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Watch live: Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony. On Monday, the state of Indiana sentenced year-old Purvi Patel to 20 years in prison on charges of feticide - an act that causes the death of a fetus - and neglect of a dependent. She received a year-sentence on the felony neglect charge, 10 of which were suspended.
A six-year sentence for feticide will be served concurrently. Patel is the first woman in the U. Reproductive rights activists are outraged. Patel was arrested in July after she went to the emergency room, bleeding heavily, at St. Joseph Hospital in Mishawaka, Indiana. Despite initially denying the pregnancy, Patel eventually admitted to medical authorities that she had a miscarriage and threw the stillborn fetus in a dumpster. According to Sue Ellen Braunlin, doctor and co-president of the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice, Purvi was most likely weeks pregnant, although prosecutors argued Patel was 25 weeks along in the state's opening argument.
The prosecution confirmed on Monday that the baby died within seconds of being born. Patel's lawyers argued that she panicked when she realized she was in labor. Patel comes from a conservative Hindu family that looks down on sex outside marriage, and Indianapolis women seeking an affair pregnancy was a result of an affair Patel had with her co-worker. Prosecutors also claimed that Patel ordered abortion-inducing drugs online and tried to terminate her pregnancy, but a toxicology report failed to find Indianapolis women seeking an affair of any drugs in her system.
InBei Bei Shuai, a Chinese American-woman, was held in prison for a year before feticide charges against her were dropped as part of a plea deal. Shuai was reportedly suffering from depression and tried to commit suicide while pregnant. She survived, but the fetus did not. Iyer says that the fact that the only two women charged with infanticide are Asian American is important to note because women of color often lack access to basic health care, counseling, and other reproductive health resources. Yeung believes that the Asian-American community needs to be more intentional and open about having conversations around reproductive and mental health.
Asian-American youth, says Yeung, report the strongest amount of stigma around sex and reproductive health of any group.
Asian-American women also have one of the highest suicide rates in the country. As a community, we need to begin taking steps to de-stigmatize reproductive health and mental illness and integrate care and service around these issues into routine medical care.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Jennifer Chowdhury is a freelance journalist and digital media specialist based in New York City. She's written for NYTimes. IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.
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Indiana Sentences Purvi Patel to 20 Years for Feticide