A WOMAN in the US has been charged with manslaughter after being shot in the stomach as part of an altercation that led to the death of her unborn fetus.
AL.com reports that 27-year-old Marshae Jones was handed the charge by a grand jury in relation to an incident that took place outside a shop in Pleasant Grove, Alabama back in December 2018.
According to the Washington Post, the incident involved Jones and 23-year-old Ebony Jemison and centred around the father of Jones’ unborn child.
What started as an argument between the two women soon turned violent when Jemison opened fire on Jones, shooting her in the stomach.
AL.com states that police soon arrived on the scene but quickly discovered Jones had been driven to another location.
She was eventually located and transferred to a local hospital but lost her unborn fetus, having become pregnant five months earlier.
Despite being on the receiving end of the shooting, Pleasant Grove police blamed Jones for the death of her child, telling local media outlets she had instigated the fight with Jemison.
According to AL.com, Jones was taken into custody in Jefferson County on Wednesday and is now being held on a $50,000 bond.
"The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby. It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby," Lt. Danny Reid explained to reporters, according to AL.com.
He added that the unborn baby, was "dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn't seek out unnecessary physical altercations."
The Washington Post states that a subsequent police investigation determined Jemison shot Jones in self-defence. Though initially charged with manslaughter, all charges against Jemison were ultimately dropped.
A statement from Amanda Reyes, Executive Director of The Yellowhammer Fund, an organisation that helps Alabama women gain access to abortion clinics. condemned the decision.
"Today, Marshae Jones is being charged with manslaughter for being pregnant and getting shot while engaging in an altercation with a person who had a gun. 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 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.”