Apr 13, 2015
Purvi Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Indiana for ending her own pregnancy after she went to a doctor in South Bend following what she said was a miscarriage.
Her trial, conviction and sentence is a vicious attack on women’s right to control their own pregnancies. The state of Indiana prosecuted Patel using a law intended to protect women from unlicensed abortion doctors – accusing her of carrying out an illegal abortion on herself by taking drugs, even though they could not find any of those drugs in her body. They also claimed she abandoned her live child, though again, they couldn’t prove her fetus was born living! And she can’t have done both – if she gave birth to a living child, how can they accuse her of carrying out an illegal abortion? Of course, logic doesn’t mean much to prosecutors in Indiana blinded by reactionary ideology.
Whatever the judge and prosecutors say, the State of Indiana did not put Patel in jail in order to protect children, born or unborn. In fact, this prosecution puts women and their children at risk. Patel was prosecuted after she went to a doctor for help. This makes it much less likely that women will seek out doctors when they have problems with their pregnancies, which greatly increases the dangers to women and their unborn child.
Sara Ainsworth, with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, put it clearly: “Indiana should not join those countries where young pregnant girls are committing suicide at alarming rates; pregnant women are avoiding medical care for fear that any problem in pregnancy will be reported to law enforcement; and mothers are not only going to jail for having abortions, but also for suffering miscarriages and stillbirths.”
That is a society clear out of the Dark Ages – which Indiana seems determined to join!