Analysis

Salon hopes we’ve forgotten the facts on the Purvi Patel feticide case. We haven’t.

via St. Joseph's County, IN police department

Purvi Patel, the Indiana woman sentenced to 20 years in prison last year for attempting to kill her preborn baby in a self-induced abortion then leaving him to die in a dumpster upon his birth, is set for an appeal on May 23. To mark the occasion, Salon’s Eesha Pandit is re-litigating the case, calling it a step on the “dark road to criminalizing pregnancy.”

No lies ever really die in pro-abortion circles; they just go dormant long enough for people to forget they’re lies, then dredged up again. So it seems we need to set the record straight once again.

The state of Indiana charged her with both feticide for allegedly inducing an abortion, and child neglect for allegedly having a premature baby and then allowing the baby to die — an inconsistent and contradictory set of charges.

This has always been one of the more nonsensical complaints about the case, as if pro-aborts were trying to pad out their objection with quantity over quality.

Intentionally taking illegal pills for their direct lethal effect on a fetus would have been killing, and leaving a live newborn in a dumpster was neglect. Patel tried to do the former, but succeeded at the latter.

Farah Diaz-Tello, senior staff attorney at National Advocates for Pregnant Women, told Salon that if the state of Indiana permits Ms. Patel’s prosecution to stand it will change the way women can be prosecuted: “The state has used laws that were never intended to punish pregnant people for losing or ending a pregnancy, and now unless the appellate court steps in, anyone who self-induces an abortion at any stage (which is becoming increasingly common as abortion clinics vanish) could be charged with feticide.”

No, self-abortion isn’t becoming “increasingly common.” As has been documented, the “evidence” for this increase is a bogus study that didn’t ask when, where, or why the self-abortions were supposedly attempted, didn’t compare the “findings” with a control group, and was funded by the pro-abortion Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation.

Permitting a person to be charged based on the outcome of the pregnancy could mean requiring people to prove that a miscarriage or a stillbirth was unintentional. This is a terribly slippery slope.

Only if one thinks that repeatedly lying to doctors about your pregnancy, buying illegal abortion drugs off the Internet, and stuffing a baby’s corpse in a garbage bag and putting it in a dumpster are common elements of the average miscarriage or stillbirth. For all pro-aborts wail about an epidemic of this sort of thing, do they have any examples—any—of someone getting arrested when miscarrying is the only thing that happened?

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Even when the circumstances are legitimately suspicious, like finding a dead baby abandoned in a high-school bathroom, the authorities are still fully capable of determining the difference between natural deaths and homicides.

It was Dr. Kelly McGuire who was on call when Patel came to the emergency room of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. Dr. McGuire is listed as pro-life through his affiliation with American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Not only did he call the police, he accompanied them in the search for Ms. Patel’s stillborn fetus. He is the one who proclaimed that it had been a live birth.

Pandit’s source for this complaint, however, doesn’t specify any instances of McGuire’s beliefs corrupting his findings, nor does it explain why the testimony of pro-choice doctors shouldn’t be similarly questioned. The only thing here is the perverse insinuation that pro-lifers are to be demeaned and dismissed out of hand, even though they’re the ones more in tune with the true purpose and character of the medical profession.

[T]he pathologist for the prosecution, Joseph Prahlow, testified that the fetus was born alive. News reports from the trial described Prahlow’s use of the “lung float test” to make this determination. Yet this 17th century test is widely discredited.

As we covered last year, the lung float test wasn’t the only thing he did to determine Patel’s child was born alive. Prahlow accounted for its limitations (and by the way, a 2012 study found it reliable in 98% of cases) by examining the lungs’ appearance, air sacs, weight, and blood flow, all of which indicated breathing. He also explained that the resuscitation attempts Patel claimed to have attempted (despite, y’know, her kid’s death being the outcome she wanted) wouldn’t have affected the lungs.

This is not about protecting innocent women from mistaken applications of the law. This is about pro-aborts knowing the horror of their cause cannot withstand direct scrutiny, and hoping to win by distracting people with a different, imaginary horror they can pin on pro-lifers.

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