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Excerpt: "In America as pregnant women who lose babies face murder charges, women's rights campaigners see the creeping criminalization of pregnant women as a new front in the culture wars over abortion."

Across the US, more and more prosecutions are being brought against women who lose their babies. (photo:
Across the US, more and more prosecutions are being brought against women who lose their babies. (photo:

US Women Who Have Stillbirths Face Murder Charges

By Ed Pilkington, Guardian UK

25 June 11


Women's rights campaigners see the creeping criminalisation of pregnant women as a new front in the culture wars over abortion.

ennie Gibbs is accused of murder, but the crime she is alleged to have committed does not sound like an ordinary killing. Yet she faces life in prison in Mississippi over the death of her unborn child.

Gibbs became pregnant aged 15, but lost the baby in December 2006 in a stillbirth when she was 36 weeks into the pregnancy. When prosecutors discovered that she had a cocaine habit - though there is no evidence that drug abuse had anything to do with the baby's death - they charged her with the "depraved-heart murder" of her child, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

Gibbs is the first woman in Mississippi to be charged with murder relating to the loss of her unborn baby. But her case is by no means isolated. Across the US more and more prosecutions are being brought that seek to turn pregnant women into criminals.

"Women are being stripped of their constitutional personhood and subjected to truly cruel laws," said Lynn Paltrow of the campaign National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW). "It's turning pregnant women into a different class of person and removing them of their rights."

Bei Bei Shuai, 34, has spent the past three months in a prison cell in Indianapolis charged with murdering her baby. On 23 December she tried to commit suicide by taking rat poison after her boyfriend abandoned her.

Shuai was rushed to hospital and survived, but she was 33 weeks pregnant and her baby, to whom she gave birth a week after the suicide attempt and whom she called Angel, died after four days. In March Shuai was charged with murder and attempted foeticide and she has been in custody since without the offer of bail.

In Alabama at least 40 cases have been brought under the state's "chemical endangerment" law. Introduced in 2006, the statute was designed to protect children whose parents were cooking methamphetamine in the home and thus putting their children at risk from inhaling the fumes.

Amanda Kimbrough is one of the women who have been ensnared as a result of the law being applied in a wholly different way. During her pregnancy her foetus was diagnosed with possible Down's syndrome and doctors suggested she consider a termination, which Kimbrough declined as she is not in favour of abortion.

The baby was delivered by caesarean section prematurely in April 2008 and died 19 minutes after birth.

Six months later Kimbrough was arrested at home and charged with "chemical endangerment" of her unborn child on the grounds that she had taken drugs during the pregnancy - a claim she has denied.

"That shocked me, it really did," Kimbrough said. "I had lost a child, that was enough."

She now awaits an appeal ruling from the higher courts in Alabama, which if she loses will see her begin a 10-year sentence behind bars. "I'm just living one day at a time, looking after my three other kids," she said. "They say I'm a criminal, how do I answer that? I'm a good mother."

Women's rights campaigners see the creeping criminalisation of pregnant women as a new front in the culture wars over abortion, in which conservative prosecutors are chipping away at hard-won freedoms by stretching protection laws to include foetuses, in some cases from the day of conception. In Gibbs' case defence lawyers have argued before Mississippi's highest court that her prosecution makes no sense. Under Mississippi law it is a crime for any person except the mother to try to cause an abortion.

"If it's not a crime for a mother to intentionally end her pregnancy, how can it be a crime for her to do it unintentionally, whether by taking drugs or smoking or whatever it is," Robert McDuff, a civil rights lawyer asked the state supreme court.

McDuff told the Guardian that he hoped the Gibbs prosecution was an isolated example. "I hope it's not a trend that's going to catch on. To charge a woman with murder because of something she did during pregnancy is really unprecedented and quite extreme."

He pointed out that anti-abortion groups were trying to amend the Mississippi constitution by setting up a state referendum, or ballot initiative, that would widen the definition of a person under the state's bill of rights to include a foetus from the day of conception.

Some 70 organisations across America have come together to file testimonies, known as amicus briefs, in support of Gibbs that protest against her treatment on several levels. One says that to treat "as a murderer a girl who has experienced a stillbirth serves only to increase her suffering."

Another, from a group of psychologists, laments the misunderstanding of addiction that lies behind the indictment. Gibbs did not take cocaine because she had a "depraved heart" or to "harm the foetus but to satisfy an acute psychological and physical need for that particular substance," says the brief.

Perhaps the most persuasive argument put forward in the amicus briefs is that if such prosecutions were designed to protect the unborn child, then they would be utterly counter-productive: "Prosecuting women and girls for continuing [a pregnancy] to term despite a drug addiction encourages them to terminate wanted pregnancies to avoid criminal penalties. The state could not have intended this result when it adopted the homicide statute."

Paltrow sees what is happening to Gibbs as a small taste of what would be unleashed were the constitutional right to an abortion ever overturned. "In Mississippi the use of the murder statute is creating a whole new legal standard that makes women accountable for the outcome of their pregnancies and threatens them with life imprisonment for murder."

