Texas has sentenced a 19-year-old Latino kid
to a minimum
of 40 years in prison yesterday for helping his girlfriend induce a miscarriage. (Thanks for the link, JR
.) Inducing a miscarriage in a hospital is perfectly legal in Texas, if you can find a hospital in Texas that still does abortions, and if you can afford the fees that hospitals charge. But inducing one at home is capital murder. Of course, Texas has banned abortions after 16 weeks in clinics, and no surgical centers perform them.
You can read the full details here.
All you guys who voted for Bush because he'd be more fun to have a beer with and he doesn't look French: mazel tov.
We must be separated at birth. We must be. Thank you for illustrating the destructive nature of Bush's policy. And hearing Chris Matthews talk endlessly about "who do you want to have a beer with" was insidious then and silly now. Forty years? This young man's life is over.
This is a bad application of a good law. Until a few years ago, a man could punch or stab a very pregnant woman with the intent (and effect) of killing the fetus and be prosecuted only for an assault. Nevermind that a baby the woman wanted to keep was dead. Lots of bad men who didn't want to pay child support got away with this. Legislation was important to protect women and their babies.
"Lots of bad men?" mmmmm, that's a wee bit fuzzy. And couple this law with making abortions practically impossible to get in Texas (and literally impossible after 16 weeks), and I'm not going to let this one slide.
It's easy enough to fix the law. If the mother wants the baby, it's murder. If the mother does not want the baby, it's not. I think we can all agree that punching a woman in the belly to abort her baby is a Bad Thing if it's against her will. If it's something she wants, then it's still a sad thing -- almost no one thinks terminating a pregnancy is ever a positive good -- but it does not constitute a crime.
If I punch you, it's a crime. If I punch you when we're in a boxing ring, it's not a crime, because you've agreed to give me the right to hit you.
The basic idea is, the mother gets a choice about what happens to her body. If you disagree, then you're anti-abortion, which is what this whole case is about -- an attempt to deny the right to abortion by an end run around Roe v. Wade.
The comparison of the boxing ring to the relationship ring is in appropriate for two reasons: First) the question of consent. This law evolved out of two sources one of which was domestic abuse statutes. Given the availability of abortion providers (even in Texas) the means by which the abortion was induced (e.g. assault) raises questions as to whether it was consented for at the time of the assault, or, like in many domestic abuse cases, the girlfriend lied to protect her boyfriend.
Second) you can't consent to a crime under US law. Boxing is a regulated sport with (some might say inadquate) safeguards. Even if you agree to let me hit you ( a la FIGHT CLUB) I can still be arrested for assault (and you might be arrested for disorderly conduct).
There was no question about consent in the case. The girl, very much against the wishes of her family (who I guess instigated the prosecution), stood up for her boyfriend, and testified that she was trying to induce a miscarriage herself before she asked him to help.
Second, it's only a crime because the prosecutor prosecuted it as a crime. It is legal to terminate a late term pregnancy in Texas. But only in a hospital. And it is all but impossible for a seventeen year old poor Latino girl in Lufkin, TX, whose family is anti-abortion, to find, get to, and pay for the procedure in a hospital. They have effectively made late term abortion illegal for poor girls in Texa, and now we discover that anyone who helps a girl in that situation goes to jail for longer than most actual murderers.
Not in Canada, thank God.
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