Jessica Valenti

Pregnant Women Who Are Assaulted Are Being Treated Like Criminals — Not Victims

Acting “dangerously” while pregnant could get you arrested

Jessica Valenti
GEN
Published in
3 min readJul 2, 2019

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Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision/Getty

GGenerally, when a person is attacked and seriously injured, they’re considered the victim of a crime. That wasn’t the case with Marshae Jones. When the 28-year-old woman in Alabama lost her pregnancy after being shot in the stomach, she wasn’t consoled by police — she was arrested and charged with manslaughter.

Police claim that Jones instigated the fight that led to her getting shot; the woman who actually pulled the trigger had her charges dismissed. “The only true victim in this was the unborn baby,” Pleasant Grove Police Department Lt. Danny Reid told a local reporter.

Arresting Jones is just the latest in a long line of attacks on women — women of color and low-income women, especially — who lose their pregnancies: women like Melissa Ann Rowland of Utah, who was charged with murder after she refused a C-section and one of her twins was stillborn, or Christine Taylor of Iowa, who was charged with attempted feticide after she fell down the stairs at home.

Criminalization of those who lose pregnancies is part of the anti-abortion agenda — establishing personhood for embryos, giving…

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Jessica Valenti
GEN
Writer for

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.