Monday, February 21, 2011

Gendered Legislating.

There should be a law against gendered legislating.
Why do I say this? Because Georgia State Rep Bobby Franklin wants a law on the books which would make it a felony to miscarry if it couldn't be shown that the miscarriage occurred naturally. That's right, he wants to make it illegal to have a miscarriage that the miscarrying woman and her doctors can not show for a fact was entirely natural and unaided.
You can read the bill here.
If Rep Bobby Franklin knew anything about miscarriage, he would know that in the majority of cases, no cause can be given.  Maybe it was low progesterone, maybe the fetus wasn't developing properly, maybe mom had a weird hormone spike, maybe swamp gas was reflecting light off of Venus.  Most of the time, the devastated and grieving mother is left wondering.  The notion that she should have to prove that she didn't seek to end her pregnancy is not only inhumane, it's the type of legislative nonsense that endangers lives and once again relegates women to the position of second class citizens. What?  You have a semi-functional uterus that failed you? Well, if you can't prove that something else didn't happen, you're going to jail, little missy.
There is so much wrong with this. First of all, proving a negative is impossible. Secondly, our nation is built on Common Law, not Napoleonic Law.  The burden of proof, in the United States, must lie with the accuser, not the accused.  Of course, we've already gone off the rational and human path if we are wasting taxpayer money and adding to the burden of grief and guilt of mothers who lose their pregnancies by creating Uterus Police to investigate losses which are 100% out of the purview of the government.  Lest we forget HIPAA, frankly, the government isn't entitled to this information to start with.
More disturbingly, this sort of legislation, while stripping women of the right to have their bodies function as they will, this sort of legislation will endanger the health and lives of women who are afraid to report pregnancies and seek health care if pregnant for fear of being investigated and charged with a felony should they miscarry.
Ironically, Republicans usually push for bills that will help businesses. Yet, this bill would certainly be bad for businesses.  Imagine how many early pregnancy tests wouldn't be purchased because God forbid a woman pee on a stick, get a faint positive, and then lose the pregnancy and have to worry that she'll be investigated if she tells anyone, especially if she doesn't follow through with the proposed investigation and formal fetal death certificate.  Of course, ectopic pregnancies would not be excluded, and one has to wonder how the Uterus Police would handle molar or chemical pregnancies.  What? There is no baby?  Where did it go?
Surely, this sort of biased, anti-woman, and anti-human Napoleonic legislation will not pass, but knowing that enough persons residing in the 43rd district in Georgia thought Bobby Franklin, who seems to think that women shouldn't have the right to have bodily functions go awry, was a worthy representative, scares me.
It scares me that we live in a nation where legislation that can only be used to persecute members of a specific gender can be entertained.
It scares me that Republican Bobby Franklin is in favor of taking one of the most tragic things that can happen to a member of *not his gender* and turn it into a felony.
Shame on him.
Shame on anyone who agrees with him.
Shame on anyone who wants to create crimes based on body functions, and moreover on gendered ones.

If you live in Georgia, I highly recommend you write or call your State Reps opposing this for intrusive, bigoted,  unethical lawmaking it is, and if you live in the 43rd district, I ask you to voice your opposition to Rep Franklin, both now and at election time.

*Note- this post is being written in anger and surely isn't as sensitivity worded as it should be. I realize I'm discussing this in terms of cis women, and that is because as one, that's the set of issues with which i have more familiarity.

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