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Dispatches From The War On Women: Prosecuting Failed Pregnancies

Dispatches From The War On Women: Prosecuting Failed Pregnancies

Welcome to Dispatches, your round-up of the latest news from the frontlines of the War on Women. Have a story from your state or an idea on how to push back? Share them here and fight back against the War on Women.

Bei Bei Shuai, the woman being prosecuted by the state of Indiana for feticide after her daughter died following Shuai’s failed suicide attempt while 8 months pregnant, rejected a plea deal from prosecutors that would have dropped the murder charge Shuai faces. The fact that prosecutors refuse to negotiate away the feticide charge but will negotiate the murder charge proves this is a political prosecution. Never before has a pregnant woman been charged under Indiana’s feticide laws because that is not the harm they were intending to remedy.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli may have refused to sign on to new abortion regulations because he doesn’t think they go far enough.

Is the battle over funding Planned Parenthood in Indiana going to be the first real legal test to come from the Affordable Care Act?

Even on capitol hill male staffers outearn their their female colleagues.

Apparently it was National No Bra Day. What do you think: empowering or objectifying?

Is your community witnessing a spike in crime? Blame gay marriage, says Gary Bauer.

The Koch brothers have entered the local news business. Not surprisingly, in the markets where they already have a presence “news” is no longer “news.”

The New York Times gives us yet another piece pitting single moms against married moms. Understanding the real economic struggles that accompany households headed by single mothers and the social pressures that exacerbate them are great stories, more so when they are covered fairly.

A must read: this piece of brilliance on Tosh and rape culture.

Why is France’s National Front Party suing Madonna?

Yahoo now has a woman at the helm. Yahoo!

Lastly, Care2.com’s new series Teaching Feminism tackles gender and math anxiety.

Thanks for checking back and don’t forget to send in your stories, suggestions and comments. We’ll be back each weekday with the latest in the best and the worst from the War on Women. So long as the battle rages, we’ll cover the latest, so please check back!

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178 comments

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10:51PM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

13.5 years ago, I had severe health problems that caused my pregnancy to end, and I nearly bled to death myself. Considering that with death, there is no time limit, am I going to be prosecuted because my 33.5 week gestation baby died?

Or how about the doctor, who refused to discuss the details of my health condition, and did nothing but put me on bed rest with no one to help me out? Or how about the two nurses who told me that I didn't know what I was talking about when I spotted about 10 days before this event, and said it's old blood that came out, and this may be my normal?

Sorry to say, my blood pressure was text book normal before that, and then became 200+/120+. I was retaining so much water that I had to basically wear socks with no shoes because my feet wouldn't fit into regular shoes. This was in the winter time, with snow on the ground, and then I also had kidney failure, where proteins were spilling into my urine. I didn't just have preeclampsia, I was toxic. Yet the medical staff refused to even give me a name for what I had. I didn't even know that water retention was called edema.

And yet people would blame me for my situation? Poop on you!

4:50AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Tracey - what we are talking about is the lack of compassion for this woman who is obviously mentally ill. I'm going to share this story even though I don't really want to. My sister is married to a man who has a brother with mental disease. After years of behaviors that almost began to seem normal, he killed his full grown son in a moment of mental anguish and doesn't even remember doing it. We are all angry and enraged at the same time we realize that he could not help it. Therefore, we realize he will have to pay for his crime, but we are fighting to have him tried in mental health court so that he can do his time in a mental hospital instead of prison. His mental disease is so bad that a regular prison will cause him serious harm. His mental disease is so bad that he is writing letters to the family and asking us to please be safe as he tells us of horrible conspiracies that are so real in his mind but that when we read the letters they are so crazy sounding. So, if anyone has a right to have an opinion here, I think I do, because I lost an already born child in my family to a person who married into the family with mental disease. As we talk to each other, we admit that we are mad as heck, but we are still able to understand that it was not his fault (he doesn't even realize he did it) and that we need to fight the system to get him in a mental hospital where he can be stabilized instead of a prison where every day will be torture. Jesus taught love and compass

12:08AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Why would she be charged with murder if the baby has no rights???

4:31PM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

@ Diane H. You are so right! The Catholics have their own set of rules. And if you were to get divorced it is a sin in the eyes of the church and unless you get it anulled they won't let you recieve the host. Unbelievable! What about a forgiving God?! Also if you have money, it talks for them. They will let things slide if you have enough of it. Then no to mention all the hidden secrets they have and hurting the children of the church. Just appalling!

