An Alabama district attorney announced Wednesday that she will not pursue manslaughter charges against a woman who was shot in a fight and lost her fetus.
The decision comes after days of public outcry sparked by the arrest of 28-year-old Marshae Jones last week. She was indicted for allegedly starting the fight despite knowing she was five months’ pregnant.
Legal scholars said her arrest raised questions about what other situations, including driving a car, would be considered putting a fetus in danger.
Authorities said the fight was over the fetus’s father. Ebony Jemison, 23, was accused of shooting her in the stomach during the December argument.
Jemison was initially charged with manslaughter, but a Jefferson County grand jury decided not to indict her after police said their investigation revealed that Jones had started the fight, and that Jemison had fired in self-defense.
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ Pleasant Grove Police Lt. Danny Reid said at the time of the shooting, according to AL.com. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
Jones’ attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges on Monday, arguing that the state had used a “flawed and twisted rationale” that “ignores the law and ignores reason.”
In the filing, they argued that Jones would not intentionally cause the death of her fetus by initiating a fight, calling the theory “tortured” and “irrational.”
On Wednesday, Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice Washington said she would not pursue the case.
Alabama recently became the state with the nation’s most stringent anti-abortion law, making an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by 10 to 99 years or life in prison for the provider.
The law does not allow exceptions for pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.