A 27-year-old woman's indictment in Alabama has sent waves of outrage and criticism among activists across the United States. A Jefferson County grand jury in Alabama indicted the woman whose pregnancy was terminated in a shooting in 2018, according to AL.com on Wednesday. The individual who shot her faces no charges at the moment. Now, a petition for Marshae Jones is up on Change.org, demanding that the charges against her be dismissed.
The shooting caused the termination of Jones' pregnancy in Pleasant Grove on Dec. 4, 2018, according to AL.com. At the time, she was five months pregnant, the publication reported. According to authorities, an altercation took place between Jones and another woman named Ebony Jemison.
The outlet noted that the investigators in the case assert that Jones started the altercation that led to Jemison using a gun on her. At the moment, the 27-year-old is held on a $50,000 bond at Jefferson County Jail, Essence reported.
To call for justice for Jones, an individual named "Jose H" started the petition and addressed it to the Pleasant Grove Police Department. "The system where a pregnant mother is charged because she’s lost her baby after being shot is a broken one," he wrote. "The racist and sexist laws allowed something like this to happen. How can a killer walk away free while the victim is charged for the act of killing an unborn child?"
With a goal post of getting 5,000 signatures, the petition has already gotten nearly 4,000 co-signs. On social media, many users have decried Jones' indictment, while reproductive rights groups say that the indictment is a disturbing example of the criminalization of pregnant women, Vox reported.
On Twitter, the former president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards, said, "At their core, these laws have always been about punishing, demonizing and criminalizing black, brown and low-income women."
Additionally, Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, also tweeted, "Marshae Jones was indicted for homicide when someone shot her in the stomach while she was pregnant, ending her pregnancy. They said she 'started it.' The shooter went free. This what 2019 looks like for a pregnant woman of color without means in a red state. This is now."
Some advocates also said that Jones' indictment shows how Alabama — a state where one of the nation's most extreme abortion ban has been signed into law — treats pregnant women. In a statement to Essence, the executive director of the grassroots abortion Yellowhammer Fund, Amanda Reyes, said, "The state of Alabama has proven yet again that the moment a person becomes pregnant their sole responsibility is to produce a live, healthy baby and that it considers any action a pregnant person takes that might impede in that live birth to be a criminal act."
The petition on Change.org echoes Reyes' sentiment and calls for more support. "Marshae has had an injustice done to her in being charged for her unborn child’s death while the shooter has walked away free," the page for the petition reads.
"Sign this petition," it urges at the end, "to help drop the charges against her and to charge the shooter again for her crimes."