No one should be arrested on the basis of a pregnancy outcome. In 2013 Purvi Patel sought medical attention in an Indiana hospital following a miscarriage, and was subsequently arrested and convicted of feticide and neglect of a dependent. She is currently serving 20 years in prison.
Today, her case continues in court with an appeal to her unjust conviction.
Purvi Patel’s case is important. Her imprisonment is a gross violation of her human rights. Her life does and should matter, and she should be freed immediately.
Reproaction notes with alarm the rising incidence of women, and especially poor women and women of color, being ensnared in the criminal justice system as a result of fetal homicide laws and laws that criminalize abortion. Arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment have no place in the pursuit of reproductive health care, and abortion and pregnancy must be decriminalized.
Make no mistake: Locking up people who wish to end a pregnancy is the logical consequence of the pro-life movement’s drive to ban abortion. As procedures are banned, clinics are forced to close, and paying for abortion is made purposefully impossible, the only thing left to do is lock up women who wish to have abortions. This is not a future dystopia. It’s the America we already live in. 38 states have fetal homicide laws on the books, and every day more white men lead the charge to pass cold-hearted laws restricting access to reproductive health care.
Reproaction calls for the immediate release of Purvi Patel, and for an end to laws that criminalize abortion and pregnancy outcomes. We stand up for abortion, dignity, and women of color with defiance, and even in the midst of this horrific moment in time we are confident that basic human rights for women and pregnant people will someday prevail.
Purvi’s supporters are encouraged to watch a livestream of Purvi Patel v. State here at 2 p.m. ET, and to use the #FreePurvi hashtag online.
For media inquiries, contact Maria Peeples at firstname.lastname@example.org.