Oklahoma woman found guilty of manslaughter after suffering miscarriage

Originally published at: Oklahoma woman found guilty of manslaughter after suffering miscarriage | Boing Boing

10 Likes

In other words: this is absolutely the legal future that some anti-abortion activists want.

I’d say most anti-choicers are looking for this outcome. Anyone thinking this precedent will apply only to drug addicts is fooling themselves.

59 Likes

Was this OBGYN the defendant’s doctor? Can they do that?

21 Likes

Not looking forward to the day when a batch of fundie do gooders appoint themselves investigators of any miscarriage that they deem “suspicious”. There is pretty much a 50% chance that the American Taliban will rise to power someday.

21 Likes

No GIF

so much rage, so many assholes.

28 Likes

The “american” taliban is already here… now lets see this applied to the anti-vaxxers who keep spreading covid around infecting people to death…

14 Likes

There is a well known phenomenon of women getting upset reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting (especially earlier editions) because it talks about the incredibly long list of risk factors for miscarriage.

Gaining too much weight. Gaining too little weight. Not getting enough exercise. Overexertion. Prescription meds that might have been taken before they knew they were pregnant. Prescription drugs they needed to take while pregnant. Not taking certain prescription meds. Workplace risks. Everyday risks. They are almost all small risks, but they’re not zero.

Then there is the issue of trying to understand what the cumulative effect of risk factors is – it’s beyond OBs to really know most of the time while a woman is pregnant, let alone the woman herself.

But after the fact, a zealous prosecutor could easily pull together a laundry list of minor factors and file charges.

36 Likes

This is a tough one for me.

I don’t like the dark evil future that the anti-women’s choice movement is going with, and I also think it’s kind of irresponsible to say that a miscarried fetus that has methamphetamine, amphetamine, and whatever that third drug is (I’ve seen heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine all mentioned but no evidence/source, other than it is a controlled substance) isn’t put at risk of death by the person’s actions.

If this were someone who , say, drunk drove, hit a pregnant woman, and killed the fetus she was taking perfectly good care of , wouldn’t a case of manslaughter be warranted?

I dunno. Tough call. Tough case. Probably bad decision.

1 Like

And they did in this case. Because Brittany is a POC and poor, they break their own laws to get a conviction. If she had been a wealthy white oxy user? Never would have seen charges filed. I hope there is a gofundme so she can get a better lawyer for the appeal.

30 Likes

Two major considerations here:

  1. A fetus generally isn’t legally classified as a human being unless it’s for the purposes of punishing women for failing their obligations to it.
  2. Even the medical experts at this trial couldn’t say for certain that the drugs in this woman’s system caused the miscarriage. She wasn’t charged with “negligence” that might have contributed to the miscarriage, she was charged with manslaughter.
50 Likes

Leaving aside all the other legal and ethical arguments here, doesn’t it need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the drug use led to the miscarriage? In other words, if there were other potentially contributing factors (such as a congenital abnormality) then isn’t there reasonable doubt that the death was caused by drug use?

28 Likes

Manslaughter in oklahoma is by definition a death caused or potentially caused by negligence. It’s misdemeanor manslaughter if it’s done when committing a misdemeanor, and it’s felony when done by committing a felony.

4 Likes

Allegedly, yes. As others have pointed out, though, this is yet another example of how we have tiered systems of “justice” in this country. In this story, the legal system isn’t even following its own laws. A poor person without a support network is basically screwed in this situation.

23 Likes

When I first read it, I thought “what is the point of prosecuting this woman? It’s not to prevent her from doing it again. And it’s not to try and get addicts to stop taking drugs while pregnant, because, you know, they’re physically addicted, taking drugs is what they’re going to do, legal threats aren’t going to change their mind, they need treatment.”

Then I read your comment and went “oh yeah, it’s not about her, or about addicts, it’s just about ratcheting the window open to ban abortion outright”.

21 Likes

It’s not. Because it’s a fucking fetus and cannot die.

Again, it’s not a death. It’s not a living being. It’s a fetus… in a woman’s body. A woman who is actually alive and is going to have her life utterly ruined instead of getting the help she needs for substance abuse.

24 Likes

If he killed the pregnant woman, yes. If he caused a miscarriage, that is still a violent crime and a horrible thing but not manslaughter.

Besides, as mentioned in the OP:

The Medical Examiner detected a congenital abnormality, placental abruption and chorioamnionitis as well.

Babies are born with medical problems due to drug/alcohol use in utero, but they are born alive. This fetus clearly had a number of medical reasons why the pregnancy was not going to make it all the way.

24 Likes

Oklahoma ain’t OK.

16 Likes

Which doesn’t apply to a fetus less than 20 weeks. The examiner testified that this fetus was 17 weeks.

This was all covered in Thom’s post.

21 Likes

Yeah, you only have to look at countries that ban abortions - women who miscarry get prosecuted, frequently. Not because they were drug users, not because they induced an abortion, but just because well, maybe they could have, and that’s enough.

14 Likes

I suppose they see El Salvador as the role model:

8 Likes