Miscarriage or stillborn baby = murder?

Outcry in America as pregnant women who lose babies face murder charges
Women's rights campaigners see the creeping criminalisation of pregnant women as a new front in the culture wars over abortion

Rennie Gibbs is accused of murder, but the crime she is alleged to have committed does not sound like an ordinary killing. Yet she faces life in prison in Mississippi over the death of her unborn child.

Gibbs became pregnant aged 15, but lost the baby in December 2006 in a stillbirth when she was 36 weeks into the pregnancy. When prosecutors discovered that she had a cocaine habit – though there is no evidence that drug abuse had anything to do with the baby's death – they charged her with the "depraved-heart murder" of her child, which carries a mandatory life sentence.
Bei Bei Shuai, 34, has spent the past three months in a prison cell in Indianapolis charged with murdering her baby. On 23 December she tried to commit suicide by taking rat poison after her boyfriend abandoned her.

Shuai was rushed to hospital and survived, but she was 33 weeks pregnant and her baby, to whom she gave birth a week after the suicide attempt and whom she called Angel, died after four days. In March Shuai was charged with murder and attempted foeticide and she has been in custody since without the offer of bail.
Amanda Kimbrough is one of the women who have been ensnared as a result of the law being applied in a wholly different way. During her pregnancy her foetus was diagnosed with possible Down's syndrome and doctors suggested she consider a termination, which Kimbrough declined as she is not in favour of abortion.

The baby was delivered by caesarean section prematurely in April 2008 and died 19 minutes after birth.

Six months later Kimbrough was arrested at home and charged with "chemical endangerment" of her unborn child on the grounds that she had taken drugs during the pregnancy – a claim she has denied.

"That shocked me, it really did," Kimbrough said. "I had lost a child, that was enough."

She now awaits an appeal ruling from the higher courts in Alabama, which if she loses will see her begin a 10-year sentence behind bars. "I'm just living one day at a time, looking after my three other kids," she said. "They say I'm a criminal, how do I answer that? I'm a good mother."
South Carolina was one of the first states to introduce such a foetal homicide law. National Advocates for Pregnant Women has found only one case of a South Carolina man who assaulted a pregnant woman having been charged under its terms, and his conviction was eventually overturned. Yet the group estimates there have been up to 300 women arrested for their actions during pregnancy.

My commentary under the cutCollapse )


I thought I saw Whoopi Goldberg yesterday on my way to school. But I figure she wouldn't be driving a Toyota Corolla down Virginia Beach Blvd. in Norfolk.

To those affected by the Japanese earthquakes and tsunamis:

I send my prayers and well wishes to all of you.

To donate $10 to the Red Cross, text REDCROSS to 90999.

Lastly, as an American, I also apologize for all of the hateful Pearl Harbor remarks that some of my fellow Americans have posted on Facebook, Twitter and other places. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ignorant, small-minded, and just plain spiteful people in this country who believe that they're better than everyone else and have the motto "God Bless America and no place else".

NPR Exec: Tea Party is racist

NPR Executive Caught Calling Tea Partiers ‘Racist’
The executive, Ronald Schiller, was recorded secretly by the Republican filmmaker and mischief-maker James O’Keefe. On the videotape, Mr. Schiller tells people posing as Muslim philanthropists that the Republican party has been “hijacked” by the Tea Party and that Tea Party supporters are “seriously racist, racist people.” Mr. Schiller indicates that he is sharing his personal point of view, not NPR’s.

I have to say...Collapse )

Writer's Block: Life's lessons

If you could confront the worst teacher you've ever had, what would you tell him or her?

This is going to be long.

