After the increase in abortion restrictions after the Casey v. Planned Parenthood ruling, people didn’t stop getting abortions. Instead, states started prosecuting people for miscarriages and stillbirths, since it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between an abortion and a miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion. According to The New Republic, since abortion was legalized in 1973, up to 1,600 people have “faced criminal punishment for the outcomes of their pregnancies.” Out of these, 1,200 prosecutions occurred after 2006, and these prosecutions disproportionately target Indigenous, Black, non-white, and financially insecure people.
One such case was the conviction of Brittney Poolaw, a member of the Comanche Nation, who was convicted in 2021 of second-degree manslaughter for a miscarriage and was sentenced to four years imprisonment, NBC reports.
In 2019, Marshae Jones, a Black woman in Alabama, was also charged with manslaughter after being shot in the stomach while pregnant. According to The New York Times, the police claimed that she was responsible “because she started the fight that led to the shooting and failed to remove herself from harm’s way.” Meanwhile, no charges were filed against the person who actually fired the gun. The manslaughter charge against Jones was eventually dropped by prosecutors.