Utah is not a state known for its legislative sanity. This, after all, is a state that recently made headlines for proposing to honor gun manufacturers on Martin Luther King Day and for considering the elimination of 12th grade to cut back on education spending.
Well, it just got a whole lot worse.
Utah just became the first state in the U.S. to criminalize miscarriage and punish women for having or seeking an illegal abortion. Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" law:
* expands the definition of illegal abortion to include miscarriages
* removes immunity protections for women who have or seek illegal abortions
* treats women as presumptive criminals and leaves them open to criminal prosecution
But even among states that punish illegal abortions, this "Criminal Miscarriage" law is unique. It not only punishes individuals who perform illegal procedures; it punishes women.
I spoke with activists in Salt Lake City this morning to ask how to help out of state. They all made the exact same request: Tell everyone you know about this law.
National media attention and widespread public outcry are the only way to stop women and girls in Utah from being subjected to this unreasonable and dangerous "Criminal Miscarriage" law.
Tell someone about this law right now. Post this on Facebook. Tweet it. Forward it to five friends. And ask them all to do the same.
How Utah Defined Miscarriage as Criminal Homicide
Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" law (H.B.12) makes simple changes to the state's definition of "abortion" and the section of the Utah Criminal Code governing "criminal homicide."
* defines legal abortion as a procedure "carried out by a physician or through a substance used under the direction of a physician." Anything else that terminates a pregnancy is now defined as illegal abortion - including miscarriages.
* states that "The killing or attempted killing of a live unborn child in a manner that is not abortion shall be punished as...criminal homicide." (emphasis mine)
* removes existing immunity from criminal prosecution for women "who seek to have or obtain an abortion" or "upon whom a partial birth abortion is performed."
* applies the legal standard of an "intentional, knowing or reckless act of the woman" as punishable as criminal homicide.
Translation: If a woman has a miscarriage but didn't know that she was pregnant, she cannot be charged with criminal homicide. So while this law does not criminalize all miscarriages, anything that could be defined as "knowing" or "reckless" would leave a woman at risk for criminal prosecution.
Think it couldn't possibly be that bad? The ACLU of Utah is pretty sure that it could. In their letter appealing to Utah Governor Gary Herbert to veto the bill (Spoiler: He won't!), the ACLU said:
Practically speaking however, this bill changes the presumption that abortions obtained in this state are legal. If this bill is signed into law, women in this state will essentially be in the uncomfortable and unfortunate position of having to prove that abortions they obtain (or miscarriages that they suffer) are not unlawful.
In fact, it's the "recklessness" standard that may pose the greatest threat. Again, from the ACLU:
A woman who fails to wear a seatbelt and is in a car accident could be charged with reckless homicide, should she miscarry. Likewise, a woman who has a substance abuse problem is likely to forego necessary prenatal care out of fear that she could be prosecuted for "knowing" or "reckless" homicide by continuing to use illegal substances while pregnant.
The problems don't stop there. Women in physically abusive relationships could be criminally liable for not leaving their partner, regardless of their ability to do so safely or securely. Women seeking lawful abortion may be guilty of criminal homicide if her physician failed to follow exact procedures set forth in the law.
For a law designed to discourage illegal abortion, Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" law will only drive abortion further underground for those who cannot safely seek or afford legal medical abortion care.
I grew up in Salt Lake City, so it takes a lot for Utah to surprise me anymore. This time there aren't even words for my outrage.
Prosecuting women who seek or obtain abortions for criminal homicide won't make abortion go away - it will only make abortion dangerous and put women's lives at risk. This law was designed to punish women who would consider having an abortion. There is simply no other way to look at it.
Speak Out. Fight Back.
Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" Law passed the Utah House and Senate by overwhelming majorities. Seriously overwhelming. The votes were 59-12 and 24-4, respectively, meaning that even if Gov. Herbert were to veto the bill (he won't) the legislature could easily override his veto.
Just in case that wasn't enough, the bill's authors included a provision that with 2/3 members already voting for the bill, the "Criminal Miscarriage" Law would go into effect even if Gov. Herbert doesn't sign the bill into law.
