UPenn Professor: Women Could Go to Jail for Miscarriages if ‘Roe’ Overturned

July 5, 2018

Dorothy Roberts, a University of Pennsylvania professor of law and sociology, said Wednesday that a conservative Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade and ultimately criminalize miscarriages.

Arguing that President Donald Trump’s pick to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy would usher in a conservative majority, Roberts said that outcome could lead to prosecutors going after women who suffer miscarriages. In an MSNBC clip noted by the Daily Caller, Roberts said "misogynistic laws" would be able to stand because of the anti-abortion rulings a conservative Court could potentially make.

"It’s a very thin line between putting a woman in prison for a stillbirth or a miscarriage that she’s blamed for—for something she did during her pregnancy—and criminalizing abortions," Roberts claimed. "So we’re already at that point, and I agree with Jennifer that women and others have to protest against this continued criminalization of women, harms to our health, and what I think is misogynistic laws against women."

MSNBC host Ali Velshi asked Roberts about a tweet she wrote saying women would be under fire from all these different directions if the Supreme Court overturned Roe. Roberts expressed concern about the "onslaught on women’s access to abortion" that could occur were a conservative justice to take Kennedy’s place.

"There have been a slew—hundreds—of bills, many of them passed that are already drastically restricting women's access to abortion," she said, singling out a Texas law as one of the worst.

That law was struck down by the Supreme Court, as she pointed out, by the vote of five justices in 2016 in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

The "very, very horrible law" the Court overturned required abortion facilities to meet hospital standards and doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The court ruled the requirements placed an "undue burden" on the right to an abortion established by Roe.

Published under: Abortion , Supreme Court