Miscarriage-as-Murder Bill Center of GOP War on Women

Sigh. This is what happens when you find someone who’s earned an undergraduate degree in both “Biblical studies” and “Business Administration,” have him run for state representative unopposed in 2010 (although he’s been part of the Georgia House of Representatives since 1996) and then allow him to revel in a nation-wide political assault on women, led by the Republican party, of which he’s a member.

Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) of “rape victims should be classified as accusers and not victims” fame – or the “Lone Ranger” as he’s been called and has taken to calling himself – has most recently introduced a bill to criminalize miscarriages, renaming the process “prenatal murder.” Oh, they say, no. It’s only miscarriages where the cause cannot be determined – not all miscarriages. Well, folks, that’s most miscarriages.

Here’s the thing: you’ll need, as others more witty than I have deemed them, a team of Uterus Police Officers – to suss this out as a crime.

Ask my midwife why I miscarried with my second pregnancy. What was the cause? The cause was my body behaving as the female human body will sometimes behave. What do you mean – what’s the cause?! Was there human involvement in the causation of the event? Of course my body was “involved in the cause of the event.” If the female body itself is criminalized – something this bill would do – we may as well throw all girls and women on an island somewhere far away and let us fend for ourselves in all of our evil glory. Sadly, that does not sound so horrible at this point and time.

HB 1 creates a new legal classification for pregnancy termination – “Prenatal Murder,”

‘Prenatal murder’ means the intentional removal of a fetus from a woman with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus; provided, however, that if a physician makes a medically justified effort to save the lives of both the mother and the fetus and the fetus does not survive, such action shall not be prenatal murder. Such term does not include a naturally occurring expulsion of a fetus known medically as a ‘spontaneous abortion’ and popularly as a ‘miscarriage’ so long as there is no human involvement whatsoever in the causation of such event.   (c) The act of prenatal murder is contrary to the health and well-being of the citizens of  this state and to the state itself and is illegal in this state in all instances.   (d) Any person committing prenatal murder in this state shall be guilty of a felony and,  upon conviction, shall be punished as provided in subsection (d) of Code Section 16-5-1.  The license of any physician indicted for an alleged violation of this Code section shall be    suspended until resolution of the matter. The license of any physician convicted of a   violation of this Code section shall be permanently revoked. The provisions of this Code  section shall be in addition to any other provisions relating to the killing of a fetus or any other person.”

I have it on good authority that even those who work in the political arena think he’s crazy; that he does not represent the state of Georgia. But just who is he representing and how did he get this far? Franklin may be seen as a rogue representative but he’s far from it. Representative Bobby Franklin is empowered by the current state of extreme agenda-setting by the GOP. Instead of focusing on the health and lives and current well-being of Americans – especially the millions of Americans who seem to be living in an increasingly separate state, those who are uninsured or underinsured in terms of health coverage, those who are unemployed or underemployed, those who are living near, at or below the poverty line, women, people of color and children – Republicans are intent upon ripping away any shred of assistance owed to these citizens, as much as governmental safety net programs, paid for by our taxes, are owed to us all.

Franklin’s horrifying bill is not out of left field in the least, if you’ve been following the constant legislative pummeling on the “other” Americans. House GOP leaders proposed a budget which places the health and lives of the rest of us in danger. From cutting billions in aid to programs like Women, Infant, Children (WIC) which helps pay for milk, formula, food and diapers to defunding our nation’s only federal program, Title X, which provides for critical preventative care like Pap tests, breast exams, STI checks, HIV tests and more, to cutting millions in foreign aid to PEPFAR, our global AIDS prevention program, which helps prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission among other things, we’re watching a crisis of principles play out in front of our eyes.

Women’s health advocates may be the warriors out in front of this battle but if we allow the GOP to do what they’re doing, it may end up being a victory for all of us “other” Americans. Are they not digging their own graves at this point? Rep. Michele Bachmann is “taking a stance” against families being able to use their own pre-tax dollars to cover breastfeeding pumps, making quite the couragous stand against First Lady Michelle Obama’s work to combat the obesity epidemic and the CDC’s goals to increase breastfeeding rates for the health and lives of our mothers and babies.

