An Alabama woman was indicted on a manslaughter charge after she was shot in the stomach, leading to the death of her unborn child, officials said.
Marshae Jones was five months pregnant when authorities say on Dec. 4 she and Ebony Jemison began arguing over the father of Jones’ unborn baby outside a Dollar General in Pleasant Grove, AL.com reported.
During the fight, Jemison, 23, shot Jones in the stomach, authorities said.
Emergency responders found Jones at a convenience store in neighboring Fairfield and rushed her to UAB Hospital.
Jones survived the shooting, but the expectant mother’s unborn baby was unable to be saved.
Jemison was charged with manslaughter, despite police’s original intentions to charge her with murder, and the case went to a grand jury. But a grand jury failed to indict her and the charge was dismissed, AL.com reported.
Police reportedly later said Jemison shot Jones in self-defense after the pregnant woman initiated the argument.
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ Lt. Danny Reid of the Pleasant Grove police told AL.com. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight, which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
Officials said a grand jury would consider charges for Jones, and on Wednesday, she was indicted on a manslaughter charge. Her bond was reportedly set at $50,000, but by Thursday, she was bonded out of the Jefferson County Jail, online records show.
Abortion rights advocates pointed to Jones’s indictment as an example of the ripple effect of Alabama’s restrictive laws concerning the procedure could have on non-abortion cases. It was unclear Thursday if the policies signed into law last month criminalizing actions that endanger a fetus played a part in the charge Jones faces.
“This what 2019 looks like for a pregnant woman of color without means in a red state,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said on Twitter. “This is now.”
Amanda Reyes, executive director of the Yellowhammer Fund, part of a nationwide umbrella advocacy group, said in a statement to AL.com: “Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care.