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Shuai Rejects Plea Deal In Indiana Feticide Prosecution

Shuai Rejects Plea Deal In Indiana Feticide Prosecution

 

A Chinese immigrant who is being prosecuted under the state’s feticide and homicide laws after she ate rat poison in a suicide attempt when she was eight months pregnant on Friday rejected a plea deal with prosecutors that would have negated a murder charge in the death of her fetus.

Bei Bei Shuai is currently out on bond after serving more than a year in jail. She turned down prosecutors’ offer to drop a murder charge if she pleads guilty to a lesser charge of attempted feticide. If she had accepted the deal Shuai would have faced six to 20 years in prison with the possibility of a suspended sentence.

Defense attorney Linda Pence said Shuai wants to clear her name and avoid the stigma of guilt. “She intends to fight these charges vigorously,” Pence said. “She doesn’t want any other woman to go through what she has gone through” reports ABC news.

Several medical and women’s rights groups have filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Shuai. Some briefs claim that a conviction in the case could set a precedent by which pregnant women could be prosecuted for smoking or other behavior that authorities deemed a danger to their unborn child. A lawyer with the New York-based National Advocates for Pregnant Women is assisting in Shuai’s defense. “She never intended to kill her baby. She intended to kill herself, and she would care for her baby in the afterlife. She wishes she would have died instead,” Pence said.

Shuai’s case has drawn national attention as the trend toward prosecuting pregnant women and criminalizing pregnancy grows at an alarming rate. Supporters of the state’s feticide law claim the law was never intended to be used against pregnant women, but those claims matter little now that the state’s hard right have gotten their hands on the power to prosecute pregnant women.

Make no mistake about it, Shuai’s prosecution is an intentional and deliberate message to the women of Indiana: your body is a matter of public property and concern and your pregnancy will be monitored by the state. Shuai was right to reject the deal even though she now finds herself the unwitting crusader against criminalizing pregnancy.

 

Related Stories:

The Anti-Abortion Push To Criminalize Pregnancy

When Is Suicide Not Suicide? When You’re Pregnant

Woman Charged With Feticide Gets Bond

 

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Photo from steakpinball via flickr.

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35 comments

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5:04AM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Sharon Beth L.: Are you serious?!? You think Ms Shuai's lawyers are making a political statement? It's the PROSECUTOR who is making a political statement here, by using a statute in a way that was never intended (foeticide laws are aimed at third parties, such as abusive partners, who induce a miscarriage against the expectant mother's will) in order to establish a precedent that would sneak an anti-abortion law through the back door. [Either that, or he is just one of those prosecutors who seeks a conviction at any price.]
Yes, if Shuai accepted the plea deal, she might get a suspended sentence. Then again, maybe not. But most importantly, she would get a criminal record, just because of an attempted suicide, which would severely limit her future, for example by making it hard for her to find a job. And it would establish the exact precedent that the prosecutor is seeking, thus serving his political purpose. It would open the floodgates for prosecution of any woman who loses her unborn baby, irrespective of the circumstances. Defending someone against a grandstanding prosecutor is NOT making a "political statement". It is PROTECTION FROM a political statement.
Sharon R: Her intention was to kill HERSELF, not the unborn baby. And suicidal people, practically by definition, are not of sound mind, so whether she knew the unborn child would be affected is not relevant.

5:12PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

I believe the boyfriend returned to China; that was the problem. He was abandoning her.
With regard to rejecting the plea bargai--I resent that the prochoice lawyers are using Shuang's pain to make a political statement. This case could torment this distraught woman by dragging on for years and quite possibly making its way to the Supreme Court. Let Shuang accept what will probably a suspended sentence and get on with her life. If they want to challenge the law they should use another case, such as an assault of a pregnant woman which was what the law was intended for, rather than someone who was suicidal.

7:08PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

What a hard cruel horrendous court system - This women was obviously in the depths of great emotional pain and despair, feeling that there was no way out by not wanting to live anymore for any reason but she survived only to suffer more heartbreak by giving birth to her baby daughter that died as a result of her failed actions.
When will there ever be any compassion, help or commonsense within the judicial system on such individual cases?
So sad and completely unjust that she should be punished so severely, what hope is there for her - no wonder she doesn't want to live in such a hash world with no understanding.

5:15PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

I guess I must not be in agreement here. This woman tried to kill herself and she was pregnant. Duh. What about the baby? The baby was going to die too. She knew what she was doing. It's not murder and perhaps mental help is needed but SHE did this to HERSELF. I do not beleive it's persecution.

3:46PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

This women needs help...and the man who got her pregnant needs to brought to trial. This is a sad story about how some men think.............

3:46PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

This women needs help...and the man who got her pregnant needs to brought to trial. This is a sad story about how some men think.............

3:39PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

This women needs help...and the man who got her pregnant needs to brought to trial. This is a sad story about how some men think.............

3:08PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

What nonsense is this-- "criminalizing pregnancy"? The woman ate rat poison. In her attempt to die, she certainly knew the (fully developed) unborn child would have been affected. At 8 months pregnancy, it behooved her to deliver the child, not seek some imaginary "afterlife" care plan. She could always opt for adoption or like our state, bring the child to the police station within 7 days of birth....

2:23PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

{{{Make no mistake about it, Shuai’s prosecution is an intentional and deliberate message to the women of Indiana: your body is a matter of public property and concern and your pregnancy will be monitored by the state.}}

Now how is it that it doesn’t sink into Fright Reich brains that this is the exact BIG GOVERNMENT they all scream they don’t want? They love fetuses so much, they can get implanted with the unwanted fetuses and carry them full term and then raise them after their born.

1:06PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

It's important to clarify. This is NOT about prosecution.

It's about Persecution. Period. It's a subtle distinction that few will really grasp.

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