Woman Facing Life in Prison for Murder Gets Charges Dropped

(RepublicanJournal.org) – In 2020, a California woman was arrested after her baby died during a home birth. Charged with murder by a zealous prosecutor, she was facing the possibility of life in prison. Now, after three years, that charge has been dropped. She could be released as early as January.

A Controversial Case

In November 2022, Oceanside, California, resident Kelsey Carpenter went into labor at home. She was alone in her apartment and delivered the baby girl herself. However, soon after birth, she lost consciousness; by the time she came around the baby had stopped breathing. Carpenter says she tried to give CPR and then called 911. When medics arrived they found the infant dead; Carpenter was taken to hospital.

This is where things started to get out of control. Cops soon realized Carpenter was a recovering drug addict, and had taken buprenorphine — a drug doctors recommend for pregnant women with an opioid addiction — before giving birth. She was then arrested. The medical examiner ruled that the baby had died because of “methamphetamine and buprenorphine exposure and unattended delivery,” but acknowledged that home deliveries and using buprenorphine are legal.

Then, San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan entered the picture. She charged Carpenter with murder, even though the police and ME both said Keira’s death was “not a homicide.” Undeterred by that, Stephan pushed ahead with the charges. An expert witness said a rupture had probably killed the baby and there was no evidence drug use had anything to do with it. That didn’t change Stephan’s mind either.

Legal Foundations Crumble

In 2022, California’s state legislature passed a new law that protects pregnant women from being charged over anything they do during pregnancy that causes the death of their baby between the 28th week of pregnancy and seven days after birth. The law, pushed through by pro-abortion lawmakers, is controversial with many who think it lets irresponsible mothers drink heavily or use drugs while pregnant, which endanger their fetus. Carpenter couldn’t have been charged with that law in effect, but she was already indicted before it was passed.

However, on November 16, prosecutors finally dropped the murder charge. Instead, Carpenter, who the DA’s office said “sought to accept responsibility for endangering her newborn resulting in death,” pleaded guilty to child endangerment. She was sentenced to two years in prison, and that means with time already served she could be out in a matter of weeks. It’s possible she’ll be out of jail some time in January. The medical evidence suggests baby Keira’s death was a tragic accident –- but California law now has a gaping loophole for women who can’t get an abortion, don’t want their baby, and don’t mind abusing drugs. The right to life in California is on shaky ground.

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