Pregnant woman shot in stomach indicted over unborn baby's death

Woman indicted over unborn baby's death

Last Updated Jun 28, 2019 2:08 AM EDT

Birmingham, Alabama — A woman from Alabama who suffered a miscarriage after being shot has been charged with manslaughter for the death of her unborn child. The case has outraged abortion rights advocates nationwide.

Marshae Jones' arrest came some six months after the 27-year-old, who was five months pregnant at the time, was shot in the stomach. According to the grand jury indictment, 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."

The altercation happened last December at a Birmingham, Alabama suburb shopping center. The panel found that the shooter, 23-year-old Ebony Jemison acted in self-defense when she pulled out a gun.

The manslaughter charges against Jemison have since been dropped.

In addition, the Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney's Office issued a statement Thursday evening saying it hasn't decided whether to prosecute Jones for manslaughter, a lesser charge -- or not at all.

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Marshae Jones Jefferson County Jail

The case has quickly become a lightening rod for pro-abortion rights activists. One abortion advocacy group that helped raise Jone's $50,000 bail posted, "Losing a pregnancy is not a crime."

Alabama recently passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. But the DA's office pushed back on any linkage of the Jones case to the new law, pointing out that the case pre-dates the law's passage, adding that "the new law played no role in the consideration of the grand jury." 

Some see Jones' case as a new attack on women. Activists say this is a slippery slope and question if a pregnant woman will be arrested if she is seen drinking or not practicing proper prenatal care. Meanwhile, family members say Jones did not start the fight and losing her baby has been punishment enough.

  • Mireya Villarreal

    Mireya Villarreal is a CBS News correspondent.