Pregnant Woman Charged With Child Endangerment Of Unborn Child

Pregnant Woman Charged With Child Endangerment Of Unborn Child

Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

A Howard County woman is behind bars charged with endangering a child, but there's a twist, the child has not yet been born.  Christene Michelle Beam, who is 32-years-old and is pregnant, recently tested positive for an illegal substance while in the custody of authorities. Now, she's being held for endangering her unborn child.

"This is from the Texas Penal Code: an individual means a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization to birth, so reading that in conjunction with the endangering a child statute, I believe there is a basis for prosecution potentially," Attorney, David Zavoda, said.

Zavoda has been practicing law for over 30 years and says this could be a one of a kind case. He says if this case were to go to court, her defense team would have to prove two major issues.

"The defense would be number one, I didn't do anything to harm the child, and number two, no harm came to the child would be the defenses available," Zavoda said.

Our NewsWest 9 Facebook friends didn't hesitate to make their voice heard on this case.

Annette Melton wrote,"Risky move by the DA and the Police Department since the woman has a right to do with her body as she wishes and a fetus isn't considered a person into very late in the pregnancy."

Another person wrote quote, "Endangering a child implies she's pregnant with a person, having an abortion of a fetus implies that she's not pregnant with a person. The two laws shouldn't co-exist."

Zavoda says he thinks this case, even if it doesn't end up in court, will make expecting moms think twice about their actions.

"Certainly this is going to raise the eyebrows of anybody that's considering doing something that could be harmful to themselves or to the unborn child. I would think that," Zavoda said.

According to Zavoda, should a jury ever find Beam guilty for child endangerment, an appeal would be taken and the case could possibly end up in the Supreme Court.

"It would lead to an appeal of what the definition of an individual is, it would be something I certainly would do as a defense attorney, let a higher court determine if this is a proper definition, it could go as far back as Row vs Wade," Zavoda said.