I waited until today to write about the horrifying case of Purvi Patel, who has been sentenced to 20 years for a miscarriage. I guess I hoped that it was all a big April Fool’s Day prank, and not something that actually happened in the United States of America. Patel bought abortion inducing drugs online (which is illegal) and sent text messages to a friend indicating she had taken them. While her toxicology report came back clean, it turns out there isn’t a test for these specific drugs so that’s up in the air. She says when the fetus was born it was already dead, and she panicked and threw it in a dumpster and went to the ER.
Feticide, the crime that Purvi was charged with, was apparently originally put on the books as a way to protect pregnant women. Since lawmakers apparently aren’t allowed to be critical thinkers, no one ever suspected that it might end up being used against pregnant women.
Sec. 6. A person who knowingly or intentionally terminates a human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus commits feticide, a Level 3 felony.
The prosecution used 17th century technology called a “lung test” to see if the fetus had taken a breath (making it a baby). Their cutting edge test “proved” that the fetus wasn’t stillborn, but was actually a baby — of course, this test was proved to be unreliable and complete bull shit about 100 years ago, but who needs science or facts when we’re discussing a fetus? Personally, I’m not one to let reality stand in my way of criminalizing women who don’t want their uterus to be occupied.
Patel isn’t the first woman to be charged with feticide (though she is the first to be convicted). Bei Bei Shuai tried to kill herself with rat poison soon after her boyfriend left her and their unborn child. 33 weeks after conception, her attempted suicide resulted in a miscarriage — and she was charged with feticide. When Bei Bei’s case went to court, people were concerned that it could result in the government going after women who had miscarriages. I find it shocking that so many people act like women’s rights activists are exaggerating the danger at hand, even when they’re spoon fed evidence like this case.
At what point does a woman lose the right to have legal control over her own body? I’d like to think it isn’t at 25 weeks, or even 33. We live in a society that both disallows sterilization of young women, and takes away your rights once you become pregnant. We discourage drug addicts from getting abortions, and then we punish them for not being magically cured of their addiction while pregnant. We expect that being a mother will cheer up depressed women, and then we penalize them when they tried to end their lives. We picket Planned Parenthood and shame women for taking control of themselves, and we don’t do a goddamn thing about the unwanted babies that are born — except, apparently, lock up their moms.
In my brief career waiting tables, I was told that we had to serve alcohol to pregnant women, and that it was illegal discrimination if we didn’t. Our managers told us that they would take the drinks out for us if we were uncomfortable doing so, and it was stressed so much that I felt like there must have recently been some kind of incident. So on one hand, we recognize it’s discrimination to treat pregnant women differently, and bartenders have to give a visibly pregnant lady a shot of Everclear or potentially face a lawsuit; on the other, consumption of said Everclear could result in 20 years in prison for the pregnant woman. What the fuck kind of logic is this?
People wonder why I want to be sterilized, and it doesn’t even cross their minds that I don’t want to accidentally become state property.