Why Politics Should Be Kept Out of Miscarriages

The possible problems of a new Georgia law, including causing further pain.

Comments: 236

  1. We need to stop discussing these attacks on reproductive healthcare as "an attempt to reverse Roe v Wade." They go SO much further. This does not roll the clock back to a pre-Roe era. Pre-Roe, women were not routinely prosecuted for abortions or miscarriages, providers were rarely prosecuted for performing abortions, and usually only if a woman died as a result of the procedure. It's important to remember that as late as 1968, Evangelical Christians actually supported abortion and contraception as a "deeply-held religious belief." (Indeed, there is a special Nov. 1968 issue of Christianity Today devoted to the Biblical basis for abortion and contraception.) So what changed in the 5 years between 1968 and 1973? Power changed. Women started demanding it ... and getting it. The abortion debate is not about religion. It's not about fetuses or babies. It's not about sex. It's about power. Who has it, who wants it, who wants to keep it.

  2. @SouthernBeale well said

  3. @SouthernBeale Please try to get women in your state to rally against this misogynist law! We are protesting here in Tucson for us all!

  4. @SouthernBeale I completely agree. Take away religion and this issue does not go away. At our Planned Parenthood it is primarily men who are out protesting and intimidating women (are men more religious? Probably not). This is a patriarchal grab of power over women. Plain and simple. Let's not get distracted by debating religion. Let's just vote and educate our children well.

  5. no wealthy woman will ever be arrested, charged, or convicted. the younger and poorer a woman is, the more this will affect her.

  6. Don;t fool yourself. Women will be prosecuted. True fewer wealthy women but the point if this legislation is dominance over women, not rich over poor.

  7. @true patriot Such as it always was.

  8. @true patriot Exactly. And also, the darker her skin. No doubt.

  9. Men having been trying to control women and their bodies for centuries, regardless of whether they understand how human bodies actually work. The insertion of politics into miscarriages isn’t surprising, and the vast and obvious ignorance and contempt for women behind the move is even less so, given the current political climate. It’s enraging and horrifying to see American politics so gleefully and mindlessly espousing the methods and policies illustrated in cautionary tales like THE HANDMAID’S TALE and 1984.

  10. Dear Georgia politicians, I propose an amendment to your new "abortion" legislation to provide balance and meaning to your efforts. Pass legislation that makes a full, documented funeral (obituary, death notice, graveside service, et al.) legally mandatory for every miscarriage. This will provide meaning and purpose, so those whose guiding principle of "sanctity of life"can now fully express their grief. Based on the current average rate of miscarriages/live births, based on Georgia births in 2019, they can look forward to twenty-five thousand funerals for the "unborn" this year. It's the right thing to do, don't you think?

  11. @DogBone I know you're being facetious, but I'm pretty sure something along these lines was seriously proposed by one of these "pro-life" legislatures in the past year or so.

  12. Nothing horrifies me more than legislators creating laws about things they never bothered to pretend to understand or investigate.

  13. Women who don’t have the right “credentials” will be questions and some may prosecuted. Doesn’t anyone reading this article think the fanatics in Georgia care. This article was written as if the audience was a group of rational legislators who just didn’t know. They don’t care and if he happens, it will again show women who is boss. Any woman who votes Republican could be signing their own death warrant.

  14. These GOP lawmakers, mostly male, and all breathtakingly ignorant of female biology and the medical issues surrounding pregnancy, and also completely uninterested in the effects physically, mentally, socially and economically that pregnancy has on women are the least qualified people on earth to be writing these laws. Like the rest of the GOP positions on the economy, healthcare, social welfare, guns, criminal jurisprudence and the environment, there is no real interest in protecting “life”, only a desire to arrange things to keep rich, white, “Christian”, heterosexual males at the top of the socioeconomic order as long as possible.

  15. @NMY Your comment is brief, precise and 100% correct. Thank you.

  16. Do you believe that the government should force you to donate one of your kidneys to save someone else? How about your bone marrow forcibly taken from you by legislation? If you think that these are the wrong use of government power, then you are pro-choice even if you think you are pro-life. Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. It is that people should not be compelled by the Government and the sanctity of your body. By not agreeing to someone else using your body parts, you are not guilty of murder....right?

  17. Ah, but women sign up to be incubators when they have sex. That’s the definition of “good”. Bad girls who want sex without responsibility must be punished.

  18. @Liz I agree with you, ironically it's the girls who have the abortions who are being responsible, since they won't have a baby they can't raise.

  19. All of these abortion as crimes bills have one thing in common: they practice medicine and nursing without a license. They should be rejected in full for so doing. Medicine and nursing - the helping professions - are practiced as professions because they, under our social contract, are deemed to have bodies of expert and unique knowledge. Licensees promise to use clinical judgment based on this knowledge to serve the primary interests of the patient, and not any other entity. Unless the electorate votes to remove these professions from doing this, the electorate - and their elected legislators, have no business interfering with minimally accepted standards of care and practice by physicians and nurses.

  20. Becker advocates an impossible procedure that doesn't exist. Point that out to him, and he responds by calling you "Crazy!" Is this sort of thing normal in Ohio?

  21. @Chanzo Becker represents one of the most conservative districts in Ohio. Around Columbus or Cleveland, no: this is not normal. In the conservative suburbs of Cincinnati...it's a different story. Ohio used to be politically diverse. Unfortunately economic decline has incentivized educated moderates to move out of state. This, combined with unconstitutional levels of gerrymandering, has given Republicans a lock on our state government. That in turn has emboldened people like Becker.

  22. As usual the extremes get the squeaky wheel oil here instead of the moderates on both sides of the issue. What I mean by this is when the right see an advantage or a threat they will double down on abortion and try to outlaw it in any form or even ban birth control. The left does it also. NY Times State in their zeal for abortion protection , just pretty much legalized late term partial birth abortions if you can get a few doctors to agree which you always can or pass laws to the point of banning just about every gun. Support a candidate who agrees with the spirit of Roe/Wade not abortion on demand. Support a candidate who respects the right to own a gun but also has a plan of legality, regulation, responsibility and non promotion of the gun to dramatically lower the death toll.

  23. @Paul There is no such thing as "partial birth abortion". There are late term abortions - which is probably what you mean. Late term abortions are extremely rare and are not done on a whim. They are done because of serious abnormalities in the fetus which are incompatible with life. They are done to protect the life of the mother or her future ability to have children. What happens in these cases medically is best left to physicians. None of the medical options in these situations are easy but the options take into consideration what is best and least painful for the fetus and the mother. This difficult choice is best left to the woman and her medical team.

  24. @Paul "abortion on demand" is right wing garbage talk designed to put shame on women for seeking a legal medical procedure. Sorry, I refuse to compromise with those people.

  25. @Paul What do you mean by "if you can get a few doctors to agree which you always can"? Personally I don't know where I'd be able to round up a few malpracticing doctors to testify that I need an abortion when I'm perfectly healthy. If multiple doctors say that my health is endangered by a pregnancy--I'd believe it. You seem to be deliberately hand-waving away the fact that late-term abortions are only permitted when the fetus is not viable or when it is "necessary" for the health of the mother. And in fact most late-term abortions are sought for those reasons anyways--in a state where abortions before 24 weeks are permitted, why would someone wait so long to get an abortion, unless it was a wanted pregnancy that suddenly went wrong? Ignoring this fact is ignoring many of the valid health concerns that this abortion debate is overlooking, and not only endangering women but also turning a blind eye to their very real crises and heartbreaks.

  26. It isn’t really politics that is being inserted; it is religion. Our nation was created with a clear separation of church and state to prevent one religion from oppressing people not of that sect. The anti-abortion movement is clearly based on the dogma of one religion. The current crop of laws violate the spirit of the Constitution, if not the letter of the law. Lets apply the same principle to men and require that all men be circumcised, no matter their age. Of course, most are and had no choice in the matter, but forcing it on them because one religion requires it would give them a taste of what it is to have no autonomy over their own body. The arrogance of the anti-abortion crowd is matched only by their ignorance. Do as you wish with your body but keep your laws off mine.

  27. @nora m Let's require all men to be circumcised ... at age 18.

