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The Alabama Woman Charged With Her Fetus’ Death Is Part of a Long History of Blaming Black Women for Harm to Their Unborn

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The Confederate Memorial stands outside the governor’s office at the Alabama State Capitol on May 15th, 2019, in Montgomery, Alabama, the day that Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a near-total ban on abortion into state law.

A grand jury in Alabama handed down an extraordinary decision against a woman this week: It charged Marshae Jones with manslaughter, for starting a fight that ended with another woman shooting her in the stomach and killing her fetus. Jones had been five months pregnant.

“Let’s not lose sight that the unborn baby is the victim here,” police lieutenant Danny Reid said at the time of the shooting, AL.com reports. “She had no choice in being brought unnecessarily into a fight where she was relying on her mother for protection.”

The case has drawn nationwide attention, as it comes after Alabama passed a near-total abortion ban last month, which is scheduled to take effect later this year. Alabama law, it seems, extends remarkable protection to fetuses, sometimes to the detriment of their parents.

But while penalizing pregnant people for harm or potential harm to their fetuses may be unusual, it still has a long and steady history in America, as I reported last year. Between 1973 and 2005, at least 413 people were arrested, detained, or forced to undergo medical interventions they didn’t want, in the name of protecting the health of their fetuses, according to an analysis published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law by Jeanne Flavin, a sociologist, and Lynn Paltrow, founder of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a non-profit legal organization that specializes in cases like these. 



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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !