01/03/2010 09:04 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Women In Utah Could Face Prosecution If They Miscarry

A new law is being proposed in Utah, USA, which could lead to women being prosecuted for murder if they have a miscarriage.

This law, which takes looniness to a whole new level, has caused uproar among feminsts, civil rights activists and most sane people in the United States.

The main intention of the law is to allow prosecution of women who seek illegal forms of abortion, but also includes the possibility of murder charges against women who carry out an "intentional, knowing or reckless act" that leads to a miscarriage.

Critics say this could include drinking a glass of wine, walking on an icy pavement or skiing.

The law has come about because of the case of a 17-year-old pregnant woman who paid a man to beat her up in the hope that she would miscarry. The attempt failed and the child was born and put up for adoption.

The man involved was jailed but prosecutors found there was nothing they could do to the young woman.

However critics say the proposed new law threatens women's basic freedoms.

Missy Bird, director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Utah, told the Independent: "This creates a law that makes any pregnant woman who has a miscarriage potentially criminally liable for murder."

Seeing as 15 to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, that could be a lot of women.

The implementation of the law is unclear as well - if a woman stayed in an abusive relationship and her partner beat her up, would that be "reckless"?

Columnist Dan Savage writes: "Where will this insanity end? If every miscarriage is a potential homicide, how does Utah avoid launching a criminal investigation every time a woman has a miscarriage?

"And how is Utah supposed to know when a pregnant woman has had a miscarriage? You're going to have to create some sort of pregnancy registry to keep track of all those foetuses.

"Perhaps you could start issuing 'conception certificates' to women who get pregnant. And then, if there isn't a baby within nine months of the issuance of a conception certificate, the woman could be hauled in for questioning."

What do you think? Can you see any sense at all in this law?

Source: The Independent