Trying to become a parent is rarely as easy as we may have been led to believe, particularly once our bodies start to age (Renk, 2010). There are many difficulties that may occur as individuals’ pursue pregnancy. Unfortunately, miscarriage, or “the spontaneous end of a pregnancy during the first or early second trimester” (Lerner, 2003, p. 2), is an all too common occurrence. In fact, some would estimate that perhaps 800,000 women experience a miscarriage every year and that miscarriage may occur in 20 percent of all known pregnancies (Lerner, 2003). Although a relatively common occurrence when rates across individuals are examined, any individual woman’s experience of a miscarriage can be devastating. Women may suffer from a variety of psychological symptoms following miscarriage, including loneliness, guilt, and depression, amongst other symptoms. Such symptoms suggest that miscarriage is something that should be taken seriously and that should be dealt with carefully, with assistance being made available to those women who may need it.
Even though miscarriage can be an incredibly difficult experience, Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin introduced a bill recently that would require women to provide proof that their miscarriage occurred naturally. If women cannot provide such proof, they could face felony charges (Ceridwen, 2011). The main impetus for this bill appears to build on the idea that the State of Georgia should capitalize on its duty to protect each individual life from the time of conception until natural death (A Bill to Be Entitled An Act, 2011; Irishwitch, 2011). Rather than focusing on the difficulties that women may experience subsequent to a miscarriage or considering how common miscarriages tend to be, however, the bill itself spends a significant portion of time discussing “prenatal murder” (A Bill to Be Entitled An Act, 2011). Such language would appear to suggest that the bill may be attempting to legislate abortion via the unfortunate occurrence of miscarriage. Further, as an additional violation of women’s rights, this bill proposes that cases of miscarriage be investigated (some are saying by a “Uterus Police”; Ceridwen, 2011; Irishwitch, 2011), particularly when the cause of the miscarriage is unknown (which is also not an uncommon occurrence; Ceridwen, 2011).
After reading the press about this bill in Georgia, I experienced a variety of emotions, but I realized that I was mostly saddened'”saddened by the fact that the focus of this bill is so clearly not on the well-being of families, saddened by the fact that women who are already distressed could be victimized by this bill, saddened that women who so desperately wanted to be mothers would be forced to have their devastating experience investigated and on display. So, when will our societies shift to emphasizing the well-being of all our family members? I would like to know.
A bill to be entitled an act. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display.aspx?Legislation=31965.
Ceridwen on Being Pregnant. (2011, February 21). Georgia legislator wants to investigate miscarriages, create uterus police. Retrieved from http://blogs.babble.com/being-pregnant/2011/02/21/georgia-legislator-wants-to-investigate-miscarriages-create-uterus-police/.
Irishwitch. (2011, February 17). GA legislator wants to create the uterus police to investigate miscarriages. Retrieved from http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/17/946257/–GALegislator-Wants-to-Create-The-Uterus-Police-to-Investigate-Miscarriages.
Lerner, H. M. (2003). Miscarriage: Why it happens and how best to reduce your risks. Cambridge: Da Capo.
Renk, K. (2010). Becoming a parent may not be as easy as it seems. Retrieved from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6126730/becoming_a_parent_may_not_be_as_easy.html.