By the moment 25-year-old Chelsea Becker, a woman from Hanford, Calif., gave birth after an 8 1/2 month pregnancy to a stillborn son, she’d organized an unfavorable record as a mother.
She had taken narcotics for years and had also taken narcotics as recently as 3 days before giving birth, according to local police investigators.
From her prior 3 children, 2 had been born with narcotics in their systems and were separated from her custody.
When her fourth child died at birth, the Kings County coroner’s office did a post-mortem and ordered that the infant’s death was a homicide because of toxic levels of narcotics in his system. Becker was charged with murder earlier this month and is being kept in jail on $5-million bail. A court hearing is set for Nov. 19.
Pregnant narcotics users have drawn a distinct response in many places. More than 2 dozen states have laws that treat narcotics use throughout pregnancy as child abuse, at least for the purposes of eliminating parental rights.
Certainly, in this situation, there’s plenty of proof that Becker‘s irresponsible treatment of her own body led to the death of her fetus. It is deeply painful to see someone so carelessly abuse her body, and, as a consequence, hurt the fetus so rigorously that it could not survive.