New York, NY –– A woman in Alabama named Marshae Jones was indicted on for manslaughter on Wednesday after losing a pregnancy as the result of a violent interaction, during which she was shot. Although Marshae was shot in her stomach, Alabama law enforcement instead indicted her, claiming that "the only true victim in this was the unborn baby." As a Black woman, despite being physically harmed and losing her pregnancy, the state does not recognize Marshae as a victim — only her fetus.
The fact that Marshae was shot in the stomach does not matter to Alabama's legal system. Instead of providing Marshae with the justice she deserves, she is being charged for the death of her fetus. With Alabama’s recent abortion ban, we will continue to see people of color being charged for their reproductive decisions and outcomes. Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates denounce this shameful indictment and the criminalization of Black women.
Statement by Nia Martin-Robinson, Director of Black Leadership and Engagement, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
What Alabama has done is cruel. No one deserves to be punished for losing a pregnancy. The indictment of Marshae Jones is a clear example of how politicians and law enforcement criminalize Black people — and it must stop. Marshae Jones’ life matters and she deserves compassion for what happened, not to be prosecuted. Prosecuting someone for being the victim of a violent crime is not only alarming — it’s proof that Alabama will continue to target Black, pregnant people with their laws. By disregarding Marshae’s own well-being, Alabama has made it clear that they do not value Black women’s bodies, health, and lives. People deserve reproductive health care and assistance that is free of state interference and criminalization — they deserve autonomy over their bodies, decisions, and futures.
Statement By Staci Fox, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast
The prosecution of Marshae Jones is absolutely reprehensible. It is more proof that Alabama will do everything in its power to criminalize pregnancy — especially for Black women. After the passage of HB 314, Alabama’s outright abortion ban, Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr vowed to not prosecute women who seek abortions. The circumstances are different but the issue is the same. Women should not be prosecuted for the loss of their pregnancies. Period. We call on District Attorney Carr to drop the charges immediately.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Southeast (PPSE) provides high-quality, affordable healthcare to women, men, and teens in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Our experienced and caring health center staff gives each client honest information and personal attention.
Our legacy began in 1930 when a Planned Parenthood affiliate was created in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1964, our Atlanta, Georgia affiliate was founded followed by our Mississippi health centers in 1989. In 2010, all three states united under name Planned Parenthood Southeast and continue our commitment to the health of women, men, and young people in the deep south.
PPSE believes in the fundamental right of each individual to have access to high-quality, non-judgmental health care and prevention-focused education regardless of the individual's income, marital status, race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, faith identity or immigration status. Our mission is to provide comprehensive sexual health care through the provision of reproductive health services, education and advocacy.