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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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From Common Dreams

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.

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.

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.

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 Against the Middle (more...)
 

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