Bei Bei Shuai currently languishes in jail without the opportunity to even post bail. Her crime? Being deeply depressed and attempting to commit suicide.
But for anti-choicers in Indiana, where Shaui lives, what's important isn't this woman's mental or physical health. They're not disturbed that Shaui found herself so unable to cope with life that she swallowed rat poison, a slow and agonizing way of dying, or looking to help her get better since she survived after the intervention of friends. No, instead they want to toss in jail. Because Bei Bei Shaui was pregnant at the time, and after the failed suicide attempt, a c-section was performed on her -- and a few days later, the premature baby delivered died.
As Robin Marty writes on RH Reality Check, in arresting and charging Shaui, "the state has just declared that any pregnant woman who is hurt in any way that could be seen as self-inflicted could be charge as a potential self-aborter and murderer." Obviously, charging a pregnant woman with murder for either a self-induced miscarriage or premature delivery sets a dangerous precedent for women's bodily rights.
Of course, there's no evidence that we've seen that Shaui's desire was to self-induce an abortion -- the evidence perhaps only exists in the minds of anti-choice prosecutors. (Not that this should really matter, since, again, a woman's body should still be her own.) The willingness to set such a precedent shows a callous disregard for individuals suffering from a mental condition. This is a tragic story, but Shaui certainly isn't getting the help she needs while locked in jail, either for the initial depression or grief over the death of her prematurely delivered baby. And the I wonder where the justification for refusing bail lies -- this disturbed woman hardly poses a danger to society. She wasn't looking to harm anybody else, only, sadly, herself.
Shaui's cause has been taken up by National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), who argue that a woman doesn't check her rights at the door (womb?) when she becomes pregnant. For any non-pregnant woman, suicide is a mental health issue, not a crime. Pregnant women have the right to be treated with the same humanity.
A petition has also been started on Change.org by a member, and hundreds of fellow concerned women's rights supporters have already taken acting asking Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry to drop the charges against Bei Bei Shaui. You can join the cause by adding your name here.