Michelle's crime? The death of her 'unborn child.'
In September 2007, Behles was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. She had overdosed on prescription medications and her fetus, more than 29 weeks along at the time, did not survive. Along with drug charges (her prescriptions were obtained using a fake name), Behles also plead guilty to "endangering a child or vulnerable adult."
Behles' attorney, Tom Glass attempted to have that charge dismissed because ND law does not consider a fetus to be a child. State's Attorney Ladd Erickson argued that:
A child is defined by North Dakota law as "an individual who is under 18 years of age." And unborn children are not excluded from that definition.
The judge agreed but Behles may still appeal the verdict to the ND Supreme Court.
The idea that women can be held criminally responsible for harm to a fetus is troublesome. We know that drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy carries significant risk factors. However, granting a fetus full personhood will have great implications on how we treat women.
Anti-choicers argue that life begins the moment sperm and egg meet. Anti-choicers also argue that taking the pill could result in a fertilized egg being shed during menstruation. Ergo, women lose prescription contraception. By lowering women's status to "incubator for the unborn" we give up the right to say what happens to our bodies. Can a woman have any say over her body if the fetus is considered its own person? Consider legislation in Oklahoma....
Feministe reports that new laws force pregnant women seeking abortion to undergo ultrasound. Forcing a medical procedure on an un-consenting woman sends a disturbing message.
The law states that either an abdominal or vaginal ultrasound, whichever gives the best image of the fetus, must be done. Neither the patient nor the doctor can decide which type of ultrasound to use, and the patient cannot opt out of the ultrasound and still have the procedure. In effect, then, the legislature has mandated that a woman have an instrument placed in her vagina for no medical benefit. The law makes no exception for victims of rape and incest.
If the patient can't decide, and the doctor can't decide, then …. WHO DECIDES? Who decides what happens to women's bodies? Blogger, Jill Filipovic points out that ultrasounds are expensive and will therefore further hinder women seeking abortion but more importantly…
Nobody should be forced to undergo a medical procedure against their will. Nobody should have to undergo an invasive, expensive, non-consensual and wholly unnecessary procedure as a prerequisite for another procedure. No right-thinking person should promote a law that requires doctors to penetrate a woman's vagina with a medical instrument against her will
Being pro-choice means recognizing that our body is our own. How long until these concepts are carried to their logical conclusion? Should all women of child-bearing age be given pre-natal vitamins? Will the police show up to investigate every miscarriage? Will pregnant women be sent home from work for the health of the 'unborn'?
I'm going to start looking in the mirror every morning and pointing out body parts. Eyes—mine. Hands- mine. Lips—mine. Breasts—mine. Uterus—mine. It's all my body. It's not here for anyone else to touch, force open, force me to do… force me to bring life- nothing should be done against my will. I will not be forced.
No woman should be forced.