General Question

Jaxk's avatar

What do you think about the Alabama woman charged with Manslaughter for the death of her unborn fetus?

Asked by Jaxk (14854points) 2 weeks ago

She was 5 months pregnant when she started a fight resulting being shot in the stomach killing the fetus. I admit I have trouble with this. Is this the slippery slope we’re on? Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering an unborn fetus.
Here’s the Story

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

55 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I am not conflicted about this at all. It is fucking bullshit, and entirely predictable.

Jaxk's avatar

Did you feel the same way when Scott Peterson was convicted of murder for the unborn fetus? Does it only apply to others or is it dependent on who kills the fetus?
Not arguing just curious.

Demosthenes's avatar

It is a contradiction of our society that an unborn fetus is suddenly a person when someone murders its mother, but when that mother seeks out an abortion, it’s not a person. But I guess contradictions and polite fictions are the only way society can function.

In this case, however, the question is whether she actually committed manslaughter. If we assume that killing a fetus outside of abortion is illegal, then did she commit manslaughter by starting a fight? I don’t think so. She didn’t know the other person was going to shoot her. The person in the wrong is the person who shot her. “Who started it” is irrelevant.

elbanditoroso's avatar

You’re leaving out the fact that she was shot by someone else and the bullet that the other person shot is what killed the fetus.

But in Alabama, they tend to do things backwards.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Super Ass backwards but isn’t that the Alabama way?

seawulf575's avatar

It really is the paradox of the unborn. As has been said, an unborn child can be aborted and it’s okay, but if something happens to kill it (other than abortion), it can carry a murder charge. No one wants to say it is or isn’t an actual human for all cases. In my mind, either it IS a human or it ISN’T a human. If it is, then abortion should be considered doctor assisted murder. If it isn’t, then cases where the unborn baby is killed shouldn’t carry any murder charges.

gorillapaws's avatar

@seawulf575 ”...No one wants to say it is or isn’t an actual human…”

Everyone agrees that it is human. The DNA in a fetus is human DNA. The disagreement is personhood, which is a legal/philosophical question (informed by Science and faith). Sorry to split hairs, but being specific with the terminology is important in a discussion like this.

seawulf575's avatar

@gorillapaws either way, the idea holds true. It either is or it isn’t a person. Right now we are applying different standards to the same thing and that is foolish. It is what causes all the strife around this topic.

gorillapaws's avatar

@seawulf575 I completely agree on that point. There are certainly inconsistencies.

tinyfaery's avatar

Someone shot a pregnant woman and that same woman is being held responsible for the death of the fetus, but the person who shot her and ACTUALLY killed the fetus is innocent of any wrong doing. That is the some of the bullshittiest shit I have ever heard.

These other responses are not even applicable to the question. No one is questioning if it was a person or not (not), but the fact that the person who actually killed the fetus is not the one being charged.

gorillapaws's avatar

@tinyfaery “No one is questioning if it was a person or not (not), but the fact that the person who actually killed the fetus is not the one being charged.”

You’re making @seawulf575‘s point (the one you seem to think is irrelevant). If the fetus isn’t a person, then “the person who actually killed [it]” should not be charged. Your outrage is logically inconsistent.

ragingloli's avatar

@Jaxk
I could either consider the foetus not a person, then neither should be charged with murder/manslaughter, or I could leave that decision to the host of the foetus, in which case the one who shot the host should be charged.
I could go either way on that.

tinyfaery's avatar

Good point. However, the person who shot the woman should be charged with a crime.

mazingerz88's avatar

It’s strange to me. If her child was already born, say a two year old and the same tragic thing occurred, can’t see how she can be charged with manslaughter either.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Is it because she provoked the fight resulting in her being shot and the fetus not surviving is why she is being charged?
If she hadn’t started it and still got shot, would they still have charged her, for not removing herself from a violent situation?

seawulf575's avatar

I suspect there is evidence not being shown to us. It sounds like the mother initiated the fight and, when the other woman tried walking away, continued to pursue her and continue the fight. That was when the gun came out and the woman and unborn child were shot. Not knowing all the laws in Alabama and given only the sparse information there is, it might be that the woman that shot was considered to have shot in self-defense. I’m only speculating on that, but it would make sense as to how she was not charged. Sort of like George Zimmerman being initially let go because he shot after Trayvon Martin attacked him.
And no, I’m not trying to stir things up or turn this into another Trayvon Martin thread. I’m just using it as an example of where the law would let someone go after they shot someone else. In this case, the shooter may have claimed self-defense for one reason or another…again, given the sparse information this is only speculation. But in this case, the mother did specifically start and continue the fight. That might be construed as reckless endangerment of the child which led to its death…manslaughter.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Anyone seeking clues that our country may be dumbing down has only to keep an eye on Alabama. The fact that there are jurisdictions in the United States where this circumstance can be construed as manslaughter is more than a lesson on diversity of opinions.

Yellowdog's avatar

If the unborn or pre-born child was wanted by the mother, it is murder.

If it is aborted willingly by the mother, it is not considered murder according to the law.

Laws are changing so that you actually CAN kill the child during birth or after birth if the birth was accidental and abortion was intended, in many states.

Jaxk's avatar

@seawulf575 is right in that the shooting was determined to be self defense. It’s all in the article I posted. The mother initiated the fight and was winning. The other woman shot in self defense. It’s not clear if it was a warning shot that rick-o-shayed if it was direct shot. Either way it was self defense. The manslaughter charges stem from reckless endangerment.

Zaku's avatar

I think it’s insane, part of the awful politicized “foetuses are people” anti-abortion thinking, and that Alabama needs some regime change and a cultural overhaul, and probably many other improvements.

kritiper's avatar

I think if she was aware that she would be shot, she may have been trying to get herself killed. She could have shot herself at point-blank range and killed the fetus, but that’s not what happened. Someone else pulled the trigger and from what range I don’t know.
Whoever produced the gun when it wasn’t needed* needs to be charged with a crime. The mother kept the fight going, so she is guilty of causing her fetus to be killed.
(*First rule of proper gunplay: You NEVER pull a gun unless deadly force it is ABSOLUTELY required.)

seawulf575's avatar

@Zaku While you are railing on about how stupid the thinking in Alabama is, you might want to check out the Scott Peterson case that @Jaxk mentioned. It was from California and the results were the same…he was convicted of 2nd degree murder of his unborn child. So the “fetuses are people” anti-abortion thinking was going on there as well. In fact, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 is a FEDERAL law that impacts all 50 states. Oh! and I found this

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/dec/17/man-convicted-of-killing-unborn-baby-by-kicking-pregnant-ex-girlfriend

It shows that that “fetuses are people” thinking exists in Great Britain as well.

JLeslie's avatar

Let’s just make it a child 5 years old that is with the mother. Some other person shoots the child. Are you going to arrest the mother for Manslaughter? Manslaughter?? I think not. I couldn’t read the article, but maybe at worst reckless endangerment.

Going back to it being a fetus, if a female cop gets shot while pregnant and the fetus dies are you going to put her in jail for murder? She put herself and the fetus in harms way.

This is ridiculous to me. If we actually say a pregnant woman is to be put away for murder when she was the one shot by another, the slippery slope there is terrifying.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Agreed. It is difficult to look at what’s going in in Alabama and not conclude that the crime to be punished is in “being pregnant”.

Jaxk's avatar

Just a couple of points. The shooting was deemed to be ‘Self Defense’. If the child was 5 years old as @JLeslie said, and the mother put the child in a dangerous situation, that would be ‘Reckless Endangerment’. If the child was killed as a result of the dangerous situation, that is manslaughter.

The prosecutor has not yet decided whether to prosecute the mother even though the Grand Jury indicted her.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Jaxk The law is finicky, but I’ve heard “Would the incident have happened if ____(person) hadn’t done what she did?” If the answer is no, then that person is held liable.

Pregnant or not, some psycho comes at you to do bodily harm, you put them down.

No telling if the other woman even knew she was pregnant, so I can see self-defense, per the article. So I’m good with it.

gorillapaws's avatar

@KNOWITALL ”...some psycho comes at you to do bodily harm, you put them down.”

