Alabama – 26 year-old Marshae Jones, who was pregnant at the time, was involved in a dispute with another woman. She was shot in her stomach, and unfortunately, her 5-month old fetus did not survive the altercation. The police initially charged the second woman, Ebony Jemison, with manslaughter in the death of the fetus. The charge was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her.
Marshae was later arrested and charged with the manslaughter of her unborn child. The Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office said the reason she was charged with the unborn child’s death was because she was the one who started the altercation, and ultimately, she did not remove herself from harm’s way.
Marshae posted a $500,000 bond and this unusual case has sparked a heated debate over the rights of pregnant women and fetuses nationwide, and Alabama is ground zero for the issue. In May, the governor signed a bill banning abortion at every stage of pregnancy and criminalizing the procedure for doctors, in what became the most stringent measure to prohibit abortion in the country. It is unclear if it will go into effect, but it sets up a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the federal case that recognizes a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy.
Alabama is among 38 states that have fetal homicide laws recognizing the fetus as a victim in cases of violence against a pregnant woman.
“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,” Lt. Reid said then. “That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”
What are your initial thoughts about the case? Do you think the charges are too harsh after already losing a baby, or does it serve her right since she was the one who started the fight?? Let’s talk about it below.