Utah Governor Signs Miscarriage Bill into Law
In February, Utah sought to criminalize a woman’s “reckless act” that led to a miscarriage, which did not go over well with many people in the U.S. This week, the governor signed a reworked bill that designates the “intentional or knowing” miscarriage as criminal homicide.
Governor Gary Herbert signed Utah HB 462 on Monday. The bill stipulates that a woman can be charged with homicide for “the death of her unborn child”, unless the death qualifies as legal abortion, which is defined as “a medical procedure carried out by a physician or through a substance used under the direction of a physician.”
The original bill could have got women sent away for lifelong prison terms for falling down stairs or staying in an abusive relationship, but criticisms got this part changed. Legislators added provisions that a woman can’t be prosecutred if the death of her fetus “is caused by a criminally negligent or reckless act of the woman” or “is not caused by an intentional or knowing act of the woman.” What’s this mean? Well, now a woman has to intentionally induce her miscarriage in order to be prosecuted.
Utah is not the only state that criminalizes self-induced abortion. Delaware and New York do as well. Many are concerned, however, that this high-profile law may encourage other states to consider similar legislation of their own.