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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: It’s wrong and unlawful to charge a mother in a stillbirth

Chelsea Becker booking photo
The booking photo for 25-year-old Chelsea Becker, who was charged with murder after experiencing a stillbirth.
(Hanford Police Department)

To the editor: Charging someone with any crime for experiencing a stillbirth is cruel and unlawful, something the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board should have stated when decrying the charges against Chelsea Becker.

Had the board acknowledged this truth, it might have also properly questioned the ways prosecutors attempt to criminalize pregnant people.

As a lawyer for reproductive justice, I not only “question” the prosecutor’s right to bring murder charges, I know that the plain language of the law prohibits it. I also know that laws like this have been historically abused by prosecutors and law enforcement officials looking to undermine reproductive freedom.

By deferring only to prosecutors, the editorial board needlessly supports unjust, retaliatory actions against people in need of medical treatment, not prison. We know all too well that the next person charged may be someone a little less unsympathetic to the L.A. Times.

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Farah Diaz-Tello, New York

The writer is senior counsel for the group If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice.


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