  28. Circumcision doesn’t go far enough-forced vasectomies for all!

  29. This article talks a lot about the uncertainties. Would police departments devote resources to this? Which ones? Which prosecutors would go after miscarrying women? How far would they go? Would women just be pulled into investigations, or would they face criminal penalties themselves? What evidence would be used? What statutes would they prosecute under? Which women would be suspected? Will they use scientific evidence, pseudo-science, or straight-up Creationist dogma? The ambiguity is kind of the point. It is saying to women: "maybe we will, maybe we won't" so you best be on your good behavior. It is saying that you should try to be the kind of woman that won't be suspected in the first place. It is saying that if you miscarry, people will be watching to see how sad you act, how maternal, how bereaved. It is saying that maybe the law won't be used against the good girls, just the bad ones - now which kind are you, sweetheart? When there are no rights - when there is no rule of law - your freedom is at the pleasure of those in power. Women are being told by this ambiguous, scary law that they had better be pleasing to the right men.

  30. @Arvind Or move out of these states. If I lived there and were of reproductive age, I would do so immediately. If I lived there at my age, I may still move, and would certainly be vigorously protesting.

  31. @Arvind Frightening and true!

  32. @Susi I completely agree with your desire to move, but unfortunately the women most likely to be targeted by these laws, the "bad girls" as Arvind mentioned are poor, or WOC, or otherwise unable to meet the specifications of a "good girl" and that also means are likely unable to move to another state. I have moved across the country twice and was as frugal as I could manage to be and it still cost thousands of dollars, something many women don't have. I definitely agree that the women of these states should be vigorously protesting, and yes, if able, to move. I just wish they didn't have to leave their homes to be safe.

  33. Dr. Carroll brings the facts, but these legislators aren't interested in facts, this is simply putting women back in second place so that rich white men can continue to ruin our world. These people aren't "pro-life", they're "forced birthers". Do they provide food stamps and WIC to mothers in poverty? Not without drug testing and 200 other hoops they make you jump through to get maybe a couple of hundred dollars a month in food stamps. Housing? Child care? Their "pro-life" stance is thrown out the door once "the innocent baby" becomes a person with rights.

  34. This is grotesque: "John Becker, a state representative in Ohio, recently sponsored a bill that would also change how pregnant women with unsustainable pregnancies are treated. He suggested that ectopic pregnancies, which are not viable, should in part be handled by 'removing the embryo from the fallopian tube and then reinserting it in the uterus so that’s defined as not an abortion.'" An ectopic pregnancy threatens the life of an existing person and cannot ever result in the birth of a new one. It makes me sick to think that doctors might be prosecuted for addressing this error of implantation or any other reproductive crisis. I'm past my reproductive years, but my daughter is not an incubator. Now that she's out of college and I no longer have to worry about school shooters (thanks to Republicans leaving them free to flourish), I can switch to worrying that her life might be cut short by Republicans forbidding sound medical practice. Whatever side of the abortion debate you're on, this is madness. As a young woman in 1950s Appalachia, my mother agonized through several miscarriages before she found an ob-gyn with the expertise to make my existence possible. Let's be blunt: a miscarriage is a spontaneous abortion. It's often undesired, while a medical abortion is sought as a remedy. Politics should not intrude on questions of how and why a pregnancy ends. If the state has the power to ban abortion, it can also compel abortion. Either way, the individual loses autonomy.

  35. @C Wolfe That is a very good point: if the state can forbid abortion,it also can compel it. I recall China's now reversed one child policy and forced abortions, and further recall a Chinese friend 15 or so years ago whose wife was getting her PhD in Hong Kong and managed to circumvent the policy by her giving birth there. Very smart people whose children will do China proud, or any country they moved to. It cuts both ways. Better let women, their families and their doctors decide what is best.

  36. "It’s not clear that those who are writing many of these bills understand how pregnancy works." Actually, it's clear that they do not. Worse, they have no desire to learn.

  37. @Pat Engel "worse, they have no desire to learn" - well said, sad but so true.

  38. @Pat Engel Of course they have no desire to learn. Facts might get in the way of the outcome they so fervently desire.

  39. @Pat Engel This is what happens when you learn reproductive biology from the bible or Xtian school.

  40. I was prescribed Avelox when I was 4.5 months pregnant (it is an antibiotic than prevents cell division). The baby I was carrying died. Can I sue the doctor?

  41. Years ago, I had a miscarriage. It wasn't a quick thing, but a protracted process of more bleeding, less bleeding, no bleeding, more bleeding. I had been excited about my pregnancy, but as the chances of it ending with a healthy baby decreased, I became miserable, particularly when talk turned to babies. After the miscarriage was over, the doctor had said there was no reason to expect a future pregnancy wouldn't be normal, so I perked up. Some coworkers observed that I was visibly unhappy about my pregnancy and then it ended and drew the conclusion I'd had an abortion. So, I understand how easy it is for outsiders to jump to conclusions. If you're poor and didn't trot to the doctor about the bleeding 3 times, what proof would you have that the miscarriage wasn't the result of an abortifacient?

  42. Georgia's legislature exist in the dark ages. Women of the state should start running for office in large numbers or be doomed to a life as third class citizens. Men first class ,embryos second class, and women third.

  43. The women of Georgia should move and take their tax dollars with them.

  44. @Laura And the rest of us should avoid that state and the products of the companies who locate their corporate headquarters there. There are other states that have more respect for women.

  45. How in the world does Georgia get to violate HIPAA to get a woman's medical information if she has a miscarriage?

  46. @Terry Because we are talking about women, not men, and women continually have fewer medical rights than men :(

  47. @Terry HIPAA has exceptions which allow disclosure for law enforcement. A lawyer told me that HIPAA was written not for the benefit of patients, but for the benefit of hospital administrators who wanted to disclose patient information without incurring legal liability. Typically, everything medically significant that you tell a doctor goes into an electronic patient record. Any judge can issue a subpoena to disclose that information "in the interests of justice." The policeman hands the subpoena to the hospital administrator, not your doctor. A doctor who was treating AIDS patients told me, "I will burn my records before I violate my promise of confidentiality." As your doctor if he or she will make that same promise.

  48. @Terry - Well Terry, it's a republican thing. Women's personal medical history can be had for the asking. But a corrupt to the bone sitting president's tax returns? Nope, no how, no way. Because "we" republicans say so. The heck with the law.

  49. I’d be interested in a follow-up article on additional implications of the human designation at 6 weeks. Could the fetus be considered a dependent for tax purposes? Will the birth certificate be superseded by a “human certificate”? Etc.

  50. Do you know what a missed abortion is? I had three. None took place before 6 weeks; two out of three were toward the end of the first trimester, but the third was over the line. In all three cases, I did not miscarry but instead had to have the remains scraped surgically from my womb. I am less concerned that the GA law and others like it might result in my prosecution than I am that it might result in my having to carry dead tissue that could fester and turn septic while causing even more mental trauma than a miscarriage already presents. The people making these laws have zero understanding of pregnancy and its complications.

  51. @Ivy Precisely what happened to that Indian woman in Ireland who died because she could not get an abortion to save her life!

  52. Yes. I had this happen at 11 weeks after my failed fourth (and final) IVF attempt. I was physically and emotionally fragile (eg crazy)from the meds, hormones and the loss. If someone had come nosing into this I probably would have ended up in the psych unit instead of a surgical floor (where I was placed after pitching a screaming fit when they first planned to put me on the OB floor) . Or the state hospital for the criminally insane after I viciously assaulted said “investigator.” Miscarriages (and D&Cs when the embryonic material fails to naturally expel) are common. What sort of expensive, dystopian bureaucracy would need to be set up to question the hundreds of thousands of women who naturally miscarry but need to have a D&C every year? And what physician would be left to perform this necessary surgery? (Was I supposed to walk around with a defunct embryo and other tissue until it went septic?) Btw, this medical situation is actually called “a missed abortion.” I can just see the nut jobs’ eyes lighting up if they see that term in a record.

