Dear Jezebel: fetal homicide laws exist to protect unborn babies

Preborn child at 20 weeks gestation, or 22 weeks LMP - a new standard of viability, where the child can live outside the womb.

Fetal homicide laws are designed to protect the baby. This is not rocket science.

Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan got a few things wrong in her recent post, “When Laws Designed to Protect Pregnant Women End Up Imprisoning Them.” But that’s no surprise. Jezebel has missed the mark on more than one occasion. This time, the entire post is based on the inaccurate claim that fetal homicide laws were established to protect pregnant women. But these laws were put in place to protect unborn babies from harm and to allow prosecutors to charge anyone – except abortionists – who kills an unborn child with anything from battery to homicide. In some states, that includes the mother herself.

Pregnant Woman Attempts Suicide

When Bei Bei Shuai ingested rat poison at 33 weeks’ gestation and her baby girl did not survive, she was charged with fetal homicide. It didn’t matter to police that she was attempting suicide because her boyfriend had left her. Her actions led to the death of another human being, whether she mourned the loss of her child or not. It isn’t the first time a distraught mother has caused the death of her innocent child. Does Shuai deserve to receive mental health care based on her actions? Yes. But her daughter, named Angel, was old enough to be born healthy, and she deserved her life. Instead, she suffered a brain hemorrhage and died at just 4 days old because her mother poisoned her. It’s a heartbreaking situation. But the main reason Jezebel would have a problem with Shuai being arrested is because Jezebel fears that cases like this, and fetal homicide laws themselves, will help end legal abortion.

False Reports of a Push down the Stairs

Ryan also mentions Christine Taylor in the post, and she gets the details wrong. Ryan claims that Taylor, pregnant with her third child, was pushed down the stairs by her abusive husband, and then Taylor herself was charged with fetal homicide. That would be an appalling reason for a lawyer to charge a grieving, abused mother with murder (and I bet Ryan was betting on all of her readers becoming outraged at this). But according to a variety of reports, that’s not what happened. Taylor, according to Radio Iowa, went to the hospital, where she told the doctors that after a phone call from her estranged husband, she was distraught and distracted, causing her to trip and fall down the stairs. She said she came to the hospital to make sure her baby was okay, which the baby is. Based on the information given to the doctors, police arrested Taylor for attempted fetal homicide. However, the charges were dropped when Taylor’s actual doctor told police that she was not yet in her third trimester, since Iowa fetal homicide laws protect unborn children from their parents only after 28 weeks’ gestation.

Was Taylor attempting to kill her unborn child, or did she really trip and fall? Her visit to the ER implies that it was an accident, but only she knows for sure. Either way, Taylor isn’t being charged, and her baby is safe, and that’s what matters most. Readers were likely distressed by Jezebel’s false reports of the husband causing the fall and police placing the blame on the victim. In reality, police were following up as they are required to do, and while it’s unclear whether police went too far, both mother and baby are alive and well.

Homicide laws are in place to protect all of us, including pregnant women, from being murdered. But since unborn children have lost their right to life, and the value of their lives has therefore been diminished, fetal homicide laws were put in place to protect “wanted” unborn children from being unjustly killed. These laws are an attempt to get justice for the babies and closure for grieving parents. What’s ludicrous is that value of an unborn baby’s life is based solely on her mother’s opinion of her. Imagine if whether we lived or died depended on what one person thought. While abortion tells us that unborn babies don’t matter, fetal homicide laws prove that they do.

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