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Maura (in CA)


Thank you from those of us who were so alarmed and mobilized by your detailed attention to this issue and your willingness to stay on it. It's good to hear that Delegate Cosgrove has taken to heart the reaction he has received due to your alertness, and plans to take action accordingly. You sparked a storm that directly resulted in change for the better. Was it a tempest in a teacup? Perhaps, but thankfully we'll never know whether it could have turned into a furor that reached beyond the borders of your state because you and the people you reached altered the course of that tide.

It's unfortunate that people may have been less than polite in expressing their views about this to Delegate Cosgrove. However, he needs to consider that they way he characterized the e-mails he felt were out of line, "abusive, condescending, and mean-spirited," represents precisely how many of us viewed the bill, as it was drafted and presented to the public by him, in its potential impact on women.

It's also somewhat disingenuous of him, in my opinion, to state that "The bill in no way mentions miscarriages, only deliveries," because of the definition of "fetal death," the term he used in his bill and that you provided and linked to in your earlier posts, in the State of Virginia. A case could be made that a woman "delivers" the result of a spontaneous loss of a very early term pregnancy -- it must leave her body in some manner -- and not have it be what the State has defined as a "live birth," which I assume is what he meant in his response to you. For that matter, a "stillborn" baby, if not also precisely defined in conjunction with the revised bill, could be construed as a miscarriage. A sharp lawyer could cut in half the number of situations to which his bill would apply with a good argument, rendering the law far less meaningful.

If he is going to be upset by the words people use to express their opinions to him, he should use words far more carefully in the laws he crafts; laws that have the potential to affect the lives of thousands of people (and not just women, certainly) who gave him the ability to enact those laws. We ARE all watching and being vigilant, because the last year has taught us that we must, and that we must use the tools that are available to us to let people know when something undesirable is happening.

On a personal note, thank you for visiting my blog and reading my post relating to this issue. I appreciated getting your comment and learning that you would have updates that I can also pass along to my readers. It has been great getting familiar with you and your site and knowing that women everywhere are looking out for the best interests of all of us.


Maura in VA: Great job - get some sleep. Drop me an email - I'll buy you a coffee sometime.

Maura in CA: Also great job. I particularly like your response to Cosgrove complaints about the nasty emails he got. Then don't write nasty legislation, buddy! Words are words, politics is a tough business, but laws have the coercive power of the state behind them, and as a woman in Virginia I am appalled that such a recklessly privacy-invasive misogynistic bill was being proposed.


I just posted some links on my site to the Rockridge Institute's info sheet on Slippery Slope Strategic Initiatives (which I'm convinced this is). Anyone who wants to stop by to link through to read it is welcome.

Also, as much as I dislike Cosgrove's whiny complaining about the language in emails he's received, it bears repeating what members of minority communities have known for years: We have to be better than our opposition. So please, let's take the high road with our language.


This is a success story. The bill's language will be clarified and Del. Cosgrove has been made aware that we are watching. Whatever the intent of his bill, the initial language showed blatent disrespect for the rights of women. Can we come together like this to oppose legislation that doesn't seem as outrageous but actually is? Like parental notification of abortion laws that require young women that may incur the wrath of, at the least, unsympathetic parents or, at the most, abusive parents for excercising control over their lives? Great work everyone out there who told Del. Cosgrove what's what. Especially you Maura.


Included in my e-mail to Del. Cosgrove this morning, which I think is a point we could start hammering:

"Second, I wonder if a more effective way of preventing trashcan babies would be to have a public education campaign about Virginia’s ‘Safe Haven’ law, S.B. 1057 incorporated into S.B. 1151. As the law went into effect quite recently (July 1, 2003), it is not unreasonable to think that many constituents of child-bearing age are unfamiliar with the law. Knowledge that they could safely deliver their living newborns anonymously, and without legal repercussions might be sufficient in preventing the deaths of these newborns. I think we can both agree that preventing the deaths of these newborns would ultimately be a greater moral good than effectively prosecuting their parents after they have died.

I would appreciate any information and clarification you could provide on this issue."


What an unbelievable success story. Thanks, Maura, for bringing this to all of our attention.


Amy, good for you for including that. I'm constantly surprised by the number of well-informed people I know who have NO clue what a Safe Haven law is, and I attribute this to lack of publicity and education about such laws. (The issue was mentioned briefly on "Without a Trace" the other night, but as far as I know, there was no PSA after the show about it.) I am not going to theorize about what the original intent of Cosgrove's law really was, but the fact remains that babies are abandoned not infrequently and die as a result. It took a lot of work to pass those Safe Haven laws -- every young woman living in a Safe Haven state should know that they exist as an alternative.

Sorry if I sound preachy. :) Thanks, Maura!


Did the guy even read your blog posts on this subject? He writes:

"On a final note, your website advocates the use of emailing comments to my office...The majority of emails I have received from this site, however, have been extremely abusive, condescending, and mean-spirited..."

