Yesterday, a woman was charged with fetal manslaughter after she was involved in a fight which saw her shot in the stomach, resulting in the miscarriage of her unborn baby.
28 year-old Marshae Jones, who was five months pregnant was indicted by the Jefferson County grand jury on Wednesday.
The shooter, Ebony Jemison was initially charged, but escaped jury indictment after a police investigation determined Jones started the fight, and Jemison fired the fatal shot in self-defence.
Local police Lt. Danny Reid said in a press conference after the incident that “the only true victim” was the fetus, who was “dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm.”
He said that Jones had intentionally caused the death of her child, when she initiated a fight with Jemison knowing she was pregnant.
Alabama currently leads America in charging women for crimes related to their pregnancies.
Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, told abc NEWS that women were routinely prosecuted in the state for having an abortion or miscarrying. Hundreds of women have been charged with “chemical endangerment of a child” — a statute that holds women accountable for the any harm to their embryo or fetus as a result of controlled substances.
Despite that, Paltrow said it was the first time she’d encountered a case as blatantly unjust as the latest one.
“This takes us to a new level of inhumanity and illegality towards pregnant women,” she said. “I can’t think of any other circumstance where a person who themselves is a victim of a crime is treated as the criminal.”
The charges against Jones come just over a month after Alabama passed controversial legislation to outlaw abortions in almost all cases, including rape and incest.
The bill was signed by Alabama’s Republican governor, Kay Ivey.