We Hoosiers have one less thing be ashamed of today. Via the Free Bei Bei Shuai page on Facebook comes this outstanding news:
A plea agreement has been reached in the Bei Bei Shuai case, court officials say. Shuai is expected to plead guilty to criminal recklessness, a class B misdemeanor.
She will not serve any time; she was given credit served for 178 days. Murder and feticide charges were dropped.
The announcement is a surprising development in the case, which was expected to go to trial in September.
The Bei Bei Shuai case was the first in the history of Indiana in which a woman was prosecuted for attempting suicide while pregnant. If you haven't been following this particularly hideous abuse of prosecutorial discretion, Wikipedia sums things up fairly well:
Shuai, a Shanghai native, immigrated to the U.S. in the early 2000s with her then-husband. In late 2010, after her marriage fell apart, she became pregnant with the child of another man. When he abandoned her, Shuai attempted to kill herself by taking rat poison. She survived, but her daughter Angel died on 3 January 2011 – 33 weeks after her conception, ten days after the poisoning and two days after her birth in an emergency caesarian section.
On 14 March 2011, Shuai was charged with the murder and attempted feticide of her child, and was jailed for 435 days.
This is the logical culmination of the Christianist arguments on abortion. As Ed Pilkington described
it in the Grauniad
Bei Bei Shuai is at the sharp end of the creeping criminalisation of pregnancy across America. Women who lose their unborn babies – whether in cases of maternal drug addiction or in Shuai's case a failed suicide attempt – are increasingly finding themselves accused of murder.
This is only one small battle in that larger war
. And it is far from a complete victory -- the same charges could be brought against another woman in Bei Bei Shuai's position in the future.
Nonetheless, the long-overdue release of this innocent woman is well worth celebrating.