Bei Bei Shuai speaks at rally

Supports held signs and cheered on Saturday afternoon, in support of Bei Bei Shuai.

The 36-year-old made her first public appearance, since being charged with murder and attempted feticide two years ago.

“It’s been really tough because you know, because I have some downs and having a really difficult time,” Shuai begins. “I do have to be under these criminal charges and I still have a lot of grieving.”

Shuai’s attonry, Linda Pence believes the charges against her client are on a slippery slope. “All this case has done is made suicide a crime for only pregnant women,” says Pence.

Prosecutors say Shuai killed her newborn by eating ray poison while eight months pregnant. However, Shuai’s supports say those charges against her could set a precedent for all pregnant women who could be prosecuted for behavior deemed dangerous to an unborn child.

“You can value unborn life. You can be pro-life and not be pro imprisonment,” argues Lynn Paltrow, with National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Laura Nixon, with Law Students for Reproductive Justice, adds, “We have to realize that these are public health issues and not criminal justice cases.”

Cases that college students and reproductive rights activists say deserve treatment, not punishment.

It’s that support that has given Shuai the strength to keep fighting, as she awaits her trial in September.

“I will try my best to stay strong for every one of you and for all the pregnant women and all the mental health patients,” says Shuai.

52 comments

  • chris

    You took a poisonous substance, and as a result you murdered your child, what can you say? You had options if you didn't want the child, you could have given the child away, left it at a hospital facility, pursued adoptions options, or gave the baby to a family member, You chose to take rat poison and killed your baby, suck it up, and pay penalty for your crime

    • Stephanie

      You are obviously unaware of what being “suicidal” entails. If she was in a healthy state of mind, she wouldn’t have felt desperate and driven to take her own life. She wanted her baby. She mourned the loss. No amount of taxpayer money you throw away to “punish” her will ever make a dent conpared to what this woman lives with. She’s not a threat to the public. Imprisoning her won’t accomplish anything but establish a dangerous legal precedent.

    • criminalsbeware

      People that have abortions do it long before their fetus is 8 months along. Huge difference.

      • 1parentadvocate

        It is not killing when the fetus dies because of expulsion from the uterus, spontaneously or otherwise. Likewise, it is not killing when a fetus expelled dies because of intrauterine conditions, of any type or form!!! Please understand that if Bei Bei is convicted it opens the doorway to imprisoning throngs of women for miscarriages due to genetic factors out of their control. Not to mention, imprisoning women who miscarry after tripping and falling. Many women have lost wanted babies this way, so is it right to label these women murderers? Keep in mind most critical fetal development occurs during the first weeks, before the woman can even know she is pregnant, and a miscarriage can result from something the woman does not eat enough of (folic acid, for example), but does that mean those mothers murdered their fetuses? Ask your mother, sisters, aunts, and friends if any of them have miscarried. Now ask yourself if you want the government to have the right to blame those you love for doing something wrong, or not doing something right, during the pregnancy, and then imprison them?

      • criminalsbeware

        You're talking about natural causes. This woman ate rat poison and killed her child. Even if she had no intentions to killing her child, it still happened. She is responsible for her childs death and should be held accountable for it. You need to understand that if she is not convicted that will open the door for others to follow and eat rat poison and say they were just trying to kill themselves and not their unborn child. Tripping and falling is a totally different scenario. Prosecutors aren't looking for accidental miscarriages. You are bringing up stuff that is of no concern. This woman intentionally ate poison. Women have misscarriages all the time, this one was caused by eating poison. obviously the prosecutor thinks he or she has a very good case or they wouldn't be taking this to a trial. This woman is going to go to prison where she belongs.

      • 1parentadvocate

        I am sorry but you are incorrect saying this case can open the door for women to attempt suicide just to abort the fetus. You need some education in law and in mental illness to understand that this woman had no intention of killing her fetus, and that it was truly an act of desperation, due to a lack of services, that ended in this TRAGIC EVENT AS THE RESULT OF MENTAL ILLNESS, BUT NOT MURDER OR FETICIDE!!!

