Indiana Woman Sentenced to ‘Cruel’ 20-Year Prison Term for What She Says Was a Miscarriage
An Indiana woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for feticide and neglect but she says she simply had a miscarriage.
Last month, 33-year-old Purvi Patel was convicted of felony neglect of a dependent and feticide. Prosecutors said she caused the death of her unborn child by consuming drugs from China intended to induce an abortion.
Prosecutors wanted her to be sentenced to 40 years in prison but St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley sentenced her to 30 years with 10 years suspended.
Now, legal advocates say Patel was prosecuted on politically motivated and conflicting charges.
“How can you both have caused a pregnancy to terminate and given birth to a baby whom you neglect?” asked Lynn Paltrow, the executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Woman.
Patel, who was arrested in 2013 after arriving at the emergency room with heavy bleeding, said she had a premature birth, telling police that the baby was not alive at the time of birth and she disposed of the fetal remains in a dumpster near her family’s restaurant.
Her lawyers said she hid the pregnancy from her strict Hindu father because the pregnancy was the result of an affair with a married co-worker.
“While no woman should face criminal charges for having an abortion or experiencing pregnancy loss, the cruel length of this sentence confirms that feticide and other measures promoted by anti-abortion organizations are intended to punish, not protect, women,” Paltrow said after sentencing.