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FF Sparks (Casual)

[Politics] Virginia Residents Take Note

I know a few others have already mentioned this, but Mindy Klasky sent a letter to folks, and has given us permission to repost it anywhere that it might make a difference.

As many of you know, I am not a political creature. I do not spend a lot of my time tracking legislation or otherwise following the events in Richmond. Nevertheless, a bill has been brought before the Virginia House of Delegates which endangers the privacy rights of every woman in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Virginia House Bill 1677 requires a woman to report any miscarriage to local law enforcement within twelve hours of experiencing that unfortunate event. The bill does not distinguish between early and late miscarriages. Failure to report is a class one misdemeanor (the same category of crime as statutory rape, arson, and stalking), with penalties of up to one year in prison and a fine of $2500. (Please note that the bill does not address *abortion*; it merely addresses miscarriage.)

You can read more about the bill here:

http://democracyforvirginia.typepad.com/democracy_for_virginia/2005/01/legislative_sen.html

If you live in Virginia, and if you are as appalled as I am, I urge you to respond today, contacting Delegate Cosgrove, your local delegates, and all Virginia residents who should oppose such a stunning invasion of our privacy.

Mindy

Comments

The impression most people have of this -- and that I did as well -- is that the existing law doesn't really well-define this as 'late term' or anything like that. I suppose 'dead fetus' could be taken that way, since the original law they are amending mentions a funeral home having a requirement to report. It is still, however, not all that clear; given political twists we've seen over the past few years, it's extremely easy to imagine this being argued in court someday that even in early-stage pregnancy, the unborn child counts as a 'fetus' and thus someone should be in trouble for not reporting a miscarriage.

Even the laws with good intent can backfire. Witness a law passed here in Washington state ages ago, which prevents a divorce from being granted while the woman is pregnant; it was intended to prevent men from divorcing their pregnant wife and leaving them with no support at all. Great intent... but now we have a situation where an abused wife wants to divorce her jailed husband, and the divorce is not granted because this law prohibits it as she's pregnant.

That said, I don't live in Virginia; I'm just passing the letter on.
"[...] the unborn child counts as a 'fetus' [...]"

I think you must mean the inverse, since any unborn/unhatched vertebrate is a fetus.
No, I meant it precisely the way I said it.

Kath argued that this law is fairly innocuous and harmless because it only applies to 'fetal death' and explains that legally, they define 'fetal death' as excluding early stage miscarriage.

My point is that they could readily choose to define 'fetal death' as any miscarriage, later down the road.

Isn't playing with legal definitions, as opposed to real definitions, fun? :/

Nkay.

This is just more evidence that I'd make a lousy polemicist.