Friday, May 24, 2013

Mississippi may soon be able to imprison women for stillbirths and miscarriages. Yeah, you heard that right.

Courtesy of Mother Jones:  

On March 14, 2009, 31 weeks into her pregnancy, Nina Buckhalter gave birth to a stillborn baby girl. She named the child Hayley Jade. Two months later, a grand jury in Lamar County, Mississippi, indicted Buckhalter for manslaughter, claiming that the then-29-year-old woman "did willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, kill Hayley Jade Buckhalter, a human being, by culpable negligence." 

The district attorney argued that methamphetamine detected in Buckhalter's system caused Hayley Jade's death. The state Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the case on April 2, is expected to rule soon on whether the prosecution can move forward. If prosecutors prevail in this case, the state would be setting a "dangerous precedent" that "unintentional pregnancy loss can be treated as a form of homicide," says Farah Diaz-Tello, a staff attorney with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a nonprofit legal organization that has joined with Robert McDuff, a Mississippi civil rights lawyer, to defend Buckhalter. If Buckhalter's case goes forward, NAPW fears it could spur a wave of similar prosecutions in Mississippi and other states. 

Mississippi's manslaughter laws were not intended to apply in cases of stillbirths and miscarriages. Four times between 1998 through 2002, Mississippi lawmakers rejected proposals that would have set specific penalties for damaging a fetus by using illegal drugs during pregnancy. But Mississippi prosecutors say that two other state laws allow them to charge Buckhalter. One defines of manslaughter as the "killing of a human being, by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another"; another includes "an unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth" in the state's definition of human beings. 

The cause of any given miscarriage or stillbirth is difficult to determine, and many experts believe there is no conclusive evidence that exposure to drugs in utero can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth. Because of this, prosecuting Buckhalter opens the door to investigating and prosecuting women for any number of other potential causes of a miscarriage or stillbirth, her lawyers argued in a filing to the state Supreme Court—"smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, exercising against doctor's orders, or failing to follow advice regarding conditions such as obesity or hypertension." Supreme Court Justice Leslie D. King also raised this question in the oral arguments last month: "Doctors say women should avoid herbal tea, things like unpasteurized cheese, lunch meats. Exactly what are the boundaries?"

In these mostly red states all over the country lawmakers have been passing law after law to slowly create an environment where women are once again reduced to nothing more than breeding stock. Late term abortion restrictions, personhood amendments, vaginal probes, enforced waiting periods, defunding Planned Parenthood, all done to take back control of women's bodies.

After all in many of these places it is understood that those bodies do not belong to the women who operate them, they belong to God. And only He can determine what a woman can, and cannot do with it. And, of course, his will is determined by his representative on earth, the man.

So little by little, restriction by restriction, legislation by legislation, and now conviction by conviction, women are being reduced to property. Property of God, property of the state, or property of their men, no matter how you see it, you cannot help but see freedoms being stripped away from the woman.

And all of this has been happening in 2013, right before our eyes. But member, there is NO war on women.


  1. Anonymous6:17 AM

    This has gone entirely too far. What the heck is wrong with the women in Mississippi that they are not out by the thousands protesting this every day.

    1. Leland6:43 AM

      It's called religious brainwashing.

      I grew up in SC. We had what was known as the Blue Laws for decades. They were written into the SC Constitution and banned businesses (with certain exceptions like drug stores and gas stations) from being open on Sundays. (And everyone knew they were religiously based.)

      We finally got rid of them. How? By having enough people from non-bible-belt states move in and raise hell. Enough to overcome the reticence of the native populations and DEMAND the removal of the laws. Of course, the younger generations helped, too, with their understanding of how STUPID they were.

      I'm afraid THAT is what is going to be needed to shut this shit down. Either that or another version of the National Guard "invasion" when it was time for integration!

    2. Stockholm syndrome. If you lived in MS and were assaulted everywhere you went with these messages for 30 plus years, you'd feel that you deserved everything the religious right is dishing out. I moved here from CA and I find it hard to believe. I lived in Atlanta for over 11 years, but it wasn't this bad.

  2. This is absolutely NUTS! I have had 5 miscarriages. All of the pregnancies were very much wanted, but my body couldn't carry to term. We never found out why, even after numerous tests. I can't imagine how painful it would have been to be charged criminally for a "spontaneous abortion." Yup, that's the medical term for a miscarriage. It is time for young women to continue the fight my generation *thought* we had won.

    1. Anonymous8:38 AM

      Spontaneous abortions are God's quality control. Many people, young and old, adamantly believe the Mississippi legislature is acting against the will of God.

      "Will of the people (hard religious right)" does not equal the will of God.

      Young women are/have/will fight to preserve your generation's achievements.

      My daughter is one of them. So are all of her sorority sisters.

  3. Selective women who drank too much will not be arrested of course or rich women on various prescription drugs like adderall who drink lots of coffee will not be arrested, only poor women who can't afford lawyers or decent health care...

  4. Anonymous6:52 AM

    snark on

    Oh, you evil woman, your body rejected a fetus. Here, some years in the slammer will make your body not do that. 'Cause probably you are a slut. Us prosecutors know god-fearing women don't miscarry. The bible tells us so.

    snark off

    1. WakeUpAmerica7:51 AM

      "...god-fearing women don't miscarry"
      Bullshit!!! Remember, that's just our way of "shutting that whole thing down."

