All you uteri, gather round, the state has a job for you. You are hereby mandated to state control and surveillance as soon as you get pregnant. You may be monitored and reported by other Americans, whose state supported moral obligation it is to impose their religious beliefs upon your uteri. Mind you, these same beliefs will not be imposed upon other entities that might harm or kill the pre-born, even though the laws were passed under the guise of protecting you from intimate partner abuse. No, ladies, the state only has eyes for you, but you are never to refer to this as a war on women.
To wit: In Indiana, a young woman named Bei Bei Shuai is being tried for murder and attempted feticide because in December of 2010, she took rat poison after the man who impregnated her announced he was actually married and had another family. He took off and left her devastated. Shuai tried to kill herself, but her friends saved her by getting her to the hospital. Eight days later, she gave birth to “Angel” via Caesarean section. Sadly, within days, her baby girl died due to cerebral hemorrhage.
The nurses and doctors called the police and Shuai was charged with murder. Even though she went through a Caesarean, she did try to kill herself and you are no longer allowed to be mentally ill or suffering while pregnant, even though the hormones can render you both and you have no control over that. The stakes are high because the sentence for murder in Indiana can be the death penalty or 45 years-to-life. No, technically it’s not against the law to try to kill yourself in Indiana, but if you are carrying a pre-born for the state, that’s another story.
Shuai spent more than a year in jail and is now on trial.
Sure, the doctor who performed the autopsy can’t testify that the rat poison killed Angel “because she didn’t consider other possibilities, including a drug Shuai received in the hospital.” Okay, so they don’t even know if the rat poison killed the baby but they are prosecuting the woman anyway. The prosecutor is a Democrat, by the way, who is clinging to the fact that prosecutors don’t make the law, they only enforce it. Whatever, right? If it turns out that the Caesarian killed the baby, it’s unlikely that the doctors would be prosecuted because human beings make mistakes. Get it? No mistakes for you, uteri.
The prosecutor is using a law allegedly meant to protect pregnant women from violent attacks by other human beings in order to prosecute this young woman for murder. These laws were allegedly designed to protect pregnant women from abuse during pregnancy (statistically, the state of being pregnant puts a woman at high risk for being abused/murdered), but instead are being used (as predicted by many) to criminalize pregnancy. That’s not just speculation — there are women in jail all around the country for not being careful enough while pregnant. Furthermore, “According to the organization National Advocates for Pregnant Women, South Carolina, one of the first states to pass a feticide law, has charged only one man who assaulted a pregnant woman under this law, while approximately 300 women have been arrested.”
The personhood police don’t care if a man kills a preborn while violently attacking the female carrier, but if a woman causes harm by accident, they lock her up. Any questions about intent? You are a uterus, and it sucks to be you in America.
“The prosecution’s legal arguments are exactly based on legal arguments behind the personhood measures now moving through the states,” Lynn Paltrow, executive director of NAPW, told Katha Pollitt of The Nation. “They treat the fetus as completely separate within the pregnant woman. How can you be separate and within?”
Treating the unborn as a separate being from the human carrier leaves women under the control of the state and under state surveillance, as intended by the personhood amendments pushed by Republicans around the country.
These same rights have been granted to fertilized eggs and embryos.
Change.Org has a petition to drop the charges against this young woman. They write, “If this prosecution is allowed to go forward, the law will not just apply to one desperate pregnant woman who attempted suicide — it will:
• Create legal precedent that makes every woman criminally liable for the outcome of her pregnancy.
• Empower police officers to decide which of the 20-30% of pregnant women who suffer miscarriage and stillbirths each year will be subject to bedside interrogations, arrests, prosecutions, and imprisonment.
• Leave no doubt that women who intentionally end their pregnancies may be charged with murder if Roe is ever overturned.”
Women do not have control over their biology; a woman can get pregnant via rape, a woman can get pregnant by accident. No matter! You are a felon and an incubator — who can forget the Republican legislation that criminalizes the ending of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest in some cases, declaring the fetus to be evidence in a criminal trial. They’ll try anything to get their hands on your uterus (including sending law enforcement after you in order to force you to have a Caesarean).
The way these laws are being used around the country effectively renders women slaves to their biology, and through this accident, their civil rights are stripped.
All you uteri, start chanting “USA! USA! USA!” because the state owns you now. You better hope you aren’t prone to miscarriages, because the state doesn’t understand science, and so they find you very suspicious.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.