Together with the National Advocates for Pregnant Women and other law firms from across the country, Attorney Jacqueline Goodman is working pro bono as the lead counsel to defend a Central California woman, Chelsea Becker, facing a felony first-degree murder charge for a stillbirth after an autopsy revealed there was methamphetamine in the fetus’ system.
Not only does Goodman seek the dismissal of the murder charge against our client, but she is also attempting to stop the expansion of a California criminal code that allows women to be charged with murder for the outcomes of their pregnancies. This is part of a nationwide attempt to criminalize abortion and other actions by pregnant women.
Under Penal Code 187 PC, murder is defined as "the unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought.” However, the law is intended to punish individuals causing harm to pregnant women, not implicate mothers who experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Our client is not the first person to be charged after a stillbirth. Other than a case that resulted in a no-contest plea, no one has ever been convicted under California law.
Health providers and legal experts claim that criminalizing fetal harm can make pregnant women hesitant or even reluctant about seeking medical care if they experience a miscarriage or other pregnancy-related health issues. Furthermore, doctors could be forced to act as investigators, significantly severing physician-patient relationships.
Attorney Jacqueline Goodman is committed to protecting the rights of our clients and the rights of women everywhere. Experiencing a pregnancy loss is not a crime!
For more information about what you can do to help, call The Law Office of Jacqueline Goodman today at (714) 879-5770 or contact us online.