Rep. Bobby Franklin may not be taken seriously by his colleagues but his proposal to criminalize miscarriage must be seen as relevant to the broader assault – not just on women and women’s bodies. This is an assault on freedom and justice. It’s an assault on all Americans who understand that there is a difference between making a personal decision not to do something with which you disagree and legislating inhumanity and injustice. The introduction of this bill must be viewed as the center of the current storm. When the GOP creates a climate of absolute antipathy for humankind, displayed in their assault particularly on women’s health and lives, bills like this are born.

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  • crowepps

    This is what is really behind the mask of ProLife ‘for the innocent babies’ moralism, the ugly face of Anti-Abortion fanaticism: women who have sex must endure the ‘consequence’ of pregnancy.  If there are complications or problems and healthy live babies aren’t the result, it’s because WOMEN MUST HAVE DONE SOMETHING WRONG.  Let them die or put them in prison.

  • freetobe

    to destroy the entire federal government! They are now trying to defund OSHA!

    They MUST be stopped and I hope that ALL others not GOP (or that still have some sense left -conservative in a moderate form) will wake up and realize that this is the beggining of the GOP’s plan – Corporatist (Fascist) and thrid world country status. In other words the corporations will be running everybody including the air we breathe the water we drink, and every other thing including raising prices on energy and we know what happens where there is no competition-service goes down and prices continue to climb.

     Women are only one part of thier plan. That is to keep women poor and pregnant and all those babies will become soldiers for the Corporates!!

    This is  not some conspiracy or fairytale it is happening right now. Look at Wisconsin. That is only the tip of the iceberg. We must fight like hell to save our freedom!!!

  • elita-blacktating

    WIC funds do not provide diapers, in fact, no social welfare program does. It’s one of the most expensive items that low-income moms must purchase and always out of their own pockets.

  • ecr319

    do you know of any national organizations that take donations of diapers for low-income women? I went back and forth on whether I should donate the formula coupons I’d been receiving (my fault for buying something at Motherhood, I suppose) to a CPC via my doula, who teaches classes at one, but ultimately decided that it was better for them to go to a CPC than to be thrown away. However, I refuse to donate something I have to pay for to a CPC.

  • mechashiva

    I’m starting to wonder if this isn’t all an elaborate conspiracry to make conservatives look bad. I mean, this shit is almost cartoonish. And all of it happening at one time? In addition to the anti-union thing? Maybe it is all an elaborate ruse to increase funding for Democratic campaigns.


    I’m only about 10% serious.

  • crowepps

    Personally I pass along outgrown baby clothes, extra diapers, infant equipment, etc. to the local Women’s Shelter, who are thereby able to help women who escaped in their bathrobes to set up new living places as they start all over from scratch.

  • ack

    Domestic violence shelters, transitional housing programs, and homeless shelters that serve women are all great places to donate formula coupons, diapers, and baby clothes. Give the local program a call and ask if they can use what you have; ask to talk to the person who handles their donations. For those types of items, they’ll almost always take them. Some larger programs will pick up items like furniture, or may have drop off locations. Programs occasionally run thrift stores to raise money, so if survivors can’t use the donations and they don’t have space to store them, they can try to re-sell them for funding used for services.

  • ecr319

    and have in the past, but I’m more interested in addressing the needs of mothers who are not in transition but just plain can’t afford to purchase necessities for their child(ren). The midwife I saw during my last pregnancy had a client base of about 85% Medicaid patients, oftentimes very young women with very few resources. She and I have discussed trying to start up a version of LLL with her patients (I’m a leader in our area), but I’m going to see about adding something like this on as well. It’s not that I don’t find shelters a worthy cause; it’s just that the one here for battered women and the one for homeless women and children are given lots of attention by the Junior League and school groups, while mothers and families that are not in need of shelter but still in need of everyday items are not. I live in one of the most conservative parts of Alabama and the attitude seems to be that homeless and abused women make for great charity work, but people of limited means shouldn’t be reproducing anyway, so why would any attention be devoted to them to begin with? That’s why our Congressman, whose wife was President of the JL a few years back, can vote to cut WIC and eliminate Title X and not blink an eye.

  • crowepps

    Since we’re talking about the GOP’s war on women, it triggered some interesting thoughts when I ran across this provision in the Geneva Convention

    “Art. 27. Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity.”


