By now everyone has read about Marshae Jones and Ebony Jamison, two young, black women living in Alabama. Ms. Jones was five months pregnant and, during an argument about the father of Ms. Jones baby, Ms. Jamison pulled out a gun and shot Ms. Jones in the stomach killing her unborn baby. The grand jury refrained from charging Ms. Jamison for shooting Ms. Jones. But…the grand jury did indict Ms. Jones for manslaughter in the death of her unborn child.
If this seems like a mad perversion of the law, shocking and unreal, then get used to the new reality. We are already aware of the indignities heaped upon black people in this country, the brutality, the enforced poverty, the educational disparity, the lack of access to medical care, efforts to keep them from voting, ye gads, as they say, how much more can one group of people take? Now it is ok to shoot a pregnant women and get away with it… in fact, it is ok to shoot a pregnant woman and blame her for the death of her child.
Yes it is a war on black women. It is also a war on women of all colors. The anti-abortion laws affect all women. The laws make women slaves to biology. But they also make women extremely vulnerable to becoming victims of men. What better way to take away a young woman’s future, her education, her ability to make her way in the world than to get her pregnant and have her forced to have the child. The birth of a child is not supposed to be a tragedy but anti-abortion laws twist what is supposed to be wonderful into a travesty for those who do not want to have a child.
But lets unpack this situation. Ms. Jamison pulled out a gun and shot a bullet into the pregnant abdomen of Ms. Jones. Ms. Jamison was not charged with any unlawful act. How about assault with a deadly weapon? How about child endangerment? How about attempted murder? But no, not one charge.But Ms. Jones was charged with manslaughter because she was pregnant when Ms. Jamison attempted to murder her. The grand jury decided that since Ms. Jones started the argument she was entirely to blame for the death of her unborn child.
But in what world would any woman know that another woman would pull out a gun and try to kill her just because they were having an argument? And in what even more bizarre world would shooting someone, anyone, be consider legal just because the other person started the argument? Logically this means that it is open season on anyone who starts an argument.
I think that there is something else going on, something far more important than the life or death of Ms. Jones baby, as horrific as that actually is and it is this: if they can make this monstrosity of a charge stick on Ms. Jones, if they can actually punish her for the death of her child and the country accepts it…as we have apparently accepted concentration camps for the children of refugees, then what else might we be gulled into accepting? My friends, we are on a very slippery slope.
We are a country of fear. Fear for the environment. Fear that the president will start a venal war with Iran. Fear that the freedom for which this country was founded will go down in flames. Fear that the super rich will call all the shots. Fear, fear, fear. And now we must fear the one thing that most women hold in the highest esteem, the thing that defines them as women, the thing that women yearn for and dream about and sacrifice for: motherhood.
If you are not outraged you are not paying attention.