INDIANAPOLIS, IN, April 15, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – She took illegal drugs to kill her child – but the baby was born alive, so she dumped the tiny body in a dumpster. Now radical abortion supporters are saying a woman in Indiana should not be charged with feticide.
In the days since Purvi Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison for neglecting and killing her child, abortion supporters around America have defended Patel's actions. They claim Patel, an Indian-American, should not have been found guilty.
In July 2013, Purvi Patel went to a hospital because she was bleeding profusely. Court documents show that Patel originally denied being pregnant, then, forced to admit she had been pregnant, claimed she was only a couple of months into the pregnancy and had miscarried. However, doctors eventually concluded that she had been 28 weeks into her pregnancy.
Police found her baby's body left outside a restaurant. A further examination of the body determined the child may have taken a breath before dying. Patel was subsequently charged with neglect of the child.
Last September, Patel was also charged with feticide because she took two abortion-inducing drugs, which she ordered from Hong Kong. One of the drugs failed to work, causing the problems that led to the child's birth and Patel's hospital visit.
"Purvi Patel could be just the beginning" says the headline of Emily Bazelon's piece on the New York Times Magazine's website. According to Bazelon, "Patel's case stands out, for the draconian length of the sentence she received, and for the disturbing image of a baby left in a dumpster."
Like more than 16,500 people who have signed a White House petition asking President Obama to pardon Patel -- which he cannot do, since Patel was convicted under a state law -- Bazelon argues that the prosecution used inappropriate evidence to convict Patel.
"Her trial included such unscientific 'evidence' as a lung-float test and her affect while hospitalized, as well as a focus on her ambivalence toward her pregnancy and her alleged purchase of medication to end her pregnancy, even though a blood test showed an absence of such medication," reads the petition.
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The pathologist for the prosecution, Joseph Prahlow, did tell Bazelon that "the lung float test, in and of itself, is unreliable.” However, he also said that the test may “provide corroborating evidence, in light of additional findings.”
That evidence includes, according to Bazelon, "the weight of the lungs and the other organs, the inflation of the lungs and the air sacs, the presence of blood in the lung vessels and the 'relative maturity' of the lungs."
"Put these findings together, along with a lack of blood in the baby’s body, and 'I can’t come up with any other explanation other than that this baby was born alive,'" Bazelon quotes Prahlow.
The prosecution used texts from Patel to prove she took abortion medication. One text from early July 2013 reads that "these pills taste like #$&%. If these pills don't work...I'm gonna be mad."
This evidence hasn't stopped other abortion supporters from claiming Indiana's feticide law goes too far. Feticide laws typically give exemptions to abortion doctors – but since Patel had her abortion later in the pregnancy than what is allowed by Indiana law, and the baby took a breath, she was charged with feticide.
Indiana's fetal homicide law "specifies that a person who knowingly or intentionally terminates a human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus commits feticide." As is the case in other states that have fetal homicide laws, "the law does not apply to an abortion."
In Indiana, abortions are legal until the 28th week, which is where prosecutors argued Patel was in her pregnancy. Indiana's abortion laws indicate that a legal abortion must be conducted by a medical professional.
Radical abortion supporters at Buzzfeed, The Guardian, and elsewhere are claiming that Patel's conviction and sentence point to how feticide laws allegedly harm women – by threatening to convict women who have miscarriages. However, court documents show Patel not only took medication to end her child's life, but subsequently lied to medical personnel when she visited a hospital for care the same evening that she killed her child.
Patel's sentencing came as Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-FL, has been under fire for opposing any pro-life law. Large majorities of Americans support some restrictions on abortion, and more than two-thirds oppose all late-term abortions.