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Some say Georgia bill criminalizes miscarriages

February 23, 2011|By Chris Durden | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
General Assembly Photo

(ATLANTA) — A Georgia lawmaker is under fire for a bill some say would force women to prove a miscarriage is natural or face criminal penalties.

The bill by Republican Rep. Bobby Franklin includes the following language:

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.

The bill prompted a story by the publication Mother Jones which quickly spread online. Franklin's Facebook page is filled with comments critical of the legislation which would also outlaw abortion in Georgia. A few people posted in support of his position.

There has been no public comment from Franklin.

The Mayo Clinic says between 15 and 20 percent of pregnancies end in a miscarriage or a "spontaneous" death. Experts say most occur because the fetus is not developing correctly.


Franklin has served in the Georgia General Assembly since 1997, representing part of metro-Atlanta.

Franklin is no stranger to controversy. He's proposed a bill to eliminate the term "victim" from rape, stalking and domestic violence cases, replacing it with "accuser" instead. He's also sponsored a bill to eliminate driver's licenses saying "Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right."

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