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Pregnant woman who lost unborn child in shooting will not be charged

Prosecutors drop charge against Marshae Jones

An Alabama woman who was shot and suffered a miscarriage will no longer be charged with manslaughter for the death of her unborn child, officials announced Wednesday. The case against 27-year-old Marshae Jones outraged abortion rights advocates nationwide.

Lynniece Washington, a district attorney in Jefferson County, announced the decision and said there would be no further legal action taken against Jones. "This is a truly disturbing and heartbreaking case. An unborn child was tragically lost and families on both sides of this matter have suffered," Washington said in a news conference Wednesday.

Jones was five months pregnant when she was shot in the stomach during a physical altercation with 23-year-old Ebony Jemison. A grand jury had ruled that Jemison acted in self-defense when she pulled a gun and shot Jones.

The indictment said Jones "intentionally caused the death of her unborn baby by initiating a fight knowing she was five months pregnant," concluding it was "caused in a sudden heat of passion." 

Jones' attorneys said in a statement they were "pleased" that the district attorney decided to drop the charges. 

"The District Attorney's decision will help Marshae continue to heal from this tragic event and work to rebuild her life in a positive and productive way. She moves forward with enormous gratitude for the support she and her family have received during this challenging time," the statement said.

"With the dismissal of charges, the community of support that surrounded Marshae can now channel its immense passion and energy toward ensuring that what happened to Marshae won't ever happen again."

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 38 states currently have fetal homicide laws, which typically define the fetus as a person, who is legally provided with rights or protections. 

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