Woman wants to fight charges in baby's death

AP News
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Posted: May 18, 2012 1:38 PM
Woman wants to fight charges in baby's death

An Indianapolis judge granted bond Friday to a Chinese immigrant charged with murdering her fetus by eating rat poison after her boyfriend dumped her, after the woman said she plans to fight the charges because she loves the U.S. and wants to avoid being deported.

The $50,000 bond Marion County Judge Sheila Carlisle set for 35-year-old Bei Bei Shuai is unusual, as defendants in Indiana murder cases are rarely given the chance. Carlisle denied Shuai's bond request last June, but a state appeals court agreed with Shuai's attorneys that there was enough evidence to cast doubt on the murder and feticide charges she faces.

Shuai told Carlisle she would show up for court hearings if she got out of jail because "I want to fight."

Shuai was 33 weeks pregnant when she ate rat poison on Dec. 23, 2010, after her boyfriend broke up with her. Shuai was hospitalized, and doctors detected little wrong with the fetus' health for the first few days. The premature girl, Angel Shuai, was delivered by cesarean section Dec. 31, and she died from bleeding in the brain after being removed from life support.

Prosecutors argue that Shuai intended to abort the fetus.

Her attorneys, though, contend that she meant to kill herself, not simply end her pregnancy, and that she was suffering from depression. They argue that prosecuting a woman based on the outcome of her pregnancy violates her constitutional rights to due process and equal treatment and is cruel and unusual punishment.

Several medical and women's rights groups, including the National Organization for Women and the National Alliance for Mental Illness, have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of Shuai, claiming that prosecuting Shuai could set a precedent under which pregnant women could be prosecuted for smoking or other behavior that might be deemed a danger to the fetus. They said that could discourage women from seeking prenatal care.

Prosecutors say they have no intent of enforcing the law in that manner.

Defense attorney Linda Pence said Shuai has no money, having spent her savings on her defense. She said a fund has been set up for supporters to donate money toward Shuai's bond and her legal fees.

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