by Steven Ertelt
June 29, 2006
Suffolk, VA (LifeNews.com) — A Virginia woman who drew national attention and controversy in February when she shot herself one day before her unborn baby was scheduled to be born escaped indictment again. A grand jury adjourned on Wednesday and again failed to indict Tammy Skinner on either intentional miscarriage or abortion charges.
The grand jury has met twice since a judge ruled May 8 that the 22 year-old woman could not be charged in the case. As a result of the decision prosecutors were only left with the option of pursuing charges from a grand jury.
Prosecutor Marie Walls told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper after Wednesday’s non-decision that the case remains under investigation, but she did not say more about what might happen next.
Defense attorney Kevin Martingayle, who successfully argued the case that dismissed the original charges, told the newspaper he would continue to represent Skinner "to the extent that anything else happens."
General District Judge James Moore originally dismissed the miscarriage or abortion charges and agreed with Martingayle’s argument that the laws in question were intended only to be applied to third parties.
Legislation to protect pregnant women and unborn children from violence, which has been strongly promoted by pro-life organizations, routinely exempts any action by the pregnant woman herself. The exemption is included to protect women from being charged in cases of accidents that may result in injury or death to her baby.
Skinner had apparently been suffering from depression at the time when she called police and told them she had been shot in the stomach.