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.