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BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example

Desert Dancer 22 Feb 11 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 22 Feb 11 - 03:07 AM
gnu 22 Feb 11 - 04:10 AM
Bert 22 Feb 11 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,BobL 22 Feb 11 - 04:45 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Feb 11 - 06:24 AM
GUEST,kendall 22 Feb 11 - 07:36 AM
artbrooks 22 Feb 11 - 07:41 AM
Desert Dancer 22 Feb 11 - 09:03 AM
Desert Dancer 22 Feb 11 - 10:16 AM
Bill D 22 Feb 11 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,999 22 Feb 11 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,999 22 Feb 11 - 11:48 AM
Desert Dancer 22 Feb 11 - 01:02 PM
VirginiaTam 22 Feb 11 - 03:21 PM
Desert Dancer 22 Feb 11 - 03:40 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Feb 11 - 04:21 PM
Desert Dancer 22 Feb 11 - 04:58 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Feb 11 - 07:01 PM
Desert Dancer 22 Feb 11 - 07:04 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Feb 11 - 09:04 PM
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Subject: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 02:25 AM

Can I share some outrage about outrage?

A Facebook friend today (21 Feb. 2011) posted a link to a blog post entitled, "Georgia Legislator Wants To Investigate Miscarriages, Create Uterus Police" at http://blogs.babble.com/being-pregnant/2011/02/21/georgia-legislator-wants-to-investigate-miscarriages-create-uterus-police/

That blog post opens,

    "First the attack on Planned Parenthood funding and now this: State Rep. Bobby Franklin of Georgia introduced a bill in his state last week that, if enacted, would require proof that a miscarriage occurred naturally. If a woman can't prove that her miscarriage"or spontaneous abortion"occurred without intervention, she could face felony charges."

It goes on to quote this paragraph from a post on the Daily Kos entitled, "GA Legislator Wants to Create The Uterus Police to Investigate Miscarriages":

    “Franklin wants to create a Uterus Police to investigate miscarriages, and requires that any time a miscarriage occurs, whether in a hospital or without medical assistance, it must be reported and a fetal death certificate issued. If the cause of death is unknown, it must be investigated. If the woman can't tell how it happened, then those Uterus Police can ask family members and friends how it happened. Hospitals are required to keep records of anyone who has a spontaneous abortion and report it.”

(http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/17/946257/--GALegislator-Wants-to-Create-The-Uterus-Police-to-Investigate-Miscarriages)

My friend and her Facebook-commenting friends (including me) expressed our outrage at the idea.

I have a tendency to click through on available links, and to try to find out more. I read the Daily Kos post. I looked for other reports via Google, and I noticed that all the Google results that I could find on this topic were recent blog posts, and all were from the outrage end of the spectrum. I could find nothing about the story online in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which made me suspicious.

As near as I can tell, the blogosphere outrage on this story all traces back to the Daily Kos post. Its author, "Irishwitch" is apparently from Georgia, and as she says at the start, "They do this every session in the state legislature here in Georgia. Someone introduces a bill that would make abortion a criminal act."

She spends some time criticizing Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin's contorted legal logic concerning state's rights in reference to Roe v. Wade, which is part of his proposed bill. She posits the problems with criminalizing all abortion.

Toward the end of her post, she makes the statement about investigations of miscarriages and the "Uterus Police" that I quoted above.

I believe this interpretation of hers outstrips the evidence.

The full text of Franklin's House Bill 1 is available here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display.aspx?Legislation=31965

Looking at the pdf of the proposed bill, and at the existing Georgia law (via LexisNexis), I find that the state of Georgia already has reporting requirements for "spontaneous fetal deaths" (Georgia Code, TITLE 31. HEALTH, CHAPTER 10. VITAL RECORDS, § 31-10-18. Registration of spontaneous fetal deaths):

    >>
    (a) A report of spontaneous fetal death for each spontaneous fetal death which occurs in this state shall be filed with the local registrar of the county in which the delivery occurred within 72 hours after such delivery in accordance with this Code section unless the place of fetal death is unknown, in which case a fetal death certificate shall be filed in the county in which the dead fetus was found within 72 hours after such occurrence. All induced terminations of pregnancy shall be reported in the manner prescribed in Code Section 31-10-19. Preparation and filing of reports of spontaneous fetal death shall be as follows:

