Purvi Patel’s 41-year sentence for contradictory charges is a glaring reminder of the fact that abortion’s legal status in the United States does not mean prosecutions for pregnancy loss can’t happen here.
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.
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.
Rather than feticide, Purvi Patel is now facing charges of felony neglect of a dependent, a charge that carries a longer potential prison sentence.
Traditionally, feticide charges aren’t filed against the person who had been pregnant, though Indiana set a precedent for arresting such a person for feticide in the Bei Bei Shuai case.