The Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday set aside the 20-year prison sentence awarded to Indian-American woman Purvi Patel on charges of foetal homicide for inducing her own abortion in 2013, reported The Guardian. The court observed that the state's law was not meant to be used "to prosecute women for their own abortions."
The verdict will reduce Patel's sentence by at least 10 years. She was charged under a law that was introduced in the state in 2009 after a pregnant woman lost her twins when she was shot. Patel has already served a year of her sentence.
“Given that the legislature decriminalised abortion with respect to pregnant women only two years before it enacted the foeticide statute, we conclude that the legislature never intended the foeticide statute to apply to pregnant women,” Judge Terry A Crone said in a 42-page ruling.
Though the court reduced Patel's child neglect conviction from class A felony to class D, it observed that there was enough evidence to prove that she knew the infant was born alive. Patel, who is not married, bought abortion-inducing drugs from an online pharmacy. She did not want her family to know about her pregnancy fearing consequences. She miscarried after taking the medicine and had to go to a medical centre with heavy bleeding. The doctors called the police who found the infant's body. Patel, who was 32 at the time, was arrested soon after.