Natalia Harrell is being held in the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. And she is pregnant. Now lawyers are arguing-- before Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal—that the fetus’s incarceration is a violation of his rights guaranteed by the U.S. and Florida constitutions. Attorney William M. Norris recently filed an emergency writ of habeas corpus, which allows the court to determine whether someone’s imprisonment is lawful.
According to the Miami Herald, the writ reads: “UNBORN CHILD has not been charged with any crime by the State. Further, the State has placed the UNBORN CHILD in such inherently dangerous environment by placing the UNBORN CHILD in close proximity to violent criminal offenders.” Therefore, the writ argues, the unborn child should be released so he can get necessary care and treatment, be free from “unlawful and illegal detention,” and avoid entering the world in a dangerous environment like a prison cell.
The 24-page document claims that the “draconian confinement” is harming Harrell’s unborn child. It states that the fetus isn’t receiving adequate prenatal care, such as vitamins and visits to specialists, and adds that it also has been the victim of negligence — including once being trapped in a corrections transport van without air conditioning while temperatures exceeded 100 degrees.
Harrell, 24, was arrested and charged with second degree murder, a felony punishable by life in prison, while 6-weeks pregnant on July 26, 2022. (While inside an Uber, she was involved in a fatal quarrel that was caught on tape.)
The article used the term “his” to describe the unborn child. Did the attorney, too? Did they simply assume the unborn baby was a male? Ultrasound be damned, how do they know the yet-to-be-born child identifies as a male? Maybe it is non-binary, genderfluid, or identifies as a female.
Maybe Natalia Harrell should identify as a non-felon with no criminal record whatsoever so that she and her unborn child could be released.
One thing is certain: Natalia’s baby is innocent and uncharged.
This is an interesting case. On the one hand, I don’t want to see yet another violent criminal released. (And you know, or at least strongly suspect, that Harrell and her lawyer(s) are more concerned about springing her than they are about her baby.) On the other hand, what a powerful statement it would be! An affirmation that an unborn child has rights like any other innocent human being. “Pro-choice” activists, who are also usually feminists and believe in criminal justice reform, would be thrust into an awkward position: that of essentially having to say, “Keep the bitch and her non-viable tissue mass in prison!” Delicious. If justice were to prevail, perhaps a C-section could be performed, Harrell could continue to serve her time… and the baby could be given to loving foster parents.