Miscarriage of Justice

At least 38 of the 50 states across America have introduced foetal homicide laws that were intended to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from violent attacks by third parties - usually abusive male partners - but are increasingly being turned by renegade prosecutors against the women themselves.

South Carolina was one of the first states to introduce such a foetal homicide law. National Advocates for Pregnant Women has found only one case of a South Carolina man who assaulted a pregnant woman having been charged under its terms, and his conviction was eventually overturned. Yet the group estimates there have been up to 300 women arrested for their actions during pregnancy.

In other states laws designed to protect children against the damaging effects of drugs have similarly been twisted to punish childbearers. your social media marketing partner


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+205 # Debbie Watson 2011-06-25 09:39
When I read these articles, I wish that the south had succeded from the union, and taken the bible belt with them.
+137 # michelle 2011-06-25 11:30
I'd pay the South to leave now. I suspect that Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan will soon follow suit. This is a conservative problem that is spreading across the country. Be vigilant and vote against the extremists who have declared war against America's women.
+43 # DragonMama 2011-06-26 17:29
Please don't judge Ohio & Michigan by our governors. Large, heavily populated swaths of our states did NOT vote for these idiots. They only won by playing on the fears of the ignorant and hiding their true selves behind "moderate" facades until after the election from people who couldn't be bothered to look deeper at the candidates than a billboard advertisement. Ohio and Michigan, in the largely populated areas, are full of progressives as horrified by such things as this article indicates as you are. I am typing this from Cleveland and my long-time best friend lives in Ann Arbor. We don't deserve the condemnation. I don't know anything about Wisconsin but I doubt they do either, given the work they've done to oust the idiot Republicans from their state senate. You come across in your statement as about as ignorant of real people as you accuse the southern part of our country of being. Our fellow citizens are being held down by politicians who do everything they can to undermine education - THAT is a major problem in this country, regardless of region but especially rampant for a LONG time in much of the south.
+14 # michelle 2011-06-26 19:12
note it says a 'conservative' problem. Prosser however was re-elected. With friends and family in Wisconsin I know there are many progressives in the state, especially in Madison. There are just not enough to overcome to the republican takeover. I suspect Wisconsin and Michigan were targeted by the right and we saw them come after California big time in the last election. My guess at Wi, Ohio and Michigan going next is based on the current governors and the push going on all over the country. Sorry if you misunderstood or I didn't make it clear. It is about conservative governments pushing through scary agendas and they seem to pushing it through in the South and working on the midwest. All states have some real people. I have a sister suffering in TN but when idiots are elected bad things happen. Get out there and work for change.
0 # Rebecca Kilde 2011-06-29 13:15
Sure, Wisconsin has Prosser, but we also have Gwen Moore. Check this out:
+21 # ME Browning 2011-06-27 11:30
These actions by the radical right are anything but conservative. They've hijacked the word "conservative" and redefined it to mean anything they want it to. We must not fall into their trap. They are radical, pure and simple.
+41 # Pickwicky 2011-06-27 12:58
Alas, here is the great irony: Conservatieves want every conception to reach delivery, yet these very hypocrites hack away at the funding of every program that will help these babies reach their full potential. Hack, Hack! Out goes Head Start. Hack, Hack! Out goes Medicaid. Hack, Hack! Out goes student loans. Etc., Etc., Etc., ----ad nauseam.
+1 # marthooo 2011-06-28 07:04
Please read note above; honestly, HELP us who are reading, writing, voting, lobbying, fighting mountain top removal, and other issues through VA, KY, TN, etc. We ARE here, don't write us off because the mainstream press makes us invisible.
+63 # Glen 2011-06-25 14:54
It is not just the south, and the subject is complicated. Notice the comments under "Miscarriage of Justice".

A sad note to all of this is that thousands of young girls and young women are not cared for prior to getting pregnant and not educated about their own bodies. As a result there are many pregnant girls who don't understand the need to stop smoking, drinking, or whatever else they might be doing.

Those who are persecuting these girls and women should be encouraging education rather than punishment. But, again, it is not just the south.
+6 # Alice 2011-06-28 10:59
Too right, it is not just the South. Think Indiana, where the governor there has just stripped Planned Parenthood of their funding for the services they provide to Medicaid patients, INCLUDING prenatal care and cancer and STD screening. This is happening in every state. There are idiots everywhere. I live in SC, and our governor is all about unions right now -- hey, show me a union around here... what an idiot!
+32 # Dion Giles 2011-06-25 20:40
I understand the south did secede from the union, and the Lincoln Government - with the best of motives - spilled oceans of blood to drag them back, leaving America today a poisonous moral/political wasteland and global colonialist thug with the Jesusland tail perpetually wagging the national dog. The cruel war against women is one of the worst fruits of this 19th century mistake, and the rigged Supreme Court and two terms of George W Bush blazing the trail for his current Democrat shadow is another.
+16 # Lis C 2011-06-27 08:01
Quoting Dion Giles:
I understand the south did secede from the union, and the Lincoln Government - with the best of motives - spilled oceans of blood to drag them back, leaving America today a poisonous moral/political wasteland and global colonialist thug with the Jesusland tail perpetually wagging the national dog. The cruel war against women is one of the worst fruits of this 19th century mistake, and the rigged Supreme Court and two terms of George W Bush blazing the trail for his current Democrat shadow is another.

