Mother charged with first degree murder for having a miscarriage
This is absolutely shocking.
A woman in the United States has been charged with first degree murder for having a miscarriage.
The 21-year-old woman suffered a miscarriage last year when she was 17 weeks pregnant.
Brittney Poolaw was recently found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to four years in prison for miscarrying in her second trimester of pregnancy.
Poolaw suffered the miscarriage last year and was subsequently arrested and charged with murder.
Advocates from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, say that the charges against Poolaw are not lawful and that she should have never been arrested and charged;
“Oklahoma’s murder and manslaughter laws do not apply to miscarriages, which are pregnancy losses that occur before 20 weeks, a point in pregnancy before a fetus is viable (able to survive outside of the womb).”
According to Oklahoma law a mother can not be charged with murder unless it can be proven that she intentionally caused harm leading to the death of her child.
Prosecutors on the case say that their charge of murder is valid against Poolaw as she was a drug user at the time of her miscarriage.
A toxicology report on the fetus showed that the baby's liver tested positive for drugs but during the trial medical experts testified that there would be no way of determining if the drugs caused Poolaw to miscarry.
“Not even the medical examiner’s report identifies use of controlled substances as the cause of the miscarriage.
Even with this lack of evidence, the prosecutor moved forward with the charge.”
Even if her drug use had caused her miscarriage, supporters of Poolaw say that she still should not have been charged with first degree murder as she did not premeditatedly plan to cause direct harm to her unborn child.
Advocates for women's rights like the NAPW call Poolaw's case a tragedy.