Court rejects attempt to release pregnant woman from prison on grounds of her fetal rights

Court rejects attempt to release pregnant woman from prison on grounds of her fetal rights

A Florida court has denied a pregnant woman’s plea to be released from prison, at the request of an attorney who claimed her unborn child was being illegally detained.

Natalia Harrell, 24, who is eight months pregnant, has been charged with the July 23, 2022 murder of mother-of-three Gladys Borcella.

Harrell was charged with second-degree murder and has been held in a Miami-Dade jail without bond since July 2022. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10,000 fine. His next court date is March 7.

The father of Harrell’s unborn child hired attorney William N. Norris to represent the couple’s fetus. Norris only represents Fetus, not Harrell, and has not spoken to his attorney about their respective cases.

Norris challenged Harrell’s withholding of the fetus and claimed the mother was denied “proper and continuous prenatal medical care and nutrition.” He asked for Harrell to be released from house arrest, allowing him to visit a doctor.

Miami Jail Director James Reiss said in a Feb. 20 court filing that Harrell received adequate nutrition and prenatal care in jail.

Norris argued in court that “the Florida Legislature has expressed a clear intent to provide certain protections to unborn children.” Florida State Law Abortion is prohibited after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Another state law Said someone could be charged with murder for wounding the mother and killing the unborn child.

“An unborn child is treated as a ‘person’ under the law in many cases,” he told

Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal rejected his argument for the mother’s release from prison and house arrest.

In an 11-page ruling, the court said Harrell’s unborn child was not unlawfully detained because it was inside its mother, who is lawfully detained.

“The argument is absurd,” the court’s statement continued. “The mother comes to us as an ill-disguised Trojan horse. In fact, the argument is nothing more than the mother’s attempt to use her unborn child as a basis for release from legal captivity.

Fetal rights are a developing area of ​​law.

inside June 2022When the Supreme Court in Roe v. Overturning Wade and leaving abortion rights to the states, Justice Samuel Alito clarified In his judgment“Our opinion is not based on any view as to whether and when prenatal life is entitled to rights enjoyed after birth.”

Still, lawmakers are exploring fetal personhood legislation. the “Unborn Child Support Act, introduced in the US Congress in 2022, would potentially provide child support payments to pregnant women In Georgia, “any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat” now qualifies. As dependent on the income tax form, according to the state revenue department. in texas, Penal Code A “person” is a “human being who is alive, including an unborn child, at every stage of pregnancy from conception to birth.”

Steven M. According to Sheppard, a New York-based trial lawyer who is not involved in Harrell’s case, establishing a fetus as a person has implications.

“A state can impose all sorts of restrictions on a woman’s freedom, liberty and choice,” she told, adding, “One way to ban abortion is to end the process itself; Another is to create more specific laws that declare fetuses to be persons.”

New York attorney Peter E. Brill, who is not involved in Harrell’s case but has reviewed court documents, added, “Over the past 50 years, anti-abortion political parties have gradually eroded abortion rights… if one could get the courts to declare that in some circumstances, a fetus is a Individuals, even in states where abortion is legal, can, under certain circumstances, be prosecuted for murdering doctors and mothers.”

Norris told she doesn’t want to take a position on abortion.

“We are asking for a decision on a fundamental philosophical issue,” he says. “We want someone to see from the perspective that you’re dealing with a person here.”

Norris told that his next step would be to file an emergency motion in circuit court.

This article was originally published

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