The state of Indiana rightly found itself in the center of widespread controversy this week, as an important battle raged over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Meanwhile, with far less fanfare, the state sentenced a woman to 20 years in prison for miscarrying a pregnancy.
Purvi Patel is the first woman to be jailed for feticide—illegal self-abortion—in the United States, and her sentencing this week sets one of the most dangerous precedents in our recent legal history. Patel’s conviction and the law that enabled it must be overturned.
Patel, 33, was charged with both child neglect and feticide. I’m not the first to note that this is wildly contradictory: child neglect entails that Patel neglected a live infant, while feticide would mean that the baby was born dead. The conviction seems to posit a bizarre Schrödinger’s cat birth—the baby would have to have been both alive and dead at the…
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