Rennie Gibbs is accused of murder, but the crime she is alleged to have committed does not sound like an ordinary killing. Yet she faces life in prison in Mississippi over the death of her unborn child.
Gibbs became pregnant aged 15, but lost the baby in December 2006 in a stillbirth when she was 36 weeks into the pregnancy. When prosecutors discovered that she had a cocaine habit – though there is no evidence that drug abuse had anything to do with the baby’s death – they charged her with the “depraved-heart murder” of her child, which carries a mandatory life sentence.
[ ]….Amanda Kimbrough is one of the women who have been ensnared as a result of the law being applied in a wholly different way. During her pregnancy her fetus was diagnosed with possible Down’s syndrome and doctors suggested she consider a termination, which Kimbrough declined as she is not in favour of abortion.
The baby was delivered by caesarean section prematurely in April 2008 and died 19 minutes after birth.
Six months later Kimbrough was arrested at home and charged with “chemical endangerment” of her unborn child on the grounds that she had taken drugs during the pregnancy – a claim she has denied.
There have been amicus briefs filed on behalf of some of the women (In Alabama at least 40 cases have been brought under the state’s “chemical endangerment” law) explaining the obvious. If the state is going to prosecute drug addicts for continuing their pregnancies – that might end in a miscarriage or early infant death – just like pregnancies of non-addicts, it gives those young women an incentive to determinate their pregnancies earlier. So here we are the day after Independence Day – on which I spent a little time reading the same tiresome historical revisionism of conservative Republican zealots ( a sampling here) babbling on about freedom. Conservatives have some strange ideas about freedom. Some samples from just the last few days: In Letter, Texas Department of Health Accused by Ten Democratic Legislators of Subverting Democratic Process. Republicans legislators could not pass a bill so they are enacting a law via rules. Mitt Romney thinks freedom is hiding money in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Fox News, which most people know is just a puppet for the radical Right thinks freedom is hiding the fact that its expert and impartial spokes-people are conservative fanatics. If the cause of conservatism is so virtuous why hide opinions behind fake news. A conservative Republican running for Congress (Chris Collins of Buffalo, N.Y) thinks freedom is telling the residents of New York that no one dies from breast or prostate cancer anymore – so we don’t need Obamacare. Fox’s Brit Hume thinks freedom is scaring seniors and the disabled with fake stories about cuts in Medicare. Republicans think freedom is fighting to keep the same deregulated casino style economy in place for Wall Street and banks so that we’re practically guaranteed another in a series of financial disasters. It was conservatives on the SCOTUS that decided to make elections – always corrupted by moneyed interests, up for sale for by a few dozen billionaires. Sen Scott Brown (R-MA) thinks freedom is stopping preventative care for seniors that would save lives and money. Rep. Joe Walsh(R-IL) thinks freedom is trashing an Iraq veteran’s service. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) thinks freedom is calling the SCOTS and Obama names because of the mandate – even though he voted for a health care mandate in 1993. Conservative Republican governors think freedom is denying health care for millions of low-income Americans is freedom. In other words, America can only be free when you cannot afford health care. America can only be free when the poor, who deserve to die because they’re lazy, are dropping dead in the street and we’re giving no bid contracts to the corpse disposal units. American can only be free when billionaires no longer have to buy elections, they can just freely appoint whoever they want – so that America becomes the 16th century French monarchy of conservative wet dreams.
There is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by … corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses.”
Most Americans do not mind some inequality – people like Romney making vast sums of money off the capital created by people who do actual work. Though in return most Americans want the privileged to live up to the social contract. To pay their share of the costs of infrastructure and institutions like community colleges so that we can have some of that upward mobility of legend. Digby had this piece from Benjamin Franklin as well,
Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris
25 Dec. 1783 Writings 9:138
The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the People’s Money out of their Pockets, tho’ only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, is their Creditors’ Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they withold it, should be compell’d to pay by some Law.
All Property, indeed, except the Savage’s temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.
Maybe Elizabeth Warren is descended from Ben Franklin. Everyone has the right to the rewards of their labors. Though people like hedge fund managers or Sheldon Adelson can hardly be said to have labored – but no one makes that money in a vacuum. I still cannot get over the fact that Romney and Bain benefited not just from the infrastructure built by workers, but millions in government subsidies.