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

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  •  dkos link on my parenting board! (4.00)
    I was so excited to see a dkos diary linked and discussed on my mommy board, and was even more enthused to see that a couple of the women took it upon themselves to write letters to Cosgrove and forward this diary to an NBC affiliate.  I was a bit disheartened, though, to see how easily others on my board bought the <clears throat> "justification" behind this bill, hook, line, and sinker, and worse yet, to see dkos dismissed as a "liberal rant site, 'nuff said".

    I wonder if the focus on this thread on "criminalizing" failure to report fetal death might be misdirected?  </ducks>  After all, what is the probability that it could be enforced and that one would serve jail time?  I don't believe there is any real intent to enforce; rather, I think it is to color the public's attitudes towards the unborn and to slowly lay the groundwork for more aggressive anti-choice legislation to steamroll on through.

    Anyway, FWIW, I posted this response on my baby board:

    Let's take a step back and clarify one thing. This bill is about "fetal death", which exludes any situation of where there is a live birth, whether you're talking about a newborn that dies shortly after delivery or one that is abandoned in a dumpster and left to die. "Fetal death" does not mean these! It can only really mean three things: miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion.

    Now these definitions run completely contrary to Cosgrove's own letter, which explains,

    "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".

    A "trashcan baby" is a baby, not a fetus; he/she was born alive and was left to die. There are already laws in place to deal with negligence and infanticide. This law would not apply to live births.

    Needless to say, this piece of legislation is a big confused muddle, and I'm not sure what to make out of it. But what IS clear to me, is that the distinction between fetus and infant is being very intentionally blurred. Read between the lines, girls. You should be looking for the things you can't see.

    Sort of preaching to the choir, I know, but I do believe this is about pushing the point at which life begins than it is about whether or not you or I will go to jail for not reporting a miscarriage in a timely fashion.

    •  Good job (none)
      Thanks for taking on this mess at your baby board.

      This freak Cosgrove must be watched closely; there is no way in hell he intended HB 1677 to prevent "trash can babies".

      If he did, he would have written something similar to laws already in place in other states.  Michigan, for example, has a "Safe Haven" law that has encouraged a number of babies to be relinquished rather than dumped in the trash; although the law is flawed, it has prevented the deaths of infants. (More here: http://edition.cnn.com/2000/US/03/24/abandoned.babies/ and here: http://www.freep.com/news/mich/baby30_20020130.htm).  "Safe Haven" in no way refers to fetuses, only live births.

      Because of this Michigan law's existence and others like it already in place in a number of states, I'm pretty certain that Cosgrove did not intend VA HB 1677 to deter "trash can babies." Don't turn your back on this freak for one moment.

      Worse, this attempt is sure to pop up elsewhere. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts someone else in another state thought this was a cool trick and they'll try it again in a redder state.  If you live in a red state that doesn't already have a "Safe Haven" law in place, be on guard!!

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