An Alabama woman accused of starting a fight that led to her unborn baby’s death will not be prosecuted for manslaughter, local authorities said Wednesday.
Last week, a Jefferson County grand jury indicted Marshae Jones, 27, of Alabama, on manslaughter charges in the death of her unborn baby girl. Jones was five months pregnant, which means her unborn daughter was nearly fully formed and quickly approaching viability.
Police said Jones initiated a fight with Ebony Jemison, 23, in December 2018 in Pleasant Grove, Alabama, that led to her daughter’s death, according to 7 News. Police said Jones continued to fight Jemison without regarding the potential harm to her unborn baby girl.
Police said Jemison shot Jones in the stomach, which caused her unborn daughter to die. A grand jury dismissed manslaughter charges against Jemison after police said she shot Jones in self defense, Newsweek reports.
Then, on Wednesday, Jefferson County District Attorney Lynneice O. Washington dismissed the charges against Jones, Fox News 7 reports.
“I am hereby dismissing this case and no further legal action will be taken against Ms. Jones in this matter,” Washington said in a statement. “There are no winners, only losers in this sad ordeal.”
The district attorney acknowledged that the tragedy involved a baby girl’s death.
“This is truly a disturbing and heartbreaking case,” she said. “An unborn child was tragically lost and families on both sides of this matter have suffered. Nothing, nothing, nothing we do today or in the future will change that reality.”
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The announcement came two days after Jones’ lawyer asked the court to dismiss the charges against her.
As the local news reported:
The Montgomery Advertiser on Friday reported Jones’ charge appears to contradict a portion of Alabama’s Criminal Code. Though the code does include “fetal homicide” language, which defines an “unborn child in utero” as a human being, regardless of viability, the code also states that the prosecution of “any woman with respect to her unborn child” should not be permitted under criminal homicide charges like manslaughter.
The case has drawn national attention from abortion activists who claim the charges are proof that pro-life advocates want to oppress women.
Last week, however, the local district attorney pushed back against abortion activists’ claims, Jezebel reports.
“Foremost, it should be stated that this is a truly tragic case, resulting in the death of an unborn child,” Washington said in a statement. “We feel sympathy for the families involved, including Ms. Jones, who lost her unborn child. The fact that this tragedy was 100% avoidable makes this case even more disheartening.”
She had harsh words for the activists who have been calling her office with nasty messages.
“For those of you who called my office, and disrupted, cursed, disrespected, because I was not present—I was not in the state, shame, shame on you,” she said. “But I took an oath to serve. I am a black woman in black skin. So, don’t tell me how I don’t appreciate the sensitivity of a woman and the rights of women.”
Abortion advocacy groups expressed outrage at the charge against Jones.
“The state of Alabama has proven yet again that the moment a person becomes pregnant their sole responsibility is to produce a live, healthy baby and that it considers any action a pregnant person takes that might impede in that live birth to be a criminal act,’’ Yellowhammer Fund executive director Amanda Reyes said in a statement last week.
Reyes speculated that someday women also might be punished for having a drink while pregnant or failing to get adequate prenatal care.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The pro-life movement has no interest whatsoever in punishing or oppressing mothers. Many pro-life leaders are post-abortive women and men themselves who understood only too late the lies of the abortion industry. They came to the pro-life movement understanding that unborn babies deserve to be protected and their mothers deserve to know the truth that the abortion industry lies to and manipulates them for profit.
Many also recognize that women frequently are pressured or even forced to abort their unborn babies by abusive parents or partners.
What’s more, the pro-life movement historically has opposed punishing mothers for abortions. When abortions were illegal prior to Roe v. Wade, women were not prosecuted for having abortions and current abortion restrictions, such as the ban on partial-birth abortions, do not punish women either.