  53. @Ivy I have a friend who had a missed abortion in the 1980's and her female MD wouldn't do the D&C for a month because "let nature take its course." For a month my friend traveled as a consultant knowing a dead fetus was inside her and wondering when (in a business meeting? in a plane?) nature might expel the tissue. But it never did, and finally a D&C was needed. It was her first pregnancy and she seemed healthy in every way, married and monogamous and happily expectant. But her own mother asked "what did you do to cause the miscarriage, was it because you have a career?" If a mother can ask those questions, imagine what nosy zealots can ask. My friend was never able to bear children, perhaps from sepsis or complications of the "missed abortion."

  54. Imagine how lawmaking would differ if these legislators were willing and able to take the time to learn basic biology, not to mention the history of pre-Roe v Wade (when illegal procedures led to the deaths and maiming of at least thousands of women a year). Instead, they poke their heads in the sand and pretend to be adhering to some kind of morality or faith, but what kind of morality or faith precludes knowledge and thoughtful, reasonable behavior? None that I would ever be part of.

  55. @Susi The people writing and passing these laws don't want to know basic biology or history or facts of any kind. Those would get in the way of the outcome they want.

  56. I’d be interested in a follow-up article on additional implications of the human designation at 6 weeks. Could the fetus be considered a dependent for tax purposes? Will the birth certificate be superseded by a “human certificate”? Etc.

  57. @Dean Harris Exactly!!! Medical care should begin, support for the child should begin, work duties should reflect the change, etc etc..... And should the mother miscarry, she should be granted bereavement and social security benefits. Yep, it's totally over the top --- thought was put into the NO abortion law, but no thought at all to the reality of this. You fall down the steps, miscarry, go straight to jail!!!!

  58. @Dean Harris At 6 weeks there is no fetus. Maybe an embryo. So early in a pregnancy, there may not even be a visible embryo, just placental tissue. There are many points of view whether or not this is human. Would the IRS make the ruling? I had a miscarriage like that 55 years ago. The doctor apologized for asking if I'd tried to abort the pregnancy. In Massachusetts that was the law. I was very young, but married and wanting a baby. The experience was devastating.

  59. Who would have benefited if I had been charged with murder? At age 14 in the late 1950s  I was seduced by a man of 32.  A doctor told me "You've made your bed, now lie on it."  Pregnant and parentless, I went to a drug store and bought multiple medications labeled "Not to be taken by pregnant women" and took them in large quantities.  The minuscule fetus was aborted.   I was fortunate that I neither died nor had a deformed child, and that 12 years later I could bear a wanted and loved child within a happy marriage.

  60. If what you state is true, S, then wouldn’t it follow that anyone in Georgia who is alive and who either had an abortion or participated in an abortion could similarly be prosecuted?

  61. @S Please don't write things like this. I understand why you do, but Ms Anderson really doesn't need your adding to her undoubted distress about all this. Thank you.

  62. @mary No, I'm sorry, you are wrong. It is essential to illuminate the full consequences of these evil woman hating laws.

  63. I had a early pregnancy loss (around 6--8 weeks) after many year of primary -- and then, after the birth of my son, secondary -- infertility. It was devastating. But an additional problem was that I wasn't actually "miscarrying". Instead, there was a tiny dead fetus that wouldn't come out and an active placenta. This is a huge risk to the mother, who faces the risk of sepsis and potentially even death if the decaying fetal matter is not removed somehow. My OB sent me home with a prescription intended to basically "induce abortion at home". I bled on and off, but still the fetus and placenta didn't come out. I ended up having to have a D&C. I am very grateful that no one was threatening me or my doctor for taking an action that likely saved my life while I was grieving the baby that would never be.

  64. @Rose Your sad story also happened to me. I was lucky to get a D&C in a good hospital. I shudder to think what will happen to women in the same situation today.

  65. @Rose I had a missed miscarriage too. Mine was discovered at 11 weeks 5 days. Thankfully I was able to have a D&C the next day. I have never grieved so hard for anyone or anything. Not even when my dad or my very beloved grandma died. I was deeply depressed for months and I still can’t talk about it or even think about it without tearing up a little. I can’t imagine being prosecuted for miscarrying. To be told that this was my fault. I honestly think I might have committed suicide if that had happened.

  66. @Rose I had a similar experience. This law scares the heck out of me.

  67. I propose that all ectopic pregnancies be "transferred" to John Becker's body, or that of any other male politician promoting these bills.

  68. If the Georgia GOP hadn't disenfranchised so many African-Americans last year, Stacey Abrams would be the Governor now and vetoing this nonsense. Elections and voter disenfranchisement have consequences, people! Fight for everyone's right to vote.

  69. When I was a nurse in a large Labor and Delivery suite in a large city, we had a rash of miscarriages, one year, during the months of October and November. The only thing that we could figure out was it was flu season, particularly deadly that year, that MAY have been the cause, or another type of virus was going around. When they start prosecuting women for miscarriages, we become a country without human rights. This happened in Ireland, and could happen here too. Get the Church out of the bedrooms, and out of women's bodies.

  70. @Joy B: You said: Get the Church out of the bedrooms, and out of women's bodies. and get the churches- ALL churches - out of our government.

  71. @Joy B: Get the church and in particular the Republican Party out of the bedrooms and out of women's bodies.

  72. @Joy B This is not just the church, this is men hiding behind the church, using it as their reason to try to regain some kind of power they think they are losing to women. If the church went away, there would still be men peddling this legislation. When I drive by our Planned Parenthood, 80% of the time it is men only who are protesting against women's health care rights. When there are women present it is just a few. Let's be sure we raise our young men to know better.

  73. I am blown away that articles like this have to be written. We are living in an age where male politicians, many of whom do not understand female anatomy, are making ridiculous laws that could have life changing consequences for millions of women and families. I live in Georgia and I'm screaming from the rooftops and I don't feel like anyone is listening. I have also lived through two miscarriages, the pain of those I carry with me a decade + later, I am just so depressed by this and I hope people are paying attention. GIRLS... get to the polls, our lives are literally at stake.

  74. @Katie I hear you , Katie, loud and clear, and I completely agree. I, too, feel people are not listening. I want to scream from my rooftop. The news media is focusing on the Alabama abortion law, but it is Georgia's that sends terror in my heart. I do not know the statistics about how many legal abortions are performed for rape and incest victims, but I strongly suspect there are far more American women who have abortions for an infinite number of reasons, including health reasons, other than rape or incest. The Georgia law will mean that any Georgia female resident who travels out of the state for an abortion can be tracked down and prosecuted for murder. Anyone who helps her, such as driving her or arranging assistance, can be charged as an accomplice to murder. This is head-shaking, gape-mouthed crazy and should strike terror in any Georgia woman's heart. Vote, boycott, move. We must do all we can.

  75. If you want the GOP to stay out of your womb- vote.

  76. @reader123 To the point and well-said!

  77. It is also being discussed that one can be prosecuted for getting medical care (which is what an abortion is), out of state. I live close to Tallahassee FL, and see several physicians there. So, I am now required to seek medical care in GA only??????

  78. @Vicki - It is patently, explicitly unconstitutional to arbitrarily forbid American citizens from moving between states. It violates the Interstate Commerce and Privileges and Immunities clauses of the Constitution. This is why SCOTUS will never see the Georgia law. 8 justices are required to vote to grant certiorari to any case. There's no way 3 liberals will grant cert to such a blatant violation of the Constitution's immutable text.

  79. @Rast Abmob It takes only four justices to grant certiorari.

  80. It's important to recognize the pregnancy dating is done from the last menstrual period, which is typically approximately two weeks prior to ovulation and possible conception. Therefore this is not 6 weeks into a pregnancy or a 6-week old fetus, but 3-4 weeks into pregnancy, at which point many women may not even realize they are pregnant, particularly since menstrual cycles can vary in length and many women have irregular cycles. Legislators without medical training or knowledge and driven by their own religious beliefs unfounded in science or evidence should stay out of making laws that endanger women's health and autonomy.