Not the "Lincoln Government." The lawfully elected government of the ENTIRE United States--in an election the southern states participated in. They seceded because they didn't like the result. It's an attitude embraced by the wingnuts today.
+18 # Marty grist 2011-06-26 06:14
Amen sista! This is unbelievable and insane!
+8 # mesechabe 2011-06-27 10:55
Excuse me, but I and a lot of other people who are outraged by this development live in the South. You might remember what happened when the South really seceded. Had the South remained separate, wouldn't slavery have continued? The bible belt exists in Indiana as much as it does in the South. It's a concept, not a geographical location.
+1 # George V. Williams 2011-06-28 07:24
Yep, ya'll sure are from the South alright.

And, to respond to one of the more well-defined claims you make here, no, slavery would NOT have continued, had the TOTALLY racist act(s) of secession been allowed to stand uninterrupted.
+2 # marthooo 2011-06-28 07:02
I understand the desire to lump us all together, but there are those of us in the south fighting for women's rights and other good causes. Join us rather than writing us off, please. (And, Indianopolis, too ;-)
+136 # Capn Canard 2011-06-25 10:19
The insanity of "Pro Life" is beyond surreal. This level of stupidity leaves me speechless.
+6 # Alice 2011-06-28 11:01
Yes, they call themselves "pro life" -- what a joke. They are always pro war and pro death penalty, and against everything that nourishes the life once born.
+141 # Barbara K 2011-06-25 10:21
What a disgrace it is to treat women already traumatized by the loss of their baby as a criminal. Shame on the disgusting pigs at the trough.
+97 # Tom B 2011-06-25 11:06
Bertrand Russell once wrote a book entitled "Why I Am NOT a Christian." These days, a more appropriate title might be: "Why I Am PROUD Not to be a Christian."
+8 # Quinn 2011-06-27 09:18
You can't blame a religion or you look just as uneducated as they are. RELIGION is incidental. This kind of witch hunt has existed throughout history and has transcended religious beliefs.

Look at North Korea and their wacky legal system. They're a secular state. So clearly religion is not to blame. Political worship is their main problem. Blindly worshiping a corrupt system that exploits that trust by keeping them ignorant and cut off from reality.

It's when humans follow without thinking. Most people are unable to think for themselves. They're not wired that way. And back in the day.. when we lived in small tribes and bands of a hundred or so, that was ok. Because we all knew each other and best interests were always the main focus of any group decision.

Do you see what this means? CIVILIZATION is to blame for mass stupidity. What else COULD it be? These poor followers are lead around by their noses and you end up with people like our friend EK down there who doesn't even understand the words he's using and is only saying what he's been taught to say by the corrupt system du jour. If he were in north korea, he'd have thrown the words "Kim Jong Il" into that confused jumble of caps instead of "freedom" or "jesus" or whatever.. i forget now what he said.
+3 # ejfiii 2011-06-29 08:49
As a man, I hate being lumped in with some of these man-hater comments (although I totally understand how oppression can create such hate). So let me suggest a shift of the label. It's not about men. It's about people who want power over others. And those who seek power over others are usually men. And men who oppress others for their own power either have little brains, little sense of self worth, or a little penis... or all of the above. Let's label your oppressors as the diminished little people they are who think they can feel good about themselves if they can rule over others. Not all men are like that.
+11 # wwway 2011-06-27 14:50
The Judeo Christian faith believes that man's fall from grace of god was the woman's fault. I left the church in the 1970's because there is an inate hatred of women. A police state against women makes total sense to these people.
+3 # Alice 2011-06-28 11:05
I became a bit disillusioned with religion when I realized that all major religions seem to be based on books written by men, which seem to see women as subservient chattel, existing only to have children.
+5 # marthooo 2011-06-28 07:15
I am often lumped into a group called "Southerners." At times, I-from the mountains-proud ly claim it. Do I feel in the minority because my views are "liberal"? Yes, but it's my responsibility to speak out in the group to which I belong. Same goes for my Christian stance. I understand your disgust; I, who see much of Christ's teaching as-liberal-(eve n socialist ;-) feel shame at the intolerance driven by so many who call themselves Christian. Please keep those of us in easy stereotypes in the debate. More of us than you may realize are in step with you on so many things.
+106 # angelfish 2011-06-25 11:13
The Neanderthals would have us under the thumb of their very own Taliban and Al Queda! WHO are these Cretins? Women MISCARRY! It is a fact of life and all women who miscarry are NOT murderers! We have descended into Hell with the REAL Satanist running the show! Mississippi needs to reexamine itself. Will they arrest and jail every man who, like Onan, "spills his seed on the ground"? I think not, but boy, if you can horrify some poor woman who is ALREADY suffering over the loss of her child, CHARGE her with murder and REALLY make her day! DISGUSTING!!!
+3 # Virginia 2011-06-29 04:07
God is in charge of your life until some conservative comes along and decides God isn't doing a good enough job. It's called hypocrisy - and that's what conservatives are known for... can we all say hypocrites?
+92 # DaveM 2011-06-25 11:31
Remember, folks, private prisons are among the largest growth industries in America. They make money from cases like this. Do not be at all surprised to see similar absurdities enacted into law in the near future.

