Why are feticide laws disproportionately criminalizing pregnant women of colour?

purvi-patel
Purvi Patel was convicted last month on charges of feticide for what she maintains was the miscarriage of her late-term fetus.

Last month, Purvi Patel faced two seemingly contradictory charges filed against her by the state of Indiana: feticide (actions leading to the death of a fetus in utero) and child neglect (actions that injure or cause death to a child resulting from a live birth). After a lengthy trial, the 33-year-old Indian American woman was found guilty on both counts in the death of her late-term fetus.

The State contends that Patel took black market drugs obtained from Hong Kong to induce a late-term abortion. This argument is based on text messages between Patel and a friend in which Patel considers buying those illegal abortion-inducing drugs. Yet, there is no evidence that Patel actually purchased any such drugs, and no traces of drugs were found in either Patel or her fetus.

Patel’s defense says the criminal charges were punitively filed over a death resulting from a traumatizing miscarriage.

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