Woman shot in stomach charged with manslaughter after unborn baby dies

A pregnant Alabama woman who was shot in the stomach has been charged with manslaughter over the death of her unborn child.

Twenty-eight-year-old Marshae Jones has been charged after the incident in the Alabama city of Pleasant Grove this week, The New York Times reports.  Police said she'd been charged because she started the fight which led to her being shot.

Ebony Jemison, the woman who allegedly shot her, has also been charged with manslaughter.

It comes after Alabama's state Senate last month passed a bill that would outlaw nearly all abortions, creating exceptions only to safeguard the health of the mother.

The charges against Jones have been widely criticised online, with many expressing outrage.

"These anti abortion laws are unjust," one Twitter user said. "She must not be charged."

Dr Daniel Grossman, a clinical and public health researcher on abortion and contraception, said it was "clear unjustice".

"She should not be implicated in the death of her fetus while defending herself from gun violence," the San Francisco man wrote. 

Emergency services found Jones outside a store following the incident. She was taken to hospital and is recovering, but her unborn child died.

Lt Danny Reid, of Pleasant Grove, said the only victim was the unborn baby.

"It was the mother of the child who initiated  and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her unborn baby.

"When a five-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child."

The child was dependant on its mother to try and keep it from harm, Lt Reid told local news source AL.com.

"She shouldn't seek out unnecessary physical altercations."