The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Looks like a test case to end abortion rights to me

Is this illegal?

A Burlington woman is accused of trying to end her pregnancy by allegedly falling down stairs because police say she was mad at her husband.

Christine Taylor is charged with attempted feticide. She was arrested on Wednesday after receiving treatment at a hospital.

Police were called to a hospital late Tuesday after Taylor reportedly told a nurse she intentionally fell down the stairs of her home because she wanted to end her pregnancy.

If so, I can’t see how abortion is legal.


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  1. I guess it kinda depends. What trimester is she in? If the fetus is viable, it could very well be considered feticide under the US Supreme Court’s limits on abortion.
    She just sounds stupid to me. The kind of damage she wants to cause her fetus might result in loss of her own life as well. A ruptured placenta can cause severe hemorrhaging.
    Put me down as a pro-choicer of the Hillary Clinton variety. I also think this is not the kind of thing you want to prosecute. She needs a psychologist and a good adoption agency. But there will be zealots out there who will mechanically pull the legal trigger on women for doing crazy shit like this.
    Actually, I think Diana, Princess of Wales, did the exact same thing when she was preggers. I think they got her a good shrink.

  2. Yeah, unfortunately here in the good old US of A, the precise date the pregnancy began determines a lot of the living, breathing adult woman’s civil rights.

    Oh, and every generation or so, with the advance of medical technology, we can expect the anti-abortion zealot crowd to relitigate, since viability will get earlier and earlier.

  3. Ummmm…third-trimester abortions are legal in America. The gynos who specialize in that procedure are rare; in fact, there’s only one left since the murder of Dr. Tiller.

    From a national standpoint, there is no such crime as “feticide.”

    If the woman was reduced to throwing herself down the stairs to end the pregnancy, she may not be compos mentis, or she might simply not have had alternatives available to her.

    Ian, you’re right on target here. Are you aware of the Personhood movement?

    This is exactly their plan. In fact, I wonder if the Iowa designation of “feticide” was their doing.

  4. hillbilly diaspora

    From the minimal details in the news story, it sounds quite possible (although unprovable) that this woman was pushed down the stairs by her husband (pregnancy can often exacerbate abusive behavior from spouses), and she is now getting punished for being a victim. When women’s rights aren’t protected…

  5. tjfxh

    Interesting case that adds to the divisiveness in US society, which is becoming so extreme as to suggest that a pluralistic democracy may not be governable. The nation state began as a “people” related by kinship, language, customs and worldview. That is no longer the case, and the consequences are unclear at this point.

  6. I could be wrong here, but I thought that even in the darkest days pre-Roe, self-induced abortions weren’t prosecuted.

  7. Ian Welsh

    Yes, well, if you charge a doctor for an illegal abortion, shouldn’t you also charge the woman? But traditionally, that wasn’t done, as best I’m aware.

    The self-righteousness of the anti-abortion fanatics is making them reach further and further, which is only to be expected when you scream “murder” and “holocaust” enough.

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