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17 J. Gender Race & Just. 221 (2014)
Bei Bei Shuai: Pregnancy, Murder, and Mayhen in Indiana

handle is hein.journals/jgrj17 and id is 249 raw text is: Bei Bei Shuai: Pregnancy, Murder, and
Mayhem in Indiana
Geneva Brown*
Indiana broke new ground in becoming the first state to charge a
suicidal pregnant woman with attempted feticide and murder. Bei Bei Shuai
committed the legal act of attempting suicide. Her action may also be
murder under Indiana law, because her attempted suicide caused the death of
her fetus.'
Like several other states, Indiana crafted feticide statutes to increase
penalties when a third party act of violence caused the death of a fetus.2
However, in the case of Bei Bei Shuai, Indiana has now turned feticide laws
against the mother who suffered the loss of the fetus. Because the State
charged Shuai with murder and attempted feticide, she must now convince
twelve jurors that it was never her intent to kill her fetus without taking her
own life.3 Shuai claims she never intended to kill her fetus and live. An
Indiana jury may not embrace her defense. These charges, and the possibility
of more like them, will lead to disturbing outcomes.
The rise and expansion of fetal rights and feticide statutes pits the well-
being of the fetus against the pregnant woman. The fetus evolves into an
independent entity within a woman's uterus. The live birth requirement is no
longer the legal threshold to recognize fetal legal protections. Fetal rights
initially developed as neonatal medicine became able to sustain the lives of
prematurely born fetuses at earlier periods in pregnancies.4 Civil law began
* I would like to acknowledge Julie Smith and Linda Pence, the defense attorneys for Bei Bei Shuai,
for their courageous work. I would like to thank the Valparaiso University School of Law faculty
present at my work-in-progress. The insight and ideas generated from the feedback I received was
invaluable. I would also like to thank Valparaiso University School of Law Librarian Sally
Holterhoff for the research in the areas of Indiana legislative history. Lastly, I would like to thank
the editors of the Journal of Gender, Race & Justice for their patience and hard work.
1.  See Defendant's Memorandum of Law In Support of Motion to Dismiss at 4, State v. Bei
Bei Shuai (Mar. 30, 2011) (No. 49003-1103-MR-014478), available at https://www.aclu.org/repro
2.  See infra Part III.A.
3.   IND. CODE § 35-42-1-1 (2013) (Indiana murder charge requires proof of knowledge or
intent to kill).
4.   Id.

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