If the GOP has its way, a new category of jobs may soon be available in Virgina:  womb inspectors.

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.”
Intrusive.  Medically unnecessary and ridiculous.  As far as I can determine, it has not been enforced for miscarriages that happen at home, as most do.  But compare the wording in that law to this one proposed by Virginia's GOP candidate for Attorney General, current Virginia state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R).
When a fetal death occurs without medical attendance upon the mother at or after the delivery or abortion, the mother or someone acting on her behalf shall, within 24 hours, report the fetal death, location of the remains, and identity of the mother to the local or state police or sheriff’s department of the city or county where the fetal death occurred. No one shall remove, destroy, or otherwise dispose of any remains without the express authorization of law-enforcement officials or the medical examiner. Any person violating the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.   http://thinkprogress.org/...
In Virginia, a Class 1 misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of twelve months in jail and a fine of not more than $2,500.

Now ask yourself this:  how could this law be enforced?  Scenario:  you're 8 weeks pregnant and you miscarry at home.  Your nosey neighbor had heard your three-year-old babbling happily that mommy had a new baby growing in her tummy.  Now, when nosey neighbor asks the child about the new baby, the child says it went to heaven.  Nosey Neighbor has an Aha! Moment and decides you gave yourself an abortion.  She calls the cops, figuring you didn't report your abortion within 24 hours as the law specifies because you're a sinner.  The cops arrive and question you.  Regardless of what you say, they have to investigate.  There's only one way to know if you were pregnant and now aren't.  Call the Womb Inspector.  

Back to reality, at least as of this writing.  Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain's proposed law didn't make it very far when he wrote it in 2009; after a few weeks, he  withdrew it.  Now, however, he has a shot at being the highest ranking, most powerful law enforcement official in the entire state of Virginia.  With the election only 6 months away, nothing is predictable in Virginia, an oddly divided purple state.  Barack Obama won there in 2008 and 2012 but Virginia's Governor and Lieutenant Governor are Republican.  Both senators are Democratic but Virginia currently has 8 Republicans and 3 Democrats in the House.

For further reading, consult The Handmaid's Tale.  Margaret Atwood's book looks more and more prophetic and should be required reading for every woman.  For Democrats, it's a cautionary tale.  For Republicans, it's an instruction manual.

Originally posted to Eyesbright on Wed May 22, 2013 at 06:51 PM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos and Pro Choice.

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