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View Diary: VA Legislative Sentry: Have a Miscarriage, Go to JAIL? (231 comments)

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  •  Reply from Rep. Cosgrove (none)
    I'm normally hesitant to share direct email, but I think this will help illuminate the discussion.  I don't necessarily believe him, but I do think it's worth considering the possibility that he's sincere.  I asked him how this bill benefitted VA, and he responded:

    "This bill, which was requested by the Chesapeake Police Department, is an attempt to reduce the number of "trashcan" babies that are born and then abandoned in trashcans, toilets, or elsewhere to die from exposure or worse. There are numerous examples of these tragic deaths in Virginia, many in Northern Virginia and also in Hampton Roads. Once the body of a child is found, if the death of that child is undetermined by a coroner, the person abandoning that child can only be charged with "the improper disposal of a human body".

    That is the intent of the bill. I normally do not answer abusive and condescending emails. Please try to ask questions of people as you would have questions asked of you. You know.....kind of like the Golden Rule."

    Given that I called him a troglodyte in the first email, the last paragraph is a fair shot.

    •  Thank you (none)
      That's really interesting.  Very, very interesting.  And it's certainly the most benign interpretation of the law that I can imagine.

      But it's not what he wrote in to the law, and unless what I have read is totally wrong, what he has written is essentially using a nuclear bomb to kill a gnat.  If he wants his bill to address the abandonment of dead infants, he's got to re-write it so that it does not cover all "products of conception", as Virginia's current fetal death reporting regulations say.

    •  I don't buy it 100%. Why wouldn't he (none)
      include brief language in the text of the bill to exclude early miscarriages?  Or to define "miscarriage" more precisely?  It seems to me that this is just one more way to tighten the noose on women's independent decisions concerning their pregnancies.  It is like a contributory nail in the larger coffin of choice-- female reproductive choice, which includes the choice NOT to have to tell the f*cking state within twelve hours of a traumatic event how much the f*cking fetal waste product weighs.
    •  I just emailed Delegate Cogrove (none)
      I respectfully said quite a few things but I did point out that most abandoned babies were full term or close to it.  And, that spontaneously aborted fetuses were first trimester.  So, how is requiring spontaneously aborted fetuses going to cut back on babies in trash cans?
    •  His answer is all well and good (3.66)
      but what does it have to do with the bloodied globs of goo that are the product of a very early term miscarriage?  Are police so squeemish that they want to avoid finding the remains of particularly vigorous menstrations in dumpsters, as well?  Maybe Va should pass a law that menstrating women have to stay in a special hut until their period is over so as to not offend the poor dumpster diving policemen's sensibilities.

      Clearly Maura in Va's point that it's all part of the wingnut communities anti-abortion proxy war is right on target.

      The GOP despises Big Media because they occationally tell the truth. We should hate Big Media for the other 97 percent of the time when they don't.

      by Ugluks Flea on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 08:12:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I HAVE PROOF that he is full of crap! (4.00)
      This response is utter bullshit.

      Many states have passed laws that are meant to prevent the abandonment of full-term babies.

      Guess what?  Virginia ALREADY HAS SUCH A LAW!!!

      Virginia Law Protecting Infants

      Many states enacted such laws in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Here's a source I found listing the laws in the states that have them:

      Crisis Pregnancy data on safe haven laws

      Nice try, Cosgrove, but it would help if you read your own state's laws.....

      •  Point of clarification... (none)
        In my seething rage, I neglected to clarify what these laws do.  They allow a person to give up the custody of their newborn baby (essentially to "abandon" the child) to a responsible party with no strings attached.

        In other words, instead of throwing the child in a Dumpster in order to prevent anyone from knowing you've had a child, you can take the child to a hospital, give it to a nurse, and leave, and not have committed a crime.  In most cases, you don't have to identify yourself in any way.

        Each state's law is slightly different, but all have the goal of helping desperate mothers and fathers have another option other than harming these innocent babies.

      •  Reading VA's laws (4.00)
        No, I think you're right on target, actually.  I went back to some of the sources I found (but did not cite in my diary above) in researching this bill.

        I think what is critical here is Virginia's definition of "fetal death", which is:

        (emphasis mine)

        "Fetal death" means death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of human conception, regardless of the duration of pregnancy; death is indicated by the fact that after such expulsion or extraction the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles.

        If Delegate Cosgrove is honestly concerned about the abandonment of live infants in trash cans, he should be writing a bill that relates to "live birth", which Virginia defines as:

        "Live birth" means the complete or substantial expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of human conception, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, which, after such expulsion or extraction, breathes or shows any other evidence of life such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached.

