An Oklahoma mother was sentenced to four years in prison Oct. 5 after being convicted of manslaughter in the death of her unborn baby.
People reports Brittney Poolaw, 21, a member of the Comanche Nation in Oklahoma, admitted that she had been taking illegal drugs before she gave birth to her dead child.
A court recently found her guilty of first-degree manslaughter in her baby’s Jan. 4, 2020 death. An autopsy estimated the baby was about 17 weeks gestation. Her attorney is appealing the conviction, according to CBS News.
Authorities said Poolaw gave birth to her dead baby at home and later was taken to Comanche County Memorial Hospital. There, they said she admitted that she took marijuana and methamphetamine, and a test confirmed that the drugs were in her system, according to the reports.
However, some dispute the argument that Poolaw’s baby’s death was the result of her illegal drug use.
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The medical examiner’s report listed the unborn child’s cause of death as intrauterine fetal demise due to maternal meth use, the Constitution reported. A toxicology report on the fetus showed the brain and liver had tested positive for meth and amphetamine.
At trial, however, an OBGYN that testified for the state said that controlled substances may not have directly caused of death for the fetus, per KSWO.
According to the AP, the autopsy also suggested the baby may have died as the result of a congenital abnormality and placental abruption.
The National Advocates for Pregnant Women expressed outrage at the conviction. In a statement, the organization said Oklahoma laws about murder and manslaughter do not apply to miscarriages before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
“Even when applied to later losses, Oklahoma law prohibits prosecution of the ‘mother of the unborn child’ unless she committed ‘a crime that caused the death of the unborn child,’” the group said.
The case is drawing national attention. Some abortion activists have latched onto the rare conviction to falsely claim that pro-life advocates want to jail women for miscarriages, but their fear-mongering is unfounded.
The pro-life movement clearly and consistently supports laws that penalize abortionists but not mothers. Pro-life bills and laws, such as the partial-birth abortion ban, do not punish women for miscarriages or elective abortions. Pro-life leaders recognize that women often are second victims of the profit-driven abortion industry. Their desire is to help women, not punish them, and protect unborn babies.