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Why Overturning Purvi Patel's Abortion Conviction Is a Huge Deal for Reproductive Rights


Update:Following the reversal of her feticide conviction,帕蒂尔周四获释出狱,reports theIndianapolis Star.In July,the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that state law does not allow women to be prosecuted for their own abortions and overturned Patel's 20-year prison sentence for feticide.On Wednesday,a judge sentenced Patel to 18 months for felony neglect of dependent,a lower level charge that allowed her to be released on time served.

Patel's lawyer Lawrence Marshall told theIndy Starthat Patel is "very,very joyful that this day has come" and asked for privacy as she tries to rebuild her life.

In a ruling issued on Friday,the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the prior feticide conviction of Purvi Patel,who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2015 after allegedly self-inducing an abortion.In the decision,Judge Terry A.克罗内statedthat Indiana law was not intended "to prosecute women for their own abortions," and reversed the conviction that was issued last year.

In 2013,Purvi Patel prematurely delivered a 1 1/2-pound fetus in her parents' home.Because Patel feared that her family would have objected to her pregnancy (she was impregnated by a married man),she allegedly ordered abortion-inducing drugs from a pharmacy based in Hong Kong with the intention of terminating her pregnancy.A toxicology report,however,found no traceof such drugs in her system.Believing she had delivered a stillborn,Patel discarded the fetus in a trash bin outside of a restaurant owned by her family.Patel was arrested while seeking treatment at a local hospital for profuse bleeding after the delivery and sentenced to feticide and neglect of a dependent in 2015,becoming the first woman in the state of Indiana to be convicted of feticide for a self-induced abortion.

Though the court ordered to uphold the neglect of a dependent ruling (but Patelwill be resentencedwith a lower-level felony charge),the reversal of the feticide conviction is a major win for reproductive rights activists.Since Patel's 2015 conviction,activists have argued that Indiana's fetal homicide laws were unjustly invoked to sentence the Indiana woman.Not only were the laws seemingly cited incorrectly (they were passed to stop illegal abortion providers,not women terminating their pregnancy),they were used in a contradictory manner.The original sentence charged Patel with conflicting crimes against the same unborn child: One,against a fetus still in the uterus;the other,against a living,viable baby.

Most importantly,despite the 2015 ruling,it isnota crime for a woman to have an abortion.Patel's original sentence could have set a dangerous precedent for women seeking abortions (especially in a year whenwomen's reproductive rightswere already under fire).With Republican nominee Donald Trumppreviously vowing to punish womenfor having abortions (and vice presidential pick Mike Pence holding his ownhighly conservativeviews on women's reproductive rights),it's likely that this conversation is not over—at least for the duration of the 2016 election season.

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