A judge in Indiana sentenced 33-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. Patel is the first woman in the U.S. to be charged, convicted and sentenced on a feticide charge. Patel was arrested in July 2013 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. 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 the pregnancy was a result of an affair Patel had with her co-worker.
In 2011, Bei Bei Shuai, a Chinese American-woman, was held in prison for a year in Indiana 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.