Tuesday, March 31, 2015

From Miscarriage to Prison

Purvi Patel will serve 20 years in an Indiana prison for the apparent crime of having suffered a miscarriage and then seeking medical care. The only two women ever charged under Indiana's feticide law were both AAPI women--in 2011, the same charges were brought against Bei Bei Shuai, a woman suffering from depression who lost her pregnancy after she tried to commit suicide.

What Purvi and Bei Bei needed was medical attention and counseling. Thanks to the terrifyingly misguided and discriminatory enforcement of Indiana's law, what they got instead was caught up in Indiana's witch hunt for pregnant women.

An Indiana judge sentenced Purvi Patel to over 20 years in prison for suffering a miscarriage and seeking medical care. Before her arrest, Purvi was the sole breadwinner for her home and the backbone of her family. In addition to working seven days a week at the family restaurant, she was responsible for the management of her parents’ household and physically assisted with the care of her aging grandparents, who are in their nineties.

The loss of Purvi from their home will be devastating for the Patels. 

In 2011, Bei Bei Shuai, a Chinese immigrant and the first person charged under Indiana’s feticide law, was sent to jail for losing her pregnancy after attempting to commit suicide. The fact that Purvi, the second woman ever to be charged and the first woman to be convicted under this law, is also AAPI is both telling and deeply troubling.

As an organization working to promote human rights and reproductive justice for Asian American and Pacific Islander women, we are extremely disappointed in the way Purvi has been treated by the court. She has experienced an unfortunate and traumatic series of events, and endured much suffering.

Punishing women like Purvi and Bei Bei, instead of ensuring they have the resources and support they need to make their own, healthy, unencumbered reproductive decisions, is unjust. In light of today's harsh sentencing for Purvi, the Patel family now stands to lose everything. 

Please join us in making a donation to the Purvi Patel Family Support Fund.

In solidarity,

Shivana Jorawar

Reproductive Justice Program Director
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

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