Attorneys for Purvi Patel, the Indiana woman convicted of both feticide and felony neglect of a dependent, filed an appeal arguing there was no proof Patel took any drugs to end her pregnancy.
Patel, an Indian American woman who lived at home in a conservative Hindu household, in July 2013 entered an emergency room in South Bend, Indiana, while suffering heavy vaginal bleeding. She initially denied to doctors that she had been pregnant. After doctors persisted, Patel acknowledged she had miscarried, telling them the fetus was stillborn and that she had placed it in a bag and placed the bag in a dumpster.
Doctors then alerted the police who questioned Patel and searched her cell phone while she was in the hospital, which led them to a series of text messages the prosecution claimed made the case for Patel’s illegal abortion and felony charges.
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To support the charges of feticide, which required the state prove Patel both “knowingly or intentionally” terminated her pregnancy “with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus,” and the charge that she neglected a dependent, which requires a live birth, prosecutors argued that Patel took drugs to induce a miscarriage but instead of miscarrying, Patel delivered a live fetus that she abandoned.
Patel, who has no criminal record, was ordered to serve 20 years in prison.