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  • Purvi Patel is taken into custody after being sentenced to 20 years in prison for feticide and neglect of a dependent.

    Purvi Patel is taken into custody after being sentenced to 20 years in prison for feticide and neglect of a dependent. | Photo: AFP

Published 22 May 2016
Opinion

The law she was charged under was originally intended to protect women from violence that endangered the life of a fetus.

An Indiana woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for having an abortion will appeal the punishment on Monday, arguing that the law used against her was "passed to protect pregnant women from violence," not outlaw abortion.

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Purvi Patel was convicted in 2015 for feticide and neglect after taking abortion pills, delivering a premature baby and it in a dumpster, fearing retribution from her family. Her attorneys argue that the one-and-a-half pound stillborn could not have been saved with any amount of medical help.

Patel herelf sought medical help after profuse bleeding from the abortion, after which she was arrested.

She is reportedly the first woman in the United States to be convicted of feticide. The abortion pills she ordered from Hong Kong are legal in the United States, but the prosecution argued she was not allowed to ship them from out of the country and that the self-induced abortion failed.

Patel was living with her parents and grandparents and was afraid they would find out she was involved with a married man, according to the Associated Press.

Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and about two dozen other advocacy groups supported her case in 2015, but none have spoken out in the weeks ahead of her hearing before the Indiana Court of Appeals, leading to accusations of racial and classist bias.
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