Woman Who Killed Her 25-Week-Old Unborn Baby and Threw Him in Dumpster Appeals Conviction

State   |   Steven Ertelt, Micaiah Bilger   |   May 23, 2016   |   11:03AM   |   Indianapolis, IN

An Indiana woman convicted of feticide and neglect for aborting her viable unborn baby and then throwing him in a dumpster is appealing her conviction. In February 2015, a judge sentenced Patel to 20 years in prison for her crimes, LifeNews previously reported.

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.

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.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller rejected that argument last  year, saying, “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. The jury…reasonably concluded that (Patel’s) neglect resulted in the baby’s death.”

Now, Patel’s attorneys are appealing her 20-year sentence:

At issue is Indiana’s feticide statute, which the defense says was “passed to protect pregnant women from violence” that could harm their developing fetus, not to prosecute women for their own abortions.

The state says that law “is not limited to third-party actors” and can apply to pregnant women.

Attorneys for 35-year-old Purvi Patel will urge the Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday to reverse her 2015 convictions on charges of feticide and neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

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The state’s attorney general’s office will defend the northern Indiana jury’s decision.

Two dozen women’s advocacy groups, as well as Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, all have filed friend-of-the-court briefs siding with Patel.

Attorneys for the state argue that Patel’s infant was just beyond the threshold of viability, and had taken at least one breath before dying. The state’s brief also argues that Patel “has not met her heavy burden to prove that Indiana’s feticide statute constitutes an undue burden on the right to obtain an abortion.”

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.