(KCPW News) Amendments that were made to a bill making it a criminal homicide for a woman to have an illegal abortion have cleared up most of the concerns about it. But at a committee hearing yesterday, questions were raised about it possibly subjecting those who have miscarriages to prosecution. But bill sponsor Representative Carl Wimmer said that would not be the case.
“It’s absurd to think that a woman who has a miscarriage would be charged under the law right now. We know that that probably would not happen, although it technically probably could the way that the criminal homicide law is written,” he said. “My bill doesn’t affect that. My bill does nothing to change that, whatsoever.”
House Bill 12, “Abortion Amendments,” is Wimmer’s response to a case where a Vernal teenager paid a man to beat her so that she would have an abortion. The man was charged for the crime, but she was not. Wimmer’s bill tightens the definition of what an abortion is and removes a legal immunity for women if they intentionally try to have an illegal abortion.
Planned Parenthood Action Council Executive Director Missy Bird worked with Wimmer on the bill, and said she appreciates the work he’s done to address the group’s concerns. However, she said more still needs to be done to protect women.
“Most of the time when a woman miscarries, she has no idea why. And this bill requires her to prove the sole reason it happened,” she said. “And so as we’re moving forward with this piece of legislation, we would respectfully request that the committee and the sponsor look at continuing to ensure that women who want to have their babies and lose their babies to miscarriage will be protected.”
With Wimmer pledging to work on separate legislation to address these concerns, the House Health and Human Services committee voted unanimously to move his bill forward for a vote on the House floor.