Punishing Women for Abortion
A regular point of contention here and elsewhere in the blogosphere is whether the criminalization of abortion will result in women being jailed for abortion. I think a recent case from Indiana suggests there is some ground for concern. Here is a summary of the case, as reported by the Guardian:
Bei Bei Shuai, 34, a restaurant owner who moved to the US from China 10 years ago, was pregnant and planning to marry her boyfriend until she learned late last year that he was already married and he would be abandoning her. A few days later, on 23 December, she went to a hardware store, bought rat poison pellets, went back to her flat in Indianapolis and swallowed some. But she did not die immediately and was persuaded by friends to go to hospital. She was given treatment to counteract the poison and gave birth on New Year’s Eve, but her daughter, Angel, suffered seizures and died after four days. Shuai then had a second breakdown and spent a month in a psychiatric ward, after which she left to stay with friends and began rebuilding her life. But in March she was arrested and charged with murder and attempted foeticide. She now faces life imprisonment.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the baby was delivered by C-section in the hospital and put on life support which was removed three days later. That the child was born alive and then died somewhat complicates matters, but the connection with abortion was made by the prosecutors (again according to the Indianapolis Star):
Prosecutors argued during opening statements this morning that Shuai left a suicide note and intended to kill herself and her unborn child, which constitutes murder.
Predictably, pro-abortion voices such as the ACLU are up in arms. However, beyond a barebones report on LifeSite News and a few other blogs, I could find no substantive discussion of this case anywhere in the pro-life world. (I would be happy for a correction to this.)
I am very disturbed by this prosecution: it seems to serve no rational purpose to punish a woman who seems to have severe mental health issues. And it does suggest that at least some prosecutors, should abortion be recriminalized, will want to prosecute the women involved. If we are going to rebuild a world that is both pro-woman and pro-life, then this tendency has got to be stopped now. The pro-life movement needs to speak out loudly and clearly on this case and oppose prosecution.