Still in Indiana – Purvi Patel was sentenced today. Think Progress has details.
Purvi Patel was arrested in 2013 after she went to the emergency room to seek medical treatment for heavy bleeding. After initially denying that she had been pregnant, she eventually told the staff that she had a premature delivery at home, believed the fetus was not alive, and placed it in a bag in a dumpster on her way to the hospital. Her doctors called the cops, who questioned Patel while she was still in the hospital, searched her cell phone records, and recovered the fetus.
Patel maintains that she did not abandon a living baby. “I assumed because the baby was dead there was nothing to do,” Patel later told law enforcement officials. “I’ve never been in this situation. I’ve never been pregnant before.”
Her lawyers said the pregnancy resulted from a sexual relationship with a married co-worker, and Patel didn’t want her conservative Hindu parents — who raised her under the assumption that she shouldn’t have sex outside of marriage — to know about it. They also said Patel didn’t realize how far along her pregnancy was, and was shocked to see what the fetus looked like when she experienced the premature delivery.
State officials, meanwhile, contend they have evidence to suggest Patel attempted an illegal abortion after purchasing abortion-inducing drugs online. They say she intentionally tried to end her pregnancy — even though a toxicologist testified there was no trace of the drugs in her bloodstream — and then abandoned her living child after the termination was unsuccessful.
In February, an Indiana jury deliberated for less than five hours before finding Patel guilty of both charges brought against her: one for “fetal murder of an unborn child” and one for “neglect of a dependent.”
How is it possible to convict someone of two charges which contradict each other? How could she have neglected a dependent she had already murdered? Or murdered an unborn child if it lived to become a dependent?
Indiana’s “feticide” law, the statute that allowed state officials to bring the charge of murder against Patel, was not intended to be applied to women themselves. It was originally enacted as a way to crack down on illegal abortion providers. However, Paltrow pointed out that Patel’s case fits into a chilling trend: Even though abortion opponents say that the mounting legal restrictions against the procedure are not supposed to target women, it’s becoming clear that some women are winding up behind bars anyway.
Maybe especially so when they’re not pale and middle-class and prosperous? Just a hunch.
Purvi Patel was sentenced Monday to 41 years in prison on charges of feticide and felony neglect of a dependent after an Indiana jury in early February found her guilty of the charges. She was ordered to serve 20 years in prison after receiving a 30-year sentence on the felony neglect charge, with an additional ten years suspended.
Patel received a six-year sentence on the feticide charge, but that will be served concurrently with the 20-year sentence. She will spend five years on probation when she is released from prison.
God bless America.