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  1. Criminalizing Nature - Jonathan Pryor's web log
    1. Criminalizing Nature

Criminalizing Nature - Jonathan Pryor's web log

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Criminalizing Nature

I heard on NPR this afternoon about South Dakota's Abortion Ban bill. One of the points they mentioned is that the South Dakota legislature believes that life begins at conception, and thus all abortion is murder.

There's one problem with this definition: miscarriage. Miscarriage is a spontaneous abortion, and is fairly common, statistically; see these statastics. A pregancy is 75% likely to result in miscarriage within the first two weeks of gestation -- that's after conception and before the woman even knows that they're pregnant. Probability for miscarriage drops sharply after that, but this still implies that tens of thousands of miscarriages happen every year in this country.

If life begins at conception, and miscarriage is an abortion (by definition, even if it's spontaneous and outside of our control), then logically miscarriage would have to be illegal in the same way tha abortion is illegal. The result? Thousands of women would immediately be guilty, and they wouldn't know it. Anyone who had a stillbirth would be known to be guilty, and must have broken the law (despite having no control over it).

Does this make sense? Not at all. What South Dakota is doing, in effect, is trying to criminalize nature. Many will argue that this isn't what the legislatures intend -- and that's probably right. So the letter of the law will be ignored to follow the spirit of the law...until control freaks come to power and want to make some poor woman's life miserable, at which point they'll have one more law at their disposable for abuse.

Posted on 22 Feb 2006 | Path: /wtf/ | Permalink
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