A double dose of Missouri news today.
First the good: The state’s intermediate court has held that the state’s fetal homicide law, which allows criminal charges against third parties who harm a pregnant woman and her fetus, cannot be applied to the pregnant woman herself. Janet Wade tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine while she was pregnant. She was charged with felony child endangerment in the first degree. The trial court threw out the case, and the appeals court has now done the same, holding that the state’s law, which explicitly exempts women from prosecution based on harm (or the fear of harm) to their fetuses, cannot be applied to women like Ms. Wade. The state will not appeal to the MO supreme court, though the legislature could amend the law to remove that exception (as other states have done).
And now the maybe good, maybe bad: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals will this week consider whether a state prison violates an incarcerated woman’s constitutional rights by denying her transportation and leave to obtain an abortion. The state’s decision not to transport women was held unconstitutional in the district court. About seven percent of incarcerated women are pregnant at the time they are sentenced.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see (probably a long time given how long the appellate courts take to hand down decisions) whether Missouri will be two-for-two.