The Utah Planned Parenthood Action Council, the ACLU of Utah, and their allies have been fighting this fight every step of the way. They succeeded in getting the legislature to drop the much lower legal standard of "negligence," and in light of such overwhelming opposition that success is simply heroic.
So what do we do now?
Utah conservatives love to legislate their twisted version of morality -- but they hate it when the rest of the country calls them out on their bigotry. So that's exactly what we need to do.
More than anything, Utah wants to be liked. After decades being seen as a backwards, intolerant state, we desperately want to be accepted into the political and cultural mainstream. They hate it when the state itself becomes a national joke.
This is all about PR. The state legislature backed off their proposal to eliminate 12th grade when it was ridiculed in the national press. Dropping a year from high school led to "perception problems" -- because of The Onion! -- but national media has been silent when the state enacts one of the most dangerous abortion laws in U.S. history. That silence ends right now.
It's time for everyone to hear about Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" law. The media must to cover it. We must to start conversations all across the country about what this means for women and girls in Utah - and what this precedent means if (or, more likely, when) other states follow suit. (A similar case in Iowa should be all the warning we need.)
So post this on Facebook. Tweet it. Forward it to five friends. And ask them all to do the same.
If we turn a blind eye towards Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" law, their shame will belong to all of us.
A few words on the non-profit industrial complex
, Jan 14, 2010 at 21:39, in
So like many activist-y types just trying to pay their bills, I work at shitty non-profit. That isn't to say that the services we provide aren't important or needed, but that somehow a bunch of neo-liberal capitalist assholes run the place, and as far as I'm concerned, seem hell bent on running that place into the ground. They talk down to the people they 'help', top-down manage in the most hierarchal fashion possible, and, just to top it all off, treat the employees below them like shit. I've really had it with my bosses complaining and complaining about the non-profit we all work at having no money, which I suppose would be how they would justify a recent action that occurred at work. When it came time for my annual raise, my bosses found it fit to give me a raise of .08 cents. I'm not complaining about this because the money is so damn important. I'm upset about this because the person who decided my work, which I've absolutely poured my heart into, was only worth .08 cents of raise, while this same person collects more than 100,000 dollars a year. On many weeks I work just a many hours as she does, but I still have to collect food stamps and work a second job just to get by. She drives a corvette to work. This is even more upsetting to me considering the radicals who started this program, in part to help people that are of low-income backgrounds, have had their efforts hi-jacked by capitalist assholes who re-create in the workplace the same structure that harms the people we are supposed to help. If we want true liberation we're going to have to create our own programs and systems of mutual aid, always aligning ourselves with those who have been marginalized by the capitalist patriarchy, not becoming it.
, Jan 10, 2010 at 12:23, in
you should. After making womyn's lives much harder, its only right we makes theirs a little bumpy...
The contact is Tara at (316)683-6790, ext. 151
Here's the site: http://www.operationrescue.org/archives/truth-truck-drivers-needed-now-in-four-states/
Introducing... Columbus Accountability Action Collective
, Nov 13, 2009 at 05:06, in
Columbus needs an alternative to systems that have failed us time and time again, leaving women and survivors of abuse and assault trapped in dangerous situations, without justice, and abusers without rehabilitation.
The Community Accountability Action of Columbus Ohio is a new alternative to the prison industrial complex, who wishes to work to meet the needs of survivors in our community and ensure that rapists and abusers begin the process of changing abusive behavior and unlearning rape culture. We have modeled ourselves after collective movements across the United States such as Philly's Pissed/Philly Stands Up, Denver on Fire, and Incite! Women of Color Against Violence.
We are members of the Columbus community who are fed up with abuse and assault in our communities and will work to make our communities safe. We will do this by helping to meet the immediate needs of survivors and ensuring that abusers know that their behavior will not be tolerated, because in the end, the only that will stop violence is when our communities no longer tolerate it.
If you are in need of help or are interested in helping us out please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and please see our website for more information http://www.caac-acity.webs.com
Urgent! Need Your Support Now Mother Jailed for Protecting Her Child
, Oct 4, 2009 at 10:01, in
nation whose focus is stopping rape and injustices to women who
protect their children was sex offenders to orchestrate a rally for
support of a young mother and child. The mother is currently jailed
(now for over 68 days) for protecting her child when the system
failed; physical and sexual abuse. She desperately needs your help and
support. Time is running out. If the child is found she will be turned
over to her father. Please see below and let me know if you can be of
assistance and/or know of others who can.