    [bolding added]

    This certainly seems to indicate the average clinic protest is the war crime of abuse of the civilian population.

  • crowepps

    She certainly is going to know who would really need and appreciate the help and that would eliminate any problem of intrusiveness or potential feelings of shaming her patients might otherwise feel.  My daughter was so appreciative of her midwife that she made a series of baby hats and donated them for later patients.


    If this works well for you, the midwife and her patients, you might consider blogging about it to provide a template for other women who are interested in doing something similar.  I’ve made a lot of baby quilts over the years to donate for fundraising auctions at local nonprofits but it never occurred to me to just drop a few off at the midwife and let her choose the recipients.  Am going to do so now!

  • arekushieru

    Elita, I think there are a few programs here (Canada) that help with the collection, donation and distribution of diapers, although, I don’t believe they are a part of a social welfare program, either.  But,  I think that’s a great idea, even though (or because) I have no kids of my own.  I think I will start doing my own collecting and donating.  I do have my fair share of disposable income.

    One option that seems available is for pregnant and parenting teens (single or otherwise, minorities or otherwise, in transitional or victims of domestic violence housing or otherwise, etc…) that goes by the name of Terra.  It seems to be non-affiliated with religious or CPC organizations that exist in the local area.

    Believe me, as someone who used to be homeless and, before that, was employed as a home health care aide at an organization that supported women who were victims of domestic violence, I did see that further support was needed, even though I only saw the tip of the iceberg.

    However, does anyone know what kinds of diapers would be best? Disposable are not all that environmentally friendly but the non-disposable kind need to be laundered, services that many impoverished and single-income/-families don’t have access to. 

  • elita-blacktating

    Wow, so glad to see so many are looking to donate diapers! There is currently a campaign sponsored by Huggies that provides diapers to diaper banks throughout the country. It is called Every Little Bottom. You can donate directly to Huggies or if you have a problem with that, you can see if there is a diaper bank in your area (my state of Florida only has a handful and none of them are even within a 4 hour drive of me!) http://www.huggies.com/en-US/promotions/everylittlebottom

    If you are in the Chicago area, there is a great diaper bank called Bundle of Joy you can donate to. You can also search Amazon wishlists for diaper banks. Most of them have a wishlist so you purchase the diapers on Amazon and they are shipped directly to the bank! It takes just a few minutes.


    There has been some controversy over whether or not it’s a good idea to provide low income families with disposable diapers. Although they are not as environmentally friendly, realistically many low income moms simply cannot launder diapers. They don’t have the machinery, the specialty detergent or the time. There is an organization called The Cloth Diaper Foundation that provides low income families with a starter stash of cloth, you can donate to them if you feel strongly about the use of cloth diapers.


  • saltyc

    Truly, don’t let that bother you.

    I used cloth at home, mostly because I didn’t want the bleached paper leaking dioxins to my little one’s skin. I don’t know if this concern is legitimate, but why risk? It also saved a lot of money for me since I did have a washing machine. Bleached diapers definitely have a bad impact on the environment due to chlorine.  I did use unbleached disposables while she was in daycare.  ( I didn’t throw away the cloth diapers and re-cycled them as feminine napkins, they can be cleaned! )

    But who cares about me, the truth is, the concern over disposables in landfills is overblown. Four times as much clothing and shoes end up in landfills as diapers, but you don’t hear people worrying about that when they donate new clothes and shoes. You don’t hear people worrying about all the yard waste that ends up in landfills. And just look at how much food gets thrown away: 2009:

    • Paper: 28.2%
    • Yard Trimmings: 13.7%
    • Food Scraps: 14.1%
    • Plastics: 12.3%
    • Metals: 8.6%
    • Rubber, Leather, and Textiles: 8.3%
    • Wood: 6.5%
    • Glass: 4.8%
    • Other: 3.5%

    source: http://www.epa.gov/osw/facts-text.htm#chart1

    I don’t know which of those categories includes disposable diapers, last I saw anyone collecting data on that was 1998 at 2% of US landfills, but that seems inflated IMHO.

    There was a British study that said if you throw cloth diapers away after one child, the laundering and all ends up with the same impact on the environment as disposable, though the study had its critics, mainly that it didn’t account for more water- and energy-efficient washers.