In late 2018 US woman Marshae Jones, 28, was shot in the stomach during a dispute with 23-year-old Ebony Jemison. At the time of the shooting, Jones was 5-months pregnant. Despite surviving the ordeal, the fetus did not. This week, Jones has appeared in an Alabama court over the incident and a Jefferson County grand jury has indicted her for the manslaughter of the fetus.
Police are arguing that Jones allegedly started the fight and that Jemison only shot her in self-defence. Further, authorities are claiming that because Jones failed to get herself out of the situation they reasoned she's culpable for the situation that unfolded.
"The only true victim in this was the unborn baby," Lieutenant Danny Reid of the Pleasant Grove Police Department said after the shooting in December, al.com reported. "It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby."
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The case comes amid controversy in the US over women's rights to choose whether a fetus should "count" as a person under the law. Last month Alabama voted to pass the most severe restrictions on abortion across the country. Twenty-five Republican male state senators passed a bill outlawing abortion from the moment of conception onward, without provisions for cases of rape or incest.
Most shockingly, doctors who perform the procedure could also be punished with life in prison.
While it's uncertain if the bill will go into effect, it sets up a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the apparent goal of recent state-sponsored abortion restrictions.
Alabama is also one of the 38 states that have fetal homicide laws. That means, in cases of violence against pregnant women the fetus is formally recognised as a victim.
The case has sparked outrage online, with many taking to social media to show their support for Jones.