This week in Pedersen's POV, our senior editor doesn't hold anything back regarding Elizabeth Holmes and baby number two.

Amanda Pedersen

March 6, 2023

3 Min Read
Amanda Pedersen, Senior Editor at MD+DI, opinion quote about Elizabeth Holmes.

I don't want to write about Elizabeth Holmes or the newborn she cited in a recent court filing as another reason her 11.25-year prison sentence should be delayed.

But it seems that no matter how sick we get of the Theranos fraudster, we just can't get away from her story. Just know that if you're hate-reading this – I'm right there with you.

I won't make assumptions about why a woman who knew she was facing a lengthy prison sentence would have not one but two babies over the course of her criminal fraud trial. All we know for sure is that baby number one successfully delayed mommy's trial in the first place, and U.S. District Judge Edward Davila already took baby number two into account when he generously set Holmes' surrender date for April 27, allowing her to give birth and bond with the newborn before being incarcerated.

News of Holmes' second child was hardly a surprise. The former CEO and founder of Theranos confirmed that she was pregnant in a previous court filing in December, and many spectators previously noted that she appeared to be pregnant at her sentencing.

walks with her mother Noel Holmes and partner Billy Evans into the federal courthouse for her sentencing hearing on November 18, 2022 in San Jose, California.

And yet, despite the unfortunate fact that about 58,000 pregnant women are put behind bars every year – and thousands of babies are born to incarcerated mothers – Holmes thinks she deserves special treatment. Why? Because of her ill-gotten celebrity status? Because the unbelievable rise and fall of Theranos inspired a popular ABC podcast, an HBO documentary, and a limited Hulu series? Because her partner, William "Billy" Evans is the wealthy heir to a hotel chain?

Speaking of the Evans clan, let's not forget the way William L. "Bill" Evans, a.k.a. BlitzenBill masqueraded as an everyman during jury selection of Holmes' trial, going out of his way to chat up all the reporters at the courthouse.

Elizabeth Holmes wears entitlement like she used to wear black turtlnecks.

It's that sense of entitlement (and the Evans fortune) that seems to make her think she can stall the wheels of justice by popping out babbies and expecting the judge to sympathize with her for not wanting to leave her young children to serve her sentence.

What if, instead of flaunting her privilege to delay her sentence, Holmes used her situation to advocate for better policies to support incarcerated mothers and their children? Just a couple of years ago, a groundbreaking research project, the Pregnancy in Prison Statistics Project, spearheaded by Carolyn Sufrin, MD, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and School of Public Health brought long overdue attention to this need.

Here, Holmes has an opportunity to really help people and shed light on a major gap in the prison system where pregnancy and postpartum needs are concerned.

Holmes did put on a good show of remorse during her sentencing in November, crying on the stand and saying that she takes responsibility for Theranos and that she regrets her failings "with every cell of her body." But if she truly regretted her actions she wouldn't be doing everything in her power to delay her sentence and fight her conviction. Instead, she could teach her children a valuable lesson about owning one's mistakes and facing the consequences. Because as tragic as it is, even mommies have to do time for their crimes.

About the Author(s)

Amanda Pedersen

Amanda Pedersen is a veteran journalist and award-winning columnist with a passion for helping medical device professionals connect the dots between the medtech news of the day and the bigger picture. She has been covering the medtech industry since 2006.

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