National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum applauds court decision to vacate Purvi Patel’s feticide conviction

For Immediate Release
July 22, 2016
Contact: Amy Lebowitz, Camino PR

212.255.2575 / amy@caminopr.com

NEW YORK — Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the feticide conviction of Purvi Patel, the woman who was found guilty for attempting to induce an abortion without a prescription. With the feticide charge tossed out, the case will return to trial so that Patel can be resentenced for the felony charge of neglect of a dependent. Although the neglect of a dependent conviction still stands, it has been downgraded to a Class D felony, making Patel eligible to be considered for immediate release, whereas she was previously sentenced to serve a total of 20 years for both convictions. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum released the following statement in response:

“The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum stands with Purvi Patel and applauds the Indiana Court of Appeals’ ruling that feticide laws must not be used ‘to prosecute women for their own abortions.’ No woman should fear for her safety or freedom based on the outcome of her pregnancy, and today’s ruling brings us one step closer to justice for Patel and women across the country.

“The court’s ruling today, and the resentencing to come, stand to impact the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in particular. AAPIs are the fastest-growing racial group in the Midwest and the U.S. overall. Indiana is home to over 30,000 AAPI women of reproductive age; 24 percent of these women live in poverty. AAPI women and families face myriad hurdles to accessing culturally competent reproductive health care, and AAPI women are already disproportionately targeted because of racist myths and stereotypes about our reproductive decision-making.

“There is much more work to be done to ensure that women — particularly AAPI women, low-income women and all women of color — are not punished for their pregnancy outcomes. Rather than dedicating our scarce resources to the policing of women’s pregnancies, lawmakers should expand access to quality, affordable and culturally competent health care. Especially for women of color and immigrant women, laws that impose surveillance on women’s pregnancies only contribute to barriers to health services and basic rights.

“When Purvi Patel returns to trial, she will again face scrutiny for attempting to control her own reproductive future amidst a political agenda aiming to restrict women’s access to abortion and other critical health care. The Court affirmed today that women should not be prosecuted for their pregnancy outcomes, but this decision could still be appealed by the state. Regardless, we will not rest until Purvi Patel and all women are free to make our own reproductive decisions, raise our families and live with dignity.”

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The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF): NAPAWF is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls.