Miscarriage is Murder in Utah

By Carol van Strum | Astrology notes by Eric are in Comment #25

On Monday, March 8, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law a bill making girls and women who miscarry criminally liable for murder when their miscarriages are caused by “intentional or knowing acts.” The governor signed the bill after vetoing its original version, which also included “reckless” acts; the word reckless was deleted from the signed version, which in its entirety is a catalog of multiple negatives:

“A woman is not guilty of criminal homicide of her own unborn child if the death of her unborn child…is not caused by an intentional or knowing act of the woman.” (The only exception specified is that “a woman is not criminally liable for seeking to obtain, or obtaining, an abortion that is permitted by law.”) This language may seem harmless enough. Yet in fact, any miscarriage, besides a legal abortion, could be put on trial, and whether the act was “intentional or knowing” would be up to the jury to decide. The law is written so that it presumes the woman is guilty and must prove that she is not guilty — in itself a violation of the Constitutional right of presumed innocence.

Both versions of the bill are extremely controversial, and removal of the word reckless cured none of its defects. Most notably, the vague language of the law criminalizes any behavior that might contribute to miscarriage, potentially making pregnancy — or even sex itself — a criminal act, since up to 20 percent of pregnancies normally end in miscarriage. This is grief enough, without facing the risk of prosecution for homicide.

“What we’re doing is driving women underground and preventing them from getting health care and prenatal care,” says Melissa Bird of Planned Parenthood, warning that women and girls most in need of care will avoid it for fear of prosecution.

“What happens to women who are in abusive relationships?” she asks. “What happens if a woman threatens to leave the abuser, falls down the stairs and loses the baby? What if the abuser beats the woman and causes a miscarriage? Could he turn her in? Who would the prosecutor believe? What happens if a drug addict who’s trying to get clean loses her baby? Will she be brought up on murder charges?”

Presumably, this law would cover the variety of herbal treatments available, which do anything from prevent implantation of the fetus to induce miscarriage; and it would cover home abortion treatments such as menstrual extraction.

Most appalling is the law’s knowing and intentional violation of equal protection rights. The concept of ‘equal protection under the law’, guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, means that all citizens have the same rights. Under the Utah legislation’s broad language, a woman can be charged with murder who miscarries after intentionally walking out of her house and being exposed to a feto-toxic herbicide applied by her landlord or the local road crew — but neither the applicators nor the manufactures of the feto-toxic chemical would face similar charges.

“For all these years, the anti-choice movement has said ‘we want to outlaw abortion, not put women in jail,’ said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, “but what this law says is, ‘no, we really want to put women in jail’.”

Additional coverage here, here and here.

35 thoughts on “Miscarriage is Murder in Utah”

  1. Patty, I suggest you check into the word “because,” which implies the ultimate, underlying motive.

    Usually situations like the one that led to this law are excuses that are used by opportunists with an agenda.

    I would request that we take the widest possible view of gender relations in this discussion. There is no way I could go on any public forum and say that “all women are shits” and not be banned or face the wrath of the crowd. There is currently no suitable word or concept to describe the opposite of misogyny: a general hatred or distrust of men. That needs a word, or to be identified as an entity.

    Many, many people are dragging around gender rage and are not owning up to this fact. Many have legitimate issues and nowhere to bring them. The result is often lashing out. As in a war, one bomb justifies the prior one, and the next one. While many may not feel safe expressing their vulnerabilities here, I suggest we be mindful that we actually have them, and hold space around those who admit to theirs.

  2. And before I’m accused of doing the red herring thing again, I’d say the astrology further matches because a group of men passed a law because one person acted without integrity. Maybe the girl did to. Her story speaks of desperation and haven’t most women been there? Yes, I have too. The guy should have helped her, not hurt her more and taken her money.

    So now because the law was passed for all the wrong reasons, it will likely be thrown out by the supreme court, at enormous cost to the taxpayers. Then, all men can sleep peacefully again with clear consciences.

  3. Carrie you are preaching to the choir. I was only commenting on the fact that the article left out the main reason behind the legislation, and that I think it totally matches the astrology that Eric shared. I admit to getting carried away at times with the ‘all men are shit’ talk. I should have said, for diversity purposes, what kind of person would kick a pregnant woman in the stomach for money??? Someone with no soul and no integrity. From there it is just a stepping stone to selling out your best friend or your country. If you can do that, you can do anything.He’d probably eat worms if the price was right.

  4. Eric,
    Thanks for the great reading on the astrology of the signing. Sounds like this is great astrology for getting burned. Think of dropping something in a pot of boiling water and the liquid unexpectedly splashes back out at you while your face is bent over a pot.

    I suspect we’re going to hear a lot of miscarriage stories in the next few weeks and men will find out more than they ever dreamed about this intensely painful, but very common, experience.

  5. Patty,

    I am very aware of the violence against women and I am trying to say that it stems from the things I pointed out in my previous post about why men fear women. In societies where babies are cuddled a lot and where sexuality and pleasure for adolescents and adults is allowed and even encouraged, men are not agressive or violent to women. My point was, both men and women need to wake up and stop perpetuating the religiously based model of pleasure = sin and pain = salvation. That whole disconnect from the body and its pleasures causes that violence you wrote about; sexually repressive societies have higher violence against women. We need to get rid of that sexual repression.

    As a woman, I want to see men wake up but I also want women to wake up because only when both sexes do so, can we change for the better. For me, it is as the Hopi say (paraphrasing here), “balance…everything in balance.” When you mentioned men waking up I felt I should also balance that comment by saying women need to wake up as well so that BOTH sexes are awake.

    I say that because the usual paradigm about violence against women focuses on the men and the message is “men need to stop being violent.” That presupposes that women are always powerless victims who have no agency in that equation. I disagree; I think women are powerful and that they DO have agency and I pointed out where I think they have it; in their own sexual repression and inability to be honest about their own lust, desires, and pleasures. Women can be powerful when they take back their pleasure, own it, understand it, and even value it. As soon as they do that, they become less willing to play the game of “pussy as scarce commodity.” Instead, they become free to lust, to love, to have pleasure and give pleasure.

    Eric is right on when he points to masturbation as a healing way for people because women that masturbate, admit to liking it, admit to themselves to liking pleasure, are no longer powerless victims. When women as well as men see the sacred whore that chooses to do sex work as sacred and enjoying pleasure instead of as a diminished and dirty human being, the change that will bring about could be earth shattering. Imagine a world where women have sex as often as they want with whomever they want and enjoy it without being villified for that. All that sex would diffuse the violence; just look at the non-violent bonobo primates and you can see an example of what humanity could be like.

    We have to see the bigger picture than just “men perpetrate violence on women and we have to stop them.” This is not to say that I think we should just all go out and masturbate while women and girls are being abused. We do need to find ways to protect women but we also need to create the paradigm change that will lead to us not having to protect them because they are no longer victims.

  6. Please note that my previous post to Patty was not to imply that women are “to blame” for the things men do that are bad; it is instead a point to balance the imbalanced ideology that only men must wake up. I think both sexes have a lot to answer for and both need to be responsible and work on the dialogue about sex, lust, desire, and pleasure. Both need to be honest with themselves and stop their irresponsible blaming of the other sex.

  7. Carrie I was thinking of the girls who go through circumcision and muslim women afraid to come out of the veil, 10 year olds married to old men, and so on. The violence is real. The man you were with stopped when he saw you would not play along with his whore fantasy. It worked for you, so good. http://www.feminist.com/antiviolence/facts.html. One out of every 6 women in the US have been raped, and the FBI says only 37 percent of rapes are reported. Then there’s human trafficking, and the list goes on.

    Love, peace, awareness….when oh when?

  8. Patty,

    I would say it is about women as well. Women that have been brought up to think of sex in terms of trade; they give sex for an expensive dinner and a movie, or give sex for committment, but they are taught they are never, ever to have sex just for giving and getting pleasure. Women need to take back our pleasure and not in the way the media has presented that idea (women demanding better orgasms and such) but in being honest about our lust and desire and having sex for just giving and getting pleasure. We have too long thought of ourselves as victims and men as agressors but in truth, in societies where sexuality is openly celebrated, freely given, and not punished, men are not aggressors at all. We as a society do need to take responsibility and teach our kids about sexuality, hug them more, allow them responsible safe sex and allow OURSELVES to have pleasure.

    I know, women are tired of hearing that we have to do the work of changing things but the truth is, we CAN initiate the change; men have been changing for the last four decades because more and more of them change the diapers, take care to slow down in sex, respect powerful women. Yes, they have. Sure there’s a long way to go but I have a strong feeling that women and men could meet that more equitable place if women took responsibility for their pleasure and went into sex with compassion for the men and without wanting that trade.

    I especially try to tell women that we can change how men fear us if we stop acting like the pussy is an expensive item for sale to the best dinner out and expensive movie. Give it freely and not with attitude, with safety and submission, with love and touch. Every man I slept with KNEW that I was not expecting payment for what I freely gave and gave with compassion and tenderness. Oh the sex was fun and raunchy at times but they could feel it in my touch, the way I put my hands on them, the way I initiated the sex, the way I submitted to and admitted to my own pleasure so they didn’t feel like they were “taking it” from me or having to “give” me an orgasm. I made sure I had an orgasm by taking the initiative and doing what I needed to or asking for what I needed.

    Interestingly enough, every man I was with was gentle and considerate for my comfort. They responded to me with excitement and an almost unflagging joy. No “fear of the pussy” in that; just fun, enjoyment, pleasure, compassion. I swear they needed me holding them as much as the sex. My “gift” was accepted by them with such humility and happiness, it was amazing to me that power I had to make each of them feel so good. What a wonderful feeling to be able to give that loving touch to these men.

    Only once did I feel a bit of fear. I was having sex with a guy that I had asked to have sex with (I did that often in my twenties) and he began to say “yes, fuck me you whore, fuck me you bitch, what a whore you are.” I stopped in mid pelvic thrust, opened my eyes as big as I could and asked in a small, almost fearful voice, “Please, don’t call me a whore. I’m not a whore and it hurts me when you say that.” My vulnerability seemed to make him see that his words were painful and he apologized immediately as I moved beneath him again, eyes wide open. His touch became tender and his movements slowed for my pleasure. What an amazing moment.

    So I submit that it is not just men that need to wake up, women do too; both sexes need to wake up and change how we talk about and participate in sexuality and pleasure.

  9. The astrology is interesting, because isn’t this bill really about men? I have read that it had to do with a pregnant teen girl paying some guy to kick her in the stomach. The men are saying to themselves, surely we aren’t so despicable that we’d do such a thing. Well, yes you are – you do this shit every day all over the world. Wake up men.

  10. Here are a few astrology notes on the signing of this bill. It’s going to have some interesting implications because Mars was stationing direct at the time it was signed. I cannot locate the exact time it was signed; Mars was about to station, two days later. Basically, to put things in binary terms, that is not good for whoever did this, and whoever did this would be men. Venus is also a focus in this chart but the big event is Mars stationing. Here is some million dollar astrology advice: if you want something new to go well, don’t start before an inner planet station.

    As for the time : I will call the Utah government on Monday and see if somebody wrote it down. It’s historic and all, so I am sure someone did. The time is important because when I cast a noon chart, the Moon is in the first degree of Capricorn; which is to say that if the law was signed in the morning, the Moon may have been void of course. That would be interesting; a big foul ball.

    But it’s really fun that Mars is stationing. The implication is that there is a reversal on the horizon; a boomerang effect; something unstable and impetuous. Remembering that the time is going to clarify this chart like a curtain opening, the aspect we can focus on is Venus trine retrograde Mars, opposite Saturn.

    The female principle is caught up in herself. It’s an image of women too busy being ladies to be women. This position is as challenging it gets; I speak from experience knowing many with this placement. All the spiritual and relational growth of Venus in Aries is about the cultivation of empathy. In this case, it would be about the cultivation of empathy by women for other women.

    Venus opposite Saturn would be read by a traditional astrologer as an obstruction or a loss of some kind. You have Venus, ruler of Libra, disposed by Saturn, exalted planet of Libra. She is pushed out of her element by a seemingly exterior force (opposition) when really there is a lot more going o than this.

    Venus is trine Mars retrograde. The male principle is totally self-involved, retrograde and all caught up in the heat of the moment — which is regressive, self-centered, pompous and short sighted; like a head-on collision with itself. The trine from Venus says there is an element of cooperation by women involved, or tacit acceptance (that tacit feeling of a trine, which can maniest as the statement, “you lie and I will swear to it.”

    No matter what men may think, reproductive rights issue hinge on women’s own opinions on the issues. At this stage of history men cannot take away the rights of women without the cooperation of women. At the moment they have that cooperation.

    A couple of other aspects worth mentioning:

    Ceres on the Galctic Core; Ceres sextile Chiron/Neptune; Ceres square Uranus. Ceres is a planet that should be all over charts involving the rights of women no matter which way the cookie crumbles. Pallas Athene, more directly concerned with law and politics, is suitable enough in Scorpio, moving into a square with Chiron/Neptune.

    Eris, the truthteller and the archetype of the castaway woman, is in a square to the lunar nodes. When something squares the nodes, it is what the issue hinges on. Eris has strong associations with women’s rights. During the peak of second wave feminism and in the era of Roe v Wade, the aspect was Chiron conjunct Eris in Aries.

    Here is your chart: Remember, the time is arbitrarily noon; I will do my best to track it down. High five to anyone who can pull it out of a news story, or whose brother in law works for the Utah Secretary of State and can be reached on Saturday.


  11. alahue,

    What follows may seem simplistic and generalizing but please bear with it because I am making several points here.

    I would posit that the more women have stood up for themselves, the more men seem to fear and hate them. Think about it; since the women’s movement, more and more women have stood up and changed how they relate to men and men in turn counter that with more repressive tactics and covert programming for children via the media, schools, video games and such to reinforce the male-as-superior paradigm. Women have turned into the male model of living because it is seen as the default model and men don’t want women to invade their position in society.

    It also has to do with the fact that men have the power and they control pretty much everything…except one thing. Men cannot control reproduction, cannot ever be absolutely certain that their genes continue whereas women can ALWAYS know that. The whole issue of controlling reproductive rights boils down to that; women have the babies and are always sure of their genetic line but males are not.

    Also, women are choosy about who they mate with whereas men are less choosy for the most part. I know I generalize here but I do so to see a bigger picture and to help with the understanding of the issue.

    In my sociology class, I saw a video about video games and I was appalled. These games are the dark underbelly of male fear. The game makers are amost always white males; their heroes are overmasculinized white males that use agression and violence to solve everything. Females are always depicted in very sexualized ways, or are in need of rescuing. Females occupy the roles of ever-grateful victims, prostitutes, porn stars or heroines that look like sex toys. The whole message our young boys are getting is that more violence and better violence means power and control with no remorse and that women are objects they can act upon without any need for relating. This message permeates media that children see, read, interact with and are the base that forms their ideas of what real life is.

    Men also fear the power their own lust for women has on them. The “power of the pussy” and their need for it makes them feel weak and vulnerable and women that abuse men by withholding sexual favors make things worse. If sex were allowed and not “sinful” and pregnancy was not born by the woman alone but with the help of the society around her, women would have more sex and men would be less afraid and less violent. Yes, I know…again I generalize.

    In a landmark study, scientists have linked the amount of touch a baby gets and the amount of sexual freedom adolescents have to the amount of violence a society has. That study can be found here and it is a huge eye opener: http://www.violence.de/archive.shtm . This is why Eric’s message about being open about sex and loving more is so important.

    The women’s movement also disenfranchised a huge population; those women that prefer mothering and homekeeping as a career choice. By adopting the “male default” as the ideal, the feminist has relegated her mothering and homekeeping sisters to an even lower rung on the ladder of social opinion and value. By not valuing what women do naturally, we stop valuing women and their model of being.
    Until we stop making the male model the “ideal default” way of being, women will be feared, hated, maligned and abused. So even though I generalize, I hope I am making it clear that this is not a simplistic issue.

  12. Half,

    I am part of a growing group of people called Third-Culture Kids (TCK’s) that have just that perspective that you are talking about. TCK’s have been raisd in other countries and their birth country (as I was) and as such have a more global perspective which is often thought to be unAmerican by those that have not traveled or lived in other cultures.

    It is a good idea, if you ask me, to get these TCK’s together with people like those here at PW and see what a force for change we can all be. Brice Royer is the guy that started some of the TCK on the web stuff and he is on Facebook as well as the TCK group. He has made his contact and info public so here are the links and e-mail addresses for him and TCK’s:

    email: manager@tckid.com
    or for Brice Royer’s personal e-mail: brice@briceroyer.com

    Brice is a very positive and uplifting guy.

    The more globally aware people we have banding together, the easier this change may be.

  13. In regard to constitutional challenges to abortion: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said a number of times that she regrets that the abortion right was decided on the “right to privacy”. The current group of conservatives on the bench are universally hostile to this but if they strike it down, this will have serious implications for birth control sales, sodomy laws, etc.

    I have always agreed with Ginsburg that abortion should be based also in a woman’s right to fully participate in economic life via the equal protection clause. There is substantial legislation outside the constitution that backs this up from the pregnancy discrimination act to the equal pay laws, etc. Although in reality equal pay has not yet occurred, nonetheless the concept is well established. The impact of children on a woman’s earning capacity is inarguable. Ergo, a woman’s right to control her reproduction is essential to the ability to fully participate in public and economic life.

    Although the conservative justices have very little patience with privacy concepts, they are much more sensitive to economic issues and I think this is a much better argument to offer for the next showdown, which will happen. The economic argument would give political cover to any potential moderates on the issue. However, I doubt the conservative arm of the court is stupid enough to completely overturn Roe, if only because of the tremendous backlash that would create. But maybe they are above such political considerations. This court, unlike courts past, does not have any former politicians, and perhaps does not understand how important it is to adapt to the prevailing political climate.

    It does make you wonder what Pluto in Capricorn will do to the Supreme Court. We live in exciting times, like it or not, and most people are walking around in denial to the change that is coming. It’s sort of like a tsunami. Those of us who have sensors see the wave coming, but most people are oblivious.

  14. ashawf
    A miscarriage is a miscarriage and an abortion is an abortion. If a woman gives herself an abortion, let’s not call it a miscarriage. Either way, it’s her business, not the governments or anyone. A miscarriage, is a natural happening when cells do not form in a viable way to produce a human being. And how exactly is that irresponsible?

  15. 4 HazelF: Fearing women generally translates to hating women, and yes, it does not work unless you hate yourself… and yes, it is very clear they do not love themselves. After all, we have all come from women.

    The question is, How, why… for centuries, world wide – have women raise so many men who hate or are afraid of women?

    By not standing up for ourselves, we are throw our children under the bus as well. Maybe the little boy in all men feels/knows that.. How can he respect a woman who did not stand up for him, because she did not stand up for herself?