  81. There is no such thing as a 6 week old fetus. It's an embryo. It doesn't become a fetus until it's 8 weeks into gestation. Georgia's law shows exactly how ignorant some politicians are when it comes to pregnancy, miscarriages, and reproduction in general. Their ignorance fuels others as well. Perhaps before enacting or even proposing such laws, these people should take a course in reproductive biology, real reproductive biology, not faith based reproductive biology. It's a disgrace to our country that we're willing to force women to fear going for needed medical care if there are complications in their pregnancies, they want an abortion, or they merely want to determine what method of birth control is best for them. This sort of law has the potential to create a Spanish Inquisition about pregnancy in general. All that's missing is the bonfire. 5/14/2019 12:35pm

  82. @hen3ry The bonfires will be done with clean beautiful coal.

  83. "It’s not clear that those who are writing many of these bills understand how pregnancy works." That little statement speaks volumes. Too many laws are being made by ignoramuses.

  84. Welcome to Gilead.

  85. Praise be!

  86. Once again this is a political game of “Holier Than Thou” where women are persecuted as sinners. Bu taking this elevated stance, politicians hope to earn the votes of citizens who promote patriarchy. Where are the sperm donors in all this? They escape any moral responsibility.

  87. Of course they will prosecute women who miscarry. This is not about children. It’s about getting misogynist religious zealots (of all genders) to vote. Once they get this, they’ll have to keep them interested.

  88. @Laura Indeed - those who are pro-birth, but not pro-life.

  89. @Laura I think you’re right about this. If a woman is convicted of attempting to harm her fetus, she would be a felon and therefore unable to vote in future elections. One less vote for left-leaning humanistic policies or candidates.

  90. Disparate Impact: when a facially neutral law unintentionally impacts or causes harm to one group. Carroll notes "A woman who has health problems in general is more likely to suffer early pregnancy loss than one who does not. Women with high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid disease are at higher risk. So are those who have hormone problems, immune disorders or infections." These medical issues occur more often in women of color than white women, so while the intent of this law may not be to discriminate, it may have that effect, impacting women of color more than white women. Or, maybe this isn't a case of contextual intent, but one of malicious intent. It certainly impacts more women than men and is directed toward women. Just a thought...

  91. This reminds me of a piece of fiction I read back in the 1960's that theorized a dystopic future where every woman who was fertile had to have a monthly pregnancy test and if she was determined to be pregnant the state assigned an attorney to represent the resident of the womb and that attorney had full control of the life of that woman, what she could and could not do, eat, go, wear, et cetera. If a miscarriage or anything that ended the pregnancy happened the woman was prosecuted for murder or manslaughter. Maybe it wasn't fiction at all, just a visitor from the future giving us a warning of what was coming our way.

  92. @George N. Wells The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, now a terrifying series on Hulu. Under his Eye and Blessed be the Day. We're seeing a newly emboldened radical religious fundamentalist movement whose goal is to impose its beliefs on the entire nation. As Joni Mitchell sang back in 1970, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone."

  93. @Amy Goldberg, et al., As in "The Handmaid's Tale" religion is the cover story for the desire to gain and hold power. The language used by those who write these laws is religiously based and the publicity campaign is clearly using religion but the actual people behind the law are simply about maintaining their power over everyone other than themselves. Once absolute power is gained nobody other than the privileged elite will be safe to run their own lives. But by focusing on women and unborn children, most people don't think they are in danger. "...and when they came for me, there was nobody to speak up for me."

  94. This column is interesting, informative, and (as Dr. Carroll probably realizes) hopelessly naive. It suggests that the problem the politicians want to solve is "How can we protect fetuses from being terminated?" Many would still find this objectionable, but it would at least represent a position that could potentially be negotiated with. In fact, the problem that the politicians here are trying to solve is "How can we gain and hold power by using fear and anger to motivate people to vote for us?" When you understand this, cruel and seemingly conflicting elements of the "pro-life" agenda become crystal clear.

  95. A lot of the comments talk about men not understanding women's bodies and pregnancy and men writing laws to have dominion over women's bodies. I think it is important to point out that there are female politicians supporting and voting for these laws and women voting to put these "pro-life" politicians in office. I think it's important that we focus on combatting ignorance rather than the "blame men" tack that gets people to shut their ears to reasonable complaints.

  96. @Laura Agree. There are women out there who are against a woman's right to control what happens to her body. But I think the blame should be placed upon the republican party. I don't see a lot of democrats jumping on this bandwagon.

  97. @Spencer I don't see any strong democratic political protest of the horrifying laws being proposed in Georgia, Ohio, Alabama, and other states following. It is true that many women are in favor of this insulting abuse of their fellow women. Why? they are able to explain from their experience what giving Birth is. Is it possible tht they their families and friends have all had births with no problems, entiotic pregnancies, miscarriages?

  98. @mmmlk There have been protests in these other states. And this isn’t only an issue to be examined on the grounds of the mothers health and ‘births with no problems.’ Women are. It biological machines in service of the State.

  99. I absolutely believe that women will be prosecuted if this law goes into effect. If a woman seeks medical care because she is miscarrying, her doctor could be a supporter of the law and decide to test her for drugs such as misoprostol , mifepristone, drugs of abuse, or any drug that shouldn’t be used by pregnant women. If any of these drugs were found, she could be charged with murder or manslaughter. Even if doctors do not want to do this, how long before legislators demand it? There are other implications as well. A short time ago there were stories about frozen embryos that were accidentally destroyed at different facilities due to equipment/ electrical failure or something similar. Who will be charged with murder or manslaughter in these cases? How many counts will they be charged with- one per embryo? Will some type of burial or cremation be mandatory for any miscarriage (they’re people, after all). If a woman commits suicide because she’s distraught over her unwanted pregnancy will she be charged with murder? What about if she attempts suicide, but didn’t know she was pregnant, what’s the charge then?

  100. Reductio ad absurdum. Turned around, more so. Is this "person" (zygote, embryo, fetus) guilty of breaking and entering? Trespassing? Causing pain, suffering and great bodily harm? Assault and battery (I think labor and birth would qualify)?

  101. Um hmm. Pro-birth but not pro-life.

  102. "Becker earned his Bachelor of Science in Management from Northern Kentucky University and his MBA with an emphasis in taxation from Xavier University. Representative Becker has over 30 years’ experience in the private sector, including the manufacturing, managed healthcare, banking, and finance industries. He is a Certified Treasury Professional who currently operates a tax preparation business for individuals and small businesses. Additionally, Becker holds a school district treasurer’s license." source: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/john-becker/biography

  103. @Karen Dunnam when it comes to medical and healthcare issues, he's an educated fool.

  104. @Karen Dunnam So, he has absolutely no background qualifying him to make any statement regarding medical technique. Just another sanctimonious, ignorant man who thinks he should make decisions regarding women's health. Will this ever end?

  105. @Karen Dunnam I’m assuming you’re listing his professional achievements to show that he has no standing to make medical assessments. I certainly wouldn’t want my accountant to diagnose my x-rays.

  106. This is what happens when schools don't teach reproductive biology. Inserting the products of an ectopic pregnancy into a woman's uterus "so it's defined as not an abortion" is butchery. I suggest that if Mr. Becker has an appendectomy the appendix be inserted in his rectum so it's not defined as removing a God-given organ from a human body.

  107. @DramaLlama This is what happens when men are grasping at straws as they see their dominant place in society being challenged. Plain and simple...Understanding biology would not suddenly change these peoples minds.

  108. @DramaLlama Thank you so much for the laugh.

  109. I don't think we should differentiate between spontaneous abortion and intentional abortions. If miscarriage is "a common, natural and unavoidable health outcome for many heartbroken people," so is abortion for women with unintended pregnancies that they are financially, emotionally, mentally or physically unable to continue. In either case, a fetus is a fetus and not a person, and women are entitled to compassion, privacy and the right to make their own decisions about childbirth.

  110. @sgrimes2 Thank you for stating it this way. In El Salvador, this line has become murky (abortions were previously legal, but that changed in the last decades). Now women have been prosecuted and jailed due to misunderstood miscarriages. Is this really happening in my country? I feel so disoriented by this...

