by Steven Ertelt
October 19, 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 has had charges against her dropped for the second time. A lower court judge dismissed the initial charges in May.
Circuit Court Judge Westbrook Parker dismissed the latest felony charges against Tammy Skinner — which included producing an abortion or miscarriage.
Skinner’s attorney told the judge that his client could not be charged with doing an abortion on herself.
Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Marie Walls told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper that her office is now out of options in their bid to hold Skinner accountable for the death of her baby.
“At this point our options are done,” she said. “It’s a matter for the legislature to address."
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.
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.
The case has sparked a national abortion debate as pro-life advocates point to the inconsistency or arguments by abortion advocates that only illegal abortion causes women to do abortions on themselves.