Is there anything like a defense fund for these women or a public interest group that is monitoring their cases? I'd like to help if I can.
+38 # Glen 2011-06-26 07:38
Dave, that is the shadow behind many issues, both with prisons and other social issues. The methods of making a profit are becoming rather heinous.

Reminds me of the book, Slavery by Another Name, by Douglas Blackmon. Blacks were picked up for many bogus crimes, and the judges, under agreement with factories and farms, would condemn them to work for those factories and farms. All after blacks had been "freed". Seems it will soon be all of us.
+3 # Alice 2011-06-28 11:12
Not only is today's imprisonment a form of corporate slavery, it also prevents the prisoners in many states, once released (if ever), from ever being able to vote again. Sort of takes care of that Voting Rights Act problem some states were having. The Drug War is one of our government's most shameful and expensive wars, filling our prisons with millions of people who needed treatment rather than imprisonment. The privatization of prisons is something I've been following for awhile, and it is costing states a lot of money that could be used to balance their budgets.
+3 # Glen 2011-06-28 19:07
Right, Alice, and the complications are making the legal system less impartial, not to mention susceptible to extremist influence. Prisons are a symptom of the worst side of capitalism, persecution of citizens a symptom of corporate control and the coming totalitarian state.

Citizens are coming under more control, and sometimes I wonder why it is being done so slowly. The government has the power to run a takeover - or the armies of the true leaders of the U.S.
+13 # KenniJ 2011-06-26 13:24
Try Southern Poverty Law Center, I think they'd be interested.
+56 # mtnview 2011-06-25 12:07
"the Handmaiden's Tale" by Margaret Atwood is becoming a reality. Read it.
+7 # OneLove 2011-06-26 15:22
Exactly what I wrote on my FB page before even getting to the comments.
+2 # Marna 2011-06-27 05:41
just what I was thinking ...
+19 # jwb110 2011-06-25 12:50
When we see citizen arrests of pregnant women smoking on the street or drinking on the street and the tobacco and liquor industries feel shaky about profits it will be interesting to see how that goes.
Criminalizing tobacco and liquor happens by default.
+57 # Regina 2011-06-25 13:25
Think beyond the headlines. Yes, there are cretins afoot in every state who have only gonads, no brains, and are now in political power. But the underlying menace in this insanity about abortion -- including miscarriages and contraception swept into their "Right-to-Life howl -- is keeping the public and the media fixated on that issue while their economic wreckage gets silently imposed on us. They don't want any recovery of jobs and incomes. And they're being paid, or paid off, by the beneficiaries of economic skullduggery, the mega-billionair es raking in the bonuses and sitting on money they refuse to invest.
+4 # maddave 2011-06-27 17:06
In other words, Regina, abortion - in all of its forms and facets - is an emotional issue that will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Therefore, it is a perfect issue for Corporate America and their beholden legislators to toss onto the fire from time to time. The immediate result is invariably fighting that rages between neighbors & family members. And, Beloved, those bitter fights are meant to distract your attention away from their furtive & profitable back-room, special interest/sweeth eart deals that cannot stand the strong, clean light of day. . . . and it works every time.

We are cattle, folks, or worse - sheep! They know it. We don't.
+25 # maddave 2011-06-25 14:08
I'm no fan of abortion, but there must be limits on the law's prosecution (and persecution) of women whose child is stillborn or dies shortly after birth, "Intention" must be the basic criteria for any and all criminal prosecutions. Even "reckless disregard" must have a proved major element of "intent" to be a valid charge.

Example: "Walter obviously intended to drive while drunk when he drove himself to a bar that was clearly too far to reach on foot, drank a pint of gin in half-an-hour and then drove home for dinner, running over two nuns and a puppy in the process." This passes muster. Three-time mother Amanda Kimbrough's case in Alabama does not!
+22 # Lakshmi 2011-06-26 10:30
Honestly, maddave, do you really and truly believe that anyone is a "fan" of abortion? By stating that you're not one you imply that there are people out there who are.

I don't mean to pick on you.
+3 # susan28 2011-06-26 15:45
It's the next best thing to not imposing the human condition on some poor slob in the first place.. consider it an act of contrition..
+20 # Progressive Patriot 2011-06-26 17:40
If people were properly educated about sex, and the possible result, and if men would learn not to rape, women wouldn't need abortions. And if drug addiction was treated as a disease, instead of a crime, maybe women wouldn't be on drugs, threatening the life of their fetus.

