A US woman whose unborn baby died after she was shot during a fight has been charged with manslaughter, while the suspected attacker was freed.
Authorities claim 27-year-old Marshae Jones, from Birmingham, Alabama, sparked the dispute which led to gunfire outside a shop in the city of Pleasant Grove in December 2018.
Jones was five months pregnant when 23-year-old Ebony Jemison allegedly shot her in the stomach.
Jemison was initially charged with manslaughter.
But a Jefferson County grand jury has indicted Jones instead after authorities determined she started the altercation and Jemison opened fire in self-defence.
Jemison’s charges have been dropped.
Police Lieutenant Danny Reid says the foetus was “dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm”.
At the time of the shooting, the officer said: “The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby.
“It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
Lt Reid claimed the altercation was over the unborn child’s father.
Jones was due to be transferred to Jefferson County jail and held on a $50,000 (£40,000) bond.
News of Jones’ grand jury indictment has sparked outrage, including among women’s rights activists.
Amanda Reyes, from the Yellowhammer Fund, which helps women access abortion services, 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.
“Today, Marshae Jones is being charged with manslaughter for being pregnant and getting shot while engaging in an altercation with a person who had a gun.
“Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care.
“We commit ourselves to making sure that Marshae is released from jail on bond, assisting with her legal representation, and working to ensure that she gets justice for the multiple attacks that she has endured.”
Source: SKY NEWS