MORE FROM INDIANA: This Woman Says She Had a Miscarriage. Now She Could Face 70 Years in Prison.
Depending on the outcome of a hearing scheduled for Monday, a 33-year-old Indiana woman could face up to 70 years in prison for what she says was a miscarriage. Reproductive rights advocates say her case is a disturbing example of overly broad laws that essentially criminalize pregnancy.
Purvi Patel was arrested in 2013 after she went to the emergency room to seek medical treatment for heavy bleeding. After initially denying that she had been pregnant, she eventually told the staff that she had a premature delivery at home, believed the fetus was not alive, and placed it in a bag in a dumpster on her way to the hospital. Her doctors called the cops, who questioned Patel while she was still in the hospital, searched her cell phone records, and recovered the fetus.
Patel maintains that she did not abandon a living baby. “I assumed because the baby was dead there was nothing to do,” Patel later told law enforcement officials. “I’ve never been in this situation. I’ve never been pregnant before.”