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Alabama woman charged with murder of her unborn baby as woman who shot her walks free

Alabama woman charged with murder of her unborn baby as woman who shot her walks free
An Alabama woman has been indicted for manslaughter after another woman shot her in the stomach, killing her unborn child. The shooter was not charged, but her victim was blamed for inciting the fight and faces 20 years in prison.

Marshae Jones has been indicted for “intentionally causing the death” of her unborn baby “by initiating a fight knowing she was five months pregnant,” a Jefferson County grand jury ruled on Wednesday. The same jury refused to indict Ebony Jemison, the woman who shot Jones in a Dollar General parking lot in December, after the charge against her was downgraded from murder to manslaughter.

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Let’s not lose sight that the unborn baby is the victim here,” Pleasant Grove police Lt. Danny Reid said following 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.” The five-month-old fetus was “dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations,” Reid insisted.

Jones is accused of starting the fight over the father of the unborn child, but the dispute had been simmering for longer, according to Jones’ mother. All three members of the ill-fated love triangle worked together at a charcoal plant in Jefferson County. Authorities claim Jones continued the fight even as Jemison got in her car to leave and that Jemison then “got hold of a gun” and fired “at Jones” to forestall further attacks. But Patrice Jones, Marshae’s mother, claims her daughter started walking away as soon as she saw the gun – and that someone has cell-phone video of the altercation.

Alabama’s unusual relationship with fetuses is in the spotlight after the state passed the US’ most restrictive abortion law last month, criminalizing the procedure without exceptions for rape or incest. Doctors who perform abortions will face from 10 to 99 years in prison – but even that law doesn’t go so far as to punish the woman receiving the abortion. And that law wasn’t passed in a vacuum – in a legal first, an Alabama man was granted permission to represent an aborted fetus in court in March in a wrongful death suit against the would-be child’s mother, a surreal case the man has admitted is meant to make it “really difficult for a woman in Alabama to get access to abortion.”

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Today, Marshae Jones is being charged with manslaughter for being pregnant and getting shot while engaging in an altercation with a person who had a gun. Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care,” Amanda Reyes, executive director of abortion rights group the Yellowhammer Fund, said in a statement on Wednesday, pointing to the case as an example of the dangerous precedent set by the state’s new abortion law. The group has pledged to assist with Jones’ legal representation and raise funds to pay her $50,000 bond.

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