She Suffered A Miscarriage – Weeks Later She Was Charged With A Felony

dark road with a stop sign at the end
Zain Murdock
May 6, 2022

On Christmas Eve 2017, 24-year-old Keysheonna Reed woke up at 3am to stomach pains. Minutes later, she gave birth to stillborn twins. Terrified, she made a makeshift coffin out of an old suitcase and went to bury them. 

Reed drove down the Arkansas roads, praying, until she found a place to lay them. Months later, the horror began.

When the suitcase was found, Reed turned herself in, confirming she’d had a miscarriage. Despite this, she was charged with a felony and up to 20 years in prison for “abuse of a corpse!”

Reed wasn’t criminalized because she “abused corpses.” She was criminalized because this country, centuries after the abolition of slavery, still views the bodies of Black people as property. 

Reed was “collateral damage in the fight over abortion.” And she’s not the only one.

People who’ve given birth to stillborn babies, miscarried, undergone self-induced abortions, or who were accidentally injured while pregnant have all been criminalized in states that outlaw or limit abortion rights.

How does incarcerating people like Reed help anything?

“All you people that’s trying to judge my granddaughter, y’all don’t know nothing about her,” Reed’s grandmother said, reminding the media that Reed was a loving mother to the three children she had already. 

If abortion becomes illegal again, the criminalization of Black women will increase and stories like Reed’s will only get more common.

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