Last year, Purvi Patel was sentenced to 20 years in jail for feticide and neglect of a dependent, after going to a hospital for severe bleeding and telling doctors that she had delivered a stillborn baby at home and put the remains in a dumpster. On Friday, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided to vacate the feticide charge.
The South Bend Tribune reports that the conviction for neglect of a dependent was upheld, but reduced from a class A felony to a class D felony.
After reporting her miscarriage in 2013, Patel was tested for abortion-inducing drugs, but her toxicology report came up clean. Still, Patel’s text messages revealed that she had discussed purchasing the drugs, but her conviction largely hinged on the fact that Indiana is so anti-choice. (It is illegal to self-administer abortion pill in the United States.) Patel was also charged with neglect of a dependent, which the defense argued was contradictory to feticide, since she could either be held responsible for the death of a fetus or the death of a baby, not both.
Patel’s attorney had argued that the prosecution of his client using Indiana’s feticide law was without precedent, and the law was intended to be used against illegal abortion providers or an abusive partner forcing a woman to take the drugs. Patel was the first woman to be convicted of feticide in the state of Indiana, though the second to be charged. The first was a pregnant woman who attempted suicide, whose charges were dropped when she took a plea on a lesser charge.