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Reporting Miscarriages, Criminalizing Pregnant Women’s Bodies

A proposed bill in Kansas would require women to report miscarriages at any stage in pregnancy. This has been described as the first step along the path to criminalizing pregnant women’s bodies. Under an amendment attached to HB 2613, doctors would be required to report all of their patients’ miscarriages to the state health department. This amendment was originally intended to update the state’s procedure for issuing birth certificates for stillborn babies.

The initial purpose of the HB 2613 was to provide an alternative to the state’s current stillbirth certificate. Some parents already believe this over-emphasizes their child’s death in a way that is emotionally painful. Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook, who happens to be one of the most enthusiastic abortion opponents in Kansas, added the miscarriage reporting requirement. The bill’s original author, Kansas representative John Doll, is now withdrawing his support from the legislation: “I can’t support the bill as it was amended, I think it waters it down and makes it into a political statement. I wanted a bill to help give closure to some families. I didn’t want it to have anything to do with pro-life or pro-choice issues.”

Allegedly, hundreds of cases of women have been held criminally liable for decisions they made while pregnant when they later suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth. This bill risks criminalizing pregnant women’s bodies rather than to provide closure for women who have miscarried. Unfortunately, no corporate media sources are covering the story.

Source: Terra Culp-Ressler, “Kansas May Force Doctors To Report Women’s Miscarriages To The State Health Department,” thinkprogress.org, March 24, 2014, http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/03/24/3418085/kansas-miscarriage-reporting/.

Student Researcher: Alandra Brown (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)

 

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