      • criminalsbeware

        You are absolutely right, NO KILLING IS RIGHT. That's why this stupid woman is going to go to prison for killing her child.

      • criminalsbeware

        You are absolutely right, NO KILLING IS RIGHT. That is why this stupid woman is going to prison for killing her child.

      • 1parentadvocate

        WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO JUDGE A WOMAN YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW? NOR DO YOU FULLY UNDERSTAND HER LIFE STRUGGLES, OBSTACLES, AND BATTLE WITH DERESSION, SO WHAT MAKES YOU SO MIGHTY THAT YOU THINK YOU CAN JUDGE PEOPLE WITH BEAUTIFUL SOULS BEING DRAGGED THROUGH THE MUD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? REMEMBER, THE MEDIA TELLS YOU WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO KNOW, NOT ALL THE FACTS AND TRUTHS! I ENCOURAGE YOU TO STOP BEING SO QUICK TO JUDGE FOR KARMA EXISTS!

  • Michael

    Ooh those crazy feminist.
    So let me get this straight,a woman who eats rat poison to kill an unborn baby is now a HERO and spokeswomen for reproductive rights?

    • Stephanie

      She is a woman who was in despair and tried to kill herself. Try reading her story with less judgment and a little compassion – you might learn something.

      • James

        Killing is Killing. Period. Whether or not your are in despair or not. Does not excuse murder. I read every story. It don't take a brain to know murder is wrong. Any support for this woman is saying you support murder.

      • 1parentadvocate

        James,
        Your posts tell me that you do not understand mental illness. Did you know that if you go to college they can help you learn about such things? Then you can speak from a more informed perspective, rather than simply from the perspective the church provides for you.

    • Stephanie

      She didn’t eat rat poison to kill the fetus. She was suicidal and not capable of thinking straight. There’s no way to medically prove the cause of fetal death… the precedent that would be set is incredibly dangerous– to any woman who may suffer a miscarriage. That’s the issue.

  • Guest

    .. glad i'm not the only one who see's that the walking mental disorders have made this nut job murderer into some kind of hero spokeswoman …

  • jmf

    I'm really disturbed by the lack of compassion being shown here. I suspect that a similar lack of compassion is part of what leads some people to attempt suicide in the first place.

    And I do take issue with anyone who calls someone "crazy" and "nuts" and a "low life" and a "nut job" out of one side of his/her mouth, and claims to be "pro-life" out of the other.

    We can hate abortion.
    We can be deeply saddened and troubled by the death of the infant.
    But anyone who is genuinely concerned about unborn life must also care about the women who carry that life, even and especially when they are struggling with suicidal thoughts, addiction, poverty, etc.

    • James

      I don't call you crazy. I call you in support of murder. Compassion? You call killing your baby with rat poison compassion? What is the difference in my kid driving me crazy and I in turn kill it? NOTHING. Period. If I murder my kid, I deserve to die myself. My compassion for ended when she KILLED her baby. There is help out there. Your definition of compassion goes too far. I feel for her, I feel for the baby. I refuse to say that a woman or man who cannot control their emotions and kill their baby needs to be let go.

      • Stephanie

        “Needs to be let go”? What does that even mean? Are you advocating murdering women who have miscarriages? How pro-life. The law is to protect the public. Bei Bei is not a threat to anyone.

  • Guest in Maine

    She certainly did not try to kill the unborn child. She tried to kill herself. Turning this woman into a vessel rather than a full human being, whose despair was profound and genuine, is immoral. Her story is a tragedy, certainly, yet no one here identifies the biological father as the perpetrator of this tragedy. All of the moral judgment falls upon this woman, who is no more a "murderer" than any of these judgmental hypocrites? I'm sure all of you casting stones are without sin, right? This comment board is a sickening reminder of what is wrong with this culture. You'd rather judge this woman harshly than find compassion. Terribly sad, and the charge in this case is misplaced and immoral.