  111. I dare you to prosecute a mother who recently experienced a miscarriage. Political consequences? Any lawyer who attacks a grieving mother on the stand has more to fear than political consequences. You'll need the law to stop the jury from hanging the prosecutor. As a more technical point though, I think we need to discuss what we actually mean when we say "miscarriage." The medical definition is essentially derived from Roe v. Wade's determination and vice versa. Look at the CDC website and you'll see what I mean. A miscarriage is infant mortality before the fetus is viable. By "viable" we mean: Capable of surviving without the mother's womb. No womb, no life, no human. Ergo, the infant is not a human being during miscarriage. Once the fetus becomes viable, we call infant mortality within the womb a stillbirth. The fetus is human regardless of when the death occurs. You might lose the heartbeat on the delivery table or it might happen at your 20 week ultrasound. For recording purposes, the death is still considered a stillborn. The distinction therefore concerns viability more than cause of death. What Roe v. Wade established, is the 20-ish week benchmark for fetal viability. Why? Because there is no consistent legal judgement to make about the cause of death before 20-ish weeks. Exactly the point the Upshot is making. Conservatives might overturn Roe but they're only making a bigger mess for themselves. There's a good reason the judgement was made in the first place.

  112. I hate to tell you this pal, but this already happens, quite regularly. I will direct you to the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. They have some white papers you can read.

  113. I don't know how to express in grave enough terms that even this article, which is clearly on the side of women's rights, feels normalizing. We are in crazy town. I feel like anything written on the subject needs to reflect that. Little, snippy suggestions that they don't understand how pregnancy works is not enough. These are extraordinarily dangerous people with depraved minds using the issue of abortion to stave off any threat to their power. They don't care about babies or fetuses. They care about power and this is their strategy to keep it. They are the greatest threat our country has seen in a long time. They must be stopped. Period.

  114. @Jane L - I wish I could recommend your comment a thousand times. You hit the nail on the head. It should have been an editor's pick. This kind of bland response to an insane, depraved attack on women's health and right to autonomy needs to be loud and urgent enough to figuratively hit all of US in the head. We are under siege.

  115. Unbelievable. I am living in an entirely different universe from these conservative male politicians - their ignorance and malice is shocking.

  116. I teach high school biology and 11th/12th grade Anatomy and Physiology. I taught comprehensive sex education for 11 years at the 7th grade level, as well. Clearly my colleagues and I are not doing a good job teaching biology for legislation like this to pass.

  117. @Suzanna - You're in Oregon. That kind of education is frowned on and often forbidden in red states.

  118. Politics should be kept out of any conversation regarding a woman's reproductive agency. Period.

  119. so what happened to the concept of "getting the government out of peoples' lives?" Does that only apply to men? rich, white men? millionaires? Who?

  120. @Mole man Of course. Like the billionaire who was convicted of abusing underage girls and got a slap on the hand and lives part time in Palm Beach. Or the football team owner wo was caught using prostitutes but the courts are protecting him. Florida, Georgia and Alabama are now all on my travel ban list!

  121. In the ancient Greek play "Lysistrata" women discuss withholding sex from their men unless and until they refrain from going to war. How about that? The way I see it, the Alabama legislature seems to think that allowing an execption for rape or incest is being generous. Tell your men it's HANDS OFF until this madness ceases!

  122. @Dave Reitman Except the Alabama legislature voted down the amendment that would have allowed an exception for rape or incest! And, considering the attitude of many Alabama legislators, if women reacted like the ones in "Lysistrata" there would probably be a lot more rapes!

  123. Maybe these Georgian male politicians should just put all women in jail from the time they start to menstruate to menopause. This way, they can be sure that they are punishing all women who might have a miscarriage.

  124. This is such a dystopian law. Let’s reverse the tables and view the males among us solely as seed sources.

  125. Appalling. Simply appalling.

  126. Politicians get votes for asserting that a zygote is a human being. The consequences are ridiculous. Alas

  127. Does anyone remember Romania in the 1960's under Ceausescu? Romania had a very liberal abortion policy before a declining birth rate led to it being outlawed. Contraception was forbidden for most women and they were required to have monthly gyn exams. Pregnant women were closely monitored and followed by the secret police. The resulting baby boom resulted in an orphanage boom for children abandoned by women who could not care for them. The conditions in those orphanages were absolutely hellish, resulting in permanent physical and mental disabilities.

  128. @Marcia Yes, this is one of the first things that comes to mind, all the unwanted children in orphanages. I wonder if all these states have begun to build orphanages or if they plan to cage the babies in jails, or perhaps all the religious lifers will take the children as their own.

  129. So how do any aspects of these laws not violate physician-patient confidentiality ?

  130. I wonder if I would have been prosecuted under this law: "One definition of second-degree murder in Georgia includes cruelty to children during which 'he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice.'" I had recurrent early miscarriages when I was trying to get pregnant. So after the third or certainly the fourth miscarriage, I knew that if I got pregnant again it was more likely than not that I would miscarry. I wasn't malicious, I wanted the embryo to grow into a baby, but with this new definition of person I created a person when I knew it would probably die. This was necessary in order to keep trying new treatments and finally one did work and I now have children. Still, Georgia's law would've made me guilty of at least seven second-degree murders.

  131. If every woman who suffered a miscarriage, her partner, and her doctor would turn themselves in to law enforcement in order to be criminally prosecuted, the politicians concocting these laws might understand the absurdity of their actions.

  132. Men get to choose whether to be a parent or not, but apparently (pun intended) not women.

  133. @Just the Facts - Actually, you have it backwards. If two people copulate and there is a pregnancy, the woman can decide if the man will be a parent and pay support or not. She can abort (in most states) just because the pregnancy would interfere with her life. But the man never gets the option to "abort".

  134. @tom harrison Actually, you have it backwards. She doesn't "get to decide" if he'll pay support; she can only petition for it. The man can just disappear at will, leaving the woman with the entire responsibility on her own, and never acknowledge his part in it. He doesn't carry a pregnancy to term and go into a potentially life-threatening situation to give birth. He isn't discharged from the hospital with a newborn and precious little physical, emotional, or financial help. He can go out the next night and make whoopie with someone else and repeat ad nauseum. If a guy were really into "being a parent," he'd put more than just his anatomy into the necessary relationship.

  135. tom harrison — For that reason, a man must be darn sure he is ready and willing to be a father before having sexual relations with a woman; and if he’s not ready, to abstain. That is the only way he can make the choice his, not hers.

  136. This would be an excellent time for the NYT to republish its series on the actual causes of fetal and maternal death in the anti-abortion South. As I recall, the leading cause of death was the murder of pregnant women by their boyfriends and husbands. Often for being pregnant. Often by the "pro-life" boyfriend who didn't want to pay child support.

  137. Women could stop these laws in their tracks if they just voted for the political party not obsessed by criminalizing abortion.

  138. And so could men.

  139. Is there a provision in there to charge the MEN who impregnate these wayward girls and women and sentence them to a flogging, life in prison or the death penalty perhaps? I have never been in Alabama and hope never to step foot there.

  140. @RC Agreed, this article mentions Georgia and I don't voluntarily go there either. Business leaders take note, establishing/expanding/continuing offices in these repressive areas impacts your employees & their families. If these areas want to return to the Dark Ages they should not get our support nor business.

  141. So, the goal here is that all women should be pregnant all the time? What’s the point? Aside from the fact that I ain’t your prize sow, we can’t take care of the living as it is. Perhaps those oh-so-concerned legislators should invest a bit more in feeding and educating the current population before getting so uppity about other people’s gynecological status.

  142. Time to also regulate Georgia's and Alabama's testicles....not just its uteruses. What's good for the state's females is also good for the state's males. Equality for all.

  143. @Socrates agreed. If women are forced to have babies against their will, then the men who impregnate them should have vasectomies against their will. That way no more pregnancies.

  144. Yep. Forced vasectomies all around. Let’s see how men like having control of their bodies and their reproductive functioning legislated by the state

  145. @Socrates - All males upon their 30th birthday should be required by law to have vasectomies, under penalty of imprisonment, fine or both. Proof of vasectomy submitted at the time of applying for Driver's License or else see above. Women have to provide a certified Marriage License due to name change as proof of citizenship in order to vote. Insult to injury. It's only fair, no?

  146. I would believe this was about fiercely protecting babies/children if there was just as vigorous legislation for robust family leave, good public schools and affordable health care.

  147. Well if anyone thinks that "The Handmaid's Tale" could never happen, here you go. Given them a few more years, they will pass state laws that will allow government workers to deny same sex couples marriage licenses. And then after that who knows.

