Abortion is illegal in the United States. So is having a stillbirth – not officially, perhaps, but thanks to a case in Indiana, we’re halfway there. On Monday, Purvi Patel, a 33 year old woman who says that she had a miscarriage, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for neglect of a dependent and feticide. She is the first woman in the United States to ever be sentenced for such a crime. In July 2013, Patel went to the emergency room with heavy bleeding. She eventually admitted to miscarrying a stillborn fetus and placing it in a bag in a dumpster. (Patel lived with her religiously conservative parents who did not believe in premarital sex.) After police searched Patel’s cellphone, they found text messages that suggested she bought abortion-inducing drugs online.
After a feticide law was passed in Texas in 2003, for example, a local district attorney used the opportunity to send a letter to all doctors in her county that they were now legally required to report any pregnant women using drugs. Doctors complied, and and more than 50 women were reported and charged with crimes.
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Purvi Patel Sentenced to 41 Years for Feticide and Neglect of a Dependent
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Indiana woman jailed for “feticide.” It’s never happened before.