INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Chinese immigrant charged with murder and feticide for eating rat poison while she was pregnant has asked the Indiana Supreme Court to order the charges against her dropped.
Bei Bei Shuai's attorneys have argued that her newborn's death was a result of a suicide attempt, not murder, but prosecutors have said she wanted the baby to die.
The Indiana Court of Appeals last month ordered a Marion County court to set bond for the 34-year-old Indianapolis woman, who has been jailed for a year. The court ruled that her defense attorneys presented sufficient evidence to rebut the murder and feticide charges. But the three-judge panel declined to dismiss the charges, saying Shuai had not proven that common-law immunity exists for pregnant women who harm their own fetuses.
Defense attorneys argued in court documents filed March 9 that prosecuting a woman based on the outcome of her pregnancy violates constitutional rights to due process and equal treatment and is cruel and unusual punishment.
Several medical and women's groups, including the National Organization for Women and the National Alliance for Mental Illness, have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of Shuai.
Shuai ate rat poison on Dec. 23, 2010, after her boyfriend broke up with her. She was 33 weeks pregnant. Her attorneys said it was a suicide attempt and that Shuai was suffering from depression.
Shuai was hospitalized, and doctors tried to treat her for the poison. Court records show doctors told Shuai that they detected little problem with the fetus until days later, when the premature baby girl was delivered by cesarean section Dec. 31.
The child, Angel Shuai, died three days later from bleeding in the brain after she was removed from life support. Bei Bei Shuai was charged in March 2011 and has been jailed ever since.