Woman Who Killed Her Unborn Baby at 25 Weeks, Threw Infant in Dumpster Fights for Appeal

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 18, 2015   |   4:52PM   |   Indianapolis, IN

The state of Indiana responded to a woman’s appeal Thursday after she was convicted of feticide and neglect for aborting her viable unborn baby and then throwing him in a dumpster.

Purvi Patel was arrested in 2013 after she took abortion pills to end her 25-week unborn son’s life, LifeNews previously reported. Patel later admitted to police that, after taking the baby’s life, she had placed the newborn in a dumpster behind a local restaurant, which her family owns. The infant was dead at the time he was found.

The South Bend Tribune reports that Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller rejected arguments made in Patel’s appeal Thursday. Her lawyers claimed that prosecutors failed to prove Patel knew she delivered a live baby or that she could have saved the infant if she had tried to get medical help for him, the report states.

“The state was not required to prove that an attempt to obtain medical care would have saved the baby’s life, only that (Patel) placed her baby in appreciable danger,” Zoeller and Deputy Attorney General Ellen Meilaender wrote. “The jury…reasonably concluded that (Patel’s) neglect resulted in the baby’s death.”

The local news report continues:

Her appeal presented a two-pronged case against her convictions, arguing that the state not only failed to prove neglect, but also employed an “absurd” use of the feticide law.

Her attorneys, Lawrence Marshall and Joel Schumm, wrote that the feticide law was meant to prosecute people who kill a fetus during an act of violence against a woman, not to punish a woman for an illegal abortion. …

But the state’s attorneys argued that the law has never required that the feticide statute only be applied to third parties, and that the state has long given prosecutors discretion when an act is a crime under overlapping laws. They also rejected the idea that a live birth would rule out feticide, noting that the law does not require an immediate death, but only the intentional termination of a pregnancy with an intent other than to produce a live birth or remove a dead fetus, with the exception of a lawful abortion.

In February, a judge sentenced Patel to 20 years in prison for her crimes, LifeNews previously reported.

The case began on July 13, 2013 when Patel went to the emergency room at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, a South Bend police officer said, according to a court affidavit released to WSBT. 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, Indiana 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.

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Patel allegedly told doctors she was roughly two months along and had a miscarriage. But upon further examination doctors determined that Patel was probably 25-28 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.

Patel’s case has drawn national media attention. Ignoring the fact that Patel took her own child’s life, abortion advocates have decried the sentence and Patel’s prosecution.