Maybe we should lock people up for STUPIDITY. Then the prosecutors of such cases would all be in jail.
-8 # maddave 2011-06-27 17:19
Yes, I do believe that there are humans who are "fans" of abortions. This impression is based upon an estimated 100,000,000 women who are "missing" from todays world - all victims of ultrasound & second-trimeste r elective (or forced) abortions in societies that prize male babies over female babies.

In my own defense, Lakshmi, abortion is a decision to be made between a woman and her objective doctor - with, ideally, the father's wishes, means and commitment being considerations.
+43 # Julie 2011-06-25 19:07
Mississippi goddamn.

more erosion of civil rights for women.
Personally i favor a ban of "christian" sharia laws. Now 24 weeks into my pregnancy, i shudder to think if something were to happen to my baby in the next 12 or so weeks.
-37 # glenn clark 2011-06-26 00:15
As I read the comments of the various people I fear for our country where is the moral outage when a child becomes pregnant? where is the outrage when a baby is killed for whatever reason can there really be a justifiable reason for taking a childs life? As I look at some of the comments and I see the language being used to express themselfs. If you have a point to make it without calling someone who disagrees with you names for me that shows your case doesn't hold water. We need to be able to debate without the name calling.
+5 # Pickwicky 2011-06-28 10:15
Glenn--are you writing about 'babies' or 'fetuses?' Distinguish between the two. If you're talking about fetuses being aborted, then yes, there are good reasons: 1) the mother's health; 2) the mother's inability to sufficienty care for another child; 3)the fact that the mother does not want a child; 4) rape; 5) incest; and perhaps the most important one: 6) a seriously defective fetus--few things are more immoral than knowingly bringing a seriously defective fetus to term--no one has the right to do that to another.
+38 # Brandon T 2011-06-26 04:04
Another day in the life in the ROT (Republican Occupied Territory). Glad I escaped to Europe! Looking less and less likely that I'll be going home anytime soon -- I'm almost a political refugee at this point.
+58 # Amaliada 2011-06-26 07:18
I thought Republicans were all about shrinking government - doesn't seem like it. It seems like they're moving the government not only into the bedroom, but into the uterus as well.

Abortion is still legal in the US whether or not one approves. But finding excuses to punish mothers for the deaths of their still born children is immoral.
-27 # Courtney 2011-06-27 09:35
Thank you! It is still legal for women to go and KNOWINGLY have their babies dismembered and put through pain and torture during an abortion, but yet it is absolutely unacceptable for anything to happen to an unborn fetus that the mother is attempting to carry to full term. It's completely absurd. If they are going to punish mothers for the unexpected losses of their unborn infants, then how about all of those that WILLINGLY have their babies MURDERED?
+9 # gogowend 2011-06-27 16:31
Please, Courtney, get a grip! How about punishing men who masturbate, after all they're wasting millions of little babies lives. Oh, that's right, men make the laws, & that one wouldn't suit their lusty needs. My body, my choice, & all the while it's in me I have the right to do what ever I please with it!
+9 # Dee Randolph 2011-06-28 11:19
Courtney - Is it acceptable for the military to drop bombs that murder women, children, and unborn babies in a country other than the U.S.? Is it okay for them to put these people through pain and torture and dismemberment? Is it okay if a pregnant mother is Iraqi and gunfire kills her and her unborn child? Our military is TRAINED to kill.

And yet, it is murder when a mother has an abortion because she has a medical condition that will kill her if she goes full term. What if she has 6 children and is pregnant with her seventh. Do we leave 6 children without a parent?

There is no black or white here. Each situation is personal and should be decided by the people directly involved. It's your argument that, quite frankly, seems absurd. And now the government should get involved, yet conservatives want LESS government? I,m so confused. Can anyone clarify???
+4 # ejfiii 2011-06-28 22:21
Courtney, I know some pro lifers who KNOWINGLY feed their children horribly... sweets, starch, junk food. Making little obese puff balls out of the kids. Literally killing them- slowly. How about a law so we can arrest those irresponsible parents and convict them of attempted murder? I mean... if you're gonna be pro-life and want to legislate morality, then let's get consistent, eh? And what about all the pro-lifers who KNOWINGLY send their children off to be "dismembered" and MURDERED in an unjust, trumped up war for oil? Is it not their responsibility to protect their child from the manipulative war-minded propaganda and manipulation? Maybe put parents in jail if their son or daughter joins ROTC or enlists. No? Let's get consistent. Whether by action or endorsement. We are still responsible (or at the very least, accomplices)for what we allow to happen to our children.
+2 # chick 2011-06-29 00:07
gogowend, Oh how true that is. No one ever came up with that one but it is great

"How about punishing men who masturbate, after all they're wasting (killing) millions of little babies lives."

My hat is off to you.

