The state will not appeal a federal court’s decision to overturn the conviction of the only Indiana woman charged with feticide for ending her own pregnancy.
In July, the Indiana State Court of Appeals overturned the felony feticide charge for St. Joseph county resident Purvi Patel.
Court documents say Patel was approximately 25 to 30 weeks pregnant when she took abortion inducing drugs that she bought online.
In the appeal, Patel’s lawyers argued the feticide law wasn’t applicable because it was intended to protect pregnant women from third parties who end a pregnancy.
Lead defense attorney Lawrence Marshall says this case has national significance because it sets a precedent for similar cases.
“Now that the state has decided not to seek review, the court of appeals opinion becomes the law of the state,” Marhsall says. “And it is now definitive that the feticide statute is not the statute that governs abortions, and that a woman is not amenable to prosecution for her own efforts with regard to her own abortion. And that’s an important principle of law that’s now been established definitively in Indiana.”
A judge will resentence Patel on the only remaining conviction, a class D felony for neglect of a dependent. That carries a maximum of three years in prison, but with credit for time served and good behavior, Patel will be released no later than the end of September.
Marshall says although they don’t agree with the final charge, they didn’t challenge it because they want Patel to be released from prison as soon as possible.
This story was updated to correct the court overturning the feticide charge and to clarify the approximate stage of Purvi Patel's pregnancy when she took abortion inducing drugs.