  16. Looking at it astrologically, let us see what do they really think they are doing, I think they are trying to give a message is to those few women who deal with unwanted pregnancy through a miscarriage.

    If you say sex is a cosmic energy or cosmic force that shall not be repressed or restrained, then nor should the fruit of this cosmic energy be destroyed irresponsibly. But this also means that the “unawareness is now a crime” the government can pass such a law !! This is Saturn first attempt to teach responsibility

    You have seen the Saturn act, We still haven’t seen the Pluto response. These are personal and private issues and mostly tugged away deeply into subconscious. You cannot pass a law to bring them to the surface but trust me Pluto will. Watch how this unfolds…and what it brings….a very profound transformation !!!

    Remember Sixties freedom on sex and then the onset of aids… now once again talking about un-restrained, un-supressed free sexuality and the passing of law on miscarriage as a murder. !!!! This is just the beginning…

  17. Alahue – so sorry for your loss and pain. I guess 7 years is nothing really – I am not surprised it lives with you.

    I’m not sure that these ‘men’ hate women, so much as they may fear them. And there could also be an element of them hating themselves. Either way, it is unlikely that they know it or are aware of it. From what I have experienced in life so far, it seems to me that often hate translates to hurt, and often projected to those other than the self (or the cause of said hurt/hate).

    This is not the behaviour of a person who loves themselves or their fellow man/woman – clearly.

  18. I miscarried a little over 7 years ago. It was the single most horrible thing that has ever happened to me. Daily, it hurts my being. I think it is so incredibly painful and private, no one talks about it.

    I am sickened by Gary Herbert and everyone in Utah. Sickened by the men who did not stand up for their wives, sisters and mothers. Sickened by the WOMEN WHO IN 2010 are so brainwashed, battered and overrun by their lucky “live births” they did nothing. Sickened.

    Notice they are not offering health care for the humans already alive in the state…
    But the death penalty is okay?

    What should we expect from a state who is so closely aligned with a religion where women are more like property?

    Gary Herbert, WHAT are you thinking? Oh, it’s Saturday afternoon, your probably
    watching porn secretly on your computer. Well, at least this way, you won’t get
    anyone pregnant, possibly making her an unwilling criminal, should she loose your

    I wish less men hated women so.

    Most importantly, what can we do to help those poor, pathetic women in Utah?

    I will defiantly go to there capital and paint a “Cross Country Random Act of Flower” there this spring. They need it bad.

    Pissed, and holding the light here in LA.

    Andrea LaHue

  19. I live in the south, bastion of misogyny. Besides denying women access to services for their reproductive health (good luck finding a planned parenthood outside of a major city), we also don’t offer much in the way of other social services – unless you’re a corporation. So it’s up to the individual to figure out ways to take care of yourself and there are natural options available.

    But, there are other actions underway to limit or stop people from making choices. Recently, McCain’s bill S3002 was luckily defeated. This bill would have required all natural supplements to go through a (yet undefined) gov’t review process in order to stay on the market and would require retailers to register with the government and be responsible for tracking and reporting any adverse effects – retailers could also be held legally responsible for supplements sold. Similar bills are regularly introduced and have mostly been unsuccessful.

    In addition, the recently (2008) ratified treaty Codex would reclassify all herbs as drugs – requiring a doctor’s prescription in order to access – same paperwork required for vitamins as well. Codex as a global treaty trumps any national or regional laws. Codex is already having dire consequences in Europe. The health care debate is primarily about access to hospitals and pharmaceuticals – and isn’t really about health.

  20. Thanks for the clarification on the Supreme Court, Eric. I imagined there would be some recourse there.

    The US is a strange mix – a diversity-embracing entity that has a relatively short history in modern terms, yet with a lot of power and some off-the-wall aspects. Quite adolescent really.

    Perhaps the course of maturation can be successfully steered through a minefield of potentially explosive oppressions?

    It seems to me highly instructive, Eric, that your own personal voyage has seen you inhabit many cultures.

    This particular issue can offer enriching debate and it seems to me that people who have travelled around often have a much more balanced understanding of the cultural situatedness question than those who are simply glued to their armchairs. It is a complex issue with scope for much fruitful awareness – precisely because it is so emotive is the reason it offers this opportunity.

    We need meaningful solutions to our problems and this kind of reflection can help us clarify what kind of power/influence a unit within a culture/counter-culture can wield.

    Thanks e,


  21. Half, our system is set up such that issues from any one of the states can be ruled on by the Supreme Court and affect all people in all of the states and territories. The laws of all the states and territories must conform to the rulings of the Supreme Court, and all are subject to its rulings. And those cases come up through the federal district courts and the appellate courts from the states and regions of the country.

    That is now what is happening with abortion rights. Medieval states are creating laws that they are entering into a kind of lottery for who makes it to the top to shoot down or take a whack out of Roe vs Wade. It is basically a game to see who can get the farthest in this project. Additionally it is high prestige for an ultra conservative to stride around the halls of Congress and have everyone know that his state did the most recent draconian thing.

