Mississipi Could Jail Women for Miscarriages and Stillbirths

Mississipi Could Jail Women for Miscarriages

On March 14, 2009, 31 weeks into her pregnancy, Nina Buckhalter gave birth to a stillborn baby girl. She named the child Hayley Jade. Two months later, a grand jury in Lamar County, Mississippi, indicted Buckhalter for manslaughter, claiming that the then-29-year-old woman “did willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, kill Hayley Jade Buckhalter, a human being, by culpable negligence.”

Mississippi’s manslaughter laws were not intended to apply in cases of stillbirths and miscarriages. Four times between 1998 through 2002, Mississippi lawmakers rejected proposals that would have set specific penalties for damaging a fetus by using illegal drugs during pregnancy. But Mississippi prosecutors say that two other state laws allow them to charge Buckhalter. One defines of manslaughter as the “killing of a human being, by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another”; another includes “an unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth” in the state’s definition of human beings.

God fucking dammit.

I don’t agree with it, but it’s the logical end-point of the argument that life begins at conception. If that’s true, then obviously any negligent act that may result in a stillbirth or miscarriage would be a criminal offense.

I eagerly await the charges filed against mothers for smoking, drinking, riding rollercoasters, flying in a plane, not eating right, or even failing to pray daily while pregnant.

Exactly, and this is why this argument, and lack of distinction between life and sentience has such devastating social consequences. Still, it falls nicely in line with religious conservatism that seeks to control us via monopolizing and/or criminalizing such key elements of “pursuit of happiness” as procreation and child rearing, family formation and so on.

#1: It is generally state law that you have dispose of a dead person in a proscribed manner.
#2: 2/3 of all pregnancies abort themselves naturally

Ergo we should just lock up all women and have done with it. It’s the only way to be sure.

I eagerly await the appeals process on this one.

Meh. A majority of states have fetal homicide laws on the books, though most specify someone else’s womb.

On a related note, the whackjob that locked those three women up in Cleveland allegedly impregnated them several times and induced miscarriages by beating and/or starving them. Prosecutors would dearly love to charge him with murder, but they are not optimistic given the lack of hard evidence.