A young mother is currently in jail for protecting her 5 year old
daughter because the justice system won’t. Ms. Cherish Lewis was found
in contempt of court on July 24, 2009 by Domestic Relations Court
Judge Frederick Crow for not turning over her daughter to the child’s
father. Judge Crow ordered that Ms. Lewis remain in jail until she
turns over her child. Ms. Lewis is not telling anyone the location of
her child and has now been in the Scioto County Jail in Portsmouth
Ohio for over 67 days.
On November 2, 2007, after a visitation with her father, Stephen Rice,
for several months in Tampa Florida, the child was returned to her
mother. Upon return of the child at the court house the mother noticed
bruising on the child’s face, behind her ear, numerous bruises on her
back & buttocks, and finger print bruising on her wrist. The mother
immediately took her child to the emergency room. The child disclosed
that her father had hurt her with something red. The child then
disclosed sexual abuse. After further exam the child had an abscess on
her rectum, secretion from her rectum, and a swollen red vagina and
hand print bruising on her thighs according to testimony from the
detective and children’s services.
In February 2008, after reviewing medical reports, hearing testimony
from medical professionals, testimony from children’s services, and
testimony from law enforcement stating that the injuries were from
human contact and the child disclosing both physical and sexual abuse
the Domestic Relations Court, Judge Crow, granted Rice custody and
allowed Rice to take the child again for several months, this time to
Rice’s new residence in Oceanside California.
In June of 2008 the child was returned to her mother. This time upon
return the child complained that it burned when she peed. Ms. Lewis
immediately took her child to the doctor and the child again disclosed
sexual abuse and was sent to Children’s Hospital for evaluation. The
child stated that her father “rubs her privacies” and demonstrated how
it was done. Children’s Services substantiated sexual abuse naming the
father as the alleged perpetrator and recommended that the child be
separated from Rice until the investigation was concluded by law
enforcement. Children’s Services also recommended the father take a
lie detector test.
In addition, on May 15, 2007 Judge Crow heard testimony from Rice’s
mother stating that Rice had an attorney because of allegations of
sexually abusing another 4 year old child when he was a minor. The
sister of this child also testified that Rice had sexually abused her
little sister and told Judge Crow that Ms. Lewis’s daughter should not
be allowed to be alone with Rice. It appears from this testimony that
Rice may have pleaded guilty to these charges but we don’t know for
certain as of yet. Rice’s mother stated that the records were “sealed
or something and she thinks the matter was dropped” and Judge Crow
never asked Mr. Rice if he plead guilty or committed the act. Ms.
Lewis’s attorneys are working on a request to review the records.
On April 2009 the Court of Appeals overturned Judge Crow’s previous
custody order citing that the judge had abused his discretion in not
considering the weight of the evidence in determining the best
interest of the child. Some of this abuse of discretion included Judge
Crow’s findings that Ms. Lewis had Munchhausen’s Syndrome and Parental
Alienation Syndrome because she did not want the child to be with the
father. Judge Crow did not properly consider expert testimony that Ms.
Lewis did not have either Syndrome. The case was remanded back to
Judge Crow with instructions to rehear the case following the rules
set out in the Court of Appeals decision.
The case was scheduled to be heard July 24, 2009. About a week prior
to the July 24 hearing Ms. Lewis discovered that her own attorney had
represented Mr. Rice on the previous criminal allegation of sexually
abusing a 4 year old child about 8 years prior.
Ms. Lewis dismissed her attorney, filed a motion for continuance, and
requested time to find a new attorney. The judge did not allow Ms.
Lewis’s continuance until the end of the proceedings that day. Ms.
Lewis pleaded with the judge to review the medical evidence, expert
testimony, prior sexual abuse allegations, and substantiations from
Children’s Services. The judge did not do so and continued with
proceedings which ultimately resulted in the judge ordering that Mr.
Rice could have the child for 7 months of “Compensatory Parenting
Time” and ordered Ms. Lewis to produce the child to Mr. Rice that day.
