An article from The Huffington Post caught my eye the other evening. Titled “Alabama Wants To Imprison Marshae Jones. Her Crime Was Being Shot While Pregnant,” I imagine it’s relatively simple to figure out why I was intrigued by the headline.
The following excerpts are from the article:
“Marshae Jones, a 28-year-old Alabama woman, is facing a manslaughter charge after her fetus died in utero. Her crime? Allegedly provoking a fight with a person who ultimately shot her in the stomach, killing her five-month-old fetus. Lawyers for Jones filed a motion for the charges to be dropped on Monday, stating that there is no legal or factual basis to permit a criminal prosecution. A hearing is scheduled for July 9.”
“Jones’ case, in particular, raises questions about the legal ramifications of the concept of ‘fetal personhood,’ which holds that a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus is a separate person with a separate set of rights who deserves full legal protection under the U.S. Constitution… In 2018, voters passed a constitutional amendment declaring that it is ‘public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children.’ Earlier this year, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed into law a near-total ban on abortion, which she called a testament to her constituents’ deeply held belief that every life is precious… Alabama is also one of 38 states with a fetal homicide law, which allows charges to be brought when a fetus is killed. Under state law, “an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability” counts as a “person” for prosecution purposes. But the statute stipulates that women should not be charged in the deaths of their own fetuses, complicating the state’s case against Jones.”
Now that we have some context, we can recognize the absurdity of the charges potentially facing Jones. Not only has this woman been shot, which comes with a multitude of physical and emotional side-effects, but further, she must attempt to grapple the possibility of her being charged for the death of her child.
I think it is crucial to examine situations such as these from all perspectives. What happened to Jones’ child is a tragedy, and presenting her with legal ramifications is the absolute last thing she should have to be dealing with right now. This particular case truly emphasizes the oppression women are facing when it comes to their own bodies, and more, how out of hand this oppression has become.
Photo credit: <a href=”https://visualhunt.co/a2/59c9ed01″>Shawn Harquail</a> on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re4/56cdceb2″>Visual Hunt</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”> CC BY-NC</a>