+15 # trimmerman 2011-06-26 10:00
Over the past twenty years I have heard of similar customs in places like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia. I remember the outrage and discussed coming from the news media. Now the media is strangely magnanimous. The legal industry is run by lunatics and out of control. You ladies need to put it in it's place. I can help very little.
+28 # imapony 2011-06-26 10:43
Why only "you ladies"? Don't you think every progressive should be involved in overturning this, regardless of gender? Why can you help very little, exactly?
+29 # angelfish 2011-06-26 15:11
Trimmerman, "You men" have no problem impregnating the ladies, WHY can't you fight for your girlfriends, wives, sisters, or daughters? the power of one becomes the power of many when an injustice needs to be righted! Don't be like the rest of the lazy Bast**ds who sit on their hands or wring them in despair! Get up and DO something! Call your Senator or Representative. It impacts EVERYONE, not just women!
+33 # ENetArch 2011-06-26 14:45
What's Next?? Women who don't conceive by age 25 arrested for failing to bring life!!!
+16 # Nat 2011-06-26 15:00
I don't understand how anyone can think this is acceptable. What must go through their heads?! Is the next step murder sentences for those who's children have a genetic terminal disease?
+17 # DesignCreature 2011-06-26 15:28
It is now time for all women to get together and stop this maddness. Older women, those whose productive years are not in question, should stand and be counted for those that need their support. Where's Hillery? Where is the first lady? Is women's rights only applicable in other countries where speaking out is more acceptable politically? Is the next step be-heading or stoning in public places? And the supreme court? No help there at all. It is time to find a way to stop this horror show with whatever legal methods can be found.
+18 # othermother 2011-06-26 17:37
It's bad, but it's not news, except to the British readers of the Guardian. These laws have been abused for some time in the Bible belt, with the support of social conservatives who think women with alcohol and drug dependencies are trash. And it's targetting the poor, too. We don't read of rich women who do cocaine being prosecuted this way. Hilary and Michelle should step up and speak out, but they won't. They're looking at 2012, and they'll stick to things with broad appeal.
-15 # gypsyrose 2011-06-26 18:56
It's times like this when I don't understand why more people aren't Libertarians. I believe in choice for pregnant women, but I decry the fiscal irresponsibilit y of the Progressive nanny state. Personal responsibility means not spending a life on welfare or otherwise sucking from the government's teat, but it also means that people need to be free to make choices that affect them personally. Alcohol, tobacco and drugs are also choices.
-12 # Quinn 2011-06-27 09:07
unfortunately you're absolutely right. As a libertarian, the right wing AND the left wing need to be stopped. It's time for us to put our balls where our mouths are and admit that if we want freedom, there is a certain amount of unpleasantness that comes with that. And if we want only RELATIVE freedom, then we can't be surprised and shocked when that suddenly that freedom is adjusted in a way that we do not like or doesn't suit us.

Part of me believes that a mother planning to carry her baby to term should absolutely be held to a certain standard of personal responsibility. because parents with live children are. If you plan to give birth, then you plan to have a live child. So the second you decide to keep that baby, you're a mom. And he or she comes first.

BUT.. the idea is not to put laws on the body but INCENTIVES on the mind. Make people WANT to straighten up and fly right. People will do lots of things for money or praise or recognition. Exploit that and leave the rest to the sad fact that you can't save everybody.
+3 # ejfiii 2011-06-27 14:25
silly... that's not what this is about. They haven't been able to repeal Roe vs. Wade yet, so they are nibbling around the edges where ever possible. They don't care about changing lives or motivating people in a positive direction. This is about political posturing and trying to dig away at Roe vs. Wade. And they don't care who they hurt along the way. They believe the ends justify the means. Don't try to apply reason to these people's agenda.
+3 # Pickwicky 2011-06-28 10:27
Ejfiii--you said it! It's all about overturning Roe v Wade, particularly by giving fetuses (from conception) the same rights as delivered, living babies, that is, the same rights as our Constitution gives all American citizens. Once that is done, it's a small hop to overturn Roe v Wade.
-3 # Deborah 2011-06-27 17:03
Gypsyrose, well said. Conservatives advocate a small government but they are comfortable passing laws that invade the privacy of one's uterus. Liberals, on the other hand, want to tax us for government programs that bleed hearts for every tear. When will people wake up and see that either way, the American people are being played? Laws like these, regardless of whether or not you love or hate abortion, are an encroachment on our rights and our liberties. It amazes me that the deep South continues to find and create tiny bypass laws to control people who don't fit within their moral regime. The same can be said for other states and progressive ideologies. When are we going to wake up and see that this is becoming a Big Brother state, an Orwellian nightmare? Will it take putting innocent, albeit somewhat immature women, behind bars for life?

I want to ask these legislators and Governors: what if this was you or your daughter?
-24 # ek 2011-06-26 19:59
+6 # Quinn 2011-06-27 09:04
you're sort of all over the place there dude..

Maybe you should google the definition of freedom. Because your sentences directly contradict each other.

