The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that the feticide conviction against Purvi Patel, of Granger, Indiana, was incorrectly used against her.
The Inquisitr originally reported on the story, stating that Patel was accused of killing her prematurely-born baby and discarding it inside of a dumpster behind the Moe’s Southwest Grill that was owned by her family.
The one and a half-pound baby was born inside of a bathroom after purchasing drugs from an on-line pharmacy, based in Hong Kong, in an attempt to induce an abortion, according to NBC News. Patel was not able to control her bleeding after the birth and was left with no choice but to visit the emergency room. Hospital staff discussed the cause of the bleeding with Patel and eventually contacted the police for further investigation. Patel’s infant boy’s body was found in the dumpster shortly after. There was no sign of life when police arrived on the scene, although there was speculation that the baby boy took at least one breath before dying from the drug induced abortion.
— NAPW (@NAPW) July 22, 2016
There was no doubt that Purvi Patel ended her child’s life prematurely and she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for feticide and neglect of a dependent. Although the charge of feticide has been overturned, she is still being charged with the neglect of a dependent.
The charges and conviction of feticide were overturned after an appeal was argued that stated feticide laws do not apply to Patel’s actions, according to WNDU TV. Lawyers from the state claimed that Patel’s baby boy was developed to the point just beyond the fetus threshold, allowing him to take at least one breath after being born.
Upon further review, the judges in the appeals case determined that the feticide laws were applied incorrectly as they were not intended to be used in abortion, but rather in cases where the woman and child are victims of violence that leads to the unborn child’s death. In Patel’s case, the child was not harmed by violence, but instead by a drug-induced abortion with medication that is normally prescribed by a physician for abortions.
Judge Terry Crone, the prior judge in the case, spoke out about the reduced sentence and claims the outcome is “unsettling.”
“The state’s about-face in this proceeding is unsettling, as well as untenable”
— Slate (@Slate) July 24, 2016
Advocacy groups were ecstatic that the Patel was relieved of the feticide charges and that it gives hope to other women that are considering an abortion.
“The research is clear. If pregnant people fear criminal consequences, they don’t go to the doctor.”
It will never be known whether the baby boy took a breath after the successful drug-induced abortion, or if he was still-born. However, the Indiana Appeals Court decided that the charge of neglect of a dependent would remain in place for her crime. However, it is expected that Patel will be released shortly, since she has already served two years in prison.
The Moe’s Southwestern Grill where she discarded her baby in the dumpster was owned by her family, who was not aware of her pregnancy. In the months leading to the drug induced abortion, the restaurant faced backlash from locals, although they remained open in an attempt to rebuild trust with the community. Within the past year, the restaurant finally closed its doors for good.
It is uncertain if the case will be taken to a higher court or if prosecutors will allow the case to end with the child neglect charges. However, Patel did argue in court that child neglect is not an adequate charge, since the child was not alive at birth.
[Image via Barry Blackburn/Shutterstock]