while i don't happen to agree with the bill, i'd have to say that a woman who doesn't seek medical attention for a miscarriage ASAP is foolishly risking her life. Miscarriages can result in heavy bleeding and sepsis if not treated quickly. Yeah, miscarriage is sad and upsetting, but let's tackle the matter at hand and rush the woman to a doctor to make sure she doesn't bleed to death or get toxic shock. Maybe it's 'cause i've not experienced a miscarriage, but i don't understand Kos' anecdote that the girl just falls asleep?
I read some of the posted commentary in the site, and I would hope that every menstruating woman would file a report each month for as long as it took to get such a ridiculous law off the books. I also considered what might motivate such an odd bit of legislation, and was more shocked to read what the sponsoring congressperson’s explanation was.
It is indeed depressing to be constantly confronted with how poorly educated our elected officials are about science and biology. What is more frightening is the most likely explanation of this bill may be rooted in some fundamentalist ideology being pushed through under the current political climate.
I would have said that there is no way legislation as perverse as this would get passed, but I am still regretting those words uttered recently about other elections that have taken place.
I just finished reading a large portion of the posts, including a letter From Rep. Cosgrove explaining what the bill was intended to accomplish. To have written legislation so poorly and then claim it was just worded poorly means one of two things. You are lying, or really stupid. Of course I suppose it could be both things…
Gumdrop, I think that the point is that the legislation is not written to be specific to the type of miscarriage that you are talking about. More importantly when challenged, the author of the bill gives an explanation that does not fit what is proposed as law.
In your scenario It would be unusual for a sick woman to not get appropriate care (unless of course she was poor, un- or under insured…) and the medical care providers would be obligated to report it.
From what I see, this bill would criminalize the very early spontaneous miscarriage that is not the gut wrenching, emotionally laden event people are relating to, but instead it violates a woman’s right to privacy. Under this bill as it is written, if you had a 3 or 4 day late period with very heavy flow, mild cramping and retrospectively were found to be pregnant, or if you had the same scenario and knew you might be pregnant (due to risk) not reporting the miscarriage would be a criminal act.
Moreover, did you see the data elements? What could the possible rational be if the whole point of this law is to criminalize the so called “trashcan baby” problem the commonwealth of Virginia appears to be having?
Most early pregnancy loss probably goes un-noticed, and the woman is un-aware she is even pregnant. It certainly does not pose an immediate threat to life as it is most commonly written off as a heavy period. You know the statistics.
This bill would criminalize not reporting that early pregnancy loss the way it is written.
FYI, this issue was posted in the Scarleteen blog, and I had a bit to say on the subject myself.
Suffice it to say, I don't think it's merely an issue of a woman seeking medical attention, especially since what is being proposed is a requirement, within 12 hours, to report to the POLICE, not a doctor. In other words, this has not been presented as a concern about the woman's health in any way. It HAS been presented as a concern for "fetal rights," essentially, which is silly and ignorant for a million reasons, including the fact that with early miscarriages there is no fetus to weigh or sex, etc.
Cosgrove can claim it was worded poorly all he likes, but until I hear him say ANYTHING to the effect of him having NO interest in infringing on reproductive choice, I'm going to remain thoroughly unconvinced this has boo to do with women's health, dumpster babies, or any other sort of spin.
(And no, wanting to fall asleep after a miscarriage would not be at all unheard of. And certainly, not wanting to go to the POLICE STATION would be pretty darn normal.)
[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 01-09-2005).]
So, being a VA resident (yes, my place info says Rhode Island, and that's because that's where I actually am, but I'm in college there so my permanent residency/voter registration/etc. is in VA) I wrote Cosgrove (and my delegate) and, very politely, told them my opinion on this bill, and asked my delegate to vote against it. Hopefully I'll get a response soonish.
Posts: 475 | From: Back in Providence, RI | Registered: Jun 2002
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It is good you were ploite in your protest letter Purple, cause the person Emailed him and called him a "troglodite" apparently was dressed down in the reply. But they did apparently get a reply.
Please post a followup if and when you get a reply....
Yep, I got a form letter in reply, which I shall now post in full:
I am Delegate Cosgrove and I wish to respond to the allegations that have been made by those who have emailed and called my office. I am sorry that I must resort to a “form email, but there have been many inquiries about this bill.The intent of House Bill 1677 is to require the notification of authorities of a delivery of a baby that is dead and the mother has not been attended by a medical professional. This bill was requested by the Chesapeake Police Department in its legislative package due to instances of full term babies who were abandoned shortly after birth. These poor children died horrible deaths and all that the person responsible could be charged with is the improper disposal of a human body.
The requirement for twelve hours comes from the method that a coroner would use to determine if the child had been born alive or dead. After twelve hours, it becomes next to impossible to determine if the child was alive due to decomposition gasses that build up in the body.
My bill in no way intends that a woman who suffers a miscarriage should be charged for not notifying authorities. The bill in no way mentions miscarriages, only deliveries. After discussing the bill again with our legislative services lawyers, I will include language that will define the bill to apply only to those babies that are abandoned as stated above.
I would never inflict this type of emotional torture on a woman who has suffered such a traumatic event as a miscarriage, and I am confident that the General Assembly of Virginia would also not pass such a terrible imposition on a woman.
I hope that you will understand the original intent of this bill. This bill has nothing to do with abortion, contraception and especially miscarriages. If you were alarmed by this bill or by the websites, I am sorry. I hope that this will explain the concept and intent of this bill.
John A. Cosgrove
(As an aside, I'm not violating fair use or copyright or anything, am I? If so, I'll snip and whatnot.)
Anyway, it sounds like he's changing the language some (the bill itself repeatedly mentions "fetal deliveries," which, as far as I know, includes any time a fetus leaves the uterus, full-term or not), and that's good.
I just got an email back from my rep (who I sent an email to, encouraging him not to support this bill) and apparently HB1677 has been pulled and is no longer up for consideration, likely becuase Cosgrove got so many emails about the matter.
hearing that the bill was pulled gives me a bit more faith in the government.
however, if it were passed, and a woman was pregnant (let's go with a month or two along), did not know it, then miscarried, would she be liable even though there weren't any real fetus-like remnants?
in november, i had a miscarriage. it resembled nothing of a fetus, but it was determined once i did seek medical attention that i did, in fact, have a miscarriage. i don't know how in the world they were going to enforce this bill anyhow... i mean, in my case, would i have been expected to take my underwear to the authorities so they could have the medical examiner take a glance at them? seems foolish.
congratulations to everyone who spoke up and got the government ofiicials to rethink this one. had i seen this article sooner that now, i'd have raised a ruckus myself. =p
Posts: 3 | From: Alliance, Ohio, USA | Registered: Jan 2005
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Aren't, at most estimates, more than 50% of all pregnancies miscarried? The expectation behind that bill is a bit unusual to say the least. Thank goodness it failed...
Posts: 7 | From: USA | Registered: Jan 2005
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As poorly-worded as this bill is, it's not new for a Virginia legislator to write a horribly-worded bill that he/she has to explain later. I don't know what it is, but these representatives can't write laws for anything.
To illustrate this point to one of my state senators in VA, I took a bill that he wrote, sent it to his 9th grade English teacher, and she mailed it back to his office with dozens of corrections and a big red F on it
Posts: 8 | From: Harrisonburg, VA USA | Registered: May 2005
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