By the way, I’m totally a murderer

In May of 2009, I announced that I was pregnant. I announced it here at Skepchick. I announced it on Twitter. I announced it on Facebook. I announced it everywhere. I was pregnant.

Three weeks later, I was no longer pregnant.

It was heartbreaking. It was soul crushing. It was painful, physically. But it wasn’t out of the ordinary. In fact it’s incredibly ordinary. I’ve seen estimates as high as 50-60% of fertilized eggs never make it to the delivery room, not counting induced abortions. Is that number high? I don’t know. Maybe. But for today’s discussion, it’s not really that important. What’s important is that women are having miscarriages all around you. Right now. Everywhere. And, in most of those cases, no one knows why.

And right now, in GA, State Rep Bobby Franklin is trying to make those women into felons. Felons facing the death penalty. For murdering their fetuses.

Well, not all of them. Just the ones who can prove that “there is no human involvement whatsoever in the causation of such event.”

To ensure that no cold-blooded fetus murders (also known amongst the hyper-politically correct as “women who are grieving the unexpected loss of their children” or “heartbroken hopeful mothers”) slip through the cracks, any time a woman has a miscarriage, a murder investigation is to be opened to determine whether there was “no human involvement whatsoever.” Which, is pretty much unknowable but is usually assumed.

I’ve experienced two miscarriages, that I know of, in my life. Both of those times, every medical professional I dealt with, every piece of literature I read, everyone I talked to reiterated the same thing: it was not my fault. In 2009, I had a D&C and we sent the embryo to a pathologist.

The results? Nothing.


We could not know what caused the miscarriage.

I TOTALLY <3 MURDER, Photo By Surly Amy, caption courtesy of my written confession

But I did have coffee while I was pregnant. And I did take nausea meds. And I did drink alcohol a few nights before the test came up positive.  And I didn’t get enough sleep. And I didn’t eat 3 balanced meals a day. And I didn’t avoid heavy lifting. And I skipped my prenatal vitamins. I had a list in my head of every single thing I could have possibly done wrong, recalling every single step I took during that pregnancy.

And all those things are things a million other women do every day while having perfectly normal pregnancies. But no matter, that paragraph above could be enough of an admission to convict me of murder under this law.

Fortunately, I live in Illinois… and even in GA, until the law passes, it’s still legal for a pregnant woman to walk past a smoker on the sidewalk without having to worry about getting the death penalty. (Grandfathered in, SUCKAAAAZZZ!)

I don’t get it. I can’t imagine that this bill could pass; I am positive it won’t (you can’t put women to death for not being able to prove they’re not murderers), but how does a person even write this? I immediately assumed it was a Poe… and then I read the bill… and it doesn’t seem like satire. There’s no wink. There’s no little gem in there to tell me that what I’m reading is meant to be a shot at the prolife movement. It’s just the same old “women are inherently murderers who hate babies and should be put to death because they get pregnant” story we’re used to… or something.

How can you hate women so much and, at the same time, demand that they make even more women, and threaten them with death if they do not?

I have no snark. Only disbelief and a loss of faith in humanity. I can’t even rant. I want to, but what can I say besides:




Soooo…. I’ll leave you with a little something to cheer you up after the jump… and I promise, it almost balances the universe


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. My cousin miscarried in her first pregnancy… It’s heartbreaking.

    This bill, on the other hand is simply the focal point of an incredible upwelling of rage, depression and fear. Especially fear. Lots of it.

    I am a worrier by nature. I am good at it, I channel it into doing lots of good for the people I love but it makes things like this very scary to me. My best friend is a girl and one day, she very well may try to have children. I would be ever so happy for her. But if this goes through and she miscarries (which isn’t totally unlikely due to her family’s health record and the current statistics), she is at great risk. That is deeply disturbing to me.

    WHEN DID THE TABLES TURN ON US?! Weren’t governments supposed to fear their people? I worry a lot but I am hardly ever actually afraid! Now I am and it is wrong. I am angry because I am terrified and I shouldn’t have to be, dammit! I shouldn’t be and neither should anybody else.

  2. This guy introduces the same bill every year, only he adds more nuts each go round. It’s sad that it’s HB1, too. The very first bill of the session.

    If your stomach is strong enough, you should call his office and listen to his outgoing voicemail message. I would actually prefer you listen to it here because I wouldn’t want anyone to leave an overly emotional voicemail which he could turn and use in his crusade against women.

    Smarmy. Arrogant. Relishes the attention he gets. *retch*

  3. @Clair:
    I’d say we should start an “I am a murderer” campaign against him, but I don’t know if it’s worth it.

    I think the stupidity speaks for itself.

