Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The Craziest Anti-Choice Bill Yet

With the election of so many plainly crazy people to state legislatures in November, we should not be surprised to find those people submitting crazy legislation. But this one may take the cake. Rep. Bobby Franklin of Georgia has submitted a bill requiring the state to investigate every miscarriage that happens in that state to make sure it’s not a clandestine abortion. You can view the full bill here. Here is the relevant text:

“(a) A report of spontaneous fetal death for each spontaneous fetal death which occurs in this state shall be filed with the local registrar of the county in which the delivery occurred within 72 hours after such delivery in accordance with this Code section unless the place of fetal death is unknown, in which case a fetal death certificate shall be filed in the county in which the dead fetus was found within 72 hours after such occurrence. All induced terminations of pregnancy shall be reported in the manner prescribed in Code Section 31-10-19. Preparation and filing of reports of spontaneous fetal death shall be as follows:

(1) When a dead fetus is delivered in an institution, the person in charge of the institution or that person’s designated representative shall prepare and file the report;

(2) When a dead fetus is delivered outside an institution, the physician in attendance at
or immediately after delivery shall prepare and file the report;

(3) When a spontaneous fetal death required to be reported by this Code section occurs
without medical attendance at or immediately after the delivery or when inquiry is
required by Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45, the ‘Georgia Death Investigation Act,’ the
proper investigating official shall investigate the cause of fetal death and shall prepare
and file the report within 30 days;

But there’s lots of other crazy in the bill. The first part of the bill is a series of statements to justify “nullifying” and thus ignoring Roe v Wade. But it gets the constitution quite wrong.

The United States judiciary only has authority to hear cases or controversies ‘arising under this Constitution’ and then only if ‘affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to controversies between two or more states; between a state and citizens of another state; between citizens of different states; between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects’;

This is a rather obvious misreading of Article III, which is a series of clauses about the different kinds of cases the federal judiciary has jurisdiction over. But they are a long list of “ands”; the later clauses do not modify the former clauses.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

So the author of the bill is both crazy and legally clueless. Quelle surprise.