My love affair with Utah is over. I started sneaking peaks at this slideshow of Utah’s incredible mountains every few months after I flew through the Salt Lake City airport last fall. I’ve read books on Mormon polygamist families and enjoyed “Angels in America” more than a few times. But with this new law–which may make it possible to prosecute women criminally for miscarriages–I now know: Utah is not civilized enough for me. Anyplace whose representatives vote to potentially put women who have jut lost their babies on the stand for not being better pre-mothers does not deserve my residency, my tourism-dollars, or my respect. Hat tip to Dan Savage, who brought this slug of a law to me and the other Savage Love-Cast listeners.
From the New York Times article on the horror which lead to this law–my First Amendment Law professor always said “bad facts make bad law.” Well, the facts were bad and the law is worse. A 17 year old woman, desperate to end her pregnancy (she was 7 months at the time), paid a strange man $150 to beat her until she miscarried. She survived, as did the baby.
Utah legislator Carl D. Wimmer was upset that the teenager could not be criminally charged, and so sponsored this law. Mr Wimmer, 59 representative in the State House and 24 in the State Senate voted for Utah State House Bill 12 (against 12 and 4 respectively). It was signed into law by Utah Governor Gary Herbert last week.
Utah has lost me.
“It’s paradoxical, like most truth, that some of us have most frequently seen the light on the flat, opaque page.”–Anne Lamott’s Letter to a Pregnant Friend