Ms. Lewis, who had no advance notice whatsoever that she would be
ordered to produce her child in open court that day and told the judge
that she did not know where her daughter was.
The judge found Ms. Lewis in contempt and ordered her into custody
until she returns the child. Ms. Lewis is still in jail to this day.
It also appears that the judge did not hold a proper hearing when he
found Ms. Lewis in Contempt raising a serious loss of liberty issue.
There are four remarkable attorneys that are so outraged at the judges
actions that they have agreed to take the case pro-bono; Gregory
Barwell, Joel Wesp, Randi Ostry LeHoty, and Holly Regoli.
A Notice of Appeal and Motion for Bond to secure the release of Ms.
Lewis has been filed with the 4th District Court of Appeals and an
Affidavit for Disqualification of the judge has been filed with the
Ohio Supreme Court along with 113 pages of exhibits including court
transcripts, expert testimony, expert depositions, and a report from
Children’s Services substantiating that the child was sexually abused
naming Rice as the alleged perpetrator.
But…the wheels of justice are moving far too slow. The Motion for Bond
was filed August 11 with no comments on when they will rule on the
motion and Rice’s attorney has just filed a motion contra. A request
for expedited hearing has been filed but it appears that the court may
take another 30 days to rule. The Affidavit of Disqualification of
Judge Crow was filed with the Supreme Court of Ohio on August 12 and
Judge Crow just filed his Response on September 25.
The Justice League is following up with the criminal allegations of
physical and sexual abuse in Oceanside CA and Tampa Fl to ensure that
investigators have all of the medical evidence, expert testimony, and
substantiations from Children’s Services in Ohio and encourage them to
conduct a thorough investigation and encourage prosecution: for the
safety of this child and potential future child victims.
Feminism is Alive and Well in Ohio
, May 18, 2009 at 10:26, in
- Sometime over the weekend (May 16 & 17), feminists and allies exposed two "Pregnancy Decision Health Centers" for what they are. At 5900 Cleveland Ave in Columbus:
These "Pregnancy Decision Health Centers" aren't about allowing women to make decisions about their pregnancy at all. They're about denying women choice. From the Feminist Women's Health Center:
"Most anti-abortion centers will not give out information by phone, they insist you come into their office. Women have reported waiting up to an hour for the results of a pregnancy test and being forced to watch anti-abortion videos while they wait surrounded by anti-abortion propaganda. Some women have then been denied the results of their pregnancy test when they say they want an abortion or that they need the test result to apply for medical assistance.
They show shocking and misleading films and pictures of mutilated fetuses and stillborn babies. They won't let women leave until the end of the video or until they have looked at all the anti-abortion information, even when the woman realizes she has made a mistake going there.
Women describe being harassed, intimidated, and given blatantly false information, or being forced to pray with the crisis pregnancy center's staff. They complain that their confidential information was used against them. In some cases, they were followed home, and mail and phone calls intruded into their homes.*"
On April 30th, 2009,
Feministe covered these clinics
Here are some real Women's Health Resources:
In Ohio, Women's Health Clinics providing all pregnancy care including abortion.
Complete Family Planning, Sexual, and Pregnancy Care, including abortion at
Pretty comprehensive information about abortion online:
- On Friday the 15th, in Columbus, a group of activists got together and marched to raise awareness about violence against women. Most marchers marched along sidewalks, and bike supporters circled, blowing whistles. Along the way the marchers handed out literature with facts about the issue, and what folks can do in their own communities. A fight broke out at the end of the night when a bystander called a woman a faggot and attacked her physically. Protesters broke up the fight. Marchers interact with some bros: * Pictures provided by Annie*
- On Thursady, May 14th, Take Back the Night was held by a student group at Ohio State University, Womyn and Allies Rising in Resistance. Hundreds of feminists and allies attended. The event included the speakers, tablers, a rally, a march, a speakout where survivors could share their experiences with violence, and the clothesline project allowing survivors of violence to create a t-shirt communicating their experiences or feelings surrounding their experience with violence. Here's the march:
And a shirt from the Clothesline Project:
- Tucker Max appeared at OSU, protested by many feminists and allies, leading to continued pressure on Ohio State's campus to contribute money to helping survivors, since they spent an unnamed amount of money promoting rape culture with Tucker Max's appearance. OSU has refused to disclose the amount, even thought student dollars went to it, and other universities in Ohio maintain it must be disclosed as a Public Record. See one of our bloggers post about it here.
