Those of you who know me know that I can get pretty heated when it comes to certain topics – well, here’s one of them.
A friend recently brought an article to my attention that has me seeing red. Apparently, a 15-year-old girl in Mississippi has already been tried and convicted of “depraved-heart murder” under a 130-year-old statute. She was doing cocaine during her pregnancy and the child was stillborn.
Now, I’m not defending what she did – by no means. The girl was wrong. She should be charged with all the drug charges they can throw at her. But charging her with some form of homicide?! HELL NO. That leads to a very scary slippery slope. If all of a sudden we can start attacking people for losing a pregnancy, we’re in big trouble. What about a woman who stays with an abusive significant other and loses a baby? Are we going to blame her for not being able to get out of the relationship? Or someone who chooses to continue a treatment that will keep them healthy (psychiatric treatment, cancer treatment, etc) but that is known to terminate or risk a pregnancy?!
This is such a scary concept that my mind is boggled. Not only is this prosecutor – who apparently has a track record of being a raging douchewad – opening the floodgates of recriminations, he’s now attacking women who are in one of the worst places imaginable. Many women (and their spouses) who lose a pregnancy (for whatever reason) are completely devastated by the loss. And now we’re going to compound that by making them fear prosecution? How many of them are already beating themselves up over what they think they could have done to prevent this – right or wrong, it goes through one’s mind – and now this prosecutor wants to tell them “Yes, you should have done something more, and since you didn’t GO TO JAIL!”
What a dick.
Well, the MS Supreme Court has already heard arguments, including the very compelling one from the defense attorney that
“If it’s not a crime for a mother to intentionally end her pregnancy, how can it be a crime for her to do it unintentionally, whether by taking drugs or smoking or whatever it is,” said Robert McDuff, a civil rights lawyer who argued the case on behalf of Gibbs. “I hope it’s not a trend that’s going to catch on. To charge a woman with murder because of something she did during pregnancy is really unprecedented and quite extreme.”
You know what, I can’t agree more with Mr. McDuff. I hope they win. Now we’re just waiting on the decision from the MS Supreme Court. I hope they make the right one. And I hope that the prosecutor, one Forrest Allgood, is brought down a level and that his bosses start looking at what the hell he’s doing with his professional discretion.
Here’s the article, which also includes some commentary on how this is a side-swiping attack on Roe v Wade. http://hypervocal.com/news/2011/why-does-this-15-year-old-girl-face-life-in-prison-for-a-miscarriage/