California Attorney General Calls to End the Prosecution of a Woman Who Had a Stillbirth, Baby Tested Positive For Methamphetamines

On September 10, 2019, 26-year-old Chelsea Cheyenne Becker delivered a stillborn child. Following the child’s stillbirth, medical professionals believed the deceased child may have been exposed to drugs while in the womb.

As a result, the Kings County Coroner’s Office ruled the baby’s death a homicide after an autopsy revealed methamphetamines in the child’s system. Two months after giving birth, Becker was arrested in November 2019.

Now, Becker is currently awaiting trial while in jail with bail is set at $5 million. According to CNN, the superior court denied her motion to dismiss the charges in June.

attorney general calls to end prosecution of a woman who had a stillbirth
Hanford Police Department

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Attorney General Calls to End Prosecution of a Woman Who Had a Stillbirth

However, that may no longer be the case. As CNN reported, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed an amicus brief “in support of ending the prosecution against Becker. According to the Public Health Law Center, amicus briefs “are legal documents filed in appellate court cases by non-litigants with a strong interest in the subject matter.”

In a statement, Becerra explained his reasoning for filing the amicus brief. “Our laws in California do not convict women who suffer the loss of their pregnancy, and in our filing today we are making clear that this law has been misused to the detriment of women, children, and families. We will work to end the prosecution and imprisonment of Ms. Becker so we can focus on applying this law to those who put the lives of pregnant women in danger.”

california attorney general calls to end the prosecution of a woman who had a stillbirth, baby tested positive for methamphetamines | "our laws in california do not convict women who suffer the loss of their pregnancy."
Chris Allan /

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Becerra also said that “a woman cannot be prosecuted for murder as a result of her actions leading to a loss in pregnancy,” adding that the law being used against her has been “misapplied and misinterpreted.”

Nonetheless, while Kings County District Attorney Keith L. Fagundes says that while he respects Becerra’s opinion on the case, he believes the Attorney General has not been “properly briefed on the facts of this case, has not read any police report nor has he reviewed the medical information involved in this particular case.”

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