A 22 year old pregnant Iowa woman was accused by police for intentionally falling down the stairs to kill her baby. After three weeks of reviewing the facts of the case, Des Moines County prosecutors have determined not to press charges against Christine Taylor for “feticide’, the “illegal death of a fetus”, which “is a rare crime that has never been prosecuted in Iowa”.

Why would the Des MoinesCounty prosecutors think Christine Taylor fell on purpose? The Des Moines Register reports:

According to a police report, nurse Tiffany Prickett said Taylor told her in the emergency room she did not want the baby. "She had asked Christine if she just didn't want the kid tonight, and Christine told her that she hadn't wanted the baby all along," the report said.

Later, the nurse brought in a doctor who asked several other questions about whether she intended to end her pregnancy.

Taylor acknowledges she was very emotional at the hospital.

"I never said I didn't want my baby, but I admitted that I had been considering adoption or abortion," she said. "I admit that I said I wasn't sure I wanted to continue the pregnancy. My husband sends me money, but money doesn't make a parent. I don't have anybody else to turn to."

Taylor said the doctor told her he was going to call Taylor's own doctor at a local medical clinic, but she said she doesn't know whether the call was made.

Hours later, however, police entered and began "interrogating" her, she said.

"I asked Christine if she wanted the child she was pregnant with and she stated, 'No, I don't know,' " the officer wrote.

Shortly after she was released from the hospital, two squad cars pulled up behind the taxi she was in on her way home to meet her two girls. She said she spent two days in jail, while her daughters wondered where she was.

In other words, the medical professionals who were there to assess Christine Taylor and her child’s well being began asking questions about whether or not she wanted the child. Those medical professionals then contacted the police for fear that she fell on purpose. But Ms. Taylor did not fall on purpose, instead, she “said her husband, who lives in Maryland, left her after she became pregnant with her third child last summer. She said she was despondent after a Jan. 19 telephone conversation with him. He was saying some very hurtful things and told me he wants to be free," said Taylor, a Maryland native. "And here I was alone, pregnant with two young kids, with no family around or support. I just thought, 'It's not fair.' ... I was so upset and frantic I almost blacked out, and I tripped and fell." Apparently, it took three weeks for her explanation to be validated by the police department, and Ms. Taylor “says she believes the personal views of medical workers and police played a part in a decision to accuse her last month of attempted feticide.”

There are a number of concerning elements to the way this situation was handled. Women have a right to choose, period. The way the medical professionals behaved while treating their patient flies in the face of that choice. Also, people have a right to speak. Ms. Taylor shouldn’t be punished for voicing her feelings about the pregnancy, which is effectively what the Des Moines police were trying to do. And lastly, implications of not having privacy and the security to be honest with a medical professional is chilling.

Fortunately, Christine Taylor will not be charged with feticide, but the ACLU continues to fight for the rights of pregnant women around the country who face unfair treatment in prisons, in the military and from the courts. If you havent heard of the Samantha Burton case in Florida yet, click here,  and to watch a story about a pregnancy woman denied medical care in a Montana prison, click here.

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