California court allows murder charge after baby is stillborn

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Supreme Court declined to stop the prosecution of a woman who was charged with murder after authorities said she used methamphetamine before her baby was stillborn.

The court on Wednesday rejected a challenge by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose office normally represents county prosecutors when their cases are appealed. Becerra is a supporter of reproductive rights and told justices that fear of prosecution could prevent pregnant women from seeking addiction services and 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 September 2019 stillbirth. The baby was found to have methamphetamine in its system and Becker reportedly admitted to using the drug, KTLA reported.

She has pleaded not guilty.

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