If you ever doubted that pregnant women quickly become a little more than foster containers, consider the case of Marshae Jones from Pleasant Grove, Alabama. In December, this 28-year-old black woman, five months pregnant, entered a fight with another woman who took a gun and shot her in the stomach. Marshae lived; the fetus did not survive. A large jury refused to indirectly shoot the shooter on the grounds that she had acted in self-defense. Instead, Ms Jones was arrested and accused of murder; According to this letter, the prosecutors have not yet decided whether to continue the case.
"The only true sacrifice in this was the unborn child," Lt said. Danny Reid of the Pleasant Grove Police Department at AL.com at the time of the event. "When a five-year-old pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe that some responsibility lies with her for damaging her unborn child. That child is dependent on her mother to try to keep it from harm and she should Do not seek unnecessary physical changes. "
In the early 1990s, the so-called pro-lifers passed a wave of state laws across the country that recognized fetuses as potential victims of murder in case of violence against pregnant women. The supporters assured the public that the laws should protect women from violence and never be used against the woman herself.
But that is exactly what has just happened. Marshae Jones is also not the first woman to face criminal charges for the accidental loss of pregnancy. Women have been prosecuted for fetal death as a by-product of car accidents, suicide attempts, drug overdoses and much more. Most of these women have been poor and in various kinds of problems; The kind of people who usually do not get a lot of public understanding. How their stories are told enhances our lack of empathy: They are portrayed as careless (you were pregnant and not wearing your seat belt?), Egoistic (why couldn't you wait until you gave birth to killing yourself?) And out of control. Legal abortion has always been the exception to embryonic infantry, which is not very logical, but was mandated by Roe v. Wade . Now, with Roe threatened as never before, we see that the people who warned the laws were a stalking horse to criminalize abortion and had nothing to do with pregnant women, were right.
Alabama proves it. The state where Marshae Jones is accused of killing is also the state that has passed an almost total ban on abortions, with no exceptions, but for fatal fetus anomalies or the woman's closest death and with penalties of up to 99 years for doctors performing them .
Meanwhile, not much for babies in the midst of all talk about the value of "life" and helplessness and innocence of "the unborn". Alabama has the second highest infant mortality in the country, and black babies are twice as likely to die as white babies. The March of Dimes gives the state an F for its early birth rate. And yes, Alabama is a bad state, but it makes it all strangers that it has rejected the federal grandeur of expanded Medicaid under the affordable caregiving law that would cost the state very little and cover more than 300,000 people.
It seems that in Alabama, the woman and only the woman are responsible for producing a healthy living child. Not the state, not society, not her family, and certainly not the father, who, with the rest of the country, has no obligation to care for the woman he is pregnant until the child is born. She's alone.
As the news of Jones's arrest, I broke up with telephone with Lynn Paltrow, the brilliant lawyer who is the redoubtable founder and CEO of the National Lawyers for Pregnant Women. "Attacks of a black woman to be pregnant and the victim of a shooting are brought to you by those who want to ban abortion and catch more black, brown and poor white people," she said. After our conversation, Paltrow sent me and noticed that while Marshae's case was unique in some ways, she still goes with hundreds of Alabama women "whose pregnancies and rights to foster rights have provided grounds for arresting such crimes as chemically threatened by a child "under a law intended to apply to women who brought children to dangerous meth labs, not drug-abused women.
In fact, Alabama leads arresting pregnant women to be a dangerous environment for the fertilized eggs, embryos or fetuses within her. So even if you can't identify with the Marshae Jones choice, there are great principles at stake. If a pregnant woman counts as a dangerous environment under the law, and a woman can be arrested because she does not or cannot secure her safety, then all pregnant women are threatened: from violent victims (why were you out on the uncertain street so late ?) and women who "provoke" their partner to beat them to women who have misunderstandings because of the physical demands of their jobs.
Theoretically, any woman whose pregnancy goes wrong – or even could have gone wrong – can be in great legal trouble. As the case of Marshae Jones shows, this opportunity is becoming less theoretical.