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CA Supreme Court allows murder charge in stillborn drug case

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Posted at 1:04 PM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-24 16:04:09-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Supreme Court declined Wednesday to stop the murder prosecution of a woman who had used methamphetamine and whose fetus was stillborn.

In doing so, the court rejected a rare challenge by the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, whose office normally represents county prosecutors when their cases are appealed.

But Becerra is also a supporter of reproductive rights and in a letter to justices said that fear of prosecution may prevent pregnant women from seeking addiction services. He said the case could also prompt extra scrutiny by law enforcement on miscarriages and stillbirths.

Chelsea Becker of Hanford was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time of the late 2019 stillbirth.