Pathology is No Place for Politics: Update

November 6, 2014 at 11:14 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss | Leave a comment
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In the spring I wrote a post about a Mississippi woman who was accused of murdering  her stillborn baby.  Rennie Gibbs was 16 years old and 36 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to an area emergency room.  Her baby was diagnosed with “fetal demise” – the  umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck.  Doctors induced labor and Gibbs delivered a stillborn daughter she named Samiya.

Gibbs’ case is part of a wave of “fetal harm” cases in which women are prosecuted when their babies are stillborn or otherwise die and traces of drugs are found in their system.   In this case,  medical facts establish the cord as the cause of death.  Medical professionals, including Sawyer’s pathologist, determined that it is impossible to conclude that drug use on the part of the mother caused stillbirth.

The charges have been dropped against Rennie.  Thank you to Chris for commenting on my past post with the update.  Every mom feels guilt when their child dies – even without being charged with murder.  I am so glad that the judge in Mississippi dismissed the charges.  He ruled that the “law was unclear in Mississippi as to the appropriate charge, if any, to be levied when a pregnant woman allegedly consumed illegal drugs and allegedly caused the death of her unborn child.”

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