- Sexual Assault Awareness month was kicked off April 1 with a controversial "Someone Was Raped Here" spraypaint campaign.
- And a follow-up here.
Keep up the good work activists of all stripes! Feminist love and solidarity is with you!
Any hopes for what future actions will include? Share with us in the comments section.
First, here's a tidbit from his rating system of women:
0-star (aka, Wildebeast): The lowest of the low... They should all be put to sleep. This is that loud, disgusting fat girl in the bar that smokes, orders complicated drinks and then spills them on everyone, and is generally just so annoying that you have to actively restrain yourself from kicking her in the crotch and stomping on her throat until she drowns on her own blood. There is no insult too mean or crude for her, and basic human rights do not apply to her.
This one girl, who was ugly and a bitch (thus, didn't have basic human rights) started doing one... when she was upside down, legs spread apart, I punched her right in the vagina. This caused her to violently spit up the beer she was trying to consume, and fall backwards into the two people holding her up, all of them splashing to the mud. I ran off, laughing so hysterically I couldn't breathe.
I was going to fuck her in the butt and film it without her consent
1) No consent = rape.
2) Punching a woman in the vagina = violence against women.
The really fucked up thing though is that he isn't the first straight, white, male asshole who has deemed a certain group of people to be unworthy of basic human rights and spout all sorts of hatred and even incite violence against this group, and he isn't alone. Hundreds and hundreds of supporters showed up to this event to OSU and cheered him on, laughed at his sexist bullshit, and taunted people who stood up and called Max out on his misogyny.
Oh but wait, Max let's us know that he "love[s] women." This is from his FAQ section:
Don't you think your page is very sexist/anti-women/misogynistic?Oh... there we go. That disclaimer makes all the misogyny magically unmisogynistic. Oh wait, no it doesn't. Tucker Max hates women. He may love *fucking* women, but that clearly does not extend to his even seeing women has human beings who are all deserving of his respect. Oh, but it's ok, cause he's a shit to men as well. This guy needs some male privilege 101 classes.
This always confuses me. For fucks sake, I originally put up a page dedicated to getting a date; how is that sexist? How in hell does that imply I hate women? I hate a lot of things, (stupid people and Duke basketball, for instance) but nowhere on that list is women. I LOVE women. Now, do I treat some women like shit? Yes, sometimes, but I treat EVERYONE like shit, not just women. Sexism is treating one sex differently from the other(s). I treat people as individuals.
So now that you know a bit about the shithead... on to the protest:
When this guy came to OSU and a bunch of people who support basic human rights and fight patriarchal oppression showed up to let people know we are not going to welcome rapists in Columbus.
The Other Paper did a nice article about the event:
the Ohio Union Activities Board invited OSU students to a campus lecture hall Monday to “Join OUAB and Tucker Max to discover what college and life are really all about!”the Lantern said:
Apparently some faculty adviser only skimmed the OUAB’s marketing for the author’s appearance—unless, of course, the university has suddenly and surprisingly begun to encourage the kind of drunken debauchery that Max makes his living portraying.
For the first 30-plus minutes of the event, Max was unable to begin his speech, as every time he tried to, a protester blew a whistle or sounded an air horn. Those who disrupted the event were promptly escorted out by security, to the jeers of the remaining audience. Occasionally, Max would even taunt the protester, much to the delight of his fans.
Meanwhile, the people in the lobby were shouting, "Shut it down! No rapist in our town!" blowing whistles, throwing confetti, and dancing in protest. At some point, police violence broke out against the protesters.
Here are some statements made by people who were there:
"I have a bruise on my arm that I believe is from being grabbed by the cops multiple times... I'm not sure who did this though. I was handled by different cops multiple times."
"I overheard one officer saying 'Once at a protest I shoved a girl down and slammed her head into the ground. I hope I do that again tonight because I have zero tolerance for these people.'"
