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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/17/19

The GOP Is on the Road to Mass Lockups for Women Who Have Miscarriages

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The Republican Party's attack on women's reproductive rights has put the nation on a terrifying path

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The GOP's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice is on its way.

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During Mike Pence's first year as governor of Indiana, his state put a young woman in prison for having a miscarriage, alleging that she'd taken an abortion-causing drug. Purvi Patel didn't have a trace of such a drug in her system, but Pence's state sentenced her to 20 years in prison anyway. Just a few years earlier, Indiana had also held Bei Bei Shuai for 435 days in the brutal maximum security Marion County prison, facing 45 years to life for trying to kill herself and, in the process, causing the death of her 33-week fetus.

Utah charged 28-year-old Melissa Ann Rowland with murder because she refused a C-section, preferring vaginal birth for her twins, and one of them died. Sixteen-year-old Rennie Gibbs was charged by the state of Mississippi with "depraved heart murder" when her baby was born dead because his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck: her crime was that she had cocaine in her bloodstream, according to prosecutors. Angela Carder was ordered to have a C-section to deliver her baby before she died of cancer; both she and the baby died from the procedure.

These cases have exploded in recent years, as the GOP and the nation's law enforcement system have embraced the American "Christian" version of fundamentalist Islamic law which dictates that women are the property of men and their principal purpose for existence is reproduction.

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According to Duke University's Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, there were 413 documented -- and probably thousands of lesser-known -- cases of women being prosecuted for having miscarriages or attempting abortions between the time Roe v. Wade became the law of the land and 2005.

Between 2005 and 2014, the Guttmacher Institute documented another 380 cases.

Georgia just passed a law, signed by Republican Brian Kemp (the man who ran his own election against Stacey Abrams), which puts any woman in that state who has a miscarriage at risk of 30 years in prison or even the death penalty. Other states are in line, and in those states, like Georgia, with the death penalty, many are proposing legislation to put women who have abortions to death.

And we know what happens when abortion is totally banned. Romania, with a population slightly smaller than Florida, banned abortion (although, unlike Alabama, they allowed a provision for rape, incest, and congenital abnormalities) in 1966.

While wealthy Romanian women were still able to get abortions by traveling to other nearby nations, that option was not available to poor women. At least 10,000 women died of botched illegal abortions (that's the official number; the real number is probably 10 times that) before Nicolae Ceaușescu was deposed and the law was repealed.

Few families were spared; maternal death was higher than any other country in Europe by a factor of ten and poverty exploded.

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When the country was opened to the world, over 170,000 children were found languishing in brutal orphanages, ignored, emaciated and handcuffed to cribs. Nobody knows how many died in the decades before that.

When Nicolae Ceaușescu was deposed in 1989, his own soldiers gleefully machine-gunned him and his wife to death. The same penalty Georgia would inflict on its women who get abortions.

Given that one out of four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, laws like Georgia's and Alabama's may well require a substantial addition to our police systems.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)
 
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6 people are discussing this page, with 9 comments  Post Comment


lila york

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Ignorance reigns supreme. If only we had a SCOTUS fully staffed by humans

Submitted on Friday, May 17, 2019 at 8:31:45 PM

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Carol Jackson

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A Republican state legislator once remarked; "Women can't be trusted on issues dealing with abortion, they're too stupid." Why do you say that someone asked? Well he replied, "they voted for us didn't they?

Submitted on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 6:30:40 PM

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Janet Supriano

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Hypocrisy knows no bounds.


Submitted on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 6:45:06 PM

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Janet Supriano

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It's good to know these men who never fail to support war have such a profound respect for life.

Submitted on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 9:45:53 PM

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David Watts

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"It's good to know these men who never fail to support war have such a profound respect for life."


You make a very good point Janet. I am sure it must bother those men very much that the illegal wars based on lies that they support that kill and maim men and women and children also kill unborn fetuses too. They must find it hard to sleep at night...

Submitted on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 4:01:21 PM

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RG Cunningham

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The GOP is an organization of rabid psychopaths with deep-seated misogyny at their core. These types of laws are meant to sexually subjugate and control women. They are NOT about the sanctity of life! Especially when one considers that the most extreme factions pushing such legislation are war-mongerers and serial killing hunters!!!

Submitted on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 10:37:14 PM

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agreed. This is pure sadism. None of them have the slightest interest in the welfare of children one minute after they are born.'life begins at conception and ends at birth'. Horrifying to realize we have sunk this low as a society.

Submitted on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 11:45:25 PM

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Absolutely! They are the very first to shred the safety nets established for women and children. I want to PUKE every time I hear the words "family values" associated with GOP excrement!

Submitted on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 1:03:53 AM

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Jill Herendeen

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Not PURELY sadism; it's highly profitable for for-profit prison corporations, after all, and another effective method of waging war on THE POOR, of whom the ruling elites have decided they only need about 20% for getting their dirty work done. (Rich women, of course, will still be able to get safe abortions; it'll just cost them more. Rich women will also be able to afford having all the babies they want AND raise them all in luxury, on organic food, w/out even having to work outside the home. I bet POOR women would like having some of those options.)

Submitted on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 2:02:32 AM

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