For people who think we’re beyond feminism, I’ve got two women’s rights doozies this fine Monday: making miscarriages illegal in Georgia and a judge that rules that women who wear tube tops are never raped. I’m fa real!
Ga. Law Could Give Death Penalty for Miscarriages
It’s only February, but this year has been a tough one for women’s health and reproductive rights. There’s a new bill on the block that may have reached the apex (I hope) of woman-hating craziness. Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin—who last year proposed making rape and domestic violence “victims” into “accusers”—has introduced a 10-page bill that would criminalize miscarriages and make abortion in Georgia completely illegal.
Both miscarriages and abortions would be potentially punishable by death: any “prenatal murder” in the words of the bill, including “human involvement” in a miscarriage, would be a felony and carry a penalty of life in prison or death. Basically, it’s everything an “pro-life” activist could want aside from making all women who’ve had abortions wear big red “A”s on their chests.
I doubt that a bill that makes a legal medical procedure liable for the death penalty will pass. The bill, however, shows an astonishing lack of concern for women’s health and well-being. Under Rep. Franklin’s bill, HB 1, women who miscarry could become felons if they cannot prove that there was “no human involvement whatsoever in the causation” of their miscarriage.
There is no clarification of what “human involvement” means, and this is hugely problematic as medical doctors do not know exactly what causes miscarriages. Miscarriages are estimated to terminate up to a quarter of all pregnancies and the Mayo Clinic says that “the actual number is probably much higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn’t even know she’s pregnant. Most miscarriages occur because the fetus isn’t developing normally.”
Holding women criminally liable for a totally natural, common biological process is cruel and non-sensical. Even more ridiculous, the bill holds women responsible for protecting their fetuses from “the moment of conception,” despite the fact that pregnancy tests aren’t accurate until at least 3 weeks after conception. Unless Franklin (who is not a health professional) invents a revolutionary intrauterine conception alarm system, it’s unclear how exactly the state of Georgia would enforce that rule other than holding all possibly-pregnant women under lock and key…
Read the rest of Phillips’ great essay at Mother Jones
Judge Lets Off Rapist Because Victim Was Wearing a Tube Top
Kenneth Rhodes, who was found guilty of raping a 26-year-old woman back in 2006, was sentenced last week to a paltry two-year conditional sentence that allows him to remain free in the community. Why? According to Judge Robert Dewar, because “sex was in the air” and the rape victim was “inviting,” hence confusing the “clumsy Don Juan.” Dewar went on to specify that because the victim and her friend had been wearing tube tops with no bra, high heels, and heavy makeup, they had “made their intentions publicly known that they wanted to party.” As he put it,
This is a different case than one where there is no perceived invitation … This is a case of misunderstood signals and inconsiderate behavior.
He went on to say Rhodes’ attorney, Derek Coggan, said that Rhodes never threatened the woman, didn’t have a weapon, and was simply “insensitive to the fact [that she] was not a willing participant.” Though Dewar was quick to note that he doesn’t blame the victim, saying that he’s “sure whatever signals were sent that sex was in the air were unintentional,” he claims that the situation was too ambiguous to determine “moral blameworthiness.” The victim—who still sports an impressive array of bruises scar from the attack—is justifiably aghast at the response:
This is beyond sexist. I don’t even know how to comment on it. No woman asks to be raped. … I’m a prisoner in my own home.
But never fear, folks, the hand of justice is kind. Judge Dewar has asked that Rhodes write his victim an “apology letter.” Because that is what will rectify the situation.