  4. Ah yes, I remember that year all too well. Apparently, I was a murderer too a few weeks before you. The emotional pain associated with the loss of a baby is excruciating. We should be allowed to sue that fuckwad for emotional distress for even suggesting such a thing.

  5. I want to say what I think of this insane person. I really do. But I fear it might be used as evidence against me. Bless me, ladies, for I live in Cobb County.

    Gods damn, I am embarrassed by my … sorry, I cannot call them representatives. They do not represent me.

  6. I am shocked, shocked that some whackaloon state senator from GA would craft such a ridiculously punitive and blatantly unconstitutional piece of legislation. IANAL, but all of the stuff arguing that GA is exempt from Roe v. Wade – priceless!

    But if I haven’t been following this very closely: is there any evidence this bill has a snowball’s chance of passing even one house of the Georgia General Assembly, much less being signed into law (on its way to a guaranteed beatdown in the federal courts)?

  7. My wife and I lost a baby girl at 8 months. There was no glaring problem with the pregnancy, but she didn’t make it. I can only imagine the devastating feelings being compounded by some IDIOTS showing up for some investigation into a “possible” murder. How asinine can you get?!?

  8. I believe his next bill will propose branding women with a scarlet “A” if they can be shown to have engaged in intercourse outside of marriage.

    Who elected this horrifying old throwback anyway??

  9. Loads of sovereign citizen and other ultra-right crap theories in this. It also nullifies and Federal Court oversight, which I think is effectively an act of secession, Hello, Georgia. You lost the Civil War. Remember?

    I’d like to see an analysis by a competent constitutional scholar, but I think his brain would melt.

    Speaking of melting brains, Bobby Franklin seems to be flat-lining. Maybe we should harvest his organs?

  10. @bubblecup:

    Better yet, women get branded if they can’t prove they didn’t have intercourse outside of marriage. Can’t be too careful.

  11. @genjokoan I share your pain. I lived in Dekalb county over 6 years ago. I am patently ashamed that I ever wanted anything to do with that place or, worse yet, that I ever contemplated moving back to metro Atlanta.

    What that man is doing is beyond inexcusable. The very idea that he could propose such a bill and not be laughed out of the room is beyond my comprehension. And quite honestly it scares the crap out of me that this travesty is even being contemplated.

  12. It shows his ignorance of biology. The developmental process from fertilized egg, to zygote, to embryo is an intricate process that frequently fails simply because of genetic and/or developmental factors. It is not the fault of the host, it is the fault of a bad mix of genes or a developmental predisposition. Bad design anyone?

    What about a woman that is Rh negative where her first Rh+ child is born just fine, but then subsequent pregnancies encounter Rh incompatibility issues? She had the decision to have more children despite the risks. Murdering bitch.

    Simple laws from simple minds as we continue the road of devolution to idiocracy.

  13. Every woman who miscarries (and who feels up to it) should think if there is a mean-spirited harmful policy that caused her such distress that it *made* her miscarry and then write to legislators like this fuck-wit blaming him and his misogynist attitudes and policies.

    You know, like no health care for pregnant women, no unemployment benefits, women enslaved to be incubators, young men and women getting sent off to die for oil companies, future generations being screwed by AGW.

    Can any woman prove that these fuck-witted policies didn’t cause her to miscarry?

  14. It’s just unbelievable how clueless some lawmakers must be. I’m so sorry for what you have gone through, but I am very grateful to you for sharing. Perhaps if more women were open about their miscarriages, then people would realise how common they are, and no one would dream of considering it “murder”.

  15. I think it is important for women who have miscarried to not blame themselves, even in jest, even though all reasonable people are able to tell it is sarcasm.

    People like this legislator are not reasonable. They are incapable of reason. They will take these “confessions” at face value and label any woman who so confesses a murderer. They will use thousands of “confessions” as justification as to why such draconian laws are necessary.

    They are incapable of imputing human feelings to people they disagree with. Of course an atheist would murder her fetus because an atheist is incapable of feeling love for anything, a mate, a fetus, or even her child.

  16. I wonder what those fundy fucktard Georgia legislators will say when the Muslim Brotherhood comes out in support of their policies.

  17. Something has been bothering me about this, this, this- tomfoolery, for lack of a better word that isn’t a swear word. Or a string of swear words, with one eye shut from rage and other bulging out, also from rage.

    Abortion is “murder”, definitely apparently. A miscarriage is also “murder” I guess. Anything that results in the “death” of a “pre-born and true human being” in which that “death” that can be shown that “there [was] human involvement whatsoever in the causation of such event” is absolutely totally “murder” I’d suppose if that’s what you want to think.

