Take one step today to stop the state from criminalizing pregnant women

I know we all work on many important issues, but this one is really important, and deserves five minutes of your time and attention.

Bei Bei Shuai.

While the details of her case are super important, the reason this deserves your attention right now is that these cases set a really dangerous precedent of punishing women who fail to guarantee a healthy pregnancy outcome. (h/t to Lynn Paltrow)

Now as birth activists we know how dangerous this is, and how it can (and is) being used against women who try to refuse c-sections and other maternity related care. NO ONE can guarantee a healthy pregnancy outcome. It’s impossible. This is about fighting for autonomy in health care, and to prevent the state from criminalizing pregnant women.

Here is Bei Bei’s story:

In 2010, Bei Bei Shuai, a pregnant woman living in Indiana became so depressed that she attempted to end her own life. With help from friends who intervened, however, she survived. Although Ms. Shuai did everything she could, including undergoing cesarean surgery, to ensure that her baby survived, her newborn died shortly after birth.

Ms. Shuai was arrested for the crime of murder (defined to include viable fetuses) and feticide (defined to include ending a human pregnancy at any stage). The sentence for murder can be the death penalty or 45 years-to-life. The sentence for attempted feticide is up to 20 years. Both of these kinds of laws are promoted and supported by “pro-life” organizations.

Bei Bei’s own mental health struggles add another layer of questions of disability rights to this case.

Criminalizing pregnant women does nothing but harm. Bei Bei should not be in prison. No pregnant woman should go to prison because of the outcome of her pregnancy. Ever.

Sign this petition in support of Bei Bei. This is seriously scary shit people.

Via National Advocates for Pregnant Women


5 thoughts on “Take one step today to stop the state from criminalizing pregnant women

  1. Margie Franzen March 21, 2012 / 12:27 pm

    I wuld think that her situation is that she was suffering form a severe mental depression.so, threfore should not be held liable for this action. of course if this was a male he wuld not be held liable in india or the United States.

  2. Lynda M O March 21, 2012 / 2:53 pm

    What a heinous act-bringing charges against her when she’s in need of mental health intervention.

  3. Les @ LPN Programs March 22, 2012 / 3:30 am

    This is disturbing news. She may have been wrong for trying to end her life (while pregnant!) but I have to agree with Margie that given her mental state, they should have given her health care options instead of charging her with a criminal case. Geez. We all know women are more likely to be depressed during and post-pregnancy. We have doctors to address this. What’s a jail guard gonna do?

  4. stuffoncraigslist March 31, 2012 / 12:16 am

    It takes two to make a baby, right? Where is the man in this equation? Just curious. If a mother is held responsible to this extreme degree, shouldn’t the father be too?

  5. stuffoncraigslist March 31, 2012 / 12:19 am

    Presumably the reason these laws exist are because of those who believe in families and traditional marriages and taking responsibility for your pregnancy. So, to that end, where the hell is the father in this equation? It takes two to make a baby. Why isn’t he too responsible if we’re going to go to this extreme degree?

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