Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Tangled Bank

To learn new and interesting things, please don't miss this week's Tangled Bank.


At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently there's a move afoot nationwide to criminalize the failure to report certain "fetal deaths.” Please take the time to register your opposition to Kansas House Bill 2088, which would make it a felony for a woman who experiences the death of a fetus born without medical assistance to neglect to seek “immediate” medical care or to notify law enforcement authorities. While this bill isn’t quite as atrocious as Delegate Cosgrove’s similar attempt in Virginia--since it defines a “fetus” as 24 weeks gestational age or older--it does nevertheless include late miscarriages/early stillbirths that occur outside of the hospital. Once again, the purported goal is to prevent “trashcan babies,” on the assumption that early testing will determine whether the baby may have been suffocated. But all this law would actually do is invade the privacy of and create a presumption of guilt for families who experience, for whatever reason, a medically unattended stillbirth (since this bill also criminalizes anyone who knows about the failure to report such fetal deaths). It seems pretty safe to assume that the majority of families who experience the unattended stillbirth/death of a wanted baby already do seek medical care within a reasonable period of time, if only to learn why their baby died and to make sure the mother is stable--and it seems pretty unlikely that the underreporting of unattended stillbirths or the medical neglect of mothers in those situations is a widespread problem. To require couples to seek medical care “immediately” after experiencing such a loss--on the assumption that they may have intentionally caused the baby’s death, no less--is both unnecessary and punitive. And the idea that women who are likely candidates for killing their babies and dumping their bodies will be deterred--or better yet, eventually apprehended--because of a law requiring them to report the death is simply ludicrous. Besides, if criminalizing infanticide and infant abandonment really worked, then all of the other laws against it would have brought an end to the problem of “trashcan babies” long ago.

To read the full text of the bill go to:

and enter 2088 into the bill search engine. Contact information for the bill’s sponsor is also included below:

Peggy Mast
Kansas House Republican
District 76 (District Map,District Demographics)
First Term: 1997
765 Road 110
Emporia, KS 66801
Phone: (620) 343-2465


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