    My ‘hang-up’ is that murder seems to be a pretty deal, you guys.
    That when a court sentences a person for murder, that person is going to jail for a very very long time. Usually something like a twenty, or fifty, or ninety-nine year sentence. Sometimes life imprisonment. Since this the life-affirming U.S. of A., the death penalty is also a favorite use of punishment with the hope of future deterrence or something I’d love to make a light joke of, but is too nauseating to do properly, with the intention retribution or some other terrible excuse.

    So, if any of those first sad, awful things take place, what is their suggestion for prison sentence for these “murderers”?

    But really that’s not their point, is it? Their point is dominance and control of an entire gender because they want to. Because they just want to. Well- only just for this, right?

  18. So if you go into a bar in Georgia and get drunk and then kill someone while driving home, you get 3-15, no parole for at least 1 year, but if you skip a vitamin pill, thinking, “Hey I shouldn’t drive drunk in bad weather to the drug store to pick up more, I’ll do it tomorrow”, and you have a miscarriage, you’re facing old sparky?

  19. @Buzz Parsec:

    My husband just pointed out that if you did go out into the bad weather to get the pills to help ensure a happy and healthy pregnancy but on the way got hit by a drunk driver resulting in a miscarriage, the driver could face 3-15 while you, the pregnant woman, face the death penalty for taking your fetus out in bad weather knowing the risks.

    It’s very pro-life. Can’t you just feel life being affirmed by that logic?

  20. @Elyse: It really makes me feel good to know that justice will prevail.

    [Do I need to include a disclaimer for the sarcasm-impaired?]

    Oh, and Elyse, I’m vaccinated so I can give you a virtual hug if you need it.

  21. @Elyse:
    OH! Okay. Now I understand, thank you.
    For a second there, I thought I missing was something irrevocably evil, bizarre, arbitrary, selfish, multifaceted, and complex!
    It is just something irrevocably evil, bizarre, arbitrary, selfish, and simply simple.

    Well then. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the angry dome.

  22. The bill doesn’t go far enough. Men who engage in certain activities run the risk of producing defective sperm which can be a cause of miscarriages too. Men should be tried before a jury of their peers and then hung, drawn and quartered.


    OK, I’m not from GA. Is this moron the speaker of the House? Is he the House Leader (this could be a unique Canuck legislature position)?

    Just HOW did such a piece of crap EVER get on the list? You people should hound every moron involved in the entire process. The next election should be the last time anyone sees them in public again.

    Now to do something about my high blood pressure!

  23. @should be working: I think in most states, any member of the legislature can propose a bill. Most of the time, it has to make it through an appropriate committee before being voted on by the full legislature. I don’t think this guy has to have any particular office to propose this bill. I think the rules vary about whether the bill would have to get a majority vote in the committee before proceeding, or if there are various parliamentary maneuvers that would allow him to get it past the committee stage.

    I have no idea what chance this has of passing. Apparently this guy has been proposing similar measures for years, getting more off the wall each time. But an awful lot of off-the-wall people got elected in the most recent elections.

  24. This is the man who wants to call women who have been raped “accusers” rather than “victims”, who wants to eliminate the driver’s license, and who wants to put Georgia on the gold standard. It is sad but not surprising that he can keep getting elected in Cobb County. I used to live there, in some ways it is a very strange and infuriating place.

    Still the baby pig wearing little red galoshes always cheers me up. That will never get old.

  25. If a miscarriage happens early enough it’s common for a woman to not even know that the egg was fertilized at all.

    Perhaps every time a woman has a late or heavy period it should be considered the “scene of a possible homicide” and investigators can launch a full on search for the body.

    (of course I am being sarcastic, but if you continue on this logic where else would you stop?)

  26. I’m not a lawyer, or an American, so excuse me if this sounds odd, but generally under the rule of law, isn’t it required that someone who is charged with a serious crime, eg murder, to have knowingly and wilfully committed a conscious act to have caused the death of another to come about?

    I could intellectually understand how a termination could be considered that way to some minds, though I do not for a millisecond agree with the idea that it is or should be considered a crime, but a miscarriage? How would you in any way prove that any normal act or activity brought it about to a reasonable doubt? And to my understanding, the more serious the offence, the greater the burden of proof on the part of the prosecution. Can you imagine what would happen with the first case that someone attempted to prosecute under this law?

    I’m simply dumbfounded that this could be tabled as a serious possibility for a law, especially in the USA.

    As a bloke, and one who has never wanted kids, I can’t begin to understand what it would feel like to be a woman who miscarried, but even so the originator of this Bill is deserving of a steel cap boot to the bollocks.

  27. My contribution:

    My older sister miscarried at nine months and overdue. She was enroute to the hospital to be induced, and started bleeding about half way there (approximate 2-hour drive).

    Doctor took one look at her outside the ER-and rushed her to surgery. We almost lost her as well, and an emergency hysterectomy was also done as they couldn’t stop the bleeding.