Ummm...no, you didn't advocate any such thing. What you did say was:

"...If you find this bill as offensive as I do, what can you do now? A few ideas...

If you live in Virginia, join me in asking Delegate Cosgrove how his bill will benefit the people of the Commonwealth.

If you live in Virginia, write to your Delegate and State Senator to express your views on this bill and demand that they oppose it.

Contact the Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia and let them know that you will expect them to oppose this bill and will consider this in your voting decision in the primary..."

Like it's your fault he's getting a few emails with some rough language. Maybe if he hadn't proposed such a poorly thought out piece of legislation, he wouldn't be dealing with a shitstorm now.

Keep doing the Wendell Phillips thing - you rock!


I took a closer look at his email and I wouldn't relax just yet.


Delegate John A Cosgrove, the same man who is the Chief Patron of HJ 586, Constitutional amendment; marriage may only exist between a man and a woman?


His bio? Born in Montgomery, AL, Baptist, served in military.


I'd watch him very closely.


MaurainVA, certainly don't need any more input by now. Phenomenal kick ass job re:awareness, alerting, networking, etc"

proud to know ya and as the post above stated I would also "..watch him very closely"


I came across your blog through Chez Miscarriage... I immediatly posted on my blog. Thank you so much for getting this message out so women CAN make a difference!

I agree with Kimmy above and think we should contine to "watch him very closly" and make sure the bill is worded properly to protect the privacy and emotional well being of women who have lost a pregnancy at any gestational age.

Thank you for helping us stay aware...


I found you through Kerstin at Homegrown Daisy and just want to say THANK YOU for addressing this and being a force for positive change.

Rock on.


Thank you for this update, and for the initial information (which I found in a friend's journal). This has definitely made progress in the last day thanks to you. There are still measures he can take to address his stated intent, though, such as limiting it to deliveries that would have been viable (third trimester?) and getting rid of the class-1 misdemeanor he says he didn't intend. But really, education about Safe Haven will do much more than this; after all, if you can reach people to inform them of this law, then you can reach them to inform them of alternatives to trash cans!


well done ladies - that is awesome !
That is so inspiring !

Hoep you have a great weekend :)


Way to go Maura!

YOU have the power!


Thank *you* Maura. No problem--feel free to use whatever you need.


After reviewing Cosgrove's subsequent replies to outraged citizens, I can only conclude he's a lying bastard. A cursory review of VA law reveals numerous sections dealing with child abandonment, any of which could be easily amended to accommodate the deaths of full term babies abandoned shortly after birth.

Elaine in Roanoke VA

I'm quite sure that Steve is correct. I wrote another email to Cosgrove (this time very much the Southern lady so that his easily bruised feelings would not get hurt. I asked him about whether Virginia had a Safe Haven law. I did not know until I read the comments here that one took effect in 2003. Cosgrove should be strongly encouraged to put in a bill to fund public service announcements about that law.
It is not cynical to believe that this was an attempt at "slippery slope" legislation.
Well done, Maura! A good project for us might be to look closely at the legislation being introduced in this session of the General Assembly to see what other garbage the radical Righties might be trying to slip past.

Robin in Richmond

Let's keep a close eye on this bill. It may never get rewritten as the Delegate assures.

Has anyone independently checked with the sheriff he cited about the particulars of the need? I'll bet it's being misrepresented....or there are already other laws covering it.


Thank you from a California Mom. My 13 year old daughter and I were outraged with this proposed legislation. Both of us are impressed with your diligence and my kiddo is inspired.

All the best from a Pro-Choice Mother and Daughter. Now please get some rest.

Magnum Serpentine

I will feel a lot better when this bill is pulled. And those who wrote it are investigated, and the Chesapeake Police Department should also be investigated for suggesting such a stupid bill.

I cannot but wonder if this is some sort of christian right mask for restricting abortions.


Maybe Cosgrove should add a stipulation that all men be required to contact the police if they use a condom and it breaks...so the State and Mr. Cosgrove knows if a potential fetal emergency might be ensuing. We don't want that woman to a have a chance to commit the crime of fetal death with a morning after pill.

Anne M.

Take a look at this site: http://thewelltimedperiod.blogspot.com


Check into the way Arizona does it and propose this. We had the same issue with trash can babies and they started a program in Tucson where a mother can drop her baby off at any hospital (I think within 24 hours) confidentially and there are no consequences.

Since it has gone into effect, it has only been used a few times, but those few times saved those babies lives and the mother was not punished for it. Familes then adopt the babies. The biggest impact is there haven't been any more trash babies on the news from frightened mothers and fathers (usually young kids) who were too terrified to think rationally. This gives them and their babies a safe haven. There was a lot of controversy by extremists that think any woman should not have any control over her body, but once the program went into effect, there have been no issues. I think the fear was they would be getting thousands of drop offs but that is not the case. This is truly a Prolife program in every sense.

Thanks for posting this.

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