Petition Closed
Petitioning Utah Governor

Tell the Governor of Utah: Don't Sign H.B. 12, "Criminal Homicide and Abortion Amendments," Into Law


Utah lawmakers have just passed a bill to charge women with criminal homicide for obtaining an illegal abortion or inducing a miscarriage, whether intentionally or through "reckless" behavior.

As various advocacy groups have pointed out, the terms of the bill are so subjective that well-intentioned women could theoretically be charged for criminal homicide in all the following cases:

-If she fails to wear a seat-belt, gets in a car accident and suffers a miscarriage.

-If she uses legal or illegal drugs and the baby is stillborn.

-If she carries multiples as a result of fertility treatment, and one or more of the babies die.

-If she remains with a partner whom she knows to be abusive, and she suffers a miscarriage after he beats her particularly violently.

In effect, women suffering the trauma of losing a baby they desired could end up facing the double trauma of being charged with causing the baby's death.

Furthermore, most states give women immunity from prosecution for a reason -- it's in the interest of both maternal and fetal health. If women are fearful of prosecution for harmful behavior, they won't get the prenatal care they need (which is harmful behavior in itself).

 

Sign this petition to urge the governor of Utah not to sign the bill into law.

 

Letter to
Utah Governor
Utah lawmakers have just passed a bill that amends existent abortion laws, removing pregnant women's immunity from prosecution for obtaining an illegal abortion or inducing a miscarriage, whether intentionally or through "reckless" behavior.

Aside from a few narrowly defined exceptions, including failure to comply with medical advice, refusal to submit to a physician's recommended treatment, and negligence (which in legal terms is apparently a less serious crime than recklessness), the law holds women accountable for criminal homicide if they intentionally, knowingly or recklessly "cause the death of another human being, including an unborn child at any stage of its development," outside the parameters of legal abortion.

As various advocacy groups have pointed out, the terms of the bill are so subjective that well-intentioned women could theoretically be charged for criminal homicide in all the following cases:

-If she fails to wear a seat-belt, gets in a car accident and suffers a miscarriage.

-If she uses legal or illegal drugs and the baby is stillborn.

-If she carries multiples as a result of fertility treatment, and one or more of the babies die.

-If she remains with a partner whom she knows to be abusive, and she suffers a miscarriage after he beats her particularly violently.

As Utah's ACLU wrote in a letter to Utah's governor in protest of the law, "If this bill is signed into law, women in this state will essentially be in the uncomfortable and unfortunate position of having to prove that the abortions they obtain (or miscarriages they suffer) are not unlawful." In effect, women suffering the trauma of losing a baby they desired could end up facing the double trauma of being charged with causing the baby's death.

Says the National Advocates for Pregnant Women: "Once the state has the power to decide what a women's "intent" is, it does not really matter what her intent actually is." Giving police and prosecutors such enormous discretion to decide who will and will not be arrested and charged under this law is an invitation for innocent women (and their families) to suffer.

And as both the ACLU and National Advocates for Pregnant Women point out, most states give women immunity from prosecution for a reason -- it's in the interest of both maternal and fetal health. If women are fearful of prosecution for harmful behavior, they won't get the prenatal care they need (which is harmful behavior in itself). Likewise, if they know they will be charged for getting an illegal abortion, they won't seek medical help if the procedure goes wrong.

Please protect women in the state of Utah by vetoing this dangerous bill.