An Alabama woman, who got shot in the stomach while pregnant, killing her unborn child, has been charged with manslaughter.
Marshae Jones, 28, was five months pregnant when she was shot during an argument with another woman.
According to the authorities, Ms. Jones got involved in an altercation with Ebony Jemison, 23, who shot her in December last year, outside a Pleasant Grove shop near Birmingham.
Ms. Jones was charged with manslaughter but later released from jail after posting a $50,000 bond. The woman who shot her walked free.
According to the police report, they charged Ms. Jones because she was the one who initiated the argument that led to the shooting of her unborn child, the AL reported.
Following the incident in December, Lt. Danny Reid, of the Pleasant Grove Police Department, said:
“The only true victim in this was the unborn baby.”
“It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight, which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
The unusual case comes after the Alabama governor, Kay Ivey, signed a bill in May, banning abortion in almost all circumstances, including incest and rape.
It’s not clear whether the bill will take effect. This new ordinance challenges Roe V. Wade, a supreme court judgment that recognizes the constitutional rights to end a pregnancy.
Alabama is one of the 38 states in the US with fetal homicide laws that recognizes the fetus as a potential victim in cases of violence against an expectant mother, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
After MS. Jones was arrested, her charges triggered an outcry among abortion-rights groups. The activists came to her defense, claiming that the case is the mistreatment of people of color.
In a statement, the National Abortion Federation, a professional association of abortion providers, said:
“This is how people — especially women of color — are already being punished & having their pregnancies criminalized.”
The police department in Pleasant Grove, together with the district attorney’s office in Jefferson County, didn’t comment on the case.
The AL reported that Ms. Jones was shot at a parking lot of Dollar General while in a dispute with another woman over the unborn child’s father.
After she got shot, she was rushed to the hospital, but the fetus didn’t survive.
Initially, police had charged Ebony Jemison with manslaughter. Her case was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her.
At the time, the police reported that Ms. Jones’s “involvement and culpability” would be examined to determine whether she was to be charged.
Lt. Reid said:
“When a five-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child.”
“That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”
Alabama-based abortion group, the Yellowhammer Fund, wrote on Twitter that they were going to get Ms. Jones out of jail and assist “with her legal representation.”