News Release

Will Women and Girls Be Jailed for Miscarriages?


Aguilar recently wrote the piece “Utah Governor Signs Controversial Law Charging Women and Girls With Murder for Miscarriages,” which states: “On Monday afternoon, a controversial Utah bill that charges pregnant women and girls with murder for having miscarriages caused by ‘intentional or knowing’ acts, was signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert.

“Contrary to media reports last week, the ‘Criminal Homicide and Abortion Amendments’ or HB12, which previously also applied to miscarriages caused by ‘reckless’ acts, was never ‘withdrawn’ by its sponsor, Republican Representative Carl Wimmer (who is crafting similar ‘model legislation’ for other states). After the governor expressed concern over ‘possible unintended consequences’ of the legislation as written, Rep. Wimmer swiftly introduced a new version, titled ‘Criminal Homicide and Abortion Revisions’ (HB462), which omitted the word ‘reckless.’ Gov. Herbert signed the new bill and vetoed the old one.”

Aguilar just published a Q&A with Wimmer, who introduced the bill. Here are excerpts:

Rose Aguilar: Why did you remove the word “reckless” from the bill?

Rep. Carl Wimmer: Clearly the rumors and what I believe are false statements had spread so far and wide. In fact, I was just on a radio show in Ohio; we’re all over the country with this thing. I’m a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and it was my intention to take this bill and present it there as a piece of model legislation that other states can adopt. …

RA: What about a woman who falls down the stairs? What about a woman whose abusive partner hits her? What about a drug addict?

CW: I don’t think they would have been covered in the original bill. It was a fear tactic spread by those who opposed the bill no matter what. …

RA: So if your law had been on the books last year and the 17-year-old girl’s fetus had died, she would have been charged under the new law? [This is referencing the case of a 17-year-old girl who paid a man $150 to beat her up after her boyfriend threatened to leave her if she didn’t terminate the pregnancy.]

CW: Yes.

RA: Under your bill, she would go to jail for 15 years to life?

CW: If the baby died, she would.

RA: And you’re OK with that? You’re OK with sending a 17-year-old girl to jail? Why not focus on why this happened in the first place? Why not focus on helping the girl?

CW: I don’t think the two issues are mutually exclusive, protecting the life of the unborn and finding out why this happened. …

See the full Q&A.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167