. In its current form, it would be really / finally dead by now. Most moms can count their pennies and balance a budget. Hey, even Howard Dean agrees that this turkey is a looooser.

  16. PWC, do NOT attempt to tell me how I think. Many have tried, none have succeeded. It would probably behoove you to rein in being so controversial with me.

    One more time. My concern is that law will be used to whittle away abortion rights. pregnant women who suffer miscarriages should not be under the watchful eye of the law and possibly be accused of being reckless and being prosecuted.

    Assault charges should take care of the girl and fetus. The problem was that the girl asked to be beaten. It was a rare case of strange behavior. The camel’s nose is under the tent on this one.

  17. PWC Taxpayer

    No, the issue is simple regardless of your attempt to obfuscate. The proposed law would make an assult in order to induce an abortion illegal –even if concentual. You clearly opposed the proposed law. Unfortunatley, current assult statutes clearly did not take care of it – as it went to court and the court dismissed all charges. The only way the proposed law could be viewed as “whittling away” abortion rights is (1) if one advocates that there are no limts on abortion today nor should there be, and (2) the right to abortion includes the right to have it conducted extra-medical — induced by anybody anyhere to include a punch in the stomach without criminality. Please Moon, this is not a case of otherwise inappropriate behavior resulting in a miscarrige. I suggest you calm down and take another look at the case and the law you challenged. The proposed law may serve to save some confused “young adults” including the woman involved and some innocents.

  18. I am very much opposed to the bill that might very well be law now.

    It is a dangerous law and whittles away at abortion rights. It is an unnecessary law. Wreckless behavior could be construed as going to a medical facility to have an abortion or taking RU-486.

    I don’t have time to explain how using the word ‘reckless behavior’ endangers women. Reckless makes anyone vulnerable to government interference who has had a miscarriage.

    It is a bad law.

    PWC, calm down? Do you have a clue how patronizing your words are?

    We disagree. There is no point in us discussing this case further. If I said the sun rose in the east, you would disagree.

  19. PWC Taxpayer

    The revised statute is needed, if only to draw a bold line that there are generally accepted standards as to when and how such things take place and that other actions to include an attempt to induce an abortion by punching a women in the stomach 9consensual or not) is not.

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