       (1) When a dead fetus is delivered in an institution, the person in charge of the institution or that person's designated representative shall prepare and file the report;

       (2) When a dead fetus is delivered outside an institution, the physician in attendance at or immediately after delivery shall prepare and file the report;

       (3) When a spontaneous fetal death required to be reported by this Code section occurs without medical attendance at or immediately after the delivery or when inquiry is required by Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45, the "Georgia Death Investigation Act," the proper investigating official shall investigate the cause of fetal death and shall prepare and file the report within 30 days; and

       (4) When a spontaneous fetal death occurs in a moving conveyance and the fetus is first removed from the conveyance in this state or when a dead fetus is found in this state and the place of fetal death is unknown, the fetal death shall be reported in this state. The place where the fetus was first removed from the conveyance or the dead fetus was found shall be considered the place of fetal death.

    (b) The medical certification portion of the fetal death report shall be completed and signed within 48 hours after delivery by the physician in attendance at or after delivery except when inquiry or investigation is required by Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45, the "Georgia Death Investigation Act."

    (c) The name of the father shall be entered on the spontaneous fetal death report in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 31-10-9.
    <<

The only change in reporting required by Franklin's HB1 is that the following is deleted from the end of (a): "All induced terminations of pregnancy shall be reported in the manner prescribed in Code section 31-10-19." This is presumably deleted because "induced terminations" will be outlawed.

Irishwitch linked the proposed legislation in her post, but she either didn't read it very carefully, or didn't understand the language and markings about how the bill would amend existing law. (New language is underlined, language to be deleted is struck out -- has a line through it, and the rest is existing language.)

Conceivably, with abortion outlawed as intended with HB1, investigations of miscarriages that are deemed suspicious might ensue. However, the record-keeping requirement for miscarriages already exists. Such medical record-keeping is of value -- consider its use in examining possible effects of groundwater pollution, for example. It's totally the wrong focus for outrage about this bill.

(Ironically, I noticed one blog comment against the bill from a woman who was pro-life who was wrapped up in the misplaced miscarriage investigation outrage.)

The Georgia House Bill 1 that Rep. Franklin has introduced is probably the same anti-abortion legislation as he has introduced in the past (see this discussion in 2009: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=537689, and this 2007 article: http://www.lifenews.com/2007/01/10/state-2020/).

I don't deny that he is a "wingnut" with "whackadoodle" ideas (these are popular descriptors in blogs on this topic, and apt: look up some of the other legislation he's put forward), but it really bothers me that such imprecise information as "Georgia Representative Wants To Investigate All Miscarriages" can propagate so rapidly. As of this writing, a Google search on that exact phrase gets 87 results for the past week, 61 results for the past 24 hours. A search on "georgia 'uterus police'" has 17,600 result for any time and 16,000 for the past week.

On February 20, someone added this sentence to Bobby Franklin's Wikipedia entry, with a citation for the proposed legislation:

    "In House Bill 1, a bill Franklin proposed that would outlaw abortion, a provision is included that would require that every 'spontaneous fetal death' have its cause investigated by the 'proper investigating official.'"

Dial it back, folks. Most bloggers link to a source. Take the time to click the links and find the original documents under discussion. If you don't have the time, maybe it's not right to click that Facebook "share" button yet, or certainly to take the time to create your own blog post. There's plenty of legitimate reason for outrage in the world, but it shouldn't be our default mode of operation.

Mudcatters never do that stuff do they?

~ Becky in Tucson

[I composed this lengthy thing in response to my friend's Facebook post, but it really bugs me to think about those tens of thousands of wrong blog posts out there... I have posted it as a note to my Facebook page (where I find already people are only reading the first paragraph and then commenting), contacted one of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution political columnists, put it as a story suggestion to the Daily Show, and have signed up for the Daily Kos because what I really want to do is see if Irishwitch will correct her error. Ironically, according to her Daily Kos profile, she is a librarian.]