Dear Mrs. G (1st grade),

Thanks to you, I spent several years thinking that I was a horrible person with a major behavioral problem. My problem was that I was an outgoing, outspoken tomboy rather than a quiet, lady-like girly-girl, like you believed girls should be. My mother got phone calls from you every day over my so-called "misbehavior", sometimes 2 or 3 times a day, for major infractions like talking to the kid beside me, flipping out on a kid who stole something from me, climbing the jungle gym and "showing [my] panties to the boys", and not eating all of my lunch. Oh and even though my mother put me into therapy and on Ritalin, on the principal's suggestion, that wasn't good enough for you. When you asked my mother for permission to hold me back from 2nd grade, despite having some of the best grades in the class, and my mother said NO WAY, you and the principal went over her head to the school board, and of course you won. Congratulations. You had the principal, the school, and the city school board behind you. My only advocate was my mother, who fought hard for me, but couldn't be taken seriously as a black single mother living in a lower socioeconomic neighborhood "probably on welfare". For YEARS I believed I'd been held back because I was simply a "bad person". How do you explain that kind of thing to people? Well, I didn't know and I still don't, so it was easier to let people assume that I failed and was "stupid". Oh, and thanks for the totally boring following year, where I had to repeat all the work I'd aced the first time around. You thought I talked too much, well, you'll be happy to know that now, over 25 years later, I can barely look a person in the eye and speak to them because I automatically expect to be hated. So again, congratulations.

No love,

Dear Mrs. J (4th grade),

You were just plain evil. There are too many of your nasty deeds to mention, but I'll never forget when I came to you bleeding from a cut and you snapped "What do you want me to do about it?!" and forbidding me to go to the nurse before telling me to get a paper towel so I didn't bleed all over my desk. Nor will I forget the way you deliberately held us on the last day of school so that most of us missed our buses home and left us standing in the bus ramp as you took off in your white Delta 88. I laughed muchly when I saw your obituary in the newspaper about 10 years ago. I hope whatever killed you hurt.

Hoping you're having a good time with your daddy, Satan,

Dear Mrs. D (5th grade),

At the time I thought you were pretty nice, but that's probably because I was coming from Mrs. J's class. Now I can see that you were nothing but a sorry old bully enabler who wanted the popular kids to see you as the "cool" teacher. You sat back and allowed me to end up the class punching bag (literally) because I was "old enough to settle those kinds of things without adults", then called a parent-teacher conference to tell my mother that it was my own fault for not trying hard enough to fit in or having the nerve to cry when the other kids did things like threatening to come to my house and beat me up or hitting me hard enough to draw blood. Even evil Mrs. J didn't tolerate bullying in her class. You decimated what was left of my self-esteem, and I don't even want to think about how many other students you did the same thing to.

Bitter, who me?

Dear Mrs. B (12th grade calculus),

You actually were a nice lady, but sorry to say, YOU. COULD. NOT. TEACH. When none of your students can score above a 2 on the AP exam (including the guy who has never gotten less than an A, graduated with a 4.6, and went on to graduate summa cum laude in engineering from one of the top schools in the country) year after year after year...maybe you should change something about the way you teach.

I still wish you a good life,

Redefining RAPE???

The House GOP's Plan to Redefine Rape

Some quotes:

Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to "forcible rape." This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion.

Other types of rapes that would no longer be covered by the exemption include rapes in which the woman was drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes.

As for the incest exception, the bill would only allow federally funded abortions if the woman is under 18.

In other words, "forcible rape" = "someone physically holding you down and forcing sexual intercourse on you while you kick and scream". If that.

Dear Misogynists:Collapse )

Writer's Block: Eye for an eye?

If you bumped into someone who regularly picked on you as a child, what would you say to them?

It's happened before. Step 1: Pretend I don't see them and make sure they don't see me. If they approach me and remember who I am, I try Step 2: Pretend I don't really remember them, even if I remember every detail about them. I act like their face is vaguely familiar, but I can't recall their name. Step 3: Act polite and nice, even if talking to them is the last thing I want to do. Step 4: Make a quick exit if possible.

Yeah, I got picked on a lot as a kid and I still have the scars, outside and inside, to show for it. Making them think I don't remember them and forgot about them the second they were out of my life is the closest to "getting back at them" I'll ever get. Especially if they act all buddy-buddy with me like we were friends back then.