        Instead,  he wrote a bill that requires Virginia women to report "fetal death" within 12 hours.  As all of us who've commented here have noted, using Virginia's definition of "fetal death" to encompass all products of conception means that Cosgrove's bill would apply to any spontaneous expulsion of products of conception.  Meaning miscarriages at home.  And if we want to take it to the extreme, possibly meaning many normal menstrual periods containing products of conception, too.

        IF Delegate Cosgrove is primarily concerned about abandoned infants, he should withdraw this bill and write another.  

        •  To everyone on this particular thread (none)
          I'm going to compose a letter to the Virginian Pilot tomorrow. Do you mind if I use your 'research' presented here to help me justify my positions?  

          I'll check back in the morning to see what you've said.

          •  Go for it... (none)
            use whatever contributions I've made...all of my links are easily found on the net with any search engine, so it's not like I've got anything special here.

            Hope it gets printed.  If there's a reporter on the health beat at that paper, you might want to copy your e-mail to that person; perhaps a feature story could come about that would get a lot of attention.

        •  Excellent points (3.50)
          Has anyone actually contacted the Chesapeake Police Dept. to verify that it was their idea?  I'll bet they wouldn't have any clue about it, especially as he's written it.  Probably wouldn't like the mountains of new work it would create either.  

          Funny how it's always MEN coming up with this crap to tighten their control over the women folk.  If he had suffered through a miscarriage, he might have some insight on the cruelty of his proposal.  He might then write legislation that he himself would like to have to live by, like, you know, the Golden Rule.

          Will you be a Weaver of the fabric of our Democracy, or will you be a Moth?

          by jandey on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 02:48:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Don't Golden Rule me (4.00)
      The so-called "golden rule" is "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  It completely ignores that others might not want to be DONE TO.

      Certainly not a rule I'd want followed by the guy who wants to hump every female he sees.

      Surely the Senator does not want his emissions monitored for living sperm.  So, he's not even following his own advice.

    •  This makes me cry. (4.00)
      I had six miscarriages and one live birth.  (I have a chronic illness.)

      The only one requiring a D&C was the fifth one and I had to cross a picket line with people holding posters of third trimester, supposedly aborted, fetuses to get in the hospital door.

      I can't even BEGIN to tell you how heartbreaking this was.

      What would happen if I called up and said, "Yeah this was my 3rd or 4th spontaneous abortion in 2 years."  Would they try and prosecute me for Failure to Reproduce?!?

      I hope there's a special kind of hell for troglodytes like this.

      •  not to mention the police report (4.00)
        would now be in the paper, a matter of public record.  i come from a small town, and imagine your sister in the paper reporting a first trimester spontaneous miscarriages before she could tell you or your parents about it.

        almost everyone i know who has been pregnant has had a miscarriage.  i've been there when they've had to tell people they're not pregnant anymore.  people who haven't been through it look at you like there's something wrong with you, or it is something you did as a bad mother or something.  this is a highly common occurance in our society, and the proposed law is well outside the bounds of personal privacy.

        •  Most miscarriages happen (none)
          in the first few weeks of pregnancy.  I read somewhere once that 80% of pregnancies actually end in spontaneous abortion - many women never even realizing they were pregnant.

          I guess women will have to call up and say, "I may be miscarrying or I may just be having a slightly late, REALLY bad period, but here's all my personal data to be put in the public record!"

          Yeah.  Right.

      •  I have also suffered (none)
        a miscarriage.  I live in Texas so it won't do any good for me to write him but I might anyway.

        The Christian Right is neither

        by TXsharon on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 08:44:24 AM PST

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      •  Miscarriage (none)
        For many women, who are trying to bring a child to term, every miscarriage is not only a loss, but brings with it a feeling of personal failure. I miscarried at 20 weeks. It was not pleasant and I still mourn that loss even now, years later. The last thing on my mind the  12 hours following was documenting the most intimate details of my reproductive health.  If this law passes, it will signal that all females of reproductive age in Virginia are second class citizens. Obviously, this man (?) has never experienced the pain of losing a pregnancy or a child.
    •  If Point is Avoiding"Trashcan Disposal" (none)
      then target certain means of disposal as the behavior to be regulated...... The proposed law is far too overbroad and invasive.  Frankly, I don't think it would be constitutional given the constitutional protection now given to reproductive freedom.

      Fuzzy only works for pets.

      by NotFuzzy on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 10:10:32 AM PST

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