CA Assembly Bill 2223 (AB 2223) would eliminate mandatory investigations of stillbirths. The bill would prevent prosecution in cases of “perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause.” But authorities would investigate if there were evidence of foul play leading to an infant’s death.
Of course, Wingnut World, opponents of the bill, and purveyors of Fake News have spun the legislature’s intent into: “California is legalizing infanticide!” No, CA is not legalizing infanticide. 🙄
The latest Fake News claim gained momentum after some fundie pastor from a mega church in SoCal posted a message on Facebook, which was parroted by a member of TFG’s campaign legal team, Jenna Ellis. It appears Facebook has removed Jenna’s post because….FAKE!
Headlines from the Miami Standard: “California introduces new bill that would allow mothers to kill their babies up to 7 days after birth”
The claim is untrue, Fake News.
What the bill states:
Assembly Bill 2223, as amended April 6: Pregnancies can end in a range of outcomes. Nationwide, as many as one in five known pregnancies end in miscarriage. In California, as many as 2,365 pregnancies per year end in stillbirth, meaning perinatal loss after 20 weeks gestation. Many pregnancy losses have no known explanation.
People also need to end pregnancies by abortion, including self-managed abortion, which means ending one’s own pregnancy outside of the medical system.
Every Californian should have the right to feel secure that they can seek medical assistance during pregnancy without fear of civil or criminal liability.
The threat of criminal prosecution of pregnancy outcomes is partly traceable to out-of-date provisions that give coroners a duty to investigate certain abortions and pregnancy losses. Based on these provisions, health care providers and institutions report people to law enforcement for pregnancy losses, leading to harmful investigations and even unlawful prosecutions.
Civil and criminal penalties imposed on pregnant people is a critical issue for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, who experience adverse pregnancy outcomes as a result of systemic racial inequities and are more likely to be under scrutiny of state systems like child welfare or immigration.
The threat of criminal prosecutions or civil penalties on pregnant people through child welfare, immigration, housing, or other legal systems has a harmful effect on individual and public health. When a person fears state action being taken against them related to their pregnancy, they are less likely to seek medical care when they need it. If they do seek care, punishing them for actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcomes interferes with professional care and endangers the relationship between providers and patients.