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Kings County Can Prosecute Woman in Fetus Death Case Over Becerra Objection

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The state Supreme Court has ruled that Kings County can continue its case against a woman accused of killing her unborn baby because of drug use.

Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes’ office charged Chelsea Becker, of Hanford, with murder after a stillbirth in 2019. Becker appealed the charges, and had support from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Becerra, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary, said a 1970 law to include the death of a fetus should not be interpreted to include a death due to drug use.

“(The law) did not intend to sweep in a woman’s own actions that might result in a miscarriage or stillbirth. This reading follows from the language of section 187. The statute expressly excludes abortion and any act that ‘was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus,” Becerra wrote in a letter to the state Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Denies Hearing Case

The state high court declined to hear the case, Becker v. S.C. (People), in a decision released Wednesday. It was an appeal of a Fresno-based Fifth District Court of Appeal denial on Oct. 15.

The decision allows for Kings County to continue prosecuting its case.

Several women’s and reproductive rights groups also filed briefs supporting Becker.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported this story on Wednesday.

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email