    It is difficult to relate the obsessive religious/political fervor with which abortion is perceived in some parts of the United States, and in many constituencies. I have lived in Europe, Canada and the UK and there is nothing remotely like it in the public consciousness of those places. Yes people make private choices, but such a private choice as this is only turned into a hot hot hot political item in the United States.

    Note, this is your basic Saturn square Pluto, Saturn opposite Uranus stuff.

  22. We can debate the constitution of any modern country until the cows come home. And would there be any definitively ‘correct’ polity?

    There is always a selection of merits and demerits in opting for any given configuration. The USA has a considerable problem with its aggregation of independent states making up a nation. Purportedly, local autonomy and governance is empowering for a ‘locality’ (I know you are much bigger than the UK!).

    But you folks know your history, geography and evolved polity better than I do (or so you should). I remember, nearly two decades ago, studying a little of the roots of primitive American psychology once the settlers started to displace the Native Americans. Constantly expanding the frontier, wherever you travelled there was more land to conquer, ‘enjoy’ and then protect the boundaries of; all the while harbouring dreams of limitless colonisation.

    Your ideas of freedom, rights, responsibilities, commerce, the individual, the nation state, governance etc are all imbued with the psychology of your roots. A constitution seeks to enshrine all of that and you manage your vast country by devolving polity to independent states – and their self-governance means they get to pass binding state laws.

    And then your collective notions of freedom (as enshrined) must welcome rogue states within, where church and state type melding allows ALL the learning of centuries outside your ‘little’ country (where else could The WORLD Series be used to describe a competition for baseball teams WITHIN the USA?) to be undone.

    Iraq et al, outside your border, won’t be tolerated but Utah is.

    This is one of the problems of the personal-political continuum in the claim that they are one and the same. That is an ideal (one that I value highly in principle). But it is nonetheless one that people approach from a situated perspective.

    If you live in Utah it is surely personal, especially if you are a woman or a foetus – personal in the most pressing and real sense. The further away you are from the core agenda (experientially, constitutionally, geographically etc) the more political it feels in a purely instrumental sense.

    We can utilise this story as somehow representative of ‘generic’ oppression – even should any of us live just over the border from Utah; but it comes with the territory and the bigger picture of history, frontier psychology and polity in the USA. No matter how much emotion we throw at this issue it is only a personal story if it affects you personally – and if we fail to recognise this fact we begin to sever real compassion from its embodied moorings; turning it into a voyeuristic guilt trip.

    If Utah is a rogue state passing medieval laws then what are commentators who don’t inhabit the place going to do? Aside from perhaps offering asylum to oppressed women and darkness to expectant un-borns?

  23. The medical privacy issue is a vitally important one. Thanks for bringing that up, Carrie. States could legislate mandatory reporting laws if they wanted. The thing here is that the foundation of Roe vs Wade is another case, Griswold vs Connecticut, which establishes the right to privacy. In 1965, in the state of Connecticut, it was illegal to possess or use birth control devices, even if you were married and using them with your spouse. This was litigated in Groswold.

    Some say that right to privacy is nowhere in the constitution, but I think that the 4th amendment protection is pretty good; it states the intentions of the framers. Have a look, here is the very short full text of the amendment:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Here is the Wiki page on Griswold:


    Yeti, as a “marketer” (I am basically chief of sales and marketing for PW until we find someone better) it is a point of frustration that the public is so oriented on what is immediately new rather than valuable in the long run. It seems so incredibly difficult to offer a product based on its lasting value rather than its immediate value.

    Yes, they – the big marketers – have conditioned us to go for the $5 chicken meal and not, you know, to learn how to cook.

    I am doing some new sales literature – I will make sure to emphasize the lasting value theme. Part of that, of course, involves our rapidly changing relationship to the passage of time. Do we really care what happened yesterday?

    I would say most people do not. And perhaps that is the right thing, but I would be more encouraged if we were busier envisioning the world we want, rather than buying the next cell phone Mc Nugget. So I will emphasize the vision aspect as well.

  24. I was stunned to learn of this and wondered why it hasn’t been reported in any of the mainstream media. I had to give it some thought. It occurs to me that this could ultimately go before the Supreme Court, and who wants to take the whole matter of when life begins before this particular Supreme Court? It’s a “big picture” moment.

  25. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Moon:

    Today I talked about Tantra with a Catholic nun who runs a spiritual retreat center, and *she* referred me to a friend of hers, who is a Baptist minister. Both were very open to the meditative side of these practices, and how it interfaces with Christian contemplative prayer.

    The dialogue (well, trialogue) is respectful and surprisingly enthusiastic. If we are able to map this carefully, I foresee a time when what we used to call ‘sexuality’ can be seen as the hotline to Reality Central.

