Female foeticide: Indian American woman jailed for 20 years

Washington: An Indian American woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison following her conviction last month for of female foeticide.

A judge in South Bend, Indiana, announced the sentence on Monday, as per media reports.

Purvi Patel, 33, comes from a family of Indian immigrants who settled in Granger, Indiana, a suburb of South Bend.

In July 2013, she showed up at the emergency room of St. Joseph Regional Medical Centre in the town of Mishawaka, bleeding heavily. Doctors quickly realised she lost a pregnancy and she confessed that she left the foetus in a dumpster outside Moe's Southwest Grill in Granger, a restaurant Patel's parents owned.

Police questioned Patel and searched her cellphone 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. The prosecution claimed Patel, in those text messages, admitted to ordering drugs online to terminate an unexpected pregnancy. Patel allegedly ordered abortion-inducing drugs from Hong Kong, which caused her to have the child on the floor of her bathroom.

Patel is the first woman convicted of foeticide in Indiana, and only the second to be charged.

Chinese immigrant Bei Bei Shuai faced foeticide charges two years ago in the state, and both cases highlight an emerging 'gray area' for pregnant women within the US legal system.

At the sentencing, Patel's supporters wore purple and white and were joined by members of the 'Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Freedom and Apna Ghar', a Chicago-based group advocating Southeast Asian women's rights. Patel's defence is expected to file an appeal.

  • Raman Manian31-Mar-2015

    The woman should be given corporal punishment for her deed and all who influenced her jailed. Fetuses have right to life if they are healthy and do not have genes that predispose to debilitating diseases. Universal rights have to be followed and there should be no special rights for quixotic religious practices if that is their defense. If allowed they will ask for rights to do human sacrifices and widow burning on funeral pyres.

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