Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Welcome to Gilead

Gilead is the name of the dystopian country in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and this news story sounds like something we would only read in that Gilead:

Police in Houston say a 14-year-old girl who delivered a stillborn fetus in an airliner restroom on her way back from a middle-school field trip will not be charged with any wrongdoing.

Homicide investigators say they interviewed both the girl and a 14-year-old boy believed to be the father.

Police say that prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against the girl. The fetus was found in a waste can on a Continental Airlines flight that landed at Houston after a flight from New York.

Authorities say the girl told police she didn't know she was pregnant. Preliminary autopsy results indicated the fetus was stillborn and not viable.

The girl's name has not been released.

Homicide investigators???? The fetus was stillborn and not viable, and in any case it was a fetus. What wrongdoing could she possibly have been charged with? Leaving a dead fetus in a waist can, perhaps, rather than wrapping it up carefully and taking it home to show to her parents?

She is fourteen years old, scared and in pain, I would think, and something horrible is happening to her. What would an adult woman have done in her place? Are all women now supposed to take extreme care not to have a miscarriage in any public place, because should that happen someone will call in the homicide investigators?

This story makes me sick, and not because of what the girl did or did not do.