An Alabama woman has officially been charged with the death of her unborn baby after she was shot in the stomach during a fight she was involved in when she was 5 months pregnant.
According to AL.com, 27-year-old Marshae Jones, who is accused of starting the fight was taken into custody on Wednesday after she was indicted by a grand jury on a manslaughter charge. The case against the shooter, 23-year-old Ebony Jemison, who was initially charged with manslaughter was, however, dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her.
The incident occurred in December 2018 and was as a result of a dispute over the father of Jones’ unborn baby. The physical altercation, which Jones’ allegedly instigated resulted in her being shot in the stomach by Jemison in a case of self-defense, AL.com further reports.
Though the police responded to the scene after it was reported, the injured Jones was nowhere to be found. She was, later on, tracked down and sent to a hospital. The unborn baby, however, could not be saved.
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ Lt. Danny Reid of Pleasant Grove police said about the shooting. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
“Let’s not lose sight that the unborn baby is the victim here,’’ Reid added. “She had no choice in being brought unnecessarily into a fight where she was relying on her mother for protection.”
According to Reid, the fetus was “dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm” and as such, Jones was supposed to avoid “unnecessary physical altercations.”
Jones is currently being held on a $50,000 bond.
News of Jones’ indictment was criticized by pro-choice groups including the Yellowhammer Fund who released a statement on Wednesday, according to AL.com.
“The state of Alabama has proven yet again that the moment a person becomes pregnant their sole responsibility is to produce a live, healthy baby and that it considers any action a pregnant person takes that might impede in that live birth to be a criminal act,’’ said Executive Director Amanda Reyes.
“Today, Marshae Jones is being charged with manslaughter for being pregnant and getting shot while engaging in an altercation with a person who had a gun. Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care,” Reyes added.
“We commit ourselves to making sure that Marshae is released from jail on bond, assisting with her legal representation, and working to ensure that she gets justice for the multiple attacks that she has endured.”
The National Abortion Federation also called-out Jones’ indictment in a Twitter post.
“A pregnant woman was shot in the stomach during a fight. The shooting caused her pregnancy to end. She has been indicted for manslaughter,” they shared.
“This is how people– especially women of color– are already being punished & having their pregnancies criminalized.”
Alabama has been in the news in recent times after the state approved an abortion ban. The new law has been described as the nation’s most restrictive abortion legislation under the Alabama Human Life Protection Act.
Passed on May 15, the law includes a ban on abortion in cases of rape or incest and a possible life imprisonment sentence for doctors who perform abortions. The bill has been highly criticized by people in the U.S. Their complaints, however, have gone unheard. Alabama’s 35-seat Senate is dominated by men, and none of its four female senators backed the ban.