The feticide conviction of an Indiana Woman found guilty of inducing her own abortion, with drugs she bought online, has been overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
Purvi Patel was convicted of feticide and neglect last year. Friday’s ruling overturned the feticide conviction but upheld the felony neglect of a dependent conviction. In 2015, two years after her self-induced abortion, Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
According to women’s advocacy groups, the case marks the first time that a state feticide law has been used to prosecute a woman for allegedly inducing her own abortion.
The court found that the state Legislature did not intend for the feticide law “to be used to prosecute women for their own abortions.”
Terrified that her parents, who she lived with, would find out she had gotten pregnant by a married man, Patel bought the abortion-inducing drugs from an online pharmacy based in Hong Kong. She delivered a half-pound baby that did not survive and was arrested when she sought treatment for heavy bleeding at a local hospital.
Attorneys for Indiana argued that at 25 weeks, the baby was just short of viability and had taken a breath. They insisted that the law did not apply only “to third-party factors,” but could also be used to punish women for self-induced abortions. Attorneys also argued that Patel had failed to prove that the feticide law placed an undue burden on her right to an abortion.
Donald Trump’s VP pick and Indiana governor, Mike Pence, is sure to be livid at the ruling. A year after Patel’s conviction, Pence instituted some of the strictest abortion bans in the country, which consequently force vulnerable women like Patel to take matters into their own hands out of sheer desperation.
According to Mother Jones:
In March 2016, Gov. Pence signed a measure prohibiting women from obtaining an abortion because of the race, gender, or disability of the fetus, making Indiana only the second state in the nation to do this. The law also held doctors legally liable for wrongful death if it was found they had performed an abortion motivated by one or more of the prohibited reasons.
A federal judge blocked the law from going into effect after the Supreme Court ruled on a landmark abortion case in June of 2016.
Patel has been put through hell but Friday’s decision means that her nightmare may finally be coming to an end.
Watch more on this story here:
Featured image via NBC