Outcry in America as pregnant women who lose babies face murder charges

This is from June 24th 2011 but the follow up is pasted below.
15 year old pregnant girls need HELP! Not Prison! Where is their boyfriend? Where are their parents?! Why is society failing those who need guidance the most? Why do we judge someone who needs help? The law that was used to charge Ms Gibbs is, as is pointed out here, a very antiquated law also…

From: The Guardian (UK)
24 June 2011
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.

Gibbs is the first woman in Mississippi to be charged with murder relating to the loss of her unborn baby. But her case is by no means isolated. Across the US more and more prosecutions are being brought that seek to turn pregnant women into criminals.

“Women are being stripped of their constitutional personhood and subjected to truly cruel laws,” said Lynn Paltrow of the campaign National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW). “It’s turning pregnant women into a different class of person and removing them of their rights.”

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.

In Alabama at least 40 cases have been brought under the state’s “chemical endangerment” law. Introduced in 2006, the statute was designed to protect children whose parents were cooking methamphetamine in the home and thus putting their children at risk from inhaling the fumes.

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.”

Women’s rights campaigners see the creeping criminalisation of pregnant women as a new front in the culture wars over abortion, in which conservative prosecutors are chipping away at hard-won freedoms by stretching protection laws to include foetuses, in some cases from the day of conception. In Gibbs’ case defence lawyers have argued before Mississippi’s highest court that her prosecution makes no sense. Under Mississippi law it is a crime for any person except the mother to try to cause an abortion.

“If it’s not a crime for a mother to intentionally end her pregnancy, how can it be a crime for her to do it unintentionally, whether by taking drugs or smoking or whatever it is,” Robert McDuff, a civil rights lawyer asked the state supreme court.

McDuff told the Guardian that he hoped the Gibbs prosecution was an isolated example. “I hope it’s not a trend that’s going to catch on. To charge a woman with murder because of something she did during pregnancy is really unprecedented and quite extreme.”

Read the rest here.


Feb 19 2012:
Hattiesburg American:
Depraved-heart murder on Lowndes court docket
COLUMBUS, Miss.— Rennie Gibbs is scheduled to be in Lowndes Circuit Court on Tuesday for trial on charges of depraved heart murder in the death of her unborn child.

The Commercial Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/y8FEZS) that Gibbs’ trial is among several scheduled for the court’s February term, which runs through March 2.
….

———
The proposed law concerning “personhood” was rejected in Mississippio in November of 2011:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/09/mississippi-voters-reject-anti-abortion-amendment?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

SCOTT Watch: Cruel and Unusual. Hospitalize Jamie Now.

This is really disturbing. If you land on this page, contact someone below for help for Jamie – don’t just leave it to others. We need everyone on this.

———————————-freethescottsisters.blogspot.com—————–

Jamie is still on the regular prison unit, she is not in the infirmary, nor has she been moved to the hospital. She is tired, weak, and ill. She has been vomiting at least twice a day and yesterday she vomited four times and has not been able to keep anything down. A possible cause mentioned involves phosphates, but the prison refuses to carry out the necessary blood test nor provide her with the proper nutrition indicated for dialysis patients as their care is notoriously cut-rate!

Her left arm, where the shunt is placed, is painful with lack of mobility and she has not been followed up by a doctor regarding that surgery as of this time. She received dialysis yesterday via the catheter in her groin and was given Heparin to insure that the catheter would not clog, however no mention has been made of the green pus or prior bleeding. She also is restarting insulin today and is on blood pressure medicine. It has been Jamie’s past experience that mismanagement of her medications has contributed to her illnesses many times.

Jamie needs to be released so that her family can follow-up with proper care for her. We have a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in the prison medical system and believe that she will die in there if she is not released! She’s in end stage kidney failure and is being housed in a unit where there is mold and leaking water whenever it rains and is a breeding ground for infection. Jamie should be in the Medical Bldg. where her sister, Gladys, can care for her or better yet be hospitalized until she is completely stable. In fact, Jamie and Gladys have no business in that prison to begin with!

Many have asked about Gladys, as you can well imagine her prior depression has taken a downturn in her constant distress about her sister’s rapidly declining condition. She has also lost considerable weight in  worrying about Jamie’s issues as well as her own unjust incarceration and all that entails.

She definitely could use a card or a letter, as could Jamie, although Jamie’s address fluctuates:

Gladys Scott, #19142
CMCF/B-Bldg.
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8550

Jamie Scott, #19197
CMCF/2A-B-Zone
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8550

We need everyone to use your contacts and networks to make something happen for these women. Please stretch out and send the press release, case summary, and flyer links out to everyone you know, post them to websites, blogs, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, everywhere there
is an audience to view it. Please sign, help distribute and mail-in the letter at the website to Chokwe Lumumba’s office in the 10,000 letters campaign. We really you all to do whatever you can do to help us get the word out and to take initiatives on behalf of these women. We need to pump this up like never before. Let’s try our very best to make sure that everyone we can think of is aware of this case.

Thank you all! Keep the pressure on!
——————

More updates will be sent out as soon as they come available.

