a bird and a bottle

Pregnant and a Teenager? Your Body Belongs to the State (of FL)

From Bitch PhD.: Florida is considering making pregnancy in teenagers a reportable offense.

No joke.

Both houses of the Florida state legislature are considering a bill that would require healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, abortion providers, hospitals, and clinics, to report to the state whenever they know or suspect that a girl aged 15 or younger is pregnant — and would require abortion providers to take DNA samples from fetuses when such girls procure abortions (emphasis mine). The bill would also lessen the protection for doctor-patient confidentiality. The St. Petersburg (FL) paper reports:

The report would trigger a criminal investigation examining whether the girl was a victim of a crime, such as statutory rape, which can include sex between two minors who are under 16.

The rationale for such a law? When young women become pregnant, it may be as a result of statutory rape. Which is a crime. So the fetal DNA is evidence that could lead to or support a criminal prosecution. As Dr. B. says:

That pregnancy is evidence of a crime, missy. And if you try to hide or get rid of the evidence, you’re a criminal too. Your body belongs to the state.

The rationale, of course, is ridiculous, and the law, if it passes, would only place young women’s health at risk.

Critics said the bill would dissuade pregnant minors from seeking medical care or counseling.

“If a 15-year-old is having consensual sex with her 15-year-old boyfriend and gets pregnant and she knows if she goes to a health care provider that the possible consequence is that her 15-year-old boyfriend could be thrown in jail, what’s the likelihood she’ll seek any care?” asked Lillian Tamayo of the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood.

I cannot even express how much this law pisses me off. It’s totally infantilizing (even teenagers have some agency) in its assumption that pregnant teens are “victims” and need “protection.” Yes, technically statutory rape law holds that any teenager who has sex under the age of consent with someone a set amount of years older is a “victim.” But the formalism of this law has created a fallacy and that fallacy should not now be used to justify this invasion into women’s health. Additionally, much like the prosecutions of pregnant women who give birth despite a drug addiction, the specter of this invasion will likely deter young women from seeking care both when they have been raped and when they are pregnant as a result of consensual sex. Finally, this is just another scare tactic to try to stop women from seeking abortions by setting up roadblocks.

Think I’m making this up? Doubt not:

When asked about the bill’s effect on girls’ ability to get abortions, both Storms and Baxley [two of the bills supporters] said the bill is intended to target sexual abuse of minors.

But Baxley added, “It doesn’t make me unhappy that a few more children may live.”


9 Comments so far
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But Baxley added, “It doesn’t make me unhappy that a few more children may live.”

Sure. Who cares if an existing teenager’s life is ruined or even lost due to lack of proper health care, as long as few babies live?

I can’t believe they’re even pretending this is meant to protect people.

Comment by GypsyJr

This is crazy.
It’s hard to imagine that proposed legislation like this is unrelated to a broader culture of fear in post-9/11 America. Would average – even average, conservative – Americans tolerate this type of personal invasion if other, less severe invasions weren’t being rammed down our throats constantly? i don’t think so.
please keep us posted as this story develops.

Comment by professorplum

Plum, I agree with you that this type of legislation is part of a post 9/11 environment in which people accept the trade of their civil liberties for the perception of safety. But I am not as optimistic as you are that absent that mentality laws like this would get laughed out of state legislatures. I think that when it comes to women’s — and girls’ — bodies, fear mongering has been around a lot longer than the “war on terror.”

Comment by bean

Agreed. Perhaps the war on terror (and six years of Bush regime) have dampened the libertarian instinct that sometimes kept these right wing urges in check.
The Left thankfully has gotten more vocal this years. But the libertarians seem to have ceded to all the right wing’s demands.

Comment by professorplum

[…] (here, here, here), Tiloma’s post shows how vulnerable women’s civil rights are, particularly when a woman becomes pregnant. So without further […]

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[…] on the bill at A Bird and a Bottle. dna, dna testing, genes, genetics, genome, health, pregnancy, teenage pregnancy Add to: […]

Pingback by Genetics and Health » DNA Tests of Pregnant Teenagers

this shit is stupid you can’t stop a teen from getting pregnant ana if they do its a crime that bullsh**t.

Comment by Laura

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Comment by jaren

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