Updated: 09/08/14 at 5:01 pm. EST.
Pro-abortion activists are making the case of an Indiana woman charged with both neglect and feticide a cause celebre in light of a judge's decision this week to let the feticide charge stand. Prosecutors say they are bringing the conflicting charges to raise the chances of a conviction.
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 past the time of conception. 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. That diagnosis is still in question.
Earlier this month, Patel was also charged with feticide because she took two drugs ordered from Hong Kong to abort her child. One of the drugs failed to work, which caused the problems that led to the child's birth and Patel's hospital visit.
The charges have abortion backers up in arms.
“So wait,” writes Jezebel.com's Isha Aran. “If they can't prove that she gave birth to the baby alive and 'caused' its death by neglect, then they will just get her for feticide, despite the fact that each charge negates the possibility of the other. Wow, they really have their bases covered, and Patel will be punished for either giving birth to a stillborn or not wanting to have a child. One way or another, they will take her down.”
Likewise, at Bustle.com, Lauren Barbato says that anti-feticide laws such as Indiana's “may deter pregnant women who need either physical or mental health attention from seeking help, in fear of getting arrested in the process.”
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Live Action President Lila Rose also expressed outrage about the charges in a statement to LifeSiteNews. However, she said that rather than showing abortion laws to be too harsh, the prosecution of Patel shows “grim irony.”
“If an abortionist had destroyed this defenseless little person at 28 weeks, there would be no controversy, no news articles,” Rose said. “But since the baby managed to be born, to breathe, and then to be killed at the exact same age, law enforcement is scrambling to see justice served.”
“But the place where law enforcement should truly be scrambling is in the facilities that allow for tragic deaths like this child's to happen in the dozens every day. Murder is murder, whether the child's mother herself does it or a man wearing a doctor's outfit is contracted to do it. It's good that Indiana is seeking out justice for this baby, but we need consistency. Let's see all people protected – inside the womb and out, from abortionists and from everyone else.”
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, 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.”
Indiana's abortion laws indicate that a legal abortion must be conducted by a medical professional.
Patel faces as much as 20 years in prison for the feticide charge, and up to 50 years for the neglect charge.