Attorneys for Patel, who was jailed following a miscarriage in 2013, claim prosecutors produced no evidence that the Indiana woman took medication to terminate her pregnancy.
Colorado pro-choice activists on Wednesday decried a bill introduced by state Republicans in response to a grotesque crime against a pregnant woman that would give “personhood” rights to fetuses.
Patel received a six-year sentence on the feticide charge, but that will be served concurrently with the 20-year sentence. She will spend five years on probation when she is released from prison.
Such legislation, which started gaining popularity among anti-choice advocates a decade ago, is based on the unfounded claim that fetuses regularly survive botched abortions and are then killed by health-care providers.
Jurors deliberated for less than five hours before finding Purvi Patel guilty of both feticide and felony neglect of a dependent.
Although feticide laws were originally intended to protect pregnant women from violence, such statutes are now being used to punish them, sending the message that women who do not have healthy pregnancies may be investigated for criminal acts.
The story of Purvi Patel’s prosecution, and the others lining up behind her, paint a bleak picture of life under the state’s ultra-conservative Republican reign and give a frightening look of what’s to come as increasingly draconian abortion restrictions force pregnant people to turn to other, sometimes illegal and often dangerous, means.
The Florida Senate gave final approval on Wednesday to the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” which will make it a crime to kill or injure a fetus at any stage of development during an attack on a pregnant woman.
A bill that would make it a separate crime to kill or injure a fetus in crimes committed against a pregnant woman passed the Florida House Judiciary Committee on Monday, and now heads to a vote on the house floor.
When viewed as part of this ”fetus first” landscape, fetal homicide laws quite plainly seek to exploit tragedies like that suffered by Heather Surovik in order to pursue an anti-choice agenda, which champions so-called personhood and seeks to eliminate safe abortion care access.