  148. John Becker, a state representative in Ohio, recently sponsored a bill that would also change how pregnant women with unsustainable pregnancies are treated. He suggested that ectopic pregnancies, which are not viable, should in part be handled by “removing the embryo from the fallopian tube and then reinserting it in the uterus so that’s defined as not an abortion.” Wow, I am sure the American Society of OB/GYNs are so thankful for this sage piece of medical advice. Perhaps tumors could be similarly removed and reinserted into the stomach, so they could be eliminated more naturally as well?

  149. Will the man or woman who drive a woman to an abortion clinic or "back-alley" doctor who performs the abortion be charged with a crime as an accomplice to "murder". Seems only fair. I'm not sure if there are ways a woman could self-abort a fetus using drugs designed for that purpose or another means that would make it appear to be a miscarriage. Does the new law address that, I wonder? In all of this, if the law is finally implemented and woman are charged, I would almost guarantee that women of color or women in the lower economic brackets would bear the full burden of the law. It's the way it works in this country in some many other areas

  150. How many OBGYN physicians and NPs will leave Georgia should this pass fearing loss of license or prison due to the vagaries of this law? Health practioners won't be able to provide sound care when censored. How will this affect womens reproductive health care in the state? Will GA Dept of Public Health obtain data on this as well as related maternal - infant morbidity and mortality? If they obtain it will it be available for review at national levels as well as to the public?

  151. Research suggests that between 10 percent and 20 percent of women with a medically confirmed pregnancy will end in miscarriage. Eighty percent of these will occur during the first trimester. As a women that had two miscarriages in my life I find this concept offensive and appalling. As if women are to blame. Many women who miscarry live in the shadows, feeling shame, feeling less. Compassion is what they need, not prison time. Politicians need to get out of our medical affairs. Sadly these are the same people that will defend the unborn, but not families in need of a social safety net. Isn’t that both ironic and hypocritical! Better hope you go full term and your baby comes with sturdy bootstraps! 🙄

  152. Supposedly, there is a separation of church and state. Supposedly.

  153. If circumstances at work can cause miscarriages, could the company be charged with child abuse? My fear is that the law will only be applied to "troublemakers" since it is politically impossible to apply it to everyone.

  154. A miscarriage could be a crime? I'm just a gay male and probably don't know as much about pregnancy as others but it has been my observation in life that miscarriages are about as common as my seedlings dying from damping off. Life happens...and then it doesn't.

  155. Yet the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services requires filing a complicated 12-page application form, and often meeting with a processor, and proof of citizenship and identity, to receive Food Stamps, TANF or Medicaid services. Yet the death penalty is enforced in Georgia. Yet no permit is required to purchase a gun, no firearm registration is required, and open carry with a permit is allowed at any age, no magazine restrictions. Sanctity of Life? I don't think so. The cult worship of fetus, and the attempts to reduce women's rights as full humans, are sickening. It is far beyond time we ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to give women equal rights to men.

  156. Holy suffering cats. Who on earth is John Becker and how do we get rid of him? This is one of the most horrendous things I've ever heard of.

  157. "It’s not clear that those who are writing many of these bills understand how pregnancy works." Indeed. Back to the days of dark alleys and drinking "bluing" to rid thyself of thy sin.

  158. ' ... prosecutors would have a lot of discretion, and it would be “completely up to” them. ' Shall we take bets as to how much higher a percentage of prosecutions would be women of color rather than white women?

  159. All these states know full well that the new laws will get struck down. They just want this issue to get to the Supreme Court. Even though such conservatives as Clarence Thomas have publicly stated that Roe is settled law, they harbor the pipe-dream that Roe will get reversed after almost 50 years. Just as democrats cling to their own pipe-dream that Trump will be removed from office. Fantasy and pique. That is all that politicians have to offer these days, but it sure does work wonders for bringing in the cash donations... https://emcphd.wordpress.com

  160. To prosecute a woman who has miscarried? And they call those who support abortion morally handicapped?

  161. Implant an ectopic pregnancy into the uterus? What an embarrassment of a human being. This is a viable political candidate in America - an actual elected politician. Breathtaking.

  162. It's like reading amusing anecdotes from the Middle Ages, except that such "well-meaning" management of women, by Christian men, is happening now; today.

  163. Call companies and tell them to leave Georgia and Alabama. Call sports teams. Boycott products and do not travel there. When they lose their almighty dollars they will change their tune. It’s all about money and controlling women.

  164. The header on this story reads "The New Health Care." Really? Is the NYT assuming that such restrictive controls on women's health is the new normal? These laws are nowhere near normal.

  165. Yet they are being pushed through in several states.

  166. All women who miscarry in Alabama should be indicted for murder. Chilling? That's what this law could be used for.

  167. Business leaders take note, establishing/expanding/continuing offices in these repressive areas impacts your employees & their families. If these areas want to return to the Dark Ages they should not get our support nor business.

  168. This law will go into effect 1/1/20, just ten months before the next general election. Women in Georgia, and in the other 49 other states, might want to think very carefully about who they vote for.

  169. This is not another step towards banning abortions. This is an all out assault on the right of a woman to control her body.

  170. Not just her body...that only lasts 9 months. It also has a huge impact on her whole life.

  171. Alabama I'll make you a deal. You promise to keep your religion out of my life and I will promise to keep science out of yours. Is that a deal Bubba?

  172. Please. No one believes the headline will ever come true. Pure fearmongering.

  173. @Bret Thoman Clearly, you have never been pregnant, had a miscarriage, and don’t understand the personal trauma involved. I had two live births and four miscarriages of wanted children, one at twenty weeks. This was a trauma of nightmaric proportion. When I became pregnant again (an intrauterine device (IUD)had failed and perforated my uterus). My gynaecologist asked what I wanted to do, I wouldn’t have an abortion. I said, let’s see. My children were afraid I would die, and the fetus lived to only to 16 weeks. The doctor and I decided,, due to other issues, I should have a hysterectomy. 50 years later my passwords are often based on the “birthday” of that child. For those who have been through the trauma of any miscarriage, the very idea of a potential investigation into the loss of their child is offensive.

  174. @Bret Thoman In Central America, such prosecutions are happening. Why not in Georgia and Alabama, if there are votes in it? 'It will never happen here' is delusional complacency.

  175. The idea that politicians might understand that many women miscarry (aka spontaneously abort) through no action on their part is laughable. These guys wonder aloud whether an ectopic pregnancy could be re-implanted in the uterus (the technology does not exist) or whether a woman could get a gynecological exam by swallowing a camera. Their ignorance has no limits.

  176. If you are truly against abortion, then why not make vasectomies mandatory? You can reverse it if you want children. That way you can almost eliminate abortions. Problem easily solved! Of course that would never occur because the "pro life" movement isn't about "abortion" it is about controlling women's bodies, not men's.

  177. A woman does not get pregnant by herself. Why are the men responsible for pregnancies never mentioned? Time to involve the men whose sperm is responsible for abortions. Some suggestions: mandatory vasectomies, make Viagra illegal, make it illegal for a man to have sex with a woman without a signed contract filed with the police department saying he will pay all the mother and child's living and medical expenses through college. Or perhaps all the women living in these states should just leave and move to places where women aren't criminalized simply because they are women.

  178. So women need to keep in shape, no smoking or drinking, no obesity, nothing that might impede the growth of a fetus, or they may be charged with murder. Men, on the other hand, can drink and smoke and eat themselves to death, and they're always safe from being charged with murder because of a miscarriage. Nice.

  179. @Glassyeyed - Men can jump up and down, hoot and holler at football games, too, both at the stadium or at home while the wife is cleaning, doing dishes, cooking dinner, raising kids, etc.

  180. @Steve - I wish I could shake your hand and buy you a drink.

  181. My wife miscarried at the 5 month mark last year. The emotional impact it had on us is difficult to explain in words. We knew the sex, we named him (Noah), and we would give almost anything to for him to be here right now. The idea of targeting any woman in this situation is beyond belief. What are we (Alabama) even trying to accomplish here?

  182. @Omni Rest assured well to do women won't be affected by this law, only the poor and more than likely women of color will suffer from such barbaric laws.