    Women. Smart women, with power simmering in their hands, can make this happen.


  26. I was not silent by design; I just got here this late in the day after a long and very busy day with my four kids and my college classes.

    I am unable to speak to the insanity that this law is. I mean, what exactly is it trying to legislate? The home abortion? The herbal abortion? Seriously, are there THAT many home abortions that are being called miscarriages that this law had to be made? Now every female that has a miscarriage is automatically guilty until proven innocent? What happened to our right to be “innocent until proven guilty?”

    Is Planned Parenthood going to run the gauntet by not reporting miscarriages if women come to them? Imagine a woman miscarrying and grieving about it but afraid to get medical help and possibly bleeding to death or contracting an infection that can also kill her; is that the preservation of life?

    It is not surprising that the religious right (in this case Mormons) is getting tough on women; they are feeling the changes and this makes them do desperate things. The more change happens, the more we will see religious fundamentalists clamp down on women, sexuality, reproductive rights and all other rights of people everywhere. The religious right lost their majority in the last election and they are pissed off and backlashing.

    Be ready for more to come. I don’t know how to fight this myself but I hope (and will twitter on it and write Rachel Maddow about it and blog on it to get the word out)someone takes this to court or something because it is unconstitutional at best and morally depraved at worst.
    Between this and the two articles I cited (with links) about the two pregnant women that were recently held against their will; one in jail and one in the hospital, we all must do something. Write the Washington Post, your local newspaper, call your representatives in congress and inform them of this, blog about it, spread the word so something is done to stop this insanity.

  27. Hello Amanda,

    I was also pretty stunned by the lack of comments, even for a Friday night. It’s easy to vent steam over a pretend controversy, and much harder to focus a response to this kind of unrestrained politicizing of the female body. Turning women into suspected murderers for a natural biological function? That’s like putting a man on trial for ejaculating into a hankie. Which the Mormons would do, if they could.

    Dare I say this issue brings the theme back to the need for sexual enlightenment or perhaps just basic information, since pregnancy is the result of sex. The conversation is usually thwarted six ways from Sunday but as E2 suggests, this is something of a conversation starter. Yet we need to have the whole conversation. And we need to be mindful that this Utah law is one of a thousand cuts being inflicted; there are many other “small” laws that are designed to curtail the right to abortion.

    E2 I am also with you on the “barefoot and pregnant” agenda. I am amazed how this little bit of thematic content goes over the heads of so many; as if the issue is fetuses. The issue is NOT fetuses. It never was and it never will be.

    The issue is who controls the biological destiny of women. This is why Simone de Beauvoir spends the first 75 pages of The Second Sex on biology, describing worms and monkeys and amoebae and every other critter you can name reproducing, all to deduce the question: what is a woman?

    The conclusion I draw from The Second Sex is that women are the second sex precisely to the extent that they lack (or abdicate) control over their biological destiny; which is why, no matter what you may think of fetuses, a woman’s right to abortion on demand is the one thing that stands between her and her personhood. I don’t give second wave feminists credit for much, but I give them a lot of credit for understanding that one fundamental biological issue.

    The Mormons understand something else as well. As THE very religion that makes THE biggest point to corrupt and destroy masturbation and inject it with existential guilt, they understand that this is the core of sexual, psychic and relational independence, and they make sure they fracture this first. They preserve the 17th and 18th century moral disgust with masturbation like no other religion, and we can take a pointer from the Mormons that this is the very place to begin the process of reclaiming our sexuality as a conscious, out of the closet act of birthright, sanity and humanity.


  28. This is the kind of overreaching that makes public opinion understand what is really going on. It should also be a great fundraising tool for Planned Parenthood and women’s organizations. The Mormon Church has never made any secret that it wants women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, pumping out as many babies as possible.

    In many ways the deeper question is prosecution for poisoning or attempted poisoning of fetuses and mothers. Go to this link for a study abstract about organochlorine levels (pesticides) detectable in amniotic fluid on the National Library of Medicine website:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19403124?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_SingleItemSupl.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=2&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

    For those of you who have never used the Pubmed system, off to the right of the page you will see links to other studies about pesticides, dioxins, DDE(your body converts DDT into DDE and stores it in fat)and a whole witches brew of chemicals found in amniotic fluid.

    So if miscarriage is murder, what is the appropriate punishment for the companies that manufacture and distribute these chemicals that are known to deform and kill fetuses? Chemicals that we are unable to avoid thanks to their distribution in our environment?

    You can also do searches on the Pubmed website that will tell you about the chemicals in breast milk. When women breast feed, these chemicals, which are attracted to the fat, ride out of the breast attached to the large fat molecules of the milk, and into the baby. We have no idea what this really means for the child who ingests this. However, there is the sickening possibility that the lower incidence of breast cancer for mothers who breast feed may be in part to this inadvertent chemical dumping. And there is no good substitute for breast milk.

