A grand jury indicted Marshae Jones, 27, of manslaughter on June 26 even though she didn’t shoot her unborn child. Authorities said that Jones started the conflict that led to the eventual shooting.
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ Pleasant Grove police Lt. Danny Reid said at the time of the shooting. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby,” AL.com reported.
Although the police initially charged shooter Ebony Jemison, 23, of manslaughter, the grand jury didn’t indict her.
Reid said that the fight between Jones and Jemison was over the child’s father. He alleged that Jones initiated and escalated the conflict to the point where Jemison had to defend herself, leading to the death of Jones’s unborn baby. The shooting happened outside a Dollar General store on Dec. 4, 2018.
He added that the 5-month-old unborn baby was “dependent” on Jones to do all that she could to prevent the child from harm and that “she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations,” AL.com reported.
Jones is being held on a $50,000 bond.
Social Media Responses
A heated debated on social media began after the announcement of Jones’s manslaughter charge.
Twitter user Eric gave a hypothetical scenario that would justify why the shooter should have been charged.
If she wasn’t pregnant, and shot would the other person that fired the gun still walk..? This country makes zero sense..
— eric (@erichamilton_) June 27, 2019
MarkFromAlbany rebuked his scenario.
They charged the shooter first. The grand jury said it was justified self defense.
This puts the blame for the shooting on the attacker.
Hence the charge
Since both women are black, race is irrelevant
— MarkFromAlbany (@markfromalbany) June 27, 2019
Another user questioned Jones’s freedom to argue as a pregnant woman without the risk of getting shot.
She initiated the fight? Like, did she challenge the other woman to a duel? I doubt that most people who confront another woman sleeping with their man (or whatever) expect it to turn to gunfire. Are pregnant women no longer permitted to argue?
— jendziura (@jendziura) June 27, 2019
Twitter user UKpolitics replied by bringing up the importance of the pregnant mother’s responsibility to avoid endangering the unborn baby.
This may shock you but no. If you are carrying a baby or have children you should not instigate fights when they are around and may get killed. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the charges this should be self evident to you
— UKpolitics (@KpoliticsU) June 27, 2019
Alabama Human Life Protection Act
Jones’s unborn child is protected by the Alabama Human Life Protection Act that classifies all unborn children as human beings.
The act draws from the United States Declaration of Independence stemming from “the self-evident truth” that “all human beings are equal from creation.” It also draws examples from past social reforms in U.S. history that used “the self-evident truth” as one of the fundamental reasons for the “anti-slavery movement, the women’s suffrage movement, the Nuremberg war crimes trials, and the American civil rights movement.”
“If those movements had not been able to appeal to the truth of universal human equality, they could not have been successful,” the act reads.
The anti-abortion act was signed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and passed into law on May 15, 2019.
Challenge to Roe v. Wade
The Alabama law takes aim at the core issue of whether an unborn child can be considered a person, as discussed in Roe v. Wade.
Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), who sponsored the bill, had said the goal was to pass the bill in a form that would be able to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling in the strongest way.
Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide by prohibiting states from banning abortions prior to when the fetus is deemed “viable”—that is, potentially able to live outside its mother’s womb.
Norma McCorvey, the real name of “Jane Roe” from Roe v. Wade:
1. Lied about being raped
2. Said she was used by lawyers who simply wanted to change abortion laws
3. Sought, in 2004, to have Roe v wade overturned
4. Called her involvement in Roe the biggest mistake of her life pic.twitter.com/rGmMx2TgaE
— Adrian Norman (@AdrianNormanDC) May 16, 2019
In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court said that if unborn children are persons, then they have the right to life. The decision concluded that unborn children are not persons, and acknowledged that the case to prohibit states from banning abortions would “collapse” if “the fetus is a person,” because then its “right to life would then be guaranteed” by the Constitution.
According to AL.com, Collins said that if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, states could then later decide what exceptions to allow—such as incest or rape.
Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville), who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said that all unborn children deserve protection from the law, AL.com reported.
“Human life has rights, and when someone takes those rights, that’s when we as government have to step in,” Chambliss said, The Guardian reported. “When God creates that life, that miracle of life inside the woman’s womb, it’s not our place as humans to extinguish that life. That’s what I believe.”
Chambliss was asked about the legal costs the state would incur if the bill is challenged in court.
“Life is a gift of our Creator and we must do everything that we can to protect life,” he responded, according to AL.com. “And if it is a couple of million dollars, that is a small, small price for those lives.”
Mimi Nguyen-Ly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.