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.