Two Women Were Charged With Murder After Delivering Stillborn Babies, Sparking Outrage Among Women’s Rights Groups

Two cases in which women were charged with murder after delivering stillborn babies in Kings County, California, have recently resurfaced and sparked outrage. Chelsea Becker and Adora Perez were each arrested shortly after their babies’ deaths due to methamphetamine use during pregnancy. Their cases have since caused controversy among top legal officials and human rights groups.

In 2017, a 29-year-old woman named Adora Perez delivered a stillborn baby at Adventist Health Hospital in California. The baby tested positive for methamphetamine, and Perez was charged with second-degree murder. According to Fresno Bee, medical professionals believed Perez had been using meth up to two days before giving birth. She accepted a plea deal for involuntary manslaughter, and was sentenced to 11 years behind bars.

Also in Kings County, a then-26-year-old woman named Chelsea Becker delivered a stillborn baby on September 10, 2019. According to CNN, medical professionals believed she was using drugs during her pregnancy due to the traces of methamphetamine found during the baby’s autopsy. According to the L.A. Times, Becker’s two other children also tested positive for methamphetamine at birth. She was arrested for first-degree murder in November, with bail set for $2 million.

In 1970, legislators passed a law that a woman carrying a baby cannot be charged with the killing of her own unborn fetus. Three years later, a pregnant woman named Claudia Tucker shot herself in the stomach and was sentenced to probation over prosecution. During the 1990s, three women were charged with killing their unborn babies through drug use, but charges were dropped