Saturday, 19 March 2011

FETICIDE: Indiana: Bei Bei Shuai took poison in suicide attempt

March 16 2011
A woman who admitted to authorities that she ingested rat poison when she was 33 weeks pregnant, resulting in the death of her child days after birth, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murder and attempted feticide as her attorney lashed out at prosecutors.

Bei Bei Shuai, 34, is from China but has been living in the United States for about 10 years.

Angel Shuai was born alive on Dec. 31 but died on Jan. 3, suffering from a brain hemorrhage because her mother took the poison, investigators said
Shuai told police that she wanted to kill herself after her boyfriend left her.

Shuai's attorney, Linda Pence, said the case shouldn't have been filed and that she will be vigorously defended.

"Charges against pregnant women are wrong. In every jurisdiction that has looked at this but one … courts have tossed this out," Pence said. "Prosecuting women that were pregnant is bad for babies. These kind of prosecutions … make women afraid to come forth for health reasons and other reasons. Babies die when you prosecute women. I can't believe this office decided to file this."

A similar case has never been brought in Indiana courts, though Shuai's defense team said there is case law from other states.

"The mother controls her body. The mother has a right to live. This is not the place to address these horrid kinds of situations," Pence said. "Criminal justice is not the place where you take care of these things."

Dave Rimstidt, Marion County chief trial deputy, said careful consideration was given before charging Shuai.

"This is a very unique case," Rimstidt said. "Every charging decision is very difficult and goes through a process where we consider all the facts, all the circumstances, and under this situation, we believe we've charged the two charges we can prove."

Shuai's defense team is also getting help from a legal defense group called the National Advocates For Pregnant Women.

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