11:40AM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

Each day I am more and more terrified of how things are handled in this country. I can understand how many people would be shocked and appalled by this woman's actions. However, can we not try to understand this person and even show some compassion? It feels like compassion, tolerance, and understanding are gone nowadays. We don't know what led this woman to attempt suicide - I can assure you she did not do it "just because". As someone who has battled with depression her whole life, and yes, even attempted suicide a long time ago, I can assure you that it is really hard to see things clearly when you are suffering. I think it is a little unfair to treat this woman as a selfish human being when you have not even been in her shoes. I am also sickened by the prosecution she faces. I remember when I was young and attempted suicide, that the hospital personnel was quite mean to me, and someone who has attempted suicide under these conditions (8 months pregnant!) clearly needs help, not jail. (That is something else that upsets me, we keep sending to jail all these people while some real crooks walk free - and while we complain of our government's money being drained). I know it is hard for people to be compassionate with pregnant women, as this society seems to value the fetus much, much more than the grown living being who is carrying it (?). But try it. Try to be a little more compassionate in your everyday life. You may be surprised by what you find.

6:40AM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

I wonder how many Catholics came running to this woman's side to guide her in her most desperate hour. I'm so sick of "sin" being thrown in my face (and especially my face as I am female). After finding that my belief in god was more based on fear than faith-I bailed on believing in any of it. I've found religon to be the most judgemental, divisive and unequitible entity there is. Any religion that begins itself with blaming a woman for the ills of the world (I give you Eve) seems very convenient. This woman is being vilified and the priests that have ruined countless lives of children are being harbored by the church and simply slapped on the wrist as we speak. Disgusting.

1:10PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

John Z you quote from the anti-christ.

1:03PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

This country needs to keep church (and all citizens' religious beliefs) and state separate, as the founding fathers wished in order to keep us from becoming a country ruled by one religion, like Islamist nations. As a woman who had to make a decision to end life as a medical necessity and who belonged to a Christian church, I was deeply torn although there was no alternative except for me to die. I chose life, my life, even though an ectopic pregnancy as I had would not have resulted in a baby, just death for us both. I have friends who have had abortions for their own reasons and none have made the decision lightly. We each have a conscience to answer to and NO ONE has the right to judge unless you are God. It doesn't sound like God is weighing in here in any of these comments. And I've seen too many idiots hiding behind religion declaring that abortion is a "sin" yet these same people drink and smoke away their family's future, treat their own children poorly, and never say "Give me that unwanted baby, I'll raise it." Hypocrisy and hypocrites, all of you. Do something positive rather than trading insults and judging other people.

4:56AM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Lis - Thank you for your comment about Melinda Gates. I am glad she is doing that. My family is from deep in the Appalachian Mountains where in my mom's childhood there was not modern medical care. In many instances, herbs and other medical practices were used and quite successfully in many cases. However, herbs do not work for trauma situations such as emergency surgery. By the 1960's when I was born, medicine was coming to the mountains. Herbs were still used, but dying people were often taken to the hospital. I grew up listening to my mom and my grandmother talking about women they watched die in labor, and often they were talking from a viewpoint of disgust such as, "She was lying there dying and her husband was off running around with other women while she died." We don't realize how good we have it in this country, and we approach everyone as if they have the same resources we do. The bible says the meek will inherit the earth, so God has mercy on people with needs.

12:10AM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

@John Z. I have no idea of your religious affiliation but you purport to be male (?) so I find your views a bit ridiculous. If every time you had a screw or masturbated (95% of men masturbate; the other 5% are bloody liars) you might have impregnated some women, would you still be so sanctimonious and hypocritical. No, you as a male don't have to bear children. If you did you might be more understanding.

And until you can pass a watermelon out of your fundamental orifice, only to have it die because of malnutrition, disease or other human related circumstances, you might be a little more understanding. I am truly sickened by male animals like you who would spread their seed but take no responsibility for the results.

There are millions of suffering children worldwide, many of them sick and dying from malnutrition and disease. I don't hear you doing anything about them.... Just your six children all conceived in conjugal bliss. Just hope none of them gets into a sticky situation and brings home some unplanned grandchildren. I feel sorry for your partner ("wife" in your case) and will pray for you both that perhaps you might have an epiphany.

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