    Men must be desperately envious of the uterus since they work so strongly to try and control it. I have to go donate to Planned Parenthood now.

  29. I mean, 99% of the stuff we forcibly extract from the earth ends up in a landfill or getting burned in an incinerator (dioxin anyone?) within 6 months. Like kids quitting school in the (so called) Democratic Republic of Congo to go work in the mines as cheap labor to extract coltan which is made into a powder that is an integral part of the microchips that enable cell phones, ipods, laptops, anything with a processor chip. Then there’s blowing off the tops of mountains all around the world to pull out the metals so consumers can buy cheap computers and keep the profit flowing in Wall st. Planned obsolescence is more important to these people than Planned Parenthood. Fewer babies means fewer consumers after all, fewer bodies to exploit so rich people can pretend there’s no limits.

  30. But, then I guess you wouldn’t see it coming if you only watch mainstream media, or if you’re one of the pitiful souls who think that Fox News represents actual journalism.

  31. One might get the idea that the investor/ownership/ruling class are attempting to turn America’s middle and lower classes into cheap slave labor by making so many things illegal that everyone is guilty of something. We already subsidize the lifestyles of people who think they need 7 mansions to be happy (or something) every time we pay a bank fee or buy anything that some big fat cat on Wall st. made a profit from somewhere along the way which is almost anything that isn’t completely local, hand made, directly from the Earth. But even then someone is probably paying rent.

    I’m feeling simply overwhelmed with something like culture shock as my critique of the culture that birthed me got more ammo from doing African studies for my outside-of-major degree requirements called junior cluster courses in the Oregon university system. This kind of thing is as old as empires, as old as aggro-culture sprouting from Eurasia and wiping out permacultures all over the planet from the 15th century onward. This is more aggro-culture, heavy handed control, diseased livers, compressed hearts, the armored souls who want every one else to be punished for the pain they feel. I feel as though these kind of humans are carrying suicidal ontologies that maybe grow out of centuries of Revelation freaking people out and expecting the second coming any moment. I mean, the planet is clearly overpopulated with humans and these monkeys want to punish women who fail to carry a baby to birth? It seems to me scientifically accurate sex ed and easy access to birth control for everyone who can ovulate or ejaculate is more sane than punishing miscarriages. These people are contributing to practices that will make this Empire’s fall hurt a lot worse than it has to since we can see it coming and do something about it.

  32. Yeah, Amanda – I’m shocked. I’m on the east coast. Feeling far removed from that law geographically and ideologically. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around what must have been going on in the heads of those law makers.

    And now that it’s Friday night and almost time to drink a bit of wine with some close friends, I’m a bit concerned about how easy it will be for me to keep this simmering in the background while I talk about ideas/happenings concerning my own tighter sphere.

    It’s not that I’m self-absorbed (much) – I’m just wondering what I can really do to help those women in Utah (maybe I could give a few the plane/train fare out). I do feel frustrated. I feel like all I can do is to keep vigilant about happenings in my own state.

  33. carol —
    thank you for writing this up. i’d heard bits about it on democracy now!, but hadn’t followed up on it.

    It’s pretty shocking, and i’m wondering what those of us who don’t live in utah can do, other than do our damnedest not to let similar laws pass elsewhere and donate to planned parenthood. and sure, we can post links to our facebook pages, etc. but is there a clear and effective way to support any efforts to overturn this?

    i’m also a little surprised by the lack of other comments here tonight. are we all just too shocked & feeling too helpless?

    and just in case things weren’t feeling too out of whack already, here’s the last sentence from that article linked to above, from the independent:

    “It has not gone unnoticed that consideration of the bill, with the potentially high costs it would entail, has coincided with a debate on cancelling the last year of school for Utah children to help to save the state money.”

    — amanda

  34. This is crazy. It’s comin’ down, man. The Power is going to be usurped by the individual. When “the man” comes down on our asses this hard, it creates a backlash that causes us to recoil, then lash. Within our time, the lowly, who is going to be anyone who has investment in this reality in any capacity, will (hands and fingers tied and crossed) Come Together.

    So,.. when are we going to pick up land and start the mass inexodus? (I’m working my angle, [but you guys see where I’m at, and the ways too go..] and I’ve got a bit of work to do before I’m capable of providing a workable/compassionate/spacial reference for others to thrive.)

    ..I could be deluded, but.. if “we”, “the people”, clump together, perhaps… perhaps we can expand to those who are in serious hardship dynamics with the powers that are.

    It takes some balls/ovaries to pull it together.. (side note: I swear I feel this is the end of “the old order”.)

    “..your time is up you better know it. Or maybe you don’t read the signs…”
    -John Lennon

    ..Free the people, NOW. Do it do it do it do it do it nowahowhow!

    Love. Peace. Awareness.


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