Christopher Epps, Commissioner of Prisons for the State of Mississippi
601-359-5600
CEPPS@mdoc.state.ms.us
723 North President Street
Jackson, MS 39202

Emmitt Sparkman, Deputy Commissioner
(601) 359-5610
esparkman@mdoc.state.ms.us

Margaret Bingham, Superintendent of Central Mississippi Corrections Facility
(601) 932-2880
mbingham@mdoc.state.ms.us
FAX: (601) 664-0782
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, Mississippi 39208

Dr. Gloria Perry, Medical Department (601) 359-5155
gperry@mdoc.state.ms.us

Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150
Fax: 601-359-3741
(If you reach VM leave msgs, faxes, and please send letters)

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
HOTLINE: 202-353-1555
PHONE: 202-514-2000
202-307-6777 fax

PLEASE CONTACT POLITICIANS AND MEDIA

A complete list of politicians to send Scott Sisters info to is at:
http://www.commoncause.org/siteapps/advocacy/search.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4860375

A complete list of the media that we have listed (feel free to send to any others that
you wish to!) is at http://freethescottsisters.blogspot.com/2010/01/119-emergency-update.html


http://nancylockhart.blogspot.com

SCOTT Watch: Cruel and Unusual. Hospitalize Jamie Now.

This is really disturbing. If you land on this page, contact someone below for help for Jamie – don’t just leave it to others. We need everyone on this.

———————————-freethescottsisters.blogspot.com—————–

Jamie is still on the regular prison unit, she is not in the infirmary, nor has she been moved to the hospital. She is tired, weak, and ill. She has been vomiting at least twice a day and yesterday she vomited four times and has not been able to keep anything down. A possible cause mentioned involves phosphates, but the prison refuses to carry out the necessary blood test nor provide her with the proper nutrition indicated for dialysis patients as their care is notoriously cut-rate!

Her left arm, where the shunt is placed, is painful with lack of mobility and she has not been followed up by a doctor regarding that surgery as of this time. She received dialysis yesterday via the catheter in her groin and was given Heparin to insure that the catheter would not clog, however no mention has been made of the green pus or prior bleeding. She also is restarting insulin today and is on blood pressure medicine. It has been Jamie’s past experience that mismanagement of her medications has contributed to her illnesses many times.

Jamie needs to be released so that her family can follow-up with proper care for her. We have a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in the prison medical system and believe that she will die in there if she is not released! She’s in end stage kidney failure and is being housed in a unit where there is mold and leaking water whenever it rains and is a breeding ground for infection. Jamie should be in the Medical Bldg. where her sister, Gladys, can care for her or better yet be hospitalized until she is completely stable. In fact, Jamie and Gladys have no business in that prison to begin with!

Many have asked about Gladys, as you can well imagine her prior depression has taken a downturn in her constant distress about her sister’s rapidly declining condition. She has also lost considerable weight in  worrying about Jamie’s issues as well as her own unjust incarceration and all that entails.

She definitely could use a card or a letter, as could Jamie, although Jamie’s address fluctuates:

Gladys Scott, #19142
CMCF/B-Bldg.
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8550

Jamie Scott, #19197
CMCF/2A-B-Zone
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8550

We need everyone to use your contacts and networks to make something happen for these women. Please stretch out and send the press release, case summary, and flyer links out to everyone you know, post them to websites, blogs, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, everywhere there
is an audience to view it. Please sign, help distribute and mail-in the letter at the website to Chokwe Lumumba’s office in the 10,000 letters campaign. We really you all to do whatever you can do to help us get the word out and to take initiatives on behalf of these women. We need to pump this up like never before. Let’s try our very best to make sure that everyone we can think of is aware of this case.

Thank you all! Keep the pressure on!
——————

More updates will be sent out as soon as they come available.

Christopher Epps, Commissioner of Prisons for the State of Mississippi
601-359-5600
CEPPS@mdoc.state.ms.us
723 North President Street
Jackson, MS 39202

Emmitt Sparkman, Deputy Commissioner
(601) 359-5610
esparkman@mdoc.state.ms.us

Margaret Bingham, Superintendent of Central Mississippi Corrections Facility
(601) 932-2880
mbingham@mdoc.state.ms.us
FAX: (601) 664-0782
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, Mississippi 39208

Dr. Gloria Perry, Medical Department (601) 359-5155
gperry@mdoc.state.ms.us

Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150
Fax: 601-359-3741
(If you reach VM leave msgs, faxes, and please send letters)

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
HOTLINE: 202-353-1555
PHONE: 202-514-2000
202-307-6777 fax

PLEASE CONTACT POLITICIANS AND MEDIA

A complete list of politicians to send Scott Sisters info to is at:
http://www.commoncause.org/siteapps/advocacy/search.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4860375

A complete list of the media that we have listed (feel free to send to any others that
you wish to!) is at http://freethescottsisters.blogspot.com/2010/01/119-emergency-update.html


http://nancylockhart.blogspot.com

MEChA de ASU Solidarity With Mississippi Youth

Here’s some cross-movement organizing for you. A few of us got together yesterday and came up with this sign, then I stopped by the MEChA de ASU meeting and told them what was up, so a bunch of them signed to support the youth and church groups, mainly, working to free the Scott Sisters.

We know this is all about civil rights and justice, not just about seeking mercy.

I’ll be down at the Palestinian Wall memorial on Hayden Lawn today seeking support, too.

Hang in there, Mrs. Rasco. All of you. We’ve still got a long haul ahead, I think, but there’s a lot of love and outrage stirring on the Scott Sisters behalf. This is America, after all. This kind of thing should be fixed when it happens here, not re-written for history books…who are we, if we can’t be real?

Good for the media covering this now, by the way – the first ones show the most courage.

This is a close-up of the insert to Nina Simone’s Anthology. Great tunes. Seemed appropriate to tack on there, since I’ve been listening a lot.

Still recruiting more Mississippi Prison Watchers!

– Peggy Plews