It's sort of hard to understand what your position is.. I'm not surprised you're confused, quite frankly.
+3 # gogowend 2011-06-27 16:36
errr....they can't speak yet, and aren't old to vote, so, that kinda sucks for them....oh well!
+13 # babyblues 2011-06-26 21:34
Me and a friend of mine were talking about this very subject here in Utah! I don't support this at all and it just makes me sick to think all these mothers who are getting put into prisons for this kind of thing! Sorry but some of us can't help what our bodies decide to do with a fetus...some of us can't just say stop when our bodies decide to get rid of something! Sadly its apart of nature. The government is full of people who just want to line their pockets with more money and what better way to do that then make a new law...really if women wanted to be treated this way we would have left things they way they were before women's rights came out!
+8 # Dave_s Not Here 2011-06-26 23:36
If I were an American I would vote with my feet. Let the religious thugopoly have the damn place and let them drive it into the ground. No place is more deserving.

Here in Canada I fear that we're next in line for the crazies to take the place over. Harper and his gang of raptureistas is no less "out there" than Bachmann or Palin and the like.

Canada used to be the best place on the planet to live (sorry, Americans) but lately you wouldn't recognize the place.

I'm ready to vote with my feet, but to where?
+1 # Quinn 2011-06-27 09:02
At least our children are learning about evolution..

You're right about the Harper government but we're nowhere near this nonsense yet. I mean, the USA has liberals in power now (which are just as stupid as conservatives but not in this particular way) and these fool states are still getting away with their amero-sharia law they've been putting in place (sexy internetz are now illegal in tennissee. Can't wear a bikini in Utah. etc etc) In a good chunk of these states, it's all but illegal to be female.

So you know.. I doubt the national leadership has anything to do with that stuff. Local leadership, state (or in our case provincial) leadership should be a huge focus in the aim to turn canada back into trudeau's canada. come to my city matey. You'd never know that ass harper makes any decisions at all.
+4 # Anarchist 23 2011-06-27 12:47
You could try Argentina-they already had their Fascism-it's not perfect but really quite nice. I have been reading up on Bella Froomm's 'Blood & Banquets' her diary from the '30s on her life in the third reich-quite telling what women were put through-conside red only reproductive units to produce children for the FatherLand.what 's next-prison camp forced reproductin centers?
-10 # Nicole 2011-06-27 07:43
First of all I don't condone abortion and yes there are people out there that do and use it as a "birth control" Second of all I don't think there is any room for the law to come after women who lost their unborn child either in the womb or right after birth unless they were directly causing harm i.e. doing drugs throughout the pregnancy or like the one mother TOOK RAT POISON to kill herself and in the end only killed her baby. Read all the stories people some do deserve punishment but not all.
+5 # Quinn 2011-06-27 08:57
Quoting Nicole:
Read all the stories people some do deserve punishment but not all.

I don't argue that some of these mothers were incredibly negligent and need some sort of intervention (and probably those RESOURCES should have been there before the baby died or even before she got pregnant - this isn't about revenge. This is about CURBING THESE ISSUES to begin with.)

but.. i'm curious to know why hollywood mommyrexics aren't being given the same runaround for starving their unborn children.
+9 # Quinn 2011-06-27 08:55
Wow. What a backward country. How is it that the USA is a first world nation? The rest of us are educated and intelligent with a good sense of what we need to do to take care of our own people. We use the metric system and spell english words correctly. Then there is the USA. Decades behind in education. (They're still asking whether or not evolution should be taught in PUBLIC SCHOOL 0_o) and full of bizarre, fly-by-night legal decisions. How the hell are you people not up to your eyeballs in global debt the way other backward countries are.. oh wait.. you ARE. So what the hell? How are you idiots still thriving? It's like your a third world country that just HAPPENS to have money somehow.

Good americans, intelligent americans should see the writing on the wall and flee to canada. They MIGHT be willing to take some of you. MIGHT. That won't be the case once your economy goes belly up once and for all. Won't be no friendly border once you're all trying to jump it.

That's what the rest of the civilized world thinks of you. And it's because of shit like this. You can't continue to make retarded choices and just assume the world is going to continue to support you.
+10 # granny 2011-06-27 09:30
And who are the ones leading the charge against women? MEN, some of them pretty hateful and masochistic. Why? They are afraid of women and want to keep them pregnant and submissive. They and their ilk, including sexist men such as sit on the Supreme Court despite a history of sexual misconduct, have little respect for women. Their "respect for life" is a sham, as is seen in their rabid love affair with guns. What a disgrace!
+6 # ejfiii 2011-06-27 13:07
and what about looney extremist Michelle Bachman? She's not a man. You think she gives a crap about anyone-- man or woman-- who doesn't agree with her godly philosopies?

Extremism knows no gender.
+6 # VSweet 2011-06-27 10:36
Women are charged with "murder" for having a still born baby? How crazy is this? This is a double agony for the mother!! A pregnant woman did NOT ELECT for this natural process to occur, but now they will be charged with murder!!

Yet, in our society its OK for those who do ELECT?

