- A pregnant Alabama woman got into an altercation with another woman that resulted in the death of her unborn child.
- Police initially charged the shooter with manslaughter but later dropped the charges, instead applying them to the mother.
- Pro-choice groups jumped on the story, saying that this is an example of the injustices of the Alabama abortion legislation.
An Alabama mother charged with manslaughter initiated the fight that killed her unborn child, authorities say, making her responsible for the child’s death.
Marshae Jones, 27, was shot in the stomach Dec. 4, 2018, outside a Birmingham Dollar General on Park Road. Jones was five months pregnant at the time of the shooting and was taken to UAB Hospital, but her unborn baby did not survive according to AL.com.
Authorities initially charged the shooter, Ebony Jemison, 23, with manslaughter. However, a grand jury did not indict her and police dropped the charges, AL.com reported. Jones will be incarcerated in Jefferson County Jail on $50,000 bond.
Jones initiated the fight with Jemison over Jones’ unborn baby’s father, police allege, adding that Jemison was defending herself when she shot Jones. Pleasant Grove police Lt. Danny Reid emphasized that the unborn baby relied on his or her mother for protection and that the mother “shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,” Reid said according to AL.com. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
An Alabama woman whose unborn baby was killed in a 2018 shooting was indicted by a grand jury on a manslaughter charge. The story has sparked discussion about fetal personhood and abortion laws. https://t.co/AxwsB9dz65
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) June 27, 2019
“Let’s not lose sight that the unborn baby is the victim here,” Reid added. “She had no choice in being brought unnecessarily into a fight where she was relying on her mother for protection.” (RELATED: This Is What A HuffPost Reporter Called An Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat)
Women’s rights activists were quick to jump on Jones’ indictment, harping on Alabama’s restrictive abortion legislation passed in May.
The Yellowhammer Fund, a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds, released a Wednesday statement protesting Jones’ indictment as an injustice.
“The state of Alabama has proven yet again that the moment a person becomes pregnant their sole responsibility is to produce a live, healthy baby and that it considers any action a pregnant person takes that might impede in that live birth to be a criminal act,” said Executive Director Amanda Reyes said in the statement.
Reyes add that “today, Marshae Jones is being charged with manslaughter for being pregnant and getting shot while engaging in an altercation with a person who had a gun. Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care.”
“This is what 2019 looks like for a pregnant woman of color without means in a red state,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue tweeted Wednesday.
Today, Marshae Jones was indicted for homicide when someone shot her in the stomach while she was pregnant, ending her pregnancy. They said she “started it.” The shooter went free. This what 2019 looks like for a pregnant woman of color without means in a red state. This is now.
— ilyse hogue (@ilyseh) June 27, 2019
The American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Randall Marshall said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation that this incident is another example of how Alabama is moving to criminalize pregnancy.
“Indeed, Alabama is one of the most dangerous places in the country for a Black woman trying to carry her pregnancy to term, and this prosecution is just one more attack on the basic human rights and dignity of Black women in our state,” Marshall said in the statement.
“The state already prosecutes women who choose to continue their pregnancies while struggling with addiction, even though leading medical experts unanimously agree that doing so leads to worse outcomes for mothers and babies who are addicted to drugs, and prosecutors are now trying to expand that to any choice made which affects the fetus,” Marshall added.
Planned Parenthood did not respond to requests for comment on the matter from the DCNF.
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