Imagine the following scenario:
You are at home alone at 8:00 on a Friday night. You are 8 weeks pregnant. You are excited about the pregnancy, but being cautious, you haven’t told anyone about it yet except your partner, your best friend, your parents, and your doctor.
All of a sudden, you begin to experience heavy cramping. Bleeding ensues. You realize with shock and sadness that you are probably experiencing a miscarriage. You leave a message with your doctor’s service. The on-call doctor calls back, offers sympathies, and advises taking pain medication or going to the hospital if the bleeding gets worse. She offers you the next available appointment for a follow-up exam - Monday at 3PM. You accept. You are overwhelmed with grief and surprised by the intensity of physical pain involved. You call your partner and ask him to come home from his “boys night out”, sparing him the reason over the phone. You call your best friend. She offers to come over immediately and make you cocoa. You cry.
You decide not to tell your parents yet; let them sleep through the night before delivering the terrible news. Your partner comes home and you break the sad news to him. He holds you on the couch and you both cry together. Your best friend comes over with cocoa. You cry some more. Over the next few hours, you suffer pain, cramping, and intermittent bleeding. Exhausted, you finally fall asleep in your partner’s arms around 4 AM. You sleep until noon, and then gird yourself for the difficult call to your parents, who were so eagerly anticipating their first grandchild.
Guess what? You just earned yourself up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Why? Because you failed to call the cops and report your miscarriage within 12 hours.
True? Not yet. But if Delegate John Cosgrove (R-78) has his way, HB1677 will become law in a few short months, and this scenario will be reality for many women in Virginia.
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