PRESS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 30, 2015
Contact:Lynn Paltrow, (212) 255-9252; Kathrine Jack, Indiana Counsel (317) 477-2300; Sara Ainsworth, NAPW (212) 255-9252
NATIONAL ADVOCATES FOR PREGNANT WOMEN DECRIES PURVI PATEL SENTENCE OF 20+ YEARS
First Conviction and Sentence for the Crime of Feticide
Because a Woman Sought to Terminate Her Own Pregnancy
South Bend, Indiana: Today, a St. Joseph County judge sentenced Purvi Patel to more than 20 years for the crimes of feticide and neglect of a dependent. While Patel consistently maintained that she experienced a miscarriage, prosecutors claimed that she attempted to terminate her own pregnancy but gave birth to a baby who she then neglected and allowed to die. Today's sentence followed from the court's decision to allow Indiana's feticide law to be used as a mechanism for prosecuting women who attempt to terminate a pregnancy and from the prosecution's use of discredited and invalid scientific testimony to persuade the jury that the baby had been born alive.
National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) Executive Director Lynn Paltrow expressed deep disappointment at the extreme sentence: "While no woman should face criminal charges for having an abortion or experiencing a pregnancy loss, the cruel length of this sentence confirms that feticide and other measures promoted by anti-abortion organizations are intended to punish not protect women."
Ms. Patel is not the first woman in the U.S. to have been arrested and charged with a crime for terminating her own pregnancy or based on allegations that she had attempted to do so. This case, however, is the first time any woman has been charged, convicted, and sentenced for the crime of feticide for having attempted to end her own pregnancy.