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 03:07 AM

The uterus police???

Good Lord, what will they think of next!??!

Probably the brainchild of some 'elite' politician with too much time on his hands!

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: gnu
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 04:10 AM

Sickening!


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: Bert
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 04:19 AM

What happened to my post????


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 04:45 AM

No, not some politician's sickening brainchild, just the outpouring of a journalist's slightly overstretched imagination. After all, why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

Presuming I have understood the OP correctly, of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 06:24 AM

It looks to me as if an investigation is required by those proposals.


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 07:36 AM

And that aint all.

p 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP War on Women

1) Republicans not only want to reduce women's access to abortion care, they're actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't.

2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain "victims."

3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)

4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

5) In Congress, Republicans have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.

7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.

8) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

9) Congress voted yesterday on a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.

10) And if that wasn't enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can't make this stuff up).


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: artbrooks
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 07:41 AM

The point is that these are not proposals! This is the law as it currently exists. No significant change is being proposed. No investigation requirement is added.


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 09:03 AM

Art's got my point, and Kendall's got the real stuff that's outrageous.

I'm *seriously disconcerted* to see the bandwidth wasted on misplaced outrage when there's real shit out there hitting the fan.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 10:16 AM

P'raps the response to this thread is instructive in itself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 10:55 AM

We are living in 'interesting' times.
   There is SO much going on as the conservatives try to kill unions, give corporations free rein, cut programs for the poor, restrict women's rights regarding abortion, establish Fundamentalist Christianity as 'the' religion, control the internet, change the very nature of the Supreme Court, make registering to vote harder in order to reduce the numbers of young voters likely to vote Democratic, allow unrestricted guns sales, block laws on environmental issues, allow government access to private email......etc., etc.

It is a daunting task to even COMMENT on any of these issues with any clarity. I see several issues every day that *I* wish to write a couple hours on. Even finding relevant commentary thru Google and linking appropriate articles can take astounding amounts of time.

I try to respond to as much as I can stomach and point out bad reasoning that I have the knowledge to outline...but after awhile, it feels like I AM Sisyphus!

Right now, abortion is a 'hot button'...but so is union busting and attacks on Medicare and Social Security.

Here is the dilemma: It takes many times longer to refute erroneous claims and bad reasoning than it does for the evil & ignorant to make them!
It even takes longer to compose THIS reply than I had planned on spending here this morning...and because I am sort of hurrying, I am not really happy with how I worded it all or how well I responded to the exact point of the original post...for which I apologize.

"When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember exactly why you decided to drain the swamp."


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 11:46 AM

Satire carried too far. It`s gotta be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 11:48 AM

Did anyone check Snopes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 01:02 PM

No, it's not satire, it pretty clearly traces to one blogger who made a mistake. Maybe I'll send it to Snopes. It is really a lot harder to put the cat back in the bag. You're exactly right, Bill D.

This morning a second Facebook friend posted the link I had gotten. I hope he didn't get it from me! When I posted my lengthy note there, unfortunately the blog link came up in the "preview" bit, and at least one of my friends went there instead of to my note. I've edited my note so the first paragraph is clearer.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 03:21 PM

Good catch Becky.


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 03:40 PM

It is interesting that Georgia requires a report on any fetal death. In contrast, Arizona the law requires it only "after the fetal death for each fetal death occurring in this state after a gestational period of twenty completed weeks or if the product of human conception weighs more than three hundred fifty grams."

Presumably, in Georgia a pregnant woman's ob-gyn just submits a report as a matter of routine if she miscarries.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 04:21 PM

Add to the list - reported by msnbc about three days ago, but no longer news, apparently, as it now seems to be gone from there.

The closest I find easily to the original report is now at Mother Jones.

The Huffington Post quotes that source in a report of a "modification" of the South Dakota bill to "expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus -- a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions."

The infamously anti-abortion Republican author of the bill said "it has nothing to do with abortion," which is (IMO) ludicrous. The bill has been amended to add "in defense of ... during the commission of an illegal act."

So as now proposed, it would be illegal to kill an abortion provider unless the doctor messed up the paperwork.

