US woman whose fetus died in suicide attempt freed

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Associated Press

Posted on May 22, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 22 at 10:03 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Chinese immigrant who tried to kill herself by eating rat poison was free on bond Tuesday after more than a year in jail on charges that she killed her 33-week-old fetus.

"I feel very happy," the 35-year-old Bei Bei Shuai said, then broke into tears and hugged her friends.

Shuai was 33 weeks pregnant when she ate rat poison on Dec. 23, 2010, after her boyfriend broke up with her. The premature girl, Angel Shuai, was delivered by cesarean section Dec. 31, but she died from bleeding in the brain three days later after being removed from life support.

Prosecutors charged Shuai with murder in March 2011, arguing that a suicide note she wrote showed she intended to kill her baby as well as herself.

Several medical and women's rights groups filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Shuai, some saying that a conviction could set a precedent by which pregnant women can be prosecuted for smoking or other behavior deemed a danger to the fetus.

Defense attorneys argue that prosecuting a woman based on the outcome of her pregnancy violates her constitutional rights to due process, equal treatment and privacy.

Shuai's trial is set to begin Dec. 3.

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Follow Charles Wilson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharlesDWilson

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