    2. So, when the "evil woman" who miscarried is behind bars, and she gets pregnant again because she's been raped by a prison guard, and she miscarries AGAIN, what are they going to do to the prison guard?

      The same thing that (up to now) has been going on in our military chain of command? Nothing...

      The "evil woman" would probably be executed because it'd be her "second offense"...

    3. Anonymous1:28 PM

      So uhh. wait a second here. Todd Asshole Akin, said women's bodies have a way to 'shut down' pregnancy if caused by rape. So if a woman who was raped miscarries, is she still jail-able?

      logic, something the right doesn't comprehend.

    4. Anonymous7:53 PM

      Endangerment. Negligence. Homicide. Is this a conversation about adults allowing small children access to firearms to kill themselves or another young child? Okay, then let's prosecute the gunnutter parents.

  5. Anonymous7:28 AM

    Remind me: just WHAT YEAR do we live in? 2013 or 913?

    This is simply going too far. Whatever happened to the law about not practicing medicine w/o a license???

    These 'Christian' Taliban are worse than the Taliban themselves. They are in a feeding frenzy on who can outdo the other in asinine stupidity and callousness.

    We NEED to take back our government, and we NEED TO DO IT NOW!!!!!!!

  6. Anonymous7:45 AM

    And where, oh where, are the physicians including the gynecologists and obstetricians who should be out there protesting this kind of insanity in the streets. The ignorance of many Americans in positions of authority is astounding but so is the silence of those who know better.

    1. Anonymous9:19 AM

      We are protesting a lot harder than you think.

      And we are winning.

      Some of us even have time to comment on IM.

    2. Anonymous9:51 AM

      Anon at 9:19 am. Where are you "protesting a lot harder" than I think? And why don't we hear your opinions on the news and in the newspapers? Has the AMA come out with any statements on these absurd and misguided state laws?

    3. Anonymous10:57 AM

      Are you serious?

      We speak out against ignorance all the time.

    4. Anonymous12:50 PM

      That's a lot of unfair pressure to put on Doctors that need to keep their licenses and live with these troglodyte pro-birthers that control hospital boards (think Wasilla Bible Church) and medical appointments and whatnot.

  7. Anonymous7:48 AM

    What is wrong w/our country? And, who are passing these laws? Republican men - fat, white, supposedly religious, fanatics that want to control their wives, daughters and graddaughters as well as women across the nation!!! Vote them out of office at every opportunity you have! This is total BS. Women should be able to select what they want to do w/their lives and not be controlled by these assholes! And, if there is a stillborn birth or miscarriage, they assuredly have no business in mine!!

  8. WakeUpAmerica7:50 AM

    NEWSFLASH: Extreme Misogynists
    Women are NOT property owned by the state.

  9. And if anyone thinks this is just religious belief, a devout love of life and not a war on women, consider:
    Birth control pills - we won't pay for that.
    Viagra - we'll cover that.
    Plan B medicine - age and availability restrictions.
    Condoms - available easily to any age.
    Miscarriage - go directly to jail.
    Spill your seed on the ground - well, boys will be boys!

    1. Anonymous8:52 AM

      Correct, and it is DISGUSTING!

  10. Anonymous9:08 AM

    Gay Parents In The U.S.: Salt Lake City Has Highest Population Of Same-Sex Couples Raising Kids

  11. Anonymous9:42 AM

    If I fall down and subsequently miscarry, do I have to prove that God made me fall down?

    1. Anonymous1:32 PM

      If it is an omniscient, omnipotent god (which every judaeo-xtian believes, then even teh taking of an abortifacient is god caused.

      yeah, logic, something the religious don't comprehend.

  12. Anonymous10:16 AM

    All the women in MS should stop having sex with men RIGHT NOW. Pull a Lysistrata for awhile and then see what happens....

    1. Leland1:24 PM

      THANK YOU!!!!!

      For two reasons.

      First, it would work quite quickly - assuming the husbands didn't beat the crap out of their wives for refusing them. (Which, of course, according to the Southern Baptists, is their right! Remember? They had an annual meeting? Decided that a wife MUST submit to the husband? Yeah. THAT group of Southern Baptist men!)

      And second, for knowing enough history and Arts to even know about Lysistrata!

  13. fromthediagonal12:30 PM

    First, you would have to explain who Lysistrata was, and second, you would have to explain what Lysistrata instigated and why... Unfortunately, you will probably need a boatload of good luck with that!

    I join Gra*ma Banana in quoting the effect of Stockholm Syndrome...

    1. Anonymous12:43 PM

      Not hard at all; Here:

      Can easily become a Twitter meme. Voila:

      Go Lysistrata in Mississippi.

    2. Anonymous1:35 PM

      heck - I've been doign that for years - only screw liberal progressives. best sex ever. most Teathugs have very teeny weenies (so I hear.) Pretty limp, too.

      Once you go Dem, you never want conservamen.

  14. Anonymous1:24 PM

    Remind me.....what's the difference between this and the Taliban..?

    1. Anonymous3:45 PM

      No burkhas required for women...yet.

      Because you KNOW the menfolk just can't control them poor, poor selves with all us hussies flirtin' and carryin' on in front of them, tryin' to tempt them with our wicked ways.

  15. The Handmaid's Tale. It's getting nearer and nearer.


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