Sad that this is the mentality. There used to be a time that people were taught to run away, get help, use the minimum amount of force to defend yourself, etc. Now we shoot first and sort it out later. If you were in the right than they got what was coming to them…

Zaku's avatar

“that “fetuses are people” thinking exists in Great Britain as well.”
– And that thinking is (it seems to me) awful wherever it is.

But this Alabama case involves several levels of additional terribleness on top of that.

That is, the thinking is and vastly more terrible when it’s extended to “a foetus didn’t survive, so someone nearby is guilty of killing a human” (after all, foetuses can and often do simply miscarry), and even more when guilt is assigned to someone who didn’t even do the action itself, and/or when it’s directed at the pregnant woman herself.

And regardless of this case or others elsewhere, Alabama clearly does need a lot of rearranging.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gorillapaws Did you read the article? It was a long-standing feud. The pregnant woman rushed another woman, sounds like, so she put herself and her baby in harms way. That is textbook self defense for the other lady involved.

Well sorry grandpa, it’s not 1950 anymore.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Well ^^^^ I totally agree with ya on that, where did it all start to turn to shit?
Over population?
Totall greed from the top down?
When did people get so violent?
What can we do about it?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Who are you talking to?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

You for one, and anybody else that wants to answer.

gorillapaws's avatar

@KNOWITALL ”...The pregnant woman rushed another woman..0”

That’s exactly my point. if a pregnant woman bumrushes me, I’m not going to pull a lethal weapon and shoot her, EVEN IF I’M LEGALLY ALLOWED TO. I think most able-bodied people can run away from a pregnant woman, certainly to the point that they can call for help. Instead the mentality has shifted to stand-your-ground. It’s gross, unchristian, and ironically devalues the worth of a human person.

Lethal self-defense should always be a last resort.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gorillapaws Again, who knows if she knew she was pregnant. If someone’s trying to kill you, that’s not the first thing that pops into my head, it’s straight defense.

How is it unchristian? Jesus got angry, even got physical at the Temple.
https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/the-lord-s-anger-4-times-jesus-did-not-turn-the-other-cheek.html

@SQUEEKY2
Over population?
Total greed from the top down?
When did people get so violent?
What can we do about it?

We are not any more violent or peaceful now than in the past.

gorillapaws's avatar

@KNOWITALL Slapping around hypocrites, and money-changers that are blaspheming the temple is very different than attempting to stop them with lethal force. He certainly could have “smote” them with (well, whatever he wanted—assuming he’s really all-powerful). I’m very confident there is plenty of Biblical support to assert that Jesus frowns on the stand-your-ground mentality, if not outright abhors it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gorillapaws Okay, here we go. Although I wouldn’t think most of us would want to murder anyone. The story specifically says the pregnant lady was the aggressor.

“The fight stemmed from a long-simmering feud with a female co-worker, Ebony Jemison, 23, over a man who worked at the same company.

Ms Jones spotted Ms Jemison in the parking lot and started a fight with her, according to a law enforcement officer with direct knowledge of the investigation who didn’t want to be identified.

By the officer’s account, Ms Jones was winning the fight and had Ms Jemison pinned in her car.

After taking repeated blows, the officer said, Ms Jemison reached for a gun, and fired point blank into the pregnant woman’s stomach.”

The proper use of self-defense has to do with wisdom, understanding, and tact. In Luke 22:36, Jesus tells His remaining disciples, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Jesus knew that now was the time when His followers would be threatened, and He upheld their right to self-defense.

Exodus 22 gives some clues about God’s attitude toward self-defense: “If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed” (Exodus 22:2–3). Two basic principles taught in this text are the right to own private property and the right to defend that property. The full exercise of the right to self-defense, however, depended on the situation.

The Bible never forbids self-defense, and believers are allowed to defend themselves and their families. But the fact that we are permitted to defend ourselves does not necessarily mean we must do so in every situation. Knowing God’s heart through reading His Word and relying on “the wisdom that comes from heaven” (James 3:17) will help us know how to best respond in situations that might call for self-defense.

