If a woman in Virginia has a miscarriage without a doctor present, they must report it within 24 hours to the police or risk going to jail for a full year. At least, that’s what would have happened if a bill introduced by Virginia state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R) had become law.
And yet, the Virginia Republican Party wants to make Obenshain into the state’s top prosecutor.
... Obenshain’s bill could lead to a woman who decides to take a day to grieve the loss of a pregnancy she’d hoped to carry to term spending a year of her life in jail for that decision.
Even without Obenshain’s bill, Virginia law already treats many miscarriages as potential crimes. Under existing Virginia law, “[w]hen a fetal death occurs without medical attendance upon the mother at or after the delivery or abortion or when inquiry or investigation by a medical examiner is required, the medical examiner shall investigate the cause of fetal death and shall complete and sign the medical certification portion of the fetal death report within twenty-four hours after being notified of a fetal death.” Obsenshain, however, would treat many women as if they were criminal suspects at the moment they are confronted with a deep personal tragedy — and imprison them if they would rather deal with that tragedy privately with their family than share the vulnerable moment after a miscarriage with law enforcement.
Is it a bad sign when this stops surprising me, and my only response is "Oh, another one?"
Isn't this how it works in South American countries where abortion is illegal? (I could be wrong about that.) I mean, claiming miscarriage is a major way to get around being prosecuted for abortion. I don't see any way around this happening when abortion is illegal.
I don't know that it's the actual procedure in any particular South American country, but it's a probable result, in any society that vilifies women as much as the Republican Party does. I think most South American countries are more relaxed about it, though. It's sort of like prostitution, in this country. As long as it's not out on the street and officially acknowledged, they're pretty lax about enforcement.