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.

Planned Papahood = Abortion-Tire care-Starbucks Shops Galore

This is funny, outrageous, and sexist; I know. But I started to wonder, is it also true?

There are a few ways to look at this question (if you overthink it). Just in case you have that same pesky problem I have with thinking, let me clarify the perimeters of this discussion:

When men become pregnant, we’re not talking about guys’ hormones/biology/body changing and essentially becoming women.

We’re not talking about all of human history being reversed and are now and have always been a matriarchal society instead of patriarchal. The gender roles are not swapped.

This is not a sudden switch, like suddenly guys are waking up with giant bellies and swollen feet.

Guys stay guys. History stays the same as it’s always been (men in power). The only thing that has changed is the fact that guys carry the babies. Yes, magically. No, more like a seahorse. Let’s say a seahorse. Men raise the fetus in his stomach, and then also gives birth.

The essential core to the picture shown above is this: Is the abortion argument really about the fetus?

Some other lesser questions hiding in the background are: If a woman was president, would she immediately legalize abortion? Is this
just another way for men to oppress women? Are men (and by men, I mean the majority of men in Congress/in power today) only seeing  one side of this argument: their side? Would men have so many abortion clinics in this alternative universe because it’s okay for men to have sex, but not for women? [Disclaimer: I know not all women are pro-choice, and I know not all men are pro-life. But seeing as the people making the Federal decisions regarding a “woman issue” are in Congress, and Congress is filled with primarily men….]

Back to the main question. Is abortion really about the baby? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The picture is outright saying it’s not. Abortion wouldn’t even be a problem if men were the ones having babies. It’s about power. Which, I kind of agree with. Abortion, by all means, is not a simple question. There is no simple answer, and saying there is a simple and concrete answer ignores the basic reality of the question. A baby is not the only one affected (if you believe a fetus is in fact a baby) in the decision. I have to argue that the mother is the one affected most of all. Whether or not that fetus lives or not, it’s not conscious enough to really know what life is. The mother, on the other hand, is painfully aware. And whether or not that mother goes through with the pregnancy or with the abortion, she has to carry that weight, that decision, probably for the rest of her life. Something growing inside of you, or the lack there of, is not something you can forget easily. What ever decision you chose sticks to you like a poltergeist, and stays there.

And no matter how compassionate, or caring, or loving, or understanding, or open-minded a man is, I’m not sure there’s any way for him to fully comprehend the full weight of a life inside of your uterus. No matter how many times you explain to him what it was like, what you were feeling, or what you thought, he’ll never know for himself. Because he can’t know. How could he know? Unfortunately, he’s not a woman.

There’s something here that no one can fully explain. A mysterious, ambiguous third factor lies in this question. A factor that no science, no numbers, no amount of extrapolation and deduction and conclusion-drawing can make clear. Abortion is steaming with this factor. Its why it’s such a hard question, pro-life/pro-choice. And it’s also why I kind of agree with the first picture. I do believe that part of the abortion arguments is actually about the fetus, the human life involved, but that’s not all of it. This is never going to be a fair fight as long as men exclusively are making the reproductive choices. Men should not be making these choices for women. If men understood the whole gravity of it, and the bits and bearings, I do believe that the decisions being made would be different. Or at least, we might be discussing it a little differently.