    • criminalsbeware

      Obviously , you have no clue as to what you are talking about.
      You are the reason why people do things like this. They know they have a good chance of getting away with it because of the bleeding heart people such as yourself, and if they do get convicted, they know that they will get a light sentence and be free in just a few years.
      If this woman gets away with this, what makes you think that other women won't do the same and just say they were just trying to kill themselves and not the unborn child ?

      • Stephanie

        Guest in Maine is perfectly accurate in her assessment: Shuai's body is purely a vessel in the eyes of this district attorney. When a woman ingests rat poison, and leaves a note that says I'm killing myself, she's not trying to perform an abortion, she wants to die. That's despair.

      • 1parentadvocate

        Your posts tell me that you do not understand mental illness. Did you know that if you go to college they can help you learn about such things?

  • Stephanie

    The hate spewed here is appalling. This woman was abandoned and shamed by the father of their expected child (google her name, this story leaves out many details). She didn't eat rat poison to end the pregnancy, she was trying to end her own life. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" but not by judgmental hypocrites.

  • Kmw

    My understanding is Ms. Shuai was battling depression and tried to kill herself. I am that world can be more compassionate so people don't turn to such extreme actions. My thoughts and prayers are with this woman.

    • 1parentadvocate

      I agree that the world needs to learn compassion if their limited education and/or experience prevents them from understanding.
      A quote from a wise man I once knew, "Courtesy is the lubricant to life.”
      In this global world I think that both courtesy and compassion make life easier for everyone!

  • criminalsbeware

    Shuai’s attonry, Linda Pence believes the charges against her client are on a slippery slope. “All this case has done is made suicide a crime for only pregnant women,” says Pence

    I don't see any charges for attempted suicide . Only charges I see is murder and attempted feticide for killing her baby.. Absolutely nothing about suicide. I feel certain that if any charges related to suicide would have been revealed by at least one of the news media.

    • Stephanie

      Trouble with context, huh? Any pregnant woman in despair who attempts suicide can be charged with feticide – the mother's life, her despair, doesn't matter to the d.a. The charges clearly are related to Shuai's suicide attempt.

      • criminalsbeware

        You are the one having trouble with context.
        As a mother you have certain responsibilities for your unborn child. This woman may have tried to commit suicide, but put her unborn child at great risk, Unfortunately the child was born prematurely and died a few days later directly caused by the mother's selfishness of trying to kill herself by eating rat poison , knowing that her unborn child would be effected by this. Would you eat rat poison to kill yourself if you were pregnant ? It's the same as feeding your newborn baby rat poison to kill it if you didn't want it.

      • criminalsbeware

        Politics has nothing to do with this. Didn't anyone teach you the difference from right and wrong ? Obviously not !

  • Amy Rosenhaus

    Once again the state alters how a woman is treated based on her reproductive status, otherwise no one would know about Bei Bei Shuai’s suicide attempt, and frankly, no one would care. When you judge Bei Bei Shuai you judge every woman who has ever been pregnant and make that pregnancy the most valuable thing about her, effectively erasing anything else about her. The case should be dropped. I support Bei Bei Shuai.

  • Sheila Ganz

    How awful for Bei Bei Shuai to first feel so devastated with her life that she attempts suicide, then she loses her unborn baby, and then she is put in jail. Where is the humanity!! I am making a documentary film about mothers who are in treatment rather than prison for drug addiction and the underlying causes for many girls and women of domestic violence. On Life's Terms: Mothers in Recovery http://www.onlifesterms.org

    • criminalsbeware

      What did she think was going to happen ? Did she think that she could eat rat poison and die and her unborn child would live ?

      • 1parentadvocate

        LET ME POINT OUT, AGAIN, THAT THOSE SUFFERING MENTAL ILLNESS, SEVERE DEPRESSION, AND SUICIDAL THOUGHTS ARE NOT THINKING CLEARLY, LOGICALLY, RATIONALLY, OR IN ANY WAY SOCIETY EXPECTS THEM TO THINK AND BEHAVE!!!

