Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Case of Purvi Patel and why Reproductive rights are Human rights

Recently an Indian American woman Purvi Patel became the first woman in history to be charged and convicted of child neglect and foeticide, which to begin with is a irony of idiosyncrasy. She faces a 20 year sentence with a six-year sentence for foeticide which will be served concurrently.

The Purvi Patel Case
The case for the starters is a a butt of jokes for the state of Indiana, convicted her for killing her unborn foetus and for abandoning a living one. How can both these incidents happen simultaneously and in cohesion? 
The state that held her guilty is one of the most religious states of America which has a strong anti-abortion stand and recently passed the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" that discriminates against gays. No wonder, that's why to hold the holiness of its views on anti-abortion, two impossibly different cases were framed against her.
She was accused of having induced the abortion by consuming abortion pills which she had ordered online, which was further confirmed by laying hands on the text messages she had sent to her friend. She described the taste of the pills in the first one while in the second message she informs her friend of having lost the baby. On the other hand, toxicologists couldn't find traces of the drug in her blood or that of the foetus. A contradictory spate of events that do nothing to prove that she had indeed, induced an abortion and killed the foetus. While on the other hand she was slapped with charges of child neglect, arguing that the foetus had been born alive. A "lung float" test in this case was used to prove this charge, which can't be taken as a concrete evidence. It's only Purvi who is the sole witness to the fact that whether the foetus was dead, or did she give birth to a premature living child.
The ironies here are that a charge of foeticide requires a dead foetus while the charge of neglect of a dependent requires a live birth. Either ways if she has to be convicted it has to be one of the two.

Why did she do it?
Patel belongs to a staunch Hindu family, and to hide the fact that she was sexually active, and was pregnant without getting married, she decided to retort to the step. Her father in his testimony meanwhile had strongly agreed to the fact that he wanted his daughter to get married to a Hindu and were against pre-martial sex. In order to hide the pregnancy and her affair with a married Hispanic co-worker she decided to take the reigns in her hands and ordered abortion inducing pills, rather than seeking professional medical help.
She has been convicted for trying to protect her privacy and uphold the family honor, which is the utmost priority for an Indian daughter. 
Also, the man responsible for the pregnancy was not talked of, who should have taken the onus on himself and ensured that his partner received medical care and safe abortion. The prosecution has conveniently and conventionally put the blame on the woman, letting the man scoot. But when a child is born, it's the father's name that they carry, inside a marriage in India and inside and outside a marriage in the west. What a convenient tradition patriarchy gave us?

Why are Reproductive Rights important and are human rights?
A medical termination of pregnancy is legal in countries like India, upto twenty weeks. However due to gendercide, medical legal termination of a foetus is difficult.
The other method is medical abortion where in mifepriston and misoprostol are administered which can be done upto seven weeks of pregnancy.
In Purvi's case, this mess happened because she was  worried of the consequences of giving birth to a baby outside marriage, which is still not morally acceptable in India and amidst Indians in the west.
She could have given birth to a living foetus and tossed it in a dumpster or could have medically terminated the pregnancy by taking abortion pills. Which goes on to say that she didn't have access to safe abortion and reproductive healthcare. What she did was her way of trying to conceal her privacy and perhaps not have a child she didn't want in the first place or was scared to have because of the moral dogma she may be pushed into, because of its birth.

Picture Credit:

"A womb is a part of a woman's body, much like her hands, legs, eyes, nose, heart or any other organ. What she decides to do with it, is her decision and not that of the state or the family she took birth in, or the family she has walked into after marriage. To deny women of reproductive health care and safe abortion is to deny them of their basic human rights. To use abortion as a tool to systemically wipe out a generation of female humans is also inhuman. 
Either ways, we must leave the decision to the woman, and only to her as to what she wants to do with her womb and the fetus in it. Using a woman and her body to uphold one's family honor, is to deny her of her human rights. 
Whether she wants to have a baby or not, is her call. Whether she wants it within a marriage or outside it is again her call."   

Please sign this petition here to ensure that Purvi Patel gets justice and the charges on her are revoked.


J Lenni Dorner said...

J here, stopping by from the #atozchallenge - where I am part of the A to Z Ambassador Team! (I'm a minion/volunteer under Arlee.)
Don't forget our after party. The Reflections Linky List will open on Monday May 4th. (For links directly to posts, not to general blog addresses.)
I've followed you on your listed social media sites. Great post. Very informative. I hadn't heard about any of this.
-J @JLenniDorner

Entrepreneurial Goddess said...

Hello there.
Hope you enjoyed taking part in the A-Z Challenge! I didn't get to visit your blog during the crazy month of April so I'm popping over today from the Road Trip. My goal is to visit all the blogs that linked up, before next year's challenge starts up again.

Entrepreneurial Goddess