A judge is keeping charges in place for an Indiana woman who allegedly took abortion pills to give herself a late-term abortion.
Purvi Patel was arrested last July after she took abortion pills to end her 28-30 weeks pregnancy. Patel later admitted to police that she had placed the newborn in a dumpster behind a local restaurant, which her family owns. The infant was dead at the time the baby was found.
According to a court affidavit released on to WSBT, a South Bend police investigator said Patel went to the emergency room at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center on July 13. Doctors there believed she had recently delivered a child.
The investigator said Patel denied giving birth. She was then taken to the maternity floor for further diagnosis and treatment.
The officer said Patel eventually told medical staff she had delivered a baby in her Granger home and that she did not see the child breathing or moving and believed it was dead. Patel then told doctors she put the baby’s body in a bag and placed the baby in a trash bin behind the Super Target in Mishawaka.
Patel allegedly told doctors she was roughly two months along and had a miscarriage. But upon further examination doctors determined that Patel was probably 28 to 30 weeks into her pregnancy.
Fearing for the child, the affidavit says that an emergency room doctor drove to the Super Target and started searching the Dumpsters. He called St. Joseph County police, who joined in the search. Officers then found the newborn’s body in a trash bin behind Moe’s Southwest Grill.
Now, despite requests to strike it down, a northern Indiana judge has allowed a feticide charge to stand.
St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley ruled the charge can stand against 33-year-old Purvi Patel of Granger.
The infant’s body was found outside a Mishawaka restaurant in July 2013 after Patel went to a hospital, police have said. Court documents say Patel told doctors the baby was stillborn, but a forensic pathologist ruled the infant was born alive and took a breath. Documents also allege Patel took drugs ordered from Hong Kong to try to abort the pregnancy.
Patel has pleaded not guilty to the neglect charge.
Defense attorney Jeff Sanford had asked Hurley to strike the feticide charge that prosecutors added last week, saying he didn’t have time to prepare a defense before Patel’s scheduled Sept. 29 trial.
However, Hurley is allowing Sanford more time to prepare his defense, and the trial date likely will be vacated during a hearing Friday, The South Bend Tribune reported.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mark Roule said the state has made it clear since October it intended to file a feticide charge if the case went to trial. He said the two charges stemmed from the same set of facts and spurred no new discovery specifically related to feticide.
Indiana law defines feticide as knowingly or intentionally terminating a human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus.
Feticide carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Neglect carries a maximum sentence of 50 years.
Mike Fichter of Indiana Right to Life told LifeNews: