Abortion activists are attacking a new pro-life law in Georgia with a wildly false claim that it will allow women to be prosecuted for having miscarriages.
The law bans abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, around six weeks. It allows exceptions for rape, incest and threats to the mother’s life. In addition, the law allows parents to claim unborn babies as dependents on their taxes and include them in census data. It also allows mothers to collect child support for pregnancy and delivery costs from the father prior to the baby’s birth.
After Hollywood elites tried unsuccessfully to stop the legislation by threatening to boycott the state, abortion activists now are trying a different tactic. They are pushing the false claim that the law would punish women whose unborn babies die in miscarriages.
“ALL miscarriages will be subject to suspicion of criminality. Women will weigh if seeking care could mean being criminalized. Black/brown women will be disproportionately criminalized. This bill is not pro life, its a death sentence for women, who’s viability is uncontested,” state Rep. Renitta Shannon wrote Tuesday on Twitter.
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Several pro-abortion news outlets, including Mother Jones, Slate and Romper, also led with the claim this week.
The bill also categorizes embryos and fetuses as “a class of living, distinct persons,” granting them personhood inside a pregnant person’s body. That categorization effectively criminalizes abortion, and allows the state to prosecute pregnant people who terminate their own pregnancies or seek out an illegal abortion from a provider.
Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern also argues it would leave a pregnant person in Georgia who miscarries “liable for second-degree murder, punishable by 10 to 30 years’ imprisonment.”
In order to determine why a pregnant person suffered a pregnancy loss — and whether it was a result of their actions — prosecutors would be allowed to interrogate previously pregnant people experiencing miscarriages in order to determine their level of personal responsibility: “If they find evidence of culpability, they may charge, detain, and try these women for the death of their fetuses,” wrote Stern.
This is simply not true. While the law does allow for the prosecution of abortionists who abort unborn babies in violation of the measure, it does not allow prosecution of mothers who have abortions or miscarriages.
The law even specifically notes that procedures to treat a “spontaneous abortion,” meaning a miscarriage or stillbirth, are not punishable under the law. The same is true of removing an ectopic pregnancy, a condition that can threaten the mother’s life, according to the law.
Just as important, the pro-life movement has no interest whatsoever in punishing mothers for abortions – and especially not for miscarriages – both of which are tragic losses. Many pro-life leaders are post-abortive women and men themselves who understood only too late the lies of the abortion industry. They came to the pro-life movement understanding that unborn babies deserve to be protected and their mothers deserve to know the truth that the abortion industry lies to and manipulates them for profit.
Many also recognize that women frequently are pressured or even forced to abort their unborn babies by abusive parents or partners.
What’s more, the pro-life movement has long opposed punishing mothers for abortions. When abortions were illegal prior to Roe v. Wade, women were not prosecuted and current abortion bans, such as the ban on partial-birth abortions, do not punish women who have abortions.
Pro-life advocates choose instead to offer compassion and healing to mothers and fathers whose children were aborted. Organizations like Rachel’s Vineyard and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign provide outlets for healing after an abortion, as do most pregnancy resource centers.