  • 1parentadvocate

    My Sound Off

    To Chris:
    Not all states offer pregnant women options as far as choosing to have a child. States, and even counties, in many places limit access to contraceptives and/or abortions. As far as you writing about Bei Bei not considering other options such as adoption, you bring me to another important point in this case. Since you obviously do not understand mental illness, I will educate you; when anyone is mentally ill, especially a pregnant woman, that person is often not thinking clearly, logically, rationally, or in any way that society expects people to think and behave! This case highlights the facts that people in society should be as aware of antepartum depression (depression during pregnancy) and its potential consequences, as people are of postpartum depression! Additionally, more doctors need to be willing to treat pregnant women with depression, instead of labeling them “high risk pregnancies,” refusing treatment, and thereby further limiting options for care!

    To Marka131:
    Bei Bei is not a lowlife! Further, your comment on deportation leads me to believe you have a racist attitude and a lack of respect for diversity. You would make a great reality show participant… I envision producers would arrange for the car you are driving to break down in the international district in Atlanta, just to see you attempt to make it out (let me emphasize the word attempt). Back on topic, Bei Bei is not Chinese, but I suppose you do not care. Just what do you think the USA is putting up with by embracing a model of treatment of mental illness as opposed to radical approach of criminal punishment? Criminal punishment is futile, so why not embrace treatment? Oh, I remember, because in your eyes we cannot embrace treatment because Bei Bei is one of throngs of international citizens, and in your eyes that makes her less important. All I think your entire post says about you is that you are certainly undereducated, misinformed, and cruel. There are colleges that can help with the education component, but I do not know how to place compassion in the heart of a cruel person.

    To Michael:
    Who said the word hero? The truth is that those who have had someone close to them, or have personally suffered injustice in relation to reproductive rights can speak about it from a personal as well as political standpoint. Feminists, as you call them, otherwise known as supporters of women’s civil rights, support Bei Bei because they understand the consequences to ALL women’s rights if Bei Bei is criminally convicted. By the way, Michael, calling women crazy no longer works on educated women!

    To Stephanie: KUDOS!

    To Guy:
    Read the end of my post to Michael, then also at least attempt to further your education before you continue to disappoint your mother!

  • Rock

    One can only hope that she will one day feel a great deal of intolerable pain. Lets hope that she feels the same pain that she caused her child to feel. She needs to spend time in Michigan City, then be deported back to what ever hell hole she came from. She obviously cannot live in our society.

    • 1parentadvocate

      One can only pray a junior college accepts you and that you are actually capable of learning! If Michigan City, the jail is what I am assuming you are referring to, is so bad then why would such an educated person such as yourself ended up there? It seems you are the one who has been deemed, shall I say, not able to successfully live in this society, at least at some point in time. I imagine a degree of your racism comes from your experience being imprisioned, but it does not excuse racism. I truly encourage you to look into furthering your education, especially in the areas of compassion, love, racism, and our ever expanding global society!

    • Stephanie

      You are praying for pain for a woman who has battled depression so severe, she tried to take her own life. That’s a bit redundant, don’t you think? She’s already suffered more than “deporting” her ever could. If your values involve wishing pain on the least among us, you’re more of a villain than Bei Bei ever could be.

      • criminalsbeware

        When a pregnant woman tries to take her own life, What do you think will happen to the unborn baby if she were to succeed? Ther's at least a 99.99999% chance the unborn baby is going to die unless some that knows how to remove the baby is right there. In this case the poison was in the mother's system and of course the poison got into the babies system and killed it after the mother had a miscarriage from her eating rat poison. I can assure you this woman is going to prison. They will get at least a conviction for involuntary manslaughter.

