Alabama woman shot in the stomach during fight indicted for the manslaughter of her unborn baby
- Marshae Jones’s unborn baby died after she was shot in the stomach during a fight with another woman
- Authorities allege Ms Jones initiated the fight and therefore bears responsibility for the miscarriage
- Charges against the shooter have been dropped
But the 27-year-old did not fire the shot that killed her unborn baby.
The shooting was the result of a fight between Ms Jones and 23-year-old Ebony Jemison outside a Dollar General store in Pleasant Grove in December, 2018.
Ms Jemison shot Ms Jones in the stomach and, although Ms Jones survived, her unborn baby died.
At the time of the incident, Pleasant Grove Police Lt Danny Reid alleged the fight stemmed from the unborn baby’s father.
Lt Reid also alleged the pregnant woman initiated the fight and therefore bore some responsibility regarding injury to the unborn child.
On Wednesday (local time) a grand jury indicted Ms Jones on a manslaughter charge, AL.comreported.
She will be transferred to the Jefferson County Jail and held on $50,000 bond.
Pleasant Grove Police initially planned to charge Ms Jemison with manslaughter, but the charge was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her.
What law was the charge brought under?
The ability to prosecute a pregnant woman over the death of her unborn baby is legislated by Alabama’s criminal code.
In the context of criminal homicide, a “person” is defined in the code as “a human being, including an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability”.
Alabama is among 38 US states with foetal homicide laws — Alabama passed theirs in 2006.
In a case heard in the state Supreme Court last year, in which a man was convicted of killing his wife when she was eight weeks’ pregnant, the court ruled to uphold the state’s foetal homicide law.
At the time, Justice Tom Parker argued it was a “logical fallacy” for the Government to consider a foetus a life for the purposes of a murder conviction, but not when it comes to a woman deciding to end her pregnancy.
Alabama’s 2006 law had specifically carved out a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy as an exception to foetal protections.
Justice Parker called that the “Roe exception”.
In the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade case, the US Supreme Court legalised abortion across the country.
In Alabama and other conservative states, anti-abortion politicians and activists hope to overturn the Roe vs Wade precedent, putting an end to the constitutional right to abortion.
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