Virginia Woman Who Shot Herself in Self-Abortion Charged Again

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Virginia Woman Who Shot Herself in Self-Abortion Charged Again Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 10, 2006

Suffolk, VA ( — 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 has been charged again. A lower court judge dismissed the initial charges in May, but 22 year-old Tammy Skinner was taken from the General District to the Circuit Court and indicted again.

Police re-arrested Skinner and took her to police headquarters for processing and then to a bond hearing in court.

A grand jury met twice since May and ultimately decided to bring forth the second set of charges.

Skinner had apparently been suffering from depression at the time when she called police and told them she had been shot in the stomach. She shot herself on the day her baby was due to be born and the full-term unborn child died as a result of the gunshot.

Under the earlier charges, she was only found guilty of filing a false police report. She will have to pay $1,200 in retribution.

During the bond hearing, according to a Virginia Pilot newspaper report, Skinner’s attorney, Kevin Martingayle, argued that she wasn’t a flight risk and that the gun charges brought against her in the first indictment had been dropped.

Prosecutor Jim Wiser disagreed, the newspaper indicated.

“She took a gun to herself and caused the loss of life of what would have been her child,” said Wiser. “She has two other children. What if whatever came upon her that morning comes upon her again?”

Judge Westbrook Parker set bond at $5,000 and ordered Skinner to cooperate with officials. She will appear again in court on August 13 for the arraignment.

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.