Conspiracy Sites Once Again Insisting Dems Want To Legalize Murder Of Newborn Babies
Back in February, California Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks introduced AB 2223, a bill meant to protect pregnant people from being investigated or thrown in prison for having a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other unfortunate pregnancy outcome. While we'd love to believe that such a bill would be entirely unnecessary, according to the National Advocates of Pregnant Women, more than 1,200 people were arrested, jailed or otherwise deprived of liberty for exactly these kinds of things between 2006 and 2020.
We'd also like to believe that this is the kind of bill anyone could get behind, because what kind of person wants to see someone who has just endured a tragic life event sent to prison? Alas, there are a lot of terrible people out there.
Over the past two weeks, rightwing media has been breathlessly reporting that this bill is actually a secret plot to "legalize infanticide," because they truly think we all just really want to murder babies (probably for the purposes of harvesting their adrenochrome).
But how could they possibly think this? Glad you asked. The claim comes from one sentence in the bill, which states:
Notwithstanding any other law, a person shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise deprived of their rights, based on their actions or omissions with respect to their pregnancy or actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death.
Anti-choice Life Site News even found themselves a lawyer from the Thomas More Society to explain how this paragraph means that parents could even possibly post-birth abort their toddlers.
According to LiMandri, the proposal “exposes the false narrative that the abortion lobby has been peddling for over half a century: That no one knows when life begins, and babies in their mothers’ wombs feel no pain. No sane person can deny that a newborn infant is a fully developed human being, one that is capable of feeling intense pain. Yet, by including ‘perinatal’ in its provisions, [the bill] would authorize the brutal murder of these infants even after they are born.”
LiMandri, an author and lecturer who has appeared and been published nationally and internationally, noted that the definition of the term “perinatal” varies, spanning weeks or even years after an infant is born.
He cited MedicineNet which puts the definition of “perinatal” at ending “1 to 4 weeks after birth,” as well as the government definition of the phrase via PubMed.gov, which states: “The perinatal period, broadly defined, encompasses the time frame from … 18 to 24 months after the birth of the child.”
“Hence, [AB 2223] leaves one to ask: ‘What kind of depraved monsters would justify the killing of innocent and helpless children between one week and two years after their birth?’” LiMandri said.
Literally no one. No one is justifying that or calling for that. Even full-on serial killing cannibals are not calling for that — probably because it would lead to them getting caught, but still. No one is calling for that, except in the imaginations of anti-choice conspiracy theorists who just desperately want it to be true.
Lawyers from the Thomas More Society, by the way, also filed a lawsuit last year claiming that children in California schools were being forced to pray to Aztec gods. Just to be clear about who we're dealing with here.
Focus on the Family, a notably very normal group of fundamentalist Christians who just really, really hate gay people, also found a bunch of lawyers with unfortunate reading comprehension skills to tell them that, yes, this bill definitely supports the legalization of infanticide.
The unfortunate thing is that if these people were at all "focused" on families, they too would support a measure preventing anyone from being arrested for having such a devastating thing happen to them. Of course, if they really cared about babies, they'd probably be so upset about the infant mortality rates in red states that they'd start calling for universal health care and maternity/paternity leave just to ensure that every pregnant person and newborn baby gets the care they need. Sadly, that seems unlikely to ever happen.
“Anti-abortion activists are peddling an absurd and disingenuous argument that this bill is about killing newborns, when ironically, the part of the bill they’re pointing to is about protecting and supporting parents experiencing the grief of pregnancy loss,” Assemblymember Buffy Wicks said in a statement. “No person should face prison time for a tragic pregnancy outcome, and this bill will ensure that prosecutions and investigations have no place in reproductive health care.”
However, because people are ridiculous, Wicks is filing a motion on Monday to clarify the language in the bill so that anyone out there seriously believing that it "legalizes infanticide" can feel confident that it does not.
The bill will then read:
Notwithstanding any other law, a person shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise deprived of their rights under this article, based on their actions or omissions with respect to their pregnancy or actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause.
"The overall intention of the bill is to ensure that no one in the State of California is investigated, persecuted, or incarcerated for ending a pregnancy or experiencing pregnancy loss," a spokesperson for Wicks explained, citing the examples of "Chelsea Becker and Adora Perez, two California women who were recently prosecuted and imprisoned for their stillbirths."
There are far too many more examples of this from across the country, and we should all be as horrified by the idea of people going to prison because something went wrong with their pregnancy as we would be about an imaginary bill making it legal to drown your kids in a bathtub should the mood take you.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse