NewsPublic Affairs / May 23, 2016

Court Hears Appeal From First Woman Convicted Of Feticide

The Indiana Court of Appeals heard arguments from Purvi Patel Monday. Patel’s case gained national attention in March of 2015 when she was convicted of child neglect and feticide after she delivered an extremely preterm fetus alone in her northern Indiana home.

Patel is the first woman in the country convicted of feticide for ending her own pregnancy after taking abortion drugs she bought online.

Patel’s defense argued mainly that the neglect charge requires proof Patel knew the 1.5 pound baby was born alive. They add the feticide statute was never meant to be used against pregnant women.

Prosecution said the neglect charge works because Patel didn’t seek medical care for the baby. They stand by the feticide charge because Patel is not an approved abortion provider.

Elle Roberts leads a gender equity group in Indianapolis. After the hearing, she said Patel’s case isn’t about abortion rights.

“It’s about making Indiana a hostile environment for anyone who might become pregnant," she says of the prosecution.

The court has six months to respond.

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