Week 13 Day 2 Question 4

Read the attached article. It’s about the case of Bei Bei Shuai, which Goodwin discusses in her chapter, “Creeping Criminalization of Pregnancy in the United States” (see pp. 23-25 in the Goodwin excerpt). What do you think of the State of Indiana’s prosecution of Being Bei Shuai for her attempted suicide during pregnancy? How is Shuai’s status as a poor and vulnerable Chinese immigrant relevant to the case?

2 thoughts on “Week 13 Day 2 Question 4

  • May 11, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    Before reading the article on Bei Bei Shuai’s situation, I was completely unaware of this case. I agree with Amaia that this case sets a problematic precedent for future cases and is an apparent example of mother blaming. This is a really tragic story that places way too much focus on Bei Bei and none on the man who left her, causing her to deteriorate mentally. Also, to use a law that was made to protect against violent acts against women and their fetuses to convict Bei Bei is wrong. Her situation is incredibly different from other crimes that the law was made for. Bei Bei’s situation is different because she was driven to her breaking point by a man who mistreated her, but that man is facing no legal charges. Her status as an immigrant also should be considered in this case, as it would have been a contributing factor to her poor mental health. She came to America with hopes and aspirations that did not end up coming to fruition. This would have contributed to her problems as she was living in a foreign country and completely alone with her baby. This case is very problematic and fails to take into consideration Bei Bei’s status as an immigrant woman alone in America.

  • May 10, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    I was deeply disturbed by the article and by how unecessarily harsh the charges against Bei Bei are. There definitely seems to be a double standard, as laws that were originally put in place to protect both mothers and foetuses from physical attack are now being used to punish what is clearly a women who experienced heavy psychological duress. It is incredibly saddening to see how mother blaming is at play here, and how the prosecution is quick to punish mentally ill women before providing support for them. I found the fact that Bei Bei was being questioned not even half an hour after her baby’s death heart-wrenching, and it clearly demonstrates how there is no consideration for women’s grief. Bei Bei being interviewed whilst still sedated, let alone under deep emotion stress, is simply unjustifiable and unjust.

    Whilst I fear that all mothers are vulnerable to mother-blaming, unfortunately women of colour are disproportionated affected by this. Bei Bei clearly cared about her infant and felt great remorse that her life was able to be saved whilst her baby’s was not. Being an immigrant woman who could not afford to return to college as she wished, her life played out differently than she had hoped for herself. With the stress of an incoming baby as well as being misled and abandoned by her partner, Bei Bei was clearly not in the right state of mind to be left alone without support. Ultimately, penalising cases like Bei Bei’s sets a dangerous precedent, as making women afraid to connect to resources like hospitals or even police only leads to more pain and suffering for both mothers and babies. Making pregnancy so closely policed in a country that is increasingly threatening people’s abortion rights leaves women in a catch-22 situation. Pregnancy is physically, emotionally and financially one of the biggest stresses you can undergo as a woman in the US, and unfortunately if you do not have the priviledge or finances to access these resources through alternative means, vulerable or mentally ill mothers are left with little choice and little protections left open to them.

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