"I saw one police officer shoving students without provocation back from the door. One woman was jostled into him and he shoved her chest/breasts back with the full force of his body and kept shoving her violently backward until two other cops touched him and told him to stop and that what he had been doing was too much. This protester is a very small person, especially in comparison to the cop, who was muscular and tall. He continued to be much rougher than necessary with protesters until the other cops sent him away.
He matches the description of the cop that other protesters heard telling a story about pushing a protester into the ground until her face bled and saying that he hoped he got to do that at the Tucker Max protest. I asked for his badge number and he refused to give it to me or locate it on his badge for me. I THINK his badge number is 234 but I'm unsure. He is tall, muscular, with buzzed blonde hair."
As UWIRE said, "After Max finished his speech, protesters sat in front of exit doors, forcing the audience to push their way out. Protesters then left the venue and marched to High Street."
But just cause the event is over, doesn't mean OUAB is off the hook. They used student money to bring a rapist to OSU and spread his message of hate and violence.
The Other Paper states:
Protesters, however, kept pushing for the details of Max’s speaking fee. They staged a sit-in Tuesday outside of the OUAB office, demanding that the same amount, or $15,000, be allocated for a campus sexual–violence victims’ fund and gender-sensitive programming.Learning and dialog?! I call your bullshit Bockelman.
According to OUAB’s president, this is exactly the sort of discussion the student group seeks to spark with its programming. “Ultimately, OUAB felt that this event provided an opportunity for learning and dialogue—one of our organization’s many responsibilities to OSU’s campus,” said Bockelman in her e-mail.
OUAB fucked up: they brought a violent rapist to campus and gave him a space to spread his hate. And the worst part is that we, some of us survivors of sexual violence such as that which Tucker describes, had to help pay for him to do so.
To end this post on a positive note, here is an interview at Done Waiting of OSU student group Womyn and Allies Rising in Resistance (WARR) about Tucker Max, rape, Take Back the Night, and how OSU gives money to rapists rather than rape survivors.
This just in from an OSU student group working to end violence against women.
Womyn and Allies Rising in Resistance, WARR
Ohio State to Violate Students’ Rights Using Student Funds
Women’s Group Demands Cancellation of Rape-Promoter Tucker Max
Sexual Assault Awareness Month has barely come to a close, and already The Ohio State University is choosing to create a hostile environment for women, violating its own non-discrimination policy as well as state and federal law. At 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 11th in Hitchcock Hall, OSU will be sponsoring the rape-celebrating Tucker Max as a speaker, using OSU students’ dollars. From a Tucker Max story describing his several-week persistent coercion of a woman into anal sex, “I was going to **** her in the butt and film it without her consent.”*
WARR demands that Ohio State follow its non-discrimination policy as well as state and federal law and does not use the student activity fee to violate students’ rights.
For more information or to schedule an interview, contact WARR at email@example.com.
They had a valid critique. We didn't promote what *you* can do to help or get involved! Or resources for survivors.
We have links along the side, but I'll add them here.
If you're a survivor, and you want an advocate, or someone to talk to, or have questions of any type, check out SARNCO's website. Or their helpline: (614) 267-7020
If you're a survivor, feminist, or feminist ally, and you want to share your story or have discussions about community safety, check out the safe space forum at:
If you want to get active in the local feminist community, check out a meeting of WARR, Womyn and Allies Rising in Resistance. They meet Tuesdays on OSU's campus. They're planning a week of action against sexual assault.
They're also working on planning Take Back the Night.
And, they're working on a campaign to create a fund to help survivors pay for hospital costs.
E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, please do check out our "Guide to Direct Action".
Let us know if you've got a group or a link you want included!
Someone Was Raped Here
, Apr 1, 2009 at 13:40, in
These serve as reminders of the people lost or injured, victims or survivors of violent tragedy. They also bring us face to face with the reality that there are those who commit these violent acts. There are people capable of acts of true violence, hate, and power.
In Columbus, OH, as part of the Sexual Assault Awareness month of April this morning, the crime of rape was marked in this way.
In front of private residences, across the campus of OSU, in public places, all across town.
Someone was raped here.