Yes, I live in Virginia.

Although sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here.

As reported by Maura at Democracy for Virginia (duplicated here if the first link is down) and updated here, Delegate Cosgrove is introducing a bill, HB1677, that would make it a class 1 misdemeanor for a woman to fail to report to law enforcement within 12 hours a fetal death that occurs without medical attendance.  And because another Virginia law defines a fetal death as one that occurs regardless of the duration of the pregnancy, this would affect everyone who miscarried or even had a slightly delayed pregnancy.  I’m not going to try to describe just how stupid and callous this proposal is; instead, read the posting and discussion at Chez Miscarriage for much more eloquence than I could achieve.

Cosgrove is supposedly concerned about the stories you occasionally hear about women giving birth and leaving the bodies in dumpsters.  If it can’t be proven that the baby was born alive, the only crime the woman can be charged with is improper disposal of human remains.  But the proposed response is totally disproportionate to the goal.

It appears that Cosgrove introduced a similar bill in 2003, which died in committee.  (Oddly enough, the 2003 bill was explicitly limited to women who miscarry more than 24 weeks after their last period.)  My guess is that even in the crazy-house that is the Virginia House of Delegates, this bill doesn’t have much of a chance of going anywhere. 

But don’t leave it to chance.  Write or call Cosgrove and tell him what you think of this bill.  If you live in Virginia contact your legislators, and let them know what you think too.  Contact the members of the Committee for Courts of Justice and ask them not to let the bill get out of committee.

And pay attention to what else is happening in your statehouses.  It doesn’t get the attention of what’s happening in DC, but it can make just as much, or more, difference in your life.

One Response to “Yes, I live in Virginia.”

  1. Marjorie Says:

    So do I and some of these bills are frightening, at least from my political point of view. I monitor for homeschooling issues, but I see them in my searches. Thanks for linking to Maura’s blog, I need to do something, voice my opinion, follow these issues, something more than see these bills and think ‘wow, thats scary.’ I need to be a participant and not just an observer.

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