JLeslie's avatar

I am not calling for the shooter to be charged with the murder of the fetus. If the shooter legitimately self defended themselves then that’s that.

Disclaimer: I can’t read the article, but I’m talking in generalities.

I’m not going to hold the pregnant women even for reckless endangerment, because the fetus is part of her body and she has a right to do as she wishes with her body.

I personally feel women who are pregnant in their third trimester should not take unnecessary risks like be in combat, work as fire fighters exposed to heat and smoke, work as cops in situations likely to have gun fire, but I would never argue to make law or policy about it, it’s still up to the woman whether to take the risk or not.

As a side note, if the Bible is always ok with self defense as @KNOWITALL says, that fits with aborting a fetus that is harming the mother. The mother is obligated in Judaism to save herself, the fetus becomes an attacker if the fetus is killing her.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie I couldn’t read the link @Jaxk provided, so I searched for the story through other outlets and found it. The pregnant woman initiated the conflict and the other woman (the shooter) tried walking away. She actually got to her car before the pregnant woman attacked her again. The shooter’s gun was in the car so she grabbed it. The pregnant woman would not stop so she got shot. Now…there are many details that I don’t see such as if the pregnant woman had a weapon of her own. I didn’t get a good sense of what the threat was that would have required such a violent response. But if the cops didn’t charge her, and the courts didn’t try her, I can assume there was enough threat that her response seemed okay. It is a tragedy, for sure.
But back to the idea of the child being a 5 year old. If someone shot the child it would, again, be a story for the details. If mom took the child to, say, a crack house to try robbing the dealer and took the child with her, wouldn’t you consider that reckless endangerment? The point is that the mother took the child into a situation that was fraught with danger. The difference between an unborn child and a child of 5 is that the child of 5 is not attached to the mother. But a mother that puts her child at risk can, and in my book, should be held accountable. I’m not talking about eating a poor diet or smoking a cigarette when she is pregnant. But getting into a fight? That is avoidable and presents a lot of danger.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@seawulf575 Fighting over a man while pregnant, yes, I’d say she put her child in harm and in that state, she will probably be charged.

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 Except it’s not a child it’s still part of the woman’s body. In the case of Scott Peterson I didn’t agree with him being tried for the murder of his unborn child, even though in my mind it was a viable separate human being if it had been born since it was so late in the pregnancy.

It’s tricky, I agree with that, it can go either way. You could argue Peterson knowingly and purposefully killed both his wife and his baby, while this other crazy pregnant woman and shooter didn’t purposely kill the fetus. In fact, the pregnancy is more of an aside to the conflict at hand I would think. I understand manslaughter means there was no intention to harm the fetus, but I’m still loathe to prosecute a woman who happens to be pregnant.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I am very conflicted. On the face of it it sounds ludicrous… BUT what if she had a newborn in a sling crossing in front of her body, or even a two year old at her side, and she aggressively picked a fight with someone, putting the kids in harm’s way with complete disregard for their safty, and one was killed because of it? Is she responsible then?
Not knowing the actual details it’s a hard call to make.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_lll Exactly. Although at the very least, she intended harm via assault, knowing she could do harm to herself or her unborn child.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

She knew but apparently didn’t care and that is a crime. I believe it’s called “reckless endangerment.”

Zaku's avatar

“what if she had a newborn in a sling crossing in front of her body, or even a two year old at her side, and she aggressively picked a fight with someone, putting the kids in harm’s way with complete disregard for their safty, and one was killed because of it? Is she responsible then?”
– Depending on the other circumstances, at most I would say that is reckless behavior (whatever picking a fight entails legally) and failure to protect her child (which IIRC is a matter for Child Protective Services and possibly losing custody of her child, but not a crime per se).

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Reckless endangerment IS a crime.
Anyone know what she was charged with?

Jaxk's avatar

I just heard on the news that the charges were dismissed by the prosecutor.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Hopefully the damn fool learned a lesson.

Demosthenes's avatar

That was the right decision, in my opinion.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I wonder if and who pressed the prosecutor to dismiss the charges?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I read a little more and I agree it wad the right decision too.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated
Response moderated
Response moderated
Response moderated (Spam)

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther