Attack of the pregnant people

This again. A piece by Katie Klabusich on a horrible Tennessee abortion law is undermined by Klabusich’s near-perfect attempt to avoid using the word “women” entirely. I still think erasing women from the abortion issue is politically suicidal and grotesquely insulting.

It starts with the title: Inside The “Fetal Assault Law” Sending Pregnant People To Prison.

And it continues with the text:

Tomorrow, a subcommittee in the Tennessee legislature will consider a bill to permanently extend the most horrific anti-pregnant person law you’ve never heard of.

House Bill (HB) 1660 and the Senate companion (SB 1629) would remove the built-in expiration date of July 1, 2016 for a criminal code provision—dubbed “Tennessee’s Fetal Assault Law” by reproductive justice advocates—that allows the prosecution and subsequent 15-year prison sentence for any pregnant person who ingests an illegal drug.

Nearly 40 advocacy groups focusing on reproductive rights, addiction, and/or criminal justice are calling for the law to sunset, and for the redirection of taxpayer funds being used to imprison sick people who happen to be pregnant at a time when they need treatment.

There are 95 counties in Tennessee and only 33 state-funded abuse agencies equipped to treat pregnant people

The Tea Party wave, “personhood” emphasis within the “pro-life” movement, and the increasing power and prevalence of for-profit prisons have created a perfect storm for more prosecution of pregnant people and those who have recently given birth.

Then there’s a break, where she mars her nearly perfect omission of women:

Unsurprisingly, when these laws are used with broader reach than advertised at their passage, it is women of color—particularly low-income women of color—who are most often prosecuted for fetal assault.

Two mentions of women – but the crime is not repeated.

Amnesty International has gotten involved as well, reinforcing the well-supported claim that jailing and surveilling people while they’re pregnant is a massive invasion of privacy.

The entanglement of health care and law enforcement highlights an important distinction between intention of the law—purportedly to provide care for pregnant people as well as the potential children they’re carrying—and its usage.

The punishment of pregnant people comes into play when overzealous, often ideologically-driven prosecutors and attorneys general use fetal assault/harm laws to advance a “pro-life” agenda.

The symposium attended by more than 250 participants from around the country addressed human and civil rights, bodily autonomy, current available treatment options for pregnant people, recommendations from leading medical professionals, and the impact of the fetal assault law on people’s lives.

  • The criminal justice system is not an effective vehicle to reduce NAS rates or to help pregnant people access appropriate substance use disorder treatment.

Emphasis mine throughout.

How is this not just blatant, shameless erasure? How is this not just “All Lives Matter” or “I don’t see color”? How is this anything but insulting?

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