Alabama is back on my radar again … if I had to choose one state in this union to give away, it would be Alabama. My friend Herb takes me to task for this, reminds me that there are 6 people in Alabama who are kind, compassionate and intelligent, and that I shouldn’t lump all Alabamans together. So, my apologies to those six … you guys can move up north before I sell Alabama to Mexico.
I have concluded that lawmakers and judges in the State of Alabama do not respect women. Not. One. Bit. First, there was the passage of the most restrictive law on abortion, completely illegal and going against Roe v Wade, the law of the land. The Alabama law sets women’s rights back at least 46 years, more likely hundreds of years. But on to the latest outrage …
Meet Marshae Jones.Last year on December 4th, Ms. Jones was five months pregnant when she was shot in the stomach. She survived, but her baby did not. The shooting transpired during an altercation with another woman, the woman who pulled the trigger, one Ebony Jemison. The argument was over the father of Ms. Jones’ child. Initially, police charged Ms. Jemison, the shooter, with manslaughter in the death of the fetus. The grand jury, however, failed to indict Jemison because police concluded that it was Ms. Jones who started the argument, so prosecutors turned their sights toward the victim of the shooting, Ms. Jones.
On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Ms. Jones, she was arrested, and tossed into Jefferson County jail pending a $50,000 bond. Why, you ask? Because, according to Pleasant Grove police Lieutenant Danny Reid, she shouldn’t have started the fight, she was pregnant and should have been home behaving herself.
“When a five-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child. That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”
Let that one sink in for just a minute. But the real reason is … well, look at her picture. She has two strikes against her – female and black. You don’t get a fair shake if you are either of those, in Alabama. Or, to be fair, Louisiana, Mississippi, or any number of other states, particularly south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Seems to me the town of ‘Pleasant’ Grove better re-name itself. Perhaps “Misogyny Meadows” would be more apt, for when a woman can be charged for the death of her own child simply because she was a participant in an argument, there is nothing ‘pleasant’ at all about that town.
Fortunately for Ms. Jones, advocacy groups have taken up the gauntlet. Yellowhammer Fund, part of a nationwide umbrella advocacy group, is one such. Executive Director Amanda Reyes said …
“The state of Alabama has proven yet again that the moment a person becomes pregnant their sole responsibility is to produce a live, healthy baby and that it considers any action a pregnant person takes that might impede in that live birth to be a criminal act. Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care.”
She’s right … this opens a whole can of worms that we didn’t need opened. If Ms. Jones is found guilty and convicted, it will be a blow to equality, to women’s rights, to civil rights. This cannot be tolerated, it simply cannot, for if it is allowed, the poison will spread, and before long, women will be paid less than their male compadres (in many industries and areas, they still are), will have lost their rights to make their own decisions, and what next? Somewhere along the line, the male-dominated legislatures decide that she should not own property, or vote? Far-fetched? Sure it is … today. But yesterday, a woman being put on trial for being shot while pregnant was far-fetched and unthinkable. That was yesterday. This is today. What does tomorrow hold?