  183. @Omni, I am so sorry for yours and your wife's loss. I carried my first born to term but he died the next day, so I truly understand your loss. My daughter-in-law miscarried last month (she was 8 weeks along) and she was devastated. I just can't imagine being questioned by the law and FORCED to relive the pain of miscarrying. Women who miscarry already stress over wondering what they did or how it happen and if being questioned by law officials after miscarrying will only reinforce that they "must" have done something to hurt the fetus.

  184. @Omni Alabama, Georgia etc want to fill the for-profit prisons. If they target miscarriages, they can get 10-30% of women of childbearing age into the jails. Undoubtedly, some poor black woman raped by her boss will end up there for decades thanks to these vile new laws.

  185. This law violates the 14th Amendment which requires that all persons (in this case women) be treated equally under the law. By removing any choice from her, they violate all women's 14 Amendment rights because her ability to choose is removed while that of the state (and whoever got her pregnant) remain. After all, who would speak for this fetal 'person'? The state? The father? The religious fundamentalists and extremists? If they say the mother, they are simply saying she should have been allowed to choose in the first place. If they say anyone else, they are violating her rights. This law violates the 1st Amendment. Not all religions hold that life begins at conception (in fact most don't) In passing this law, Alabama (and others) are picking one religion and its justifications and elevating it over all others - a direct violation of the 1st Amendment. This law violates the 4th Amendment which protects personal and private property (in this case the woman's own body) from unwarranted intrusion. This law violates the woman's 13th Amendment rights by removing any say she has over her own body, thus making her a slave to some authority (which is currently nameless). I was taught that one's rights ended at one's skin. What took place inside that boundary was your choice and no one else's. None of us has a privilege or right to foist our views upon others.

  186. This hasn't been the only disruptive possibility of such nonsense Women are already being shortchanged in scientific medical studies so this will make it even less likely that women of childbearing age be included because of future liability to fetal damage. Which of course will then mean that while one fetus is being protected, studies that could improve health of women and other fetuses will not be done. A car accident that causes a miscarriage will be manslaughter. So will deliberately pushing or any physical action to a woman of childbearing age. Nobody should be allowed to smoke around any pre-menopausal woman; medical procedures, such as the everlasting controversy over vaccines will be ripe for litigation so they will not be administered to women; the chemical, petrochemical, food supply companies will be liable for fetal damage..... I suppose they can write the laws to say it is only the woman who is responsible for anything that happens. But then they will be placing their cards face up, won't they?

  187. @Christine Come to think of it, since any woman of childbearing age might be pregnant and sexual relations with her might damage the fetus, sex will itself be ripe for criminalization.

  188. "Without randomized controlled trials, which really aren’t possible here, we can’t know for sure what is causing many miscarriages not involving chromosomal abnormalities." - how would a randomized trial help understand this?

  189. @Jstring Hiya! I'm a nurse and an epidemiologist. I think what the author is getting at is a commonly misunderstood difference between causation and correlation. Observational studies can't say "Smoking causes miscarriages" because it's possible a third factor associated with both smoking and miscarriage is influencing the measurement, like low socioeconomic status influencing poor prenatal care. A randomized control trial is considered the only way to protect against these influencing unmeasured factors, because the randomly selected groups are as close to exactly the same as we can get without a time machine. They approximate the exact same population differing only in the factor we're interested in. In the case of miscarriage, because we know smoking is correlated with increased miscarriage risk, we can't ethically select 30 pregnant people and make a 15 random smoke. So we have to settle for observational studies. tldr; Observational studies can't ever say something caused something else. Randomized control trials can but it is unethical to put people at risk to prove causation.

  190. What happens if a woman from Alabama goes to another state for a legal abortion and returns home? Will she be prosecuted by Alabama law upon her return? Will the person who accompanied her be prosecuted? Will the father, rapist, or incest creep be prosecuted for not stopping her? Will the doctor who told her she was pregnant and then discovers she is no longer be required to report her? If they don’t report her medical status are they liable for prosecution? If they do report her medical status are they liable for prosecution by HIPA laws? If Roe v Wade is overturned will these same questions apply if a US citizen goes to Canada for a legal abortion? The black market drug dealers must love these laws. The abortion pill will be in great demand. Just take the regimen every five weeks to be sure. Pandora’s box if I ever saw one.

  191. @Lee Godfrey And I'm curious...how do they determine the pregnancy status of any woman crossing the state border? They'd have to seal the borders (maybe they'll build a wall that Mexico can pay for) and test every single woman of child-bearing age for pregnancy before they leave the state. Then test them again when they re-enter. If they're found to no longer be pregnant, I'd assume they'd then be arrested. The entire law is insane.

  192. “removing the embryo from the fallopian tube and then reinserting it in the uterus so that’s defined as not an abortion.” > This procedure is not possible. Given the growing number of organs that can be transplanted, why should it not be possible to transplant the placenta, to which the fetus is attached during the first trimester? Has this ever been tried?

  193. @Radames This is not possible because there is no way to remove the embryo from its life-threatening position in the fallopian tube without destroying the placenta. As someone who has suffered an ectopic pregnancy in the past year, I wish that this was an option, but it's not.

  194. @Radames we should not be in the business of doing human experiments like this.

  195. @Radames There is no placenta in the first trimester, read a book some time. It takes the full first trimester to grow a placenta. Detaching a placenta causes the mother to die of hemorrhage by the way. The resection of a woman's tube would cause infertility and the embryo wouldn't survive either. Also, why would a person (women are people) be subjected to such an invasive procedure, against her will? The issue here is not abortion, but controlling women's lives.

  196. So if a 6-week embryo is legally a person, and the mother either dies or suffers harm from being forced to carry it to term- can she (or the state?) then press charges against the embryo for attempted murder or battery? It’s all about punishing and subjugating women for any sexual activity, consensual or otherwise. Not much of a surprise from the state that brought us Roy Moore.

  197. @Rojee and remember, if it’s a 6-week pregnancy, that embryo’s been in existence for about 4 weeks.

  198. CSI Atlanta. Special Miscarriage Unit. A lot of poking around women’s bathrooms, surveillance of the Tylenol and feminine hygiene aisle and ...actually this is getting even ickier. I can’t imagine the scenario that would lead to prosecution being brought forward. What is evidence? How do you establish what caused an event doctors cannot explain? Was it the potato salad? Did you ride a bicycle today? Someone tell me. Abortion is safe, funded and legal where I live. We don’t pry into miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies wither. Anti abortion protesters must maintain a wide exclusion zone and distance from clinic entrances.

  199. The new South looks a lot like the old South as it is a land devoted to hate and disregard for women’s rights. Hugh Massengill

  200. This is obscenity to attack half the population with a willful ignorance that is sheer legislative hypocrisy. Women are going to have to get rid of these bought-off Congressmen. The maternal death rate belies the empty "love" of humanity. It is not possible to value a fertilized egg over the life of an American citizen who is female. It is not possible.

  201. If these legal quandaries are inadvertent results of "trying to do the right thing", it's because the people who write the legislation are ignorant of reproductive biology and unconcerned with the well-being of women and girls. The point of all such legislation is controlling -- and for some, punishing -- women. That's it, really; too many of the anti-choice groups operate in bad faith for their concerns for fetuses or women to be taken seriously. Nothing better demonstrates the fundamental misogyny in our society than these sloppily written and irrationally argued attempts to restrict a woman's right to her own body.

  202. @Maggie Mae Pass the equal rights amendment.

  203. Lack of knowledge never stopped anyone from having very definitive views on how other people should behave. Give those same people legislative powers, and you have a truly frightening situation. Morality and medicine or science don’t really mix well. They speak separate languages. Anytime we start mixing them together, the results are almost always damaging. This issue has become so far beyond anything rational or justifiable I don’t know anymore how it’s to be resolved.

  204. What about employers that disregard doctors' notes when a pregnant employee must stop doing physically demanding things? I'm thinking about WalMart, Amazon, and any warehouse that refused to accommodate working conditions for pregnant women. The employees risked losing their jobs and feeding their families if they didn't continue to lift heavy boxes, stay on their feet, etc.

