DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled a Floyd County woman convicted of harming her child cannot be prohibited from getting pregnant while on probation.
In August 2014, Stephanie Marie Fatland of Rockford was charged with three counts of child endangerment causing serious injury. Authorities say Fatland shook her then 5-month-old son on three occasions. In July 2014, doctors found the infant had several retinal hemorrhages and a bulging soft spot on his skull.
Fatland entered guilty pleas in May 2015, to two counts of child endangerment causing bodily injury. She was sentenced to 10 years of probation and banned from having unsupervised contact with children under the age of 5. The judge also told Fatland she could not conceive a child while on probation.
The now 24-year-old Fatland appealed her sentence, arguing the restriction on contact with children was too restrictive because it did not allow for any unintended or incidental contact and that forbidding her from getting pregnant violated her fundamental human rights.
The Iowa Court of Appeals agrees with Fatland on both counts, vacating her sentences and ordering the District Court to reconsider her punishment. It rules that any ban on contact with children must be “more realistic and precise” and that demanding Fatland not get pregnant while on probation is “unreasonable.”