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Purvi Patel was arrested after losing her pregnancy in July 2013. (Photo: Robert Franklin/AP)

Overturning Feticide Conviction, Judge Orders Purvi Patel Immediately Freed

Indiana judge orders release of woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for "feticide" in 2015

Nika Knight Beauchamp

A superior court judge in Indiana on Wednesday ordered the immediate release of Purvi Patel, the Indiana woman who was convicted of "feticide" and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2015 for losing her pregnancy, after resentencing Patel to less time than she has already served.

After Patel appealed the original sentence, her feticide conviction was vacated by an appeals court in July. She was still found guilty of a class D felony charge of child neglect.

In her ruling Wednesday, St. Joseph superior court judge Elizabeth Hurley "said a sentence of 18 months for Purvi Patel was appropriate for a felony charge of neglect of a dependent and that Patel does not have to be placed on parole," the Guardian reported.

Patel was first arrested in July 2013.

While many reproductive rights advocates celebrated the overturning of the feticide conviction, they are also disturbed that Patel remains charged with child neglect.

As the National Network of Abortion Funds wrote last month: "While vacating the feticide charge has been the hopeful focus of the outcome for many, the felony class D, with a sentence of 180 days to six years, sends a mixed message that doesn't yet restore the relationship between doctors and patients."

"If pregnant people fear criminal consequences, they don't go to the doctor," said Shelly Dodson, director of All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington, Indiana. "Indiana is setting a dangerous precedent not to trust the medical community. Choosing to criminalize people around pregnancy decisions and pregnancy outcomes is a grave injustice, which is just as true for anti-abortion laws like HB 1337 as it is for Purvi Patel."


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