  205. @L They don't care about the well being of the mother or the embryo. This is just about controlling women and ensuring the patriarchy and the white oligarchy lives on.

  206. @LRight, Yes, Walmart would not be prosecuted for causing the death of this "citizen."

  207. Legislators may not understand pregnancy or women's reproductive health issues, but it is willful and politically motivated misunderstanding. Just as with Kavanaugh, it wasn't that the senate judiciary committee didn't understand the truth of what Dr. Ford was saying. Its that they really didn't care. McConnell said, "We're going to plow right through", before the sham FBI investigation even began. Legislators don't care to understand such inconvenient truths like ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. It is their male privilege not to have to understand. No medical explanations will change their minds. This is about dominating women and is a reaction to women's (and some men's) demands for equality.

  208. Who in their right mind with loans up to their ears would open an OB/GYN practice, or be part of one, in these retrograde states? Who will be left to practice? A complicated pregnancy that no one with skills will dare to touch. god willed them both to die for the sin of living in such a state? What happens when someone is criminally charged over a spontaneous abortion and has to explain themselves to an anti science jury that believes the bible is the literal truth? As does the prosecutor. Do your best to boycott all of these anti woman states. And welcome those who flee and bring with them skills and compassion. I take no joy in the health divide growing larger.

  209. I live in Iowa. There is already a shortage of OB-GYN practitioners.

  210. You should know that extraordinary miscarriages are already subject to criminal investigation nationwide, including in New York. A repeated fact pattern is when a woman drops the miscarried fetus into a toilet and it is found. These bizarre and uncommon cases are regularly the subject of police investigation. And it has happened at least once in New York, on an airplane, no less. My point is that the police routinely investigate highly unusual miscarriages. Routine investigation is unheard of. So the issue isn’t whether any miscarriages can be investigated. They already are. The issue is whether the Georgia law authorizes specious and frequent investigations.

  211. Tough-on-crime DA’s with political aspirations already have too much power to bring cases for personal aggrandizement. Publicly going after illegal abortions in the Bible Belt is a no brainer. But how to do it... Well, you could start by tracking all women’s menstrual cycles with random verification. Or requiring women to report all missed periods or periods more than two weeks late. Or requiring autopsies, death certificates, and burials on every purported miscarriage. Or tracking the purchase of every pregnancy test and requiring the completed test be turned over to local law enforcement. Or intercepting random packages to search for illegal abortifacients. Or searching and questioning state citizens leaving or returning from out of state looking for evidence of intent or actions to abort a pregnancy. Or searching and questioning all visitors to the state for evidence of intent to provide pregnancy tests, abortifacients, or abortions. Or requiring certified pregnancy test results for every women of child bearing age who travels out of state. Or requiring medical providers to notify the state of every pregnancy test or verified conception. Or requiring state pre-approval for all D&C’s and hysterectomies on women of child bearing age. And taking anonymous tips from nosy neighbors, virile boyfriends, or abusive partners on a hot line. They’re going to need a ramped up police state or a religious police force if they want a real sanctuary for fetuses.

  212. @Michael Tyndall Yes and they will need more taxes to pay for all of the surveillance. What will GOP do then?

  213. @LES Tax pregnancy tests.

  214. If all those who are against abortion would adopt the unwanted children, or the medically challenged children that are brought to term because of restrictive abortion laws, then they would at least be doing their so-called "christian duty". But how many pro-lifers actually adopt such a child?

  215. @R.F. If all the secular humanists opposed to poverty gave a tithe of their income to the poor, they would be doing their humanist duty. But only Christians tithe. Humanists like their money too much.

  216. @michjas. Tithe only helps the church. They can distribute it to whomever they want, but the tithe goes to the church, not the poor. They just use the poor to encourage you to give more.

  217. @michjas - Seriously? Do you really think that charitable giving only happens through churches?

  218. As a male, this is my opinion on abortion: Nothing I cannot have one, I do not have the biological prerequisites to have any opinion

  219. just a thought on the picture that heads the article. Is that trooper "keeping watch over protesters" or playing on his phone? good photo op there, G state.

  220. How about this scenario: A woman who smokes miscarries. Is she potentially criminally negligent for smoking? If so, what if she works in a smoking environment (say, a bar). Does the management of the bar, and the patrons, bear criminal responsibility for her miscarrying because of the effects of secondhand smoke? If no to the second, why yes to the first? This is wrong in so many ways.

  221. The next logical step is to establish public squares in all large communities. Women who have suffered a miscarriage can be quickly and conveniently executed by public beheading there. Or maybe the Republicans would prefer the guillotine? Disembowelment? Hanging, drawing and quartering?

  222. @A Cynic Oh, they would prefer the stocks, to prolong the humiliation.

  223. You forgot. First you need a database of all pregnant women in the State so you can monitor their pregnancy. I recommend some form of stigma so that pregnant women can be seen a mile away. Some country tried that about 80 years ago..... Let me think. Who was that again? (keep the sarcasm)

  224. i will never set foot south of the Mason Dixon line ever again,for any reason, and fly-over land is pretty much on my no-go list as well. Who are these people who revel in their ignorance?

  225. Really? haven't lived there for years - used to be a Levittown, Sears houses in rows, worker paradise..Phoenix is charming, always a good idea to put a huge population where there is no water and life without AC is impossible..

  226. @michjas Have you been to Syosset? I'm originally from a town very close to Syosset and what you're saying really isn't true.

  227. The New Trump Confederacy : Women are slaves, to their bodies. And the slavemasters are white Males. Wake up, People. VOTE.

  228. To those forced pregnancy advocates, I would say to be careful what you wish for. If the State has unlimited power to define “life” pursuant to whatever ideological or religious preferences it has at that moment, then one also accepts the corollary that, in the future, perhaps one of over-population and scarce resources due to climate change, the State likewise retains the power to change its definition of what is in the interest of protecting “life” to compel abortion or worse.

  229. @J. That’s right. Or forbid women from having children so that they are all born in a state run baby factory chip already embedded in the brain to obey the potus

  230. Women in this country have already been prosecuted for miscarriage and still births. Having recently lost a stillborn grandchild it is tough to imagine anything so cruel: women always blame themselves unfairly. Prosecutors will use that. Will women in America ever be persons under the law? I’m seriously doubting it will happen in my lifetime. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/28/opinion/abortion-pregnancy-pro-life.html

  231. @Chickpea apparently the prison lobby realizes they can make more money from putting more women in prison.

  232. I've posted over the years the dangers of this scenario becoming reality. Imagine, in the so-called pro-life people's ideal society, a woman who miscarries can now expect a visit from the sheriff's department, just in case it did not occur naturally; the law must be enforced, don't you know. Folks, this is from the party of small government. 12:45 EDT, 5/15

  233. @mancuroc. Yes, and of course there will be plenty of money for law enforcement but non for maternity or child care.

  234. What happens in this case: an ultrasound at 10 weeks shows that there is no longer a heartbeat; 10 days later, however, no miscarriage has occurred; the woman has a DNC. Will doctors in Georgia and Alabama continue to feel comfortable with this approach?

  235. I read this with fury and great misgivings. As someone who suffered two "missed abortions" in the first trimester, which required D&C's and a miscarriage at 21 weeks, resulting in a stillbirth, I wonder what would happen to someone like me in a state like Alabama. All those pregnancies were wanted and the miscarriages were devastating. To add a police investigation to it would have been horrific. I would have had the resources to fight charges, but many poor women would not. I have read of women in jail for this in central America. Jesus wept, and the Handmaid outfits are all appropriate here.

  236. @Leslie M I think the answer is that there would be no one to perform a D&C in this situation because the doctor does not want to be subject to criminal prosecution. Perhaps there would be some Court procedure established such that you could offer "proof" to a Judge that you had miscarried, and only then could you get a D&C. Given the standard Court waiting times in most places, this would mean if you had complications you'd be in septic shock by then unless you could afford to travel to another state. Good times! Alabama and Georgia == El Salvador in terms of prosecuting women who miscarry. I have had 4 D&Cs following miscarriages, one at 16 weeks, for very much wanted pregnancies after years and years of IVF treatments. You can bet any IVF providers still left in Alabama or Georgia will also leave given similar concerns.