by Yvonne Man
April 6, 2013, Supports held signs and cheered on Saturday afternoon, in support of Bei Bei Shuai. The 36-year-old made her first public appearance, since being charged with murder and attempted feticide two years ago. “It’s been really tough because you know, because I have some downs and having a really difficult time,” Shuai begins. “I do have to be under these criminal charges and I still have a lot of grieving.”
Shuai’s attonry, Linda Pence believes the charges against her client are on a slippery slope. “All this case has done is made suicide a crime for only pregnant women,” says Pence.
Prosecutors say Shuai killed her newborn by eating ray poison while eight months pregnant. However, Shuai’s supports say those charges against her could set a precedent for all pregnant women who could be prosecuted for behavior deemed dangerous to an unborn child.
“You can value unborn life. You can be pro-life and not be pro imprisonment,” argues Lynn Paltrow, with National Advocates for Pregnant Women.
Laura Nixon, with Law Students for Reproductive Justice, adds, “We have to realize that these are public health issues and not criminal justice cases.”
Cases that college students and reproductive rights activists say deserve treatment, not punishment.
It’s that support that has given Shuai the strength to keep fighting, as she awaits her trial in September.
“I will try my best to stay strong for every one of you and for all the pregnant women and all the mental health patients,” says Shuai.