    This woman has a Master’s degree in Neonatal Nursing. I know she did everything right, and has the children to prove it.

    That some bozo of a politician would want to see her brought up on charges makes me see red.

    Why do the good citizens of Georgia allow this moron to speak for them?

  28. After 2 years of trying for a baby, I too had a miscarriage last September. I don’t have words to express my fury at the implications and insinuations of this law just as I didn’t have the words to express my grief and sense of loss following my own miscarriage. I also have a list in my head and heart of things I should have or have not done in order to keep my baby and I am so grateful for the time and care given to me by my doctor and nurses and that they always told me it wasn’t my fault. The fact that a bill like this could even be written let alone proposed…words just fail me. Am I so unvalued as a human being to these “pro-life” hypocrites?

  29. @snert: I’d be surprised if Bobby Franklin has any illusions about this bill passing. Writing a bill like this lets Franklin campaign as someone “fighting the good fight” against “baby killers” to a portion of his base. It plays well in the rec rooms of conservative churches in Cobb.

    The more insidious purpose is to equate the death of the unborn with infanticide. This is an attempt at an end run around abortion law. If a miscarriage can be seen as a murder, then the idea of fetal rights enter into the discussion. This is seen as a way to erode and eventually eliminate legal abortions by people like Mr. Franklin. Harm to women is seen as acceptable collateral damage to achieve this end, a lesser evil.

  30. @ Trotter Jelly: Thanks that makes some sort of strange sense I suppose. I can barely fathom politics most of the time, let alone US politics and the close relationship with religion in many cases and the convoluted illogic that seems to be a part of that.

  31. wow. With my second daughter I went into labor VERY VERY EARLY. We are talking the cusp of when they might be able to save her. I was at my small town hospital when I was given the choice to go to Green Bay with the most advanced medical care, or to stay and try a few old fashioned tries at ending the labor. My family physician pointed out that if I went to Green Bay they would deliver the baby and odds were the child would die, or be born with horrible problems and spend months in the hospital before coming home to perhaps a life time of care. He was one of those doctors that knew the families he cared for and was honest. After much consideration and many tears, we decided to stay and try just pumping me full of fluids. Well, it worked. Darn baby ended up coming two weeks late! But with a bill like that, I could be charged with attempted murder! I didn’tmake the choice to do ANYTHING and everything wow.

  32. Something in my head went ‘click’ when I read this. The words ‘axlotl tank’ sprung up from my subconscious.

    Sounds like what these guys want women to become is one part blow-up doll, one part maid-bot, and one part axlotl tank.


    Creepy thing is that this is basically what women have been reduced to for centuries.

    But the axlotl tank thing… That’s a new thought for me. It’s a slimy one too. Blegh.

    Sometimes I really hate learning things.

  33. I can’t remember the last time, if ever, my mouth really became agape. I have nothing intelligent to add to this except that this is simply atrocious. There is so much I could say, but I am simply stunned into silence by this.

    But not for long.

    But there is one thing I would like to say to you Elyse: I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  34. The stupidity of some of this stuff coming out of the far-Right whackadoodles no longer burns for me. It just makes me want to cry for the future of Humanity.

    I too am very sorry for your loss. My oldest daughter went through the exact same thing about five years ago. So did my mother – she lost one between my older sister and I.

  35. This is actually a serious question:

    Years ago while cataloging print materials in a corporate library I found a NTIS gov doc which showed the results of an epidemiological study proving that certain forms of industrial pollution were responsible for a number of “spontaneous direct abortions” (miscarriages induced somehow). This study was from the 1970s. Since then I have tried to find any other studies about spontaneous direct abortion and industrial pollution but not found any. I do find press releases, etc. from government bureaucrats or others declaring that there is no evidence since the 70s that this ever happens. But what if no one does any studies? Does anyone with better science research skills than I have care to look into this? Have follow-up studies happened? I hate to come off sounding like a conspiracy theorist, but I have to wonder whether government agencies stopped doing or commissioning such research given its implications? I hope I’m wrong.

  36. Another depressing bit of news about Franklin, he has been running unopposed, even in the primaries. Yes, Cobb County is that scary. Remember, they are the ones with the disclaimer labels on science books.

    You have heard the joke about how a (insert non xtian flavor of your choice) could not be elected as a dog catcher. It is not a joke.

  37. I got a girl preggers who then had a miscarriage…I guess I am an accessory to murder now, then.

  38. This may have already been suggested, but why not take it one step further and make it illegal to “spill one’s seed”. Think of all the millions of potential people that are destroyed whenever a little fap goes down.

  39. @peejaymc Great, I am worse than Hitler and Stalin combined now! Or wait, how many do you have to kill before you go from murderer, to hero, to God?

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