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Purvi Patel (St. Joseph's County, Indiana, Police Department)
Purvi Patel (St. Joseph's County, Indiana, Police Department)


Indiana woman sentenced to 20 years for feticide fights conviction

By WITW Staff on May 24, 2016

An Indiana woman convicted last year of feticide and sentenced to 20 years in prison appealed her conviction on Monday. The outcome of the appeal now rests with three appellate judges. Lawyers for Purvi Patel, who state prosecutors argued in 2013 ingested an abortion pill to end her pregnancy, made their case during a hearing at a state courthouse. The judge in the case pressed prosecutors on the evidence presented at the trial last year. At the heart of the prosecutors’ argument is that Patel knowingly ingested abortion-inducing drugs to end her pregnancy, and did so after the 25-week threshold that the law stipulates pregnancies must be carried to term. They claim she knew she gave birth to a live baby and that it took at least one breath before Patel disposed of it in a restaurant dumpster and then sought medical treatment at a hospital. Patel, 33 at the time, was promptly arrested after being treated.

Patel’s attorneys are arguing that prosecutors failed to prove she knew she had delivered a live baby — she claimed she thought the baby was born dead — or that she could have done something to save the baby’s life. They contend, based on a forensic pathologist’s testimony that the baby likely would’ve died within a minute of Patel cutting the umbilical cord, and that calling for help at that point would have been “futile.” Patel’s lawyers also argued that Indiana’s feticide law, enacted in 1979, is written to protect pregnant women from violence.

Patel, 35, hails from northern Indiana, and, according to court records, she lived with her parents and grandparents — a conservative Indian family — and was fearful that they would disapprove of her becoming pregnant out of wedlock. She’s the first woman to have been convicted of feticide in Indiana, and numerous advocacy groups have come to her defense, calling for a dismissal of her conviction.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


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