  • Ashton

    There is actually no evidence that the poison that Ms. Shuai took in her suicide attempt is what killed her daughter Angel. The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Angel has had her testimony stricken from the record because it was deemed by the court that she failed to actually determine the reason Angel died. It’s important to note that Angel was born prematurely and under a great deal of stress and subjected to a variety of drugs and treatments during her brief life, all of which could have contributed to or caused the hemorrhage that killed her. And because the medical examiner failed to do her job properly, we’ll never know.

    But what we do know is this: a suicide attempt is not murder or attempted murder, even if you’re pregnant. Even in advanced pregnancy. And criminalizing pregnant women who have mental illnesses or drug dependencies and jailing them has the backlash effect of causing these women to not come forward for treatment and care in fear that instead of care they’ll be imprisoned. That doesn’t help them, and it doesn’t help their babies. It’s punitive harm, for it’s own sake which defies common sense, medical ethics and basic decency. It’s not, and cannot be allowed to become illegal to be depressed or addicted or suicidal, reproductive status notwithstanding.

  • jmjones19

    A few thoughts…

    1.) If she cares so little about her own life that she took poison, how can anyone have thought she would make mom of the year?

    2.) Having two wonderful kids of my own, there is no doubt in MY mind that life starts well before birth, case closed. If she didn’t want to give birth, try birth-control; if she didn’t want to raise the child, there are way too many wonderful couples out there who would have loved the opportunity to adopt and raise this child.

    3.) Those of you that are more worried about commenting on spelling and grammatical errors, really don’t get the story, so I will not waste my time reading your useless comments.

    • 1parentadvocate

      Some Facts to Consider…
      Just because someone attempts suicide, it does not mean that person is not capable of living a normal life. Once mentally ill persons are stable on medication and counseling, they are capable of living a "normal" life and are capable of parenting.
      In reference to your second point, not all states offer pregnant women options as far as choosing to have a child. States, and even counties, in many places limit access to contraceptives and/or abortions. As far as you writing about Bei Bei not considering other options such as adoption, you bring me to another important point in this case. Since you obviously do not understand mental illness, I will educate you; when anyone is mentally ill, especially a pregnant woman, that person is often not thinking clearly, logically, rationally, or in any way that society expects people to think and behave! This case highlights the facts that people in society should be as aware of antepartum depression (depression during pregnancy) and its potential consequences, as people are of postpartum depression! Additionally, more doctors need to be willing to treat pregnant women with depression, instead of labeling them “high risk pregnancies,” refusing treatment, and thereby further limiting options for care!

    • Stephanie

      Did you even read about her case? Or were you too busy jumping to conclusions out of hatred? Bei Bei *did* want her pregnancy. She became suicidal when, isolated and in a foreign country, she was cruelly abandoned by the father. Do a little research before spewing tired talking points.

  • Erin Gilmer

    Consider the implications of criminalizing a suicide attempt (or any potentially harmful behavior) while pregnant. Leaving aside the incredibly disturbing fact that this effectively puts pregnant in a separate (and unequal) legal category, at risk of prosecution for actions that aren't crimes when committed by non-pregnant people, what about the implications for perinatal health? Given that depression and anxiety are extremely common during pregnancy, and can and do lead to crisis situations and suicide attempts, do we want to be telling women that if they feel such despair and desperation, they better shut up, or expect imprisonment?! How exactly is that supposed to help women, who are the ones, after all, who carry and deliver these babies that society claims to care about? And if we discourage them from seeking help – mental health care, prenatal care, emergency care – because they fear prosecution, and yes, PERSECUTION, how exactly does that help their babies? Answer: it doesn't. In fact, all the professional organizations of OBGYNS, nurses, pediatricians, mental health professionals, etc. agree that this kind of selective criminalization of pregnant women is harmful to women, babies, and families. So maybe we ought to rethink our knee-jerk, reactionary lust for vengeance against an easy target and set our sights on healthier, more compassionate, more USEFUL responses to tragedies like this.

  • Therese

    I feel a lot of compassion for this woman. Mental illness is real and terrible. Prison would not remedy this tragedy.

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