According to Jennifer Fox, a protestor in the Occupy Seattle movement, she was pepper sprayed and kicked in the stomach during the Nov. 15 conflict with riot police that caused her to miscarry.
“I was standing in the middle of the crowd when the police started moving in," said Fox to The Stranger, "I was screaming, 'I am pregnant, I am pregnant. Let me through. I am trying to get out.'"
Instead of letting her leave, Fox said police kicked her squarely in the abdomen.
"Right before I turned, both cops lifted their pepper spray and sprayed me. My eyes puffed up and my eyes swelled shut," said the victim.
Fox, 19, and previously homeless before the Occupy Seattle protests began, alleged that her injuries were undoubtedly the cause of her miscarriage because the fetus was healthy before the incident. Although she had access to limited medical help, she allegedly saw a doctor at Harborview medical center five weeks prior, and the physician told her the baby was just fine.
Five days later, the woman’s three-month pregnancy ended.
“Everything was going okay until yesterday (Nov. 19), when I started getting sick, cramps started, and I felt like I was going to pass out,” reported the protestor.
Upon revisiting Harborview, doctors told Fox “there was no heartbeat” from the baby, meaning that a miscarriage was imminent.
Apparently, doctors told the woman that her baby, whom she planned to name Miracle, had been damaged “from the kick and that the pepper spray got to it [the fetus], too.”
The incident that caused the miscarriage was recorded in various pictures and videos, according to Fox.
Although the woman was a victim of police pepper spray, detractors point to potential inaccuracies of Fox’s story: the disenfranchised woman has been unable to produce a medical report corroborating her story, and most miscarriages-anywhere from 66 to 75 percent – occur in the first trimester, regardless of outside circumstances.
In addition, when Fox was rushed to Harborview directly after the incident on Nov. 15, medical staff concluded that they “didn’t see anything wrong with the baby at the time.”
Because there is very little information concerning the effects of pepper spray on pregnant women, little is known as to the possible effects of the chemical conglomerate on a still-developing fetus.
To avoid this specific situation, however, New York City’s Pepper Spray Committee Civilian Complaint Review Board issued a report that states the Patrol Guide advises officers to “avoid using pepper spray against… women believed to be pregnant.”
The study also listed young people, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions as those who should never be pepper sprayed.
It is unknown if Seattle Police follow the same or similar statutes, especially because they did not respond to requests for comment.
Fox, though, said she would take action. Although the lost child is irreplaceable, the protester demands that something be done for restitution, and to right a moral wrong.
“I didn't know that a cop would murder a baby that's not born yet... I am trying to get lawyers," Fox said.