+9 # ME Browning 2011-06-27 11:48
What makes me maddest is that the American media aren't reporting this stuff. Instead, we have to read it in the Guardian. Justin Bieber's haircut, Anthony Weiner's texts, and the lame antics of the Kardashians are more important to the corporate-owned American media. We are living in a sick society.
+10 # ejfiii 2011-06-27 12:03
There's a civil war coming. Not between the North and South. It will be between the radical right and the rest of us. Those radicals will stop an nothing to make us live our lives "their way". We're just seeing it slowly escalate... killing doctors who perform abortions, passing laws to limit or recind our civil rights, imprisoning and ruining the the lives of women because they have lost thier child... these are just the beginning... it will get much worse... they are not above all out war to get their agenda and force you to live as they believe you should. RESIST THEM AT EVERY TURN. IT WILL ONLY GET HARDER TO PRESERVE YOUR FREEDOMS LATER.
+8 # wwway 2011-06-27 14:37
Hey, which big government do you want? One that provides equality, safety and investment regulations and oversight or one that scrutenizes the behavior of a select group of citizens like women?
Years ago my Anthropology professor warned that America was heading toward a police state against women for anything, including misscarriages.
Since Republicans took over state legislatures and the house in January there have been more than 900 pieces of legislation against women for everything from legally condoning rape and incest to allowing insurance companies to not cover pregnancy. We're going back 100 years and beyond with ever more extreem legislation enacted toward women. Is there an inate hatred for women in Judeo Christian society?
+1 # Dee Randolph 2011-06-28 11:33 I wonder if the story was true that an insurance company would not pay for a victim's rape kit because they said she had a prexisting condition. No kidding. They claimed she had "genital herpes."
+6 # handmaid 2011-06-27 21:58
I'm throwing out all my red dresses, and moving to Canada if Bachman gets elected.
-7 # CarleS 2011-06-28 08:50
This is bull****!

Oh! And for the writers of this article, here's some misspellings for you:

You wrote: foetus-------------------->FETUS
You wrote: caesarean------ -------->CESARE AN
+7 # RealityCheckChick 2011-06-28 10:21
The writer is from Britain and uses the British spelling of both words, so he is, in fact, correct. Perhaps you would like to make an intelligent comment about the contents?
+4 # Pickwicky 2011-06-28 10:34
CarleS--you got the BS part right; however, you might like to know that 'foetus' and 'caesarean' are spellings used in Great Britain--the King's English, you know!

Now do carry on--wot, wot!
+2 # Dee Randolph 2011-06-28 11:37
foetus is a variant of fetus. Look it up. Likewise caesarean can be spelled either way. It's our right to choose :-)
+1 # ejfiii 2011-06-28 22:49
CarlS, we've all got an axe to grind on this subject, one way or the other. And everyone, but you seems to try to articulate their point of view. Got something to say, say it... instead of just grunting. By the way, you misspelled the S word.
+2 # reiverpacific 2011-06-28 10:19
Wherever you are from, or whatever your spiritual conviction or affiliation, this is HORRIFIC and simply confirms the march of this country towards totalitarian Fascism (even Hitler, "Il Duce" and Franco never thought of this one!).
Ironically, those who claim to be the protectors of the unborn tend to be the perpetrators of war and militarism, sending living youth they so claimed to love and nurture as feti (open to correction!) to war, suffering, dismemberment, torture and mental disintegration a.k.a. "Cannon Fodder".
Perhaps that is their real motive, what?
A footnote from a furriner: I lived for a time in KY and worked all over the surrounding states and their adjacent Midwestern neighbors for a while. and (The Southern states) did seem to be a country or region apart but then so did New England and other regions. Many parts of the South have a history of resistance -including the women- and a wonderful culture of music and story-telling. I especially resonated with the Scottish ancestry and music in Appalachia and the urban and country blues performers.
Commonality comes from the fact that these cultures came from oppressed and exploited peoples and have given the US it's most enduring cultural legacy in the global collective. And they are still fighting the big coal companies!
The fanatics need to fought like the other criminals.
+1 # Charlie9365 2011-06-28 11:04, 'The Beer Party Soth Carolina Chapter' on facebook is a chapter of a nationally recogized, 'The Beer Party.'
We're a group of progressives, Libs and a mixture of disenfranchised voters in South Carolina. Please feel free to checkout our page with the link above. Cheers!
0 # TRence 2011-06-28 14:27
People want to defend women who are so irresponsible as to take drugs while pregnant with an otherwise healthy child... Why? I'm not a "pro-lifer", but common sense dictates that causing the misdevelopment or death of a defenceless human being should not go unpunished. Should a woman that has a still birth and has abstained from all the substances and vices proven to harm a child during pregnancy be held responsible? No. Should a woman that thinks about no one but themselves and their needs, knowing the possible outcome, be held responsible? Yes. Simple as that.
+3 # scvblwxq 2011-06-29 17:36
Since it has been discovered that a women's body often aborts pregnancies when condition are not right why shouldn't the mind/brain be allowed to terminate a pregnancy when conditions are not right? Doesn't make much sense to me to prohibit women from making the best decisions for herself and her offspring by banning abortion. In our current complex society with money, economies and countless rules the mind/brain should have a say in our procreation even as our bodies have a say.

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