The Mississippi Supreme Court will soon decide if a woman who used methamphetamines during her pregnancy should stand trial for manslaughter because her child was stillborn.

A grand jury in Lamar Country, Miss. indicted Nina Buckhalter for manslaughter, claiming that she "willfully, unlawfully, feloniously [killed] Hayley Jade Buckhalter, a human being, by culpable negligence." A lower court threw out the case last year, but prosecutors appealed hoping that they could change the outcome this time around.

The state's Supreme Court heard the arguments on April 2. A decision could come any day now. During oral arguments, Justice Leslie D. King said, "Doctors say women should avoid herbal tea, things like unpasteurized cheese, lunch meats. Exactly what are the boundaries?" That, in essence, is the question facing the court.

Mother Jones explored the issue in some depth Thursday, noting that Mississippi's manslaughter laws were not intended to apply to cases of stillbirths and miscarriages. In four instances between 1998 and 2002, the state's lawmakers tried to set penalties for damaging babies by using drugs during pregnancies. And four times the proposed regulations failed. So now, it seems, prosecutors are hoping to force the state's Supreme Court to create a new law on the issue.

But Farah Diaz-Tello, a staff attorney with the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, told Mother Jones that the state would be setting a "dangerous precedent" that "unintentional pregnancy loss can be treated as a form of homicide."

Manslaughter, unlike murder, is the crime of killing a person without the requisite malice aforethought for intentional homicide. Although many consider it a lesser offense than intentional homicide, manslaughter is a little more complex than that. In most states, a person can be guilty of manslaughter if she intentionally or unintentionally kills someone, so long as the killing was not planned out or premeditated.

Intentionally killing someone without premeditation is usually considered voluntary manslaughter, while unintentionally killing someone is considered involuntary manslaughter.

In the case of Buckhalter, prosecutors are likely asserting that she unintentionally killed her baby by taking drugs while she was pregnant. But, as Mother Jones pointed out, that would require proof that Buckhalter's drug use was, in fact, the cause of her child's stillbirth. While her drug use could have been a factor contributing to the baby's death, it may not have been the only one. Experts have not even confirmed that exposure to drugs in utero causes stillbirth or miscarriage.

Buckhalter's defense attorney Robert McDuff thinks that the prosecution following up on this matter for nearly four years now (since 2009) is shocking and unnecessary. Since her daughter's stillbirth, Buckhalter completed a drug treatment program and received her associate's degree. McDuff thinks that putting Buckhalter on trial in pursuit of a legal precedent "is just crazy."