Calif. Mother Charged With First-Degree Murder After Baby Stillborn From Meth Use

HANFORD, Calif. A California mother has been charged with first-degree murder after her baby boy was born stillborn and medical examiners found high levels of methamphetamine in the child’s system.

Chelsea Becker, 25, had already lost custody of three other children who were born with a meth addiction, two of whom live with Becker’s aunt.

Detectives believe that she still used methamphetamine with the knowledge that she was pregnant with her fourth. Her son had six times the toxic level of meth when examined by the Kings County Coroner’s Office.

“The levels of methamphetamine in this baby’s system were such high levels, even for an adult, so we believe she was using almost the whole entire time she was pregnant,” Sergeant Justin Vallin of the Hanford Police Department told television station KSEE and KGPE. 

Becker gave birth in September at a local hospital, and was taken into custody on Tuesday after a warrant was issued for her arrest. She is being held in the Kings County Jail on $5 million bail, and was arraigned on Wednesday, during which time she pleaded not guilty.

Reports state that Becker admitted to police that she had used meth as recently as three days before giving birth.

However, some that advocate for abortion “rights” and believe that women should not be charged in the willful death of the unborn decried Becker’s prosecution. Writing for The Cut, Hannah Gold opined that Becker’s “arrest attests to a troubling and growing pattern of women in the United States being criminalized for miscarrying or delivering stillbirths for a variety of reasons.”

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“As reproductive-justice advocates argue, cases like this are part of a burgeoning, disturbing pattern, in which the rights of pregnant women are directly pitted against those of the ‘unborn child,’ a term that encompasses fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses,” she wrote. “It’s a direct result of the so-called ‘fetal personhood” movement, which seeks to legally redefine a fetus as a person as a means of overturning Roe v. Wade.”

Gold said that laws that punish women who take drugs while pregnant pose the risk of placing any mother who miscarries under criminal investigation.

“These laws are part of a long game but their damaging effects are already felt by many, as is the case with Becker and her loved ones,” she remarked. “A better alternative to criminalizing women and reinforcing the carceral state would be to make sure all women have access to quality health care, including substance-abuse treatment and reproductive-health services.”

Others opined that the woman should have prevented another pregnancy or obtained an abortion, that is, to have an abortionist kill the baby instead.

“This woman’s sad situation is the result of the gestation slavery and fetus worship fools who try to make women feel ashamed for preventing and terminating pregnancy,” one commenter wrote under a report published by Common Dreams.

“She’s the one who was selfish enough to get pregnant while on drugs. If she wanted an abortion she should’ve gotten one. But she didn’t. So when she killed this fetus, it’s no one’s fault but her own,” another asserted.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reads, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

2 Corinthians 5:5 also teaches, “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again.”


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