Amerikka: Poor women get jail for stillbirths.

To paraphrase George Dubya: misogynists never stop thinking of ways to harm women, and neither does America. The latest joyous news from the motherland (a term I use advisedly) is that troubled women are being prosecuted for murder after suffering miscarriages or still-births. This is more than insane. It’s baffling. Despite the pro-life palaver America doesn’t generally give a damn about post-natal child welfare………

……..Rennie Gibbs was just 16 when her baby was stillborn. The state is trying her as an adult, for murder, alleging that the still-birth was caused by cocaine use. For some mush-headed moralists this is enough (“What kind of terrible human being takes drugs while pregnant?” etc.) Before galloping off on their high-horse, however, they should consider the fact that all sorts of things cause miscarriage and still-birth. As the Gibbs brief notes:

People wrongly believe that women have a high degree of control over their pregnancy outcomes. The longstanding and constant medical reality, however, is that as many as 20-30 percent of all pregnancies will end in miscarriage or stillbirth.

Not just crackhead pregnancies, teen pregnancies, women-of-colour pregnancies, or unwed pregnancies – all pregnancies. Including those of law-abiding suburban wives who drive SUVs and take their vitamins. The difference is the latter are more likely to get flowers than be slapped with a murder charge. The Gibbs brief spells it out: “Low income women… [are] particularly vulnerable to punishment” (italics mine).

The same theme emerges in the case of Amanda Kimbrough. Her premature son died shortly after birth. She was sentenced to ten years in prison after admitting to having smoked methamphetamine once during her pregnancy. Ms Kimbrough was denied funding to call experts witnesses who could have testified on her behalf that: “Amphetamine abuse does not seem to be associated with any consistent increase in congenital abnormalities… [And] cocaine is no more harmful to a fetus than nicotine use, poor nutrition, lack of prenatal care, or other conditions commonly associated with the urban poor (italics mine).

These women weren’t prosecuted for taking drugs; they were prosecuted for being poor. In a culture that worships money, anyone without it is not just disposable, but potentially dangerous. The richest twenty percent of the US population holds eighty percent of its wealth and economic apartheid, like all other forms of oppression, requires brutal enforcement. Rennie Gibbs and Amanda Kimbrough are being persecuted to remind women that bodily autonomy, like everything else in America, is a privilege of those who can afford it.

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COMMENTS

This applies to all the cases. I’ve heard of, seen, and experienced government agents hounding people just because they could, but this is obscene! The law that is supposed to protect these people is being used against them to turn them into criminals. While that in itself isn’t uncommon, this is a particularly disgusting case. Some poor young girl, who had a drug addiction (a sickness of the mind) and happened to lose her baby is now a murderer. A woman who gave birth to a child that didn’t have a chance at survival to start with, is a cold blooded killer.

So who can I blame here? It’s just so hard for me to pinpoint a story like this. Where do I start? Alright, so I already made a note that the drug war is a major contributor to this injustice. Secondly the “pro-life” groups who are in favor of this are absolutely ludicrous! These people are not merely “pro-life” but are undeniably anti-woman. Ironic how these “pro-lifers” are in favor of the slow death penalty.   DANNY

Anonymous said…

I totally agree!

A word about right-to-lifer’s: they act like they are about saving and protecting children, but it’s really about sexual control. These are the same people who go ape-shit when birth control gets handed out in pulic schools. Why? because women have no sexual rights outside of marriage in thier culture.
Another odd trend I’ve noticed is how these people like babies, but they seem to hate inmates and animals too. I personally am a vegetarian and against the death penalty, but I always get proded and called a “damn liberal hippie” by the “lifers” for being either. You’d think that right to life covers all forms of life?

July 7, 2011 9:42 PM

 

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