Woman who attempted suicide while pregnant is charged with murder


After her boyfriend betrayed her, Bei Bei Shuai, a 34-year-old pregnant Chinese immigrant living in Indianapolis, ate rat poison to end her misery. She survived, but her baby died of seizures in January, four days after birth. Three months later Indiana prosecutors charged her with murder and attempted foeticide. She faces life imprisonment.

The tragic case of the psychologically disturbed woman has become another battleground in America’s abortion wars. “This case has huge implications for pregnant women, not only in Indiana but across the country,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. “If we allowed the state to put a woman in jail for anything that could pose a risk to her pregnancy, there would be nothing to stop the police putting in jail a woman who has a drink of wine or who smokes. So where do you draw the line?”

Shuai’s lawyer, Linda Pence,described the decision to prosecute her as “horrible” and “outrageous”. She disputes the prosecution’s claim that the baby was killed by rat poison, saying that Shuai received a number of medicines at the hospital, many of which could have caused her death.

Dave Rimstidt, a member of the prosecution team, said careful consideration had gone into the decision to charge Shuai. He said: “This is a very unique case. Every charging decision is very difficult and goes through a process where we consider all the facts, all the circumstances, and under this situation, we believe we've charged the two charges we can prove.” Guardian, Apr 15

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