("the paperwork" has been a consistent and repeated basis for anti-abortionist claims that "illegal abortions" are being performed, and the "reasonable belief that" an illegal threat was apparent has generally been "sufficient justification" for a justifiable homicide defense in courts.)

But the bill has "nothing to do with abortion."

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 04:58 PM

The way that proposed South Dakota law reads as of today, it sure looks like it ignores the possibility of legal abortion:

http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2011/Bill.aspx?File=HB1171HJU.htm

       FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to expand the definition of justifiable homicide to provide for the protection of certain unborn children.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

    Section 1. That 22-16-34 be amended to read as follows:
    22-16-34. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to harm the unborn child of such person in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child, or to commit any felony upon him or her, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is.

    Section 2. That 22-16-35 be amended to read as follows:
    22-16-35. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person, if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, or to do some great personal injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished.


Current South Dakota law says:

22-16-34.   Justifiable homicide--Resisting attempted murder--Resisting felony on person or in dwelling house. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to commit any felony upon him or her, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is.

22-16-35.   Justifiable homicide--Defense of person--Defense of other persons in household. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, or to do some great personal injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished.

This definition of "Fetal homicide", which excludes abortion, already exists.

22-16-1.1.   Fetal homicide--Felony--Application. Homicide is fetal homicide if the person knew, or reasonably should have known, that a woman bearing an unborn child was pregnant and caused the death of the unborn child without lawful justification and if the person:    (1)   Intended to cause the death of or do serious bodily injury to the pregnant woman or the unborn child; or
(2)   Knew that the acts taken would cause death or serious bodily injury to the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or
(3)   If perpetrated without any design to effect death by a person engaged in the commission of any felony.
Fetal homicide is a Class B felony.
This section does not apply to acts which cause the death of an unborn child if those acts were committed during any abortion, lawful or unlawful, to which the pregnant woman consented. (emphasis mine)

Given that last note on the definition of fetal homicide, legally, it looks to me like a "justifiable homicide" defense in the case of murder of an abortion provider would not stand. I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but if I was on a jury I wouldn't stand for it.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 07:01 PM

The "justifiable homicide" defense was attempted by the murderer of Dr. Tiller in Kansas quite recently, and failed (according to the analysts) primarily because of the lack of definition of "a fetus as a person" during the period in which abortions are legal, or a sufficiently specific definition of the killing of a fetus as the killing of a person.

The SD bill is an apparent attempt to establish contrary precedent.

"if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony" quite clearly is an attempt to subvert the other definitions - including the fetal homicide one.

In most states, there are quite specific rules on the validation of a need for an abortion, and consent for one to be performed. The failure to do all the specifically enumerated requirements prior to performing any abortion is frequently a felony.

The former Attorney General principally responsible for extreme harassment of Dr Tiller over a period of several years is currently under indictment for illegal and unethical conduct in office for a number of his actions in the matter. That AG filed multiple charges of "felonies in the performing of abortions" against Tiller (all of which failed).

From the Mother Jones link:

The bill in South Dakota is an invitation to murder abortion providers," says Vicki Saporta, the president of the National Abortion Federation, the professional association of abortion providers. Since 1993, eight doctors have been assassinated at the hands of anti-abortion extremists, and another 17 have been the victims of murder attempts. Some of the perpetrators of those crimes have tried to use the justifiable homicide defense at their trials.

It is not necessary actually to legalize murder, if one can give the illusion of a viable defense to a few nut-cases. The SD bill seems (to many people) clearly intended to incite actions that it can't, for now, specifically legalize.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 07:04 PM

In which case, responses to it are not a particularly good example of "misplaced outrage", eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Misplaced outrage: instructive example
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 09:04 PM

DD -

I realized after my first post that I'd drifted to the "other end" of the proposed thread topic, but "justifiable outrage" at the bill is only the result of the SD legislator whose "misplaced outrage" (at things he declines to name?) prompted his introduction of a dangerous (but likely politically-self-serving) bill. It's quite likely that the "defenses" of his bill, as his supporters produce them, will more directly meet your original criteria for being cited here(?), so we just have to look at both sides of the page.

John


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