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Jail for Miscarriage, USA?

Cruimh

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This is a difficult one - a law to try and stop people abusing drugs in pregnancy sounds sensible - but women being sent to jail for miscarrying?
Even in states where abortion is legal?


When a 21-year-old Native American woman from Oklahoma was convicted of manslaughter after having a miscarriage, people were outraged. But she was not alone.

Brittney Poolaw was just about four months pregnant when she lost her baby in the hospital in January 2020.

This October, she was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for the first-degree manslaughter of her unborn son.

How she went from suffering a miscarriage to being jailed for killing her foetus has become the subject of much discussion online and in the press. Some on social media noted that she was convicted during pregnancy loss awareness month in the US. Others compared the case to Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale
From 1973-2020, NAPW has recorded 1,600 such cases, with about 1,200 occurring in the last 15 years alone.
Although some involved women who were arrested for things such as falling down, or giving birth at home, the vast majority involved drugs, and women of colour were overrepresented.
The recent explosion of criminal cases is part of a "uniquely American phenomenon" at the crossroads of America's 'War on Drugs' and the personhood movement, said Ms Sussman.
Raises all sorts of issues - such as when does a foetus become a person.
 

Statsman

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This is a difficult one - a law to try and stop people abusing drugs in pregnancy sounds sensible - but women being sent to jail for miscarrying?
Even in states where abortion is legal?






Raises all sorts of issues - such as when does a foetus become a person.
It's stupid America being stupid.
 

CarlDoyle

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Feb 10, 2021
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This is a difficult one - a law to try and stop people abusing drugs in pregnancy sounds sensible - but women being sent to jail for miscarrying?
Presumably, they aren't actually being sent to jail for miscarrying? They are being sent to jail for intentionally causing a miscarriage.

All laws can result in innocent people ending up in jail.

Even in states where abortion is legal?
Yeah, that seems dumb. In that case, its just protecting medical practitioners.

Easy availability of early term options to end pregnancy (including medicines) would mostly resolve this issue.
 

Cruimh

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Presumably, they aren't actually being sent to jail for miscarrying? They are being sent to jail for intentionally causing a miscarriage.
Nope - falling down stairs etc

All laws can result in innocent people ending up in jail.
But once again it is women and especially women of colour....


Easy availability of early term options to end pregnancy (including medicines) would mostly resolve this issue.
IF all the women arrested had deliberately harmed their foetuses.

But by the sound of it some of these laws could allow the arrest of pregnant women smoking a cigarette or having a gin and tonic which MIGHT cause harm
 

ruserious

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Dec 4, 2018
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If a woman with gestational diabetes dines out on sugary snacks because they are addicted to sugar, and they have a miscarriage, is that not the same thing?

No woman or person should be criminalised for addiction. They should be given help and compassion to get over it.
 

Gatsbygirl20

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Dec 2, 2018
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If a woman with gestational diabetes dines out on sugary snacks because they are addicted to sugar, and they have a miscarriage, is that not the same thing?

No woman or person should be criminalised for addiction. They should be given help and compassion to get over it.
No woman should be criminalised or jailed for what she chooses to do during pregnancy.

It is her body, and she has dominion over it. A right that was hard won.

Once you take away that right she becomes a chattel, without agency, or autonomy over her own body.

She is a whole person, with real and inalienable rights, not merely a vessel or an incubator .
 

ruserious

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Dec 4, 2018
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No woman should be criminalised or jailed for what she chooses to do during pregnancy.

It is her body, and she has dominion over it. A right that was hard won.

Once you take away that right she becomes a chattel, without agency, or autonomy over her own body.

She is a whole person, with real and inalienable rights, not merely a vessel or an incubator .
I won’t lie. I was anti-abortion until a few years ago. I even voted No, despite totally respecting the result.

While a part of me is still uncomfortable with the idea of ending the life of an unborn human in cases that are viable and don’t have traumatic context, I have completely had a change in outlook, to the point that I would describe myself now as completely pro choice and regret voting No.

Perhaps in a twist of irony, it took becoming a father myself in a couple of months to commit that to writing.
 

midlander12

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Dec 4, 2018
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This is a difficult one - a law to try and stop people abusing drugs in pregnancy sounds sensible - but women being sent to jail for miscarrying?
Even in states where abortion is legal?






Raises all sorts of issues - such as when does a foetus become a person.
At this stage, nothing (and I MEAN nothing) surprises me about America. It is a society (insofar as it deserves the appellation) permanently teetering on the edge of fascism.

Incidentally, Oklahoma was the state where a man took the state to the US Supreme Court a couple of weeks ago on the grounds that if he were executed he would die in intense agony due to the drugs used in the state's lethal injection protocol. The GOP majority on the SC rejected his appeal without bothering to give reasons for their decision, and minutes later the plaintiff was writhing and moaning for 12 minutes (according to witnesses) while strapped to a gurney, before death was pronounced.
 

Shaadi

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Feb 16, 2019
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If a woman with gestational diabetes dines out on sugary snacks because they are addicted to sugar, and they have a miscarriage, is that not the same thing?

No woman or person should be criminalised for addiction. They should be given help and compassion to get over it.
I'm all for protecting women and girls from right wing nuts.

However the no person should be criminalised for an addiction needs a lot of fleshing out.

An alcoholic knows that driving drunk is an activity liable to cause the death of others. I don't care if you are an alcoholic, the alcoholism made you drink but you are still responsible for your actions while drunk. Anything else is a licence to consequence free behaviour.
 

Ó Gabhainn

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Mar 12, 2019
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But once again it is women and especially women of colour....
Haven't seen this story before but, given that the first name you quoted in your OP was native American, my first thought was 'yeah, not surprising.' Some authorities are absolutely shameless in their treatment of people of colour, natives and other minorities.
 
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