Pregnant Women’s Rights Taken? Feticide or Not?

A woman from Illinois, Bei Bei Shuai, left a note saying she was going to kill herself before taking a dose of rat poison. She’d just learned her boyfriend was married and leaving her–back to his wife and two kids. Bei Bei was pregnant at the time with his child.

The rat poison wasn’t enough to kill her. Later that day she drove to the hospital and was given an antidote. A week later, however, she had to have an emergency C-section. The doctors discovered her baby’s brain was bleeding, and it died a few days later.

A few weeks later, Bei Bei was formally charged with feticide (the act of killing a fetus). The question here is: if an expectant mother survives a suicide attempt but the baby doesn’t, is that murder?

The people who think no say the baby was born alive, Bei Bei had no intention of killing her baby, and suicide isn’t even illegal in Indiana.

The people who think yes say that in her suicide note, she clearly stated that she was going to kill her baby, along with herself, and that’s the smoking gun.

However, feticide laws were created to protect pregnant mothers against crime, not hold punishment against mothers themselves. Examples of this include a “chemical endangerment” law in Alabama, where over 60 mothers have been arrested for doing drugs while pregnant. And in Iowa, a woman was charged with attempted feticide because she fell down the stairs. (The initial police reports say she did it intentionally, which the woman denies.) Women’s advocates say there is an increasing trend of punishing expectant mothers for their behavior, and Bei Bei is the latest example.

Pregnant women are ending up victims of a law meant to protect them. Convicting Bei Bei (she awaits trial later this year) will set a dangerous precedent against pregnant women. Many worry that if a ruling like Bei Bei’s is upheld, pregnant women (fearful of being punished) will be more reluctant to seek help. Unless an expectant mother is perfect, it could make her a target.

The message to women is clear: you are criminally liable to the state for your conduct during pregnancy, even if you are mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or in the extreme psychological state in which people try to kill themselves after a terrible life-destroying blow. (Suicide by pregnant women is not rare: it’s in fact the fifth leading cause of death for them.)

During initial court proceedings, it looks that there is an overly reasonable amount of doubt as to whether the rat poison actually killed the baby. It could have been a drug known to cause brain bleeding given to Bei Bei at the hospital. It could have been something in the blood transfusion that affected the baby. The pathologist who performed the autopsy claimed there was no scientific evidence to support it was the rat poison, and she didn’t bother to check for other causes of death. But regardless of what actually did kill the child, the principle at stake here is how we treat expectant mothers.

For now, Bei Bei must wait for the courts to decide if she’s a murderer or the victim of depression paying the price for a desperate act.

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Hot Guys & Beautiful Babes

How do women act sexy? Swing our hips, flip our hair, bat our eyelashes, stick out our chests, lick our lips, the possibilities are endless. I could go on and on.

How do men act sexy? Swing their hips? Bat their eyelashes? Stick out their ample bosoms? No, that’s not attractive. Not for men. So what do they do?
To figure out this question, I Googled hot men. In no way do I support oogling hot men (just kidding, yes I do), and I do not recommend you do the same at home (Do it!). I find myself under unusual circumstances and it was purely in the name of scientific inquiry that I, for the greater good of the community, took on this steep challenge (are you buying that?).

Anyways, my findings were conclusive. While hot women (I Googled that too) were mostly in poses sprawled across the ground, men were in poses flexing their muscles. While women looked soft and delicate, men looked strong, tough, stern–sometimes almost angry. They were showcasing their power, their strength, their “manliness”, while women showcased their “femininity”.

Now, you might be thinking: why is it okay for girls to look at hot men on the internet, but then turn around and scoff when guys look at hot girls?

Or, you may be thinking Damn, look at that body! because you’re looking at hot guys.

Double standard? Perhaps.

Girls aren’t supposed to be sexual, only guys are (by the norms and stereotypes in society). And girls who show their sexuality are labeled as sluts, whores, or floozies.

Or, sexuality is a natural thing that we try to hide away in the dark recesses of society, when it is natural, when we all do it, when it’s a healthy part of life and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. But that doesn’t mean we should all read porn in public now.

To answer this question, we could point fingers and say guys do it to girls all the time. Everyone does it to girls all the time. So why shouldn’t we do it back to guys? But then I say: Ah ah ah, thou shalt judge not. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Be the change you want to see in the world. That ain’t no mature way to handle things.

But I did also say that sexuality was natural and healthy, so why should we hide it? Why don’t we like it when we see sexualized women in advertisements? (by “we”, I might mean feminists, or women, or gender scholars, or you and me, or anyone in general)

How about this car ad by BMW?


Or this fashion ad by Dolce & Gabbana?
(selling jeans, I think?)


Or this one for Calvin Klein Jeans?
(because we’re all staring at those great pair of pants)

What about this fashion ad by Superette Botique?

That last one’s pretty intense. At the bottom of the ad it reads: Be caught dead in it. Yes, this is a real ad. But it’s not from America, not that that matters in the long run.

Yes, sexuality is healthy and normal, but these images are not, especially when they are being mass produced in order to sell something. Some people say that these images are not the media’s fault, that these images are the photographer’s way of reflecting reality back to us in order to make us think about gender roles and violence. But at the end of the day, this is still an advertisement. This is still trying to sell those jeans, or that shirt, or a used car.

There is no easy answer for sexuality, except this: respect. The common theme throughout all these ads is there seems to be a lack of respect for human people, the men and the women.