I typically avoid the news like the plague. When is there ever anything positive or at least not dismally depressing to read about what people are willing to do to other people? I scanned the headlines the other day and unfortunately saw the article about Bei Bei Shuai, a 34-year-old pregnant woman who swallowed rat poison in 2010 after her boyfriend broke up with her. The baby died 3 days after being delivered by cesarean section, from bleeding in her brain. Bei Bei was charged in March 2011 and has been in jail ever since. The Indiana Supreme Court recently refused to drop charges.
For various reasons, many individuals and organizations are foaming at the mouth and gnashing their teeth about this woman being in jail for murder of the baby girl. She was depressed, they say. She was trying to kill herself, not the baby, they say.
Her defense attorneys even say 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.
Where to even start? First, there is no way in hell anyone with even a microscopic brain cell can pretend she does not know that swallowing rat poison while carrying a baby inside that same body, a baby completely dependent upon her body and her life, is likely going to kill the baby growing inside her. How the hell did she plan to kill herself but not the baby? How, precisely, was that supposed to work?
There is a huge difference between “prosecuting a woman based on the outcome of her pregnancy” and prosecuting a selfish person who voluntarily and knowingly endangered her baby by swallowing rat poison. I don’t give a damn if her boyfriend just broke up with her. She is 34 years old, for christ’s sake. Grow up, move on, deal with it. If a break-up taps out her coping skills, she and her lover boy should have taken far more precautions to prevent pregnancy in the first place.
The National Organization for Women has rushed to her defense, wringing their collective hands and worrying that this case will make it possible for women to be prosecuted for smoking while pregnant or other behaviors deemed harmful to the fetus. Again, I am stunned at the momentous stretches and leaps being made here. Is the NOW really comparing puffing a cigarette (bad enough in itself) to chugging rat poison while pregnant? Truly, they cannot rationally draw a distinction between the two? And further, why the hell is anyone defending any woman’s right to inhale or ingest carginogens and poisons while responsible for the life of a baby?
I am a devout feminist. I see no women’s rights issues in this case. I am angered the NOW has even presented itself in this case. With all the genuine issues and challenges facing women, the NOW could find nothing better to do than defend a woman’s right to swallow rat poison while pregnant? Is that actually a right that any of us even want?
I am again dumbfounded by an absolute lack of expection or standards for a mother. Filling that womb with a would-be life was enough to hail this woman with the untaintable halo of motherhood and achieve do-no-wrong status. The baby? Eh, whatever. Is there a father somewhere to blame?
In a court system loaded with assholes defending a mother’s right to abuse, use, manipulate, denigrate, tear apart, and brainwash any living being that emerges from her uterus, I suppose I should not be surprised that we are now adding her right to swallow rat poison and kill them before they’re born to that list.