If the Republican Party platform position to make abortion illegal in all cases is carried through in to law, it will likely end up as popular as Prohibition.
The consequences of such a law, whether intended or unintended, would be to call in to civil questions regarding the disposition of any pregnancy a woman has.
Interestingly, 25 per cent of all pregnancies end in a natural abortion – commonly referred to as a miscarriage – but Republican law makers, especially at state levels, are working in what can only be described as legislative laboratories to not only end abortion, but go to extraordinary lengths to attach criminal penalties to any act that terminates a pregnancy.
A bill in Georgia introduced earlier this year by Representative Bobby Franklin proposed that:
“women who miscarry could become felons if they cannot prove that there was “no human involvement whatsoever in the causation” of their miscarriage. There is no clarification of what “human involvement” means, and this is hugely problematic as medical doctors do not know exactly what causes miscarriages…the bill holds women responsible for protecting their fetuses from “the moment of conception,” despite the fact that pregnancy tests aren’t accurate until at least 3 weeks after conception.”
The exact wording of the bill read:
“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.”
However, now the onus is on the woman to prove that, in the event of a miscarriage, there was no human involvement, otherwise she might be under suspicion of prenatal murder – a crime that, according to the bill could be punishable up to life in prison or the death penalty!
You might think these laws are too far-fetched to ever succeed in passing. That there are bigger issues to worry about like the economy, taxes, and the deficit; however, this is not what state legislators are focused on – in many states, the primary legislative focus is on a woman’s reproductive system.
This is happening throughout Red and Blue America to various extents. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently signed in to law the Women’s Health and Safety Act that amazingly recalculates the moment of conception to two weeks before conception (yes, you read that correctly!).
“The law defines pregnancy in a way that bans abortion two weeks before the other seven states who have similar laws. It calculates gestational age starting with the first day of the last menstrual period rather than the date of conception.
Jeff Smith, a former State Senator from Missouri writing in The Atlantic, detailed how Missouri went from a state that in 20 years went from Democratic majorities in the legislature to one now controlled by conservatives. Social issue laws, such as Gay Marriage, abortion, and immigration were hot button, wedge issues designed to move socially conservative democrats to the Republican side:
“Each of these laws accomplished two things, politically speaking: (1) they repelled gays and LGBT allies, immigrants and those who appreciate diversity, scientific researchers and young, mobile progressives, and discouraged new ones from coming to the state; and (2) helped retain and attract people with conservative world-views. It was a vicious cycle: The more retrograde the political debate, the more progressives left Missouri or decided against coming there in the first place. And the more progressives left or stayed away, the more conservative the electorate became, and the more reactionary the debate.
And therein lay the problem for Missouri, a former bellwether state which is now so conservative that a guy who believes women who are raped can “shut that whole thing down” to prevent pregnancy is polling even with a centrist incumbent U.S. senator. The more progressives heard the state’s often-nutty political debates, the more they voted with their feet.”
It’s coming. Can’t you just feel it? States are the laboratories of democracy. These bills are often floated to determine political traction and when met with little resistance or public outcry, eventually become law. The “debate” on abortion is barely a disagreement throughout Red America, but it stands to impact the entire country. But careful of what you wish for – even if you are pro-life, if you are of childbearing age, be very careful who you tell that you might be pregnant or you might find yourself in a courtroom one day explaining how the miscarriage was natural and not assisted. Your life could depend on that testimony…
Republicans like to obfuscate their state laboratory agendas by making grand pronouncements that their primary concern is about getting the American economy working again. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true. The marriage of the Republican Party to evangelical causes has produced a party beholden to social conservative issues that has become the trademark of the party. Traditional Republicans, especially those that are concerned about fiscal policy, foreign relations, and economics are considered “not conservative” enough and targeted in the primary elections for their weak (or liberal) positions on social issues. They’re a dying breed and nothing is standing in the way of the conservative cause to control the uterus.