PRESS RELEASE: NAPW Decries Purvi Patel Sentence of 20+ Years
PRESS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 30, 2015
Contact: Lynn Paltrow; Kathrine Jack, Indiana Counsel; Sara Ainsworth, NAPW
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.
After I read this news release I couldn’t stop saying This shouldn’t be happening, this shouldn’t be happening … Is this the conservative rights agenda in preparation for a woman’s run for the presidency? To slam us for our want to use the freedom to control our lives and our families lives? Men are laughing at fellow women legislators for testimonies against rape and using their constitutional right to have an abortion. Men are vilifying women for supporting the use of and billing insurance companies for, contraceptives. Red states are creating draconian laws that rob women of equity – This shouldn’t be happening. States are contemplating shoving state religion down our throats, not to mention state education curriculums and coded business practices set up to segregate and degrade ‘others’ who don’t fit their political demographics. This goes against my whole education, my whole belief system, my whole definition of what freedom meant and I’m having a hard time accepting that legislators elected by American citizens have bought into this fascist agenda without so much as a peep, no voice of decent – except for Sanders and Warren and a few others, but none from the moderate republicans that should break away, slam their fists down and shout THIS IS WRONG, THIS SHOULDN’T BE HAPPENING IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. NOT NOW, NOT EVER.