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An Even More Immodest Proposal

25/02/2011

Friends, I am concerned.

Recall if you will the tongue-in-cheek discussion from 11 February (An Immodest Proposal) in response to the ludicrous attacks on women’s rights going on around the nation. I engaged in a tête-a-tête with a commenter who believed all too genuinely in the suggestions I made to follow up on Hadley Freeman’s column, though after a hilarious and scathing retort by TheAllPowerfulOz I hoped that the storm had passed.

Enter Georgia. In the state of Georgia there is a representative by the name of Bobby Franklin (see his official page here) who has proposed legislation that would make miscarriages (or “spontaneous abortions”) a felony by classifying them as “pre-natal murder” unless it could be determined that “there is no human involvement whatsoever in the causation of such event.” (from HB-1, full text and information here)

Consider that, friends who have children or want children or who are expecting little bundles of joy as we speak. If the unthinkable was to happen, and you were to suffer the loss of that loved and coveted little boy or girl, a law such as this would further compound your misery by exposing you to the possibility of criminal charges of pre-natal murder — suggesting that you are to blame for not being careful enough to protect your little zygote.

Just so we’re clear, the punishment for murder according to the Georgia Code states that “A person convicted of the offense of murder shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for life.” (O.C.G.A. SS 16-5-1.D; emphasis mine) So, you could face life in prison or lethal freaking injection for a common (though tragic) biological function that not even doctors can fully understand or predict.

I can recall a time when women were held responsible for the loss of a pregnancy: Tudor England. Yes, in 1534 a woman was considered at fault if for some reason she failed to carry to term — never mind that nutrition and sanitation were not what we would consider ideal or that, you know, it’s a natural occurrence. Even then, though, there weren’t any laws on the books (to my knowledge — correct me if I’m wrong) to charge a woman as a criminal for miscarrying.

Jen Phillips at Mother Jones wrote that this proposed legislation “may have reached the apex (I hope) of woman-hating craziness.” I completely agree, but there are a few equally nauseating things to consider.

First, of course, is the idea that anybody would even think of attacking another person in this manner. Clearly Representative Franklin is fortunate enough to not know or be related to a single person who has ever gone through the tragedy of a miscarriage…or maybe he does know someone, only she miscarried so early in the pregnancy she didn’t know she was pregnant. GARDA! Seize that woman. Assuming he does not, however, one can only hope that his ignorance extends to the physical and emotional upheaval caused by a miscarriage — not only to the expectant mother, but also to her family and loved ones. I have to assume he doesn’t, because I can’t imagine deliberately bringing pain to those you know and love based on some outrageous idea of what is “right” and what is “wrong”.

Second, and far more disturbing, is the realistic supposition that Franklin does not expect this legislation to pass…but that he will “concede” to restrictions on abortions instead. This is the legislative equivalent of a child telling their parents that their room is on fire, only to admit when the panicked parentals realize he’s lying that “oh, I got a C on a test.” If anti-abortion extremists are as “pro-life” as they claim, what the hell do they think they stand to gain by continuing to tout more and more extreme methods of punishing those who disagree with them, up to and including taking their lives? (Remember the now-tabled South Dakota bill that would have made the killing of abortion providers “justifiable homicide”…)

Also, as other more erudite minds have pointed out, these are the same people who want to strip funding from organizations providing assistance with other aspects of parenthood — including well-child checkups, prenatal care, and provision of supplies like diapers and formula — because they provide family planning advice that includes access to abortions. So a snapshot of a world in which these laws go into effect is: if you get pregnant, we will make you carry that child — if you lose it, we will kill you or make you sit in prison for the rest of your life (never mind the overcrowded prisons, that’s another story). And when it’s born, we will make you care for that child on your own…or you can just put it into the system with the thousands of other children whose parents couldn’t care for them either.

That is a world in which I don’t want to live. With that in mind, crazy wingnut (male!) legislators who keep proposing ridiculous bills to infringe on rights that you will never understand, just sit down and STFU.

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3 comments

  1. I agree with you here. This is way too far.


  2. I believe this is absolutely brilliant! And while we’re passing laws:

    – Anyone found to have a dental hygiene problem with be sentenced to having their teeth smashed out with a hammer, followed by death.
    – Anyone found flatulating in a public place with be sentenced to death.
    – Anyone whose shoes become untied throughout the course of a day will have their feet removed and then be killed.
    – Anyone found producing typos on the internet will have their fingers removed by hedge trimmers…and then be sentenced to daeth….oh shit…


  3. […] An Even More Immodest Proposal (shanshantastic.wordpress.com) […]



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