Mississippi could soon jail women for stillbirths, miscarriages
May 23, 2013
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.”
The district attorney argued that methamphetamine detected in Buckhalter’s system caused Hayley Jade’s death. The state Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the case on April 2, is expected to rule soon on whether the prosecution can move forward.
If prosecutors prevail in this case, the state would be setting a “dangerous precedent” that “unintentional pregnancy loss can be treated as a form of homicide,” says Farah Diaz-Tello, a staff attorney with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a nonprofit legal organization that has joined with Robert McDuff, a Mississippi civil rights lawyer, to defend Buckhalter. If Buckhalter’s case goes forward, NAPW fears it could spur a wave of similar prosecutions in Mississippi and other states.
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 definesof 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.
The cause of any given miscarriage or stillbirth is difficult to determine, and many experts believe there is no conclusive evidence that exposure to drugs in utero can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth. Because of this, prosecuting Buckhalter opens the door to investigating and prosecuting women for any number of other potential causes of a miscarriage or stillbirth, her lawyers argued in a filing to the state Supreme Court—”smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, exercising against doctor’s orders, or failing to follow advice regarding conditions such as obesity or hypertension.” Supreme Court Justice Leslie D. King also raised this question in the oral arguments last month: “Doctors say women should avoid herbal tea, things like unpasteurized cheese, lunch meats. Exactly what are the boundaries?”
Sexists Not Happy That A WOMAN Dared to Interrupt Obama
OH MY GOD. Did you hear that a WOMAN dared to stand up and interrupt President Obama’s speech to speak out on some very important issues like Guantanamo Bay and the killing of 16 year old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki? Well, that is exactly what Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin, a FEMALE, did. And would you look at that, Medea is a LADY. Just who does SHE think SHE is? Hint: She is a NOT A MAN.
Now, regardless as to whether you are an Obama supporter or not, or whether or not you think it was OK for her to interrupt the President’s speech, that’s not the issue here. What *is* the issue is the fact that some fine people, from the left and right, felt the need to demean Medea Benjamin because she is a WOMAN…
“Go back to the kitchen!” “Get laid!” All things I’m sure would have also been said to a male protester interrupting the President!
“Cunt!” “Whore!” “Daddy issues!” All very astute remarks that would also definitely be said to a man who did the same thing! Right?
Here’s a small snippet of people calling her a “bitch” because there was just way too much of that going on:
And don’t you dare happen to BE A WOMAN and come to the defense of Medea Benjamin, again ALSO A WOMAN, as Allison Kilkenny of Citizen Radio soon discovered:
Okay, so we were in class watching a short film about a woman who gives feminist talks to young women and struggles with relationships. The woman continues to go on a blind date with a man.
On the date, she is very reserved and isn’t your typical girl. We see the couple become more intimate and then just as things heat up - the girl excuses herself to the bathroom.
In the bathroom, she takes off her tshirt and it’s evident she has hairy armpits. (She goes to shave her armpits and battles with the thoughts of “should I”, “shouldn’t I”, before going back to the intimacy).
Around the room, there were sighs of disgust at the hair. The people next to me were abhorred to see a woman with hairy armpits!
This infuriated me. More than half the people in this room are men, and probably have hairy armpits themselves.
In the film, the women decides not to shave. The story progressed and the couple became intimate again. As they take their clothes off, the man is revealed to have a hairy back. There was no reaction from the audience.
What is wrong with girls not shaving their bodies hairless? Many of us are shamed of our bodies when hair remains. We wax, pluck, shave etc, to feel normal and I guess… be sexually attractive.
We are made to feel disgusting when we do not conform to the stereotypical image of a woman.
This makes me so angry, the way that men and women have to be so different from each other. Why can’t we be equal with clothing, body image and feel happy with our bodies as they are?
(Personally, I hate hair on men and women and in some cases - I have to remove it. That’s because of my hair loss condition and how hair makes me feel - not because I find it unattractive or that it’s not normal for my gender.
Why Are Women Imprisoned For Life For Saving Their Own?
In May of 2012, a mother in Florida received a twenty-year prison term for firing warning shots toward her husband against whom she’d already taken out a protective order. She had previously rejected a plea deal for a three-year term because she said she felt she had done nothing wrong. She scared off an alleged attacker. As of the date of this writing, Marissa Alexander has not been released. A Facebook group called Stand Your Ground: Justice for Marissa Alexander, has been formed as a portion of the protest that is going on in regards to her incarceration, and provides updates on the situation, as well as ways to become active in the fight to have her set free.
According the the feminist website Solidarity, anywhere from forty to eighty percent of women convicted of murder were acting in self-defense. Their statistics apparently come from The Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project, whose website states the following:
“The average prison sentence for men who kill their intimate partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are sentenced, on average, to 15 years”…