Anything to Push the Agenda...

Have a miscarriage, go to jail.

Virginia delegate John Cosgrove (a Republican, naturally) is sponsoring a bill (HB1677) that requires any woman who has a miscarriage without a doctor present — regardless of gestational age — to report it to the state within twelve hours. Failure to do so would be considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to twelve months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

And we’re not talking about a simple acknowledgement of the fact of the miscarriage, but a full-blown report. Dozens of required information fields, including the sex and weight of the fetus, sex if determinable, full medical history, the works. All, of course, within twelve hours of the miscarriage itself.

Cosgrove’s professed rationale for the bill is to prevent the abandonment of newborns (i.e., “trash can babies”). Fair enough.. if it were true. But actually looking at the bill in question demonstrates that his argument doesn’t stand up to even the most basic scrutiny. It does nothing beyond already-existing Virginia law to prevent (or punish) abandonment, and serves solely to place additional burden (beyond that required of doctors and other medical professionals, incidentally) on what is likely to be a distraught woman. The bill is designed for one purpose, and one purpose only: To legally establish “personhood” for a fetus from the moment of conception.

I don’t often get into the abortion debate, at least not on the merits of the debate itself. Not that I’m one to avoid controversy, but because there are rational arguments to be made on both sides. Granted, most of the arguments you hear from the antiabortion crowd are anything but rational, but that’s another debate (one I have often gotten into elsewhere). My reason for calling attention to this bill is twofold: One, it’s being pushed in under the radar, without much in the way of public awareness, and two, it’s being promoted under flagrantly false pretenses. The “stepping stone” argument can easily be overdone (on both sides), but in this case, I think the intent is fairly clear.

I personally find this particular bill ridiculously intrusive, though I’m certainly willing to entertain counterarguments. But at the least, I wanted to bring it out into the open.


At 5:04 PM, Andrew said...

When I lived in North Carolina I used to remind sniggering folks from out of state that technically, we were actually north of Virginia.

I got your indignation part, Bill, but what as his constituent are you doing to make his life hell? Trust me, I'm on Renzi's ass.

At 5:11 PM, Bill Coughlan said...

Actually, I'm not one of his constituents, as he represents Chesapeake. I just have to live in the state that this wingnut's bill will pollute.

As for my course of action, posting the info here was step one. As for step two, I'm open to suggestions... the nastier the better...

At 10:16 PM, Lisa said...

Ya know, you can write to your own delegate and say Look out for this thing. I just did.

At 3:10 AM, chasmyn said...

Excellent - I am glad to see men are posting about this as well. This is atrocious that it could even get as far as being a bill, nevermind getting passed. Goddess, don't let it pass, this country is already freaking me out beyond my tolerance.

At 5:36 PM, Kori said...

Speaking from the prolife side of the aisle (albeit the staunchly liberal and Democratic yet still prolife side), I can say that this bill seems, well, completely insane and flat out painful to women. Let me explain: Since I've been pregnant, I have had a bleeding episode almost every two weeks, but thankfully, the baby has always been okay. HOWEVER, when I have frantically called the doctor's office each time this has happened, I have had the "pleasure" of speaking to a nurse or on-call physician who has said, "This is called threatened miscarriage, or in medical terms a threatened abortion. There is nothing we can do for you. Stay in bed, and if you keep bleeding or have more pain, go to the ER."

To say that these replies have been nonchalant would be the understatement of the universe. Yes, because of the complication I have had regular ultrasounds, but that's because of MY concern. MY continued follow-up. MY quest for answers. When the receptionist booked me for my first real OB/Gyn appointment, she would not schedule me for a day sooner than 10 weeks, because as she so matter-of-factly put it, "so many pregnancies just naturally end before that, it's not worth it for you or for the doctor for you to come in sooner."

Could you imagine if everytime I called the OB/Gyn's office crying and upset, in addition to telling me there was a good chance this was the beginning of the end, they THEN informed me that I'd have to contact the local authorities to let them know all about my horrific experience? I mean, the doc wouldn't see me, so it would definitely end up on my plate as the pregnant woman to report it. Just the THOUGHT of miscarrying is bad enough---having to become some sort of "licensed miscarrier" is so intrusive it's dreadful.

Finally, let me ask this once again just so it's absolutely clear---why do Republicans, who want us all to make our way on our own and pull ourselves up by our boostraps seem so intent on knowing what's happening between everyone's legs, even if it's just tragic? I will never understand that. Senator Cosgrove, I cordially invite you, as one prolifer to another, to represent your party by coming to my bathroom every two weeks to help me measure and examine the blood that I have coming out of me. The doctors won't do it, but maybe it's the job of a Republican?!? Sound like fun? Oh, it is. There's worry and crying and blood! You lucky devil. How insane.

Oh, one last thing. This makes me happy I left Virginia last year.


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