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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: How to hold a drug-using woman who had a stillbirth accountable

Cheslea Becker’s booking photo
The booking photo of Chelsea Becker, 25, arrested on suspicion of murder after giving birth to a stillborn baby.
(Hanford Police Department)

To the editor: The L.A. Times Editorial Board has published many articles with which I have disagreed, but your defense of the mother who lost her baby due to her continued drug use really leaves me scratching my head.

You mention that 25-year-old Chelsea Becker’s first two children were born with meth in their systems, a third child was removed from her custody over concern of ongoing drug use, and the fourth was stillborn after she reportedly used meth as recently as three days before the stillbirth.

She has now been (appropriately, in my opinion) charged with murder, yet you view her as a victim of the drug epidemic and not responsible for her own actions.

Drunk drivers who cause an accident that results in the death of others can be charged with murder because they knew that causing injury or death was a real possibility when drinking and driving, yet they chose to get behind the wheel anyway. Using your logic, I would assume you would also consider the drunk driver who kills a family in another car to be the victim.

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Becker may have known the possible outcome of her actions, and she should be held responsible for them.

Jeff Pressman, Bell Canyon

..

To the editor: After reading your editorial, it is clear to me that law enforcement in Kings County, Calif., had no choice but to pursue a murder charge.

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At no point when reading the horrific account of how Becker’s three previous children had to be removed from her custody did I understand this woman to be a mother of any sort. She is a drug addict who keeps getting pregnant and having her children removed.

The editorial board finds it “troubling” that the state law on causing the death of a fetus should apply to pregnant women. It states that rock climbing and poor nutritional habits could be on this “slippery slope” of reckless behavior. To suggest that reckless behavior of that sort is even remotely akin to having unprotected sex while addicted to meth and giving birth four times gives a new definition to the word “reckless.”

The editorial clearly holds this woman responsible for her behavior, so I don’t see why “throwing her in prison” is excessive. Actually, I hope time behind bars will help her realize the ramifications of her selfishness, get clean and perhaps send a message to other women who engage in unprotected sex while addicted to drugs.

The consequences can be deadly. Just ask Chelsea Becker.

Michele Adashek, Los Angeles


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