Dear Indiana Prosecutors,
I’m sure you did what your heart and your interpretation of the law and of medical facts (which I assume you are as incompetent about as whoever is not a doctor) suggested you to do. You see… I can’t blame you. I hate you, but I can’t blame you. Because if given the choice I would have done the same (no, not what you did. I would have never done that. But I would have tried to get the longest possible term for whoever I considered a criminal – rapists, human traffickers, corrupt politicians… but I’m a little coo coo so don’t mind me!).
What I’m frustrated about is you. I don’t know you, I don’t know what you look like, what you do, what your life was like… So it’s hard for me to address someone without knowing what strings to pull. Because of this I have decided to tell you what abortion is like for a lot of people (those who don’t go to expensive private clinics for a uterus scraping prescribed to “treat endometriosis”).
So, to begin with, abortion, in the best possible case, smells like hospital. Not like that nice scent of cleanliness, more like the cheap disinfectant your mum keeps under the kitchen sink. But don’t get your hopes up, that is what it smells like if it’s performed in a facility.
Otherwise it smells like rotten meat and alcohol. Because if you resolve to get an abortion illegaly, which in your beautiful State is often the case, you have to try and get it from someone who has partial or no medical training (if they did they’d do “uterine scapings”…), who operates in a room at the back of his/her house and with non-surgical instruments.
You may not be aware of this, but all you need to perform an abortion is something sharp to break the placenta and something to scoop whatever is in it out. As you can imagine this procedure, very safe if performed correctly (actually much safer that delivering a baby), has a number of things that can go wrong if performed using a hanger or a knife and spoon.
Also, the risk rises when the person who is performing an abortion is afraid and does a partial or quick job, and last but not least, hygiene is almost never guaranteed (as much as it would be it a hospital anyway). Access to drugs that might reduce the pain or numb the patient is limited so many women are fully conscious throughout the procedure. This often results in severe trauma, which you may not consider a big deal, as we are talking about psychological trauma of a killer, but which is there nonetheless.
An alternative is to opt for a pharamacological termination of pregnancy, which is easier (provided you can get the medication and know how to use them without killing yourself) and exposes women to lower risk. This is what you claim Ms Patel decided to do. Being (allegedly) 25 weeks along Ms Patel, a young woman whose partner was never mentioned therefore I presume unaware of or simply not interested in the pregnancy and with a very conservative family, gave birth to a baby. You say it was alive and died shortly after, she says it was born dead.
These few seconds during which an unformed fetus, that would have not been able to survive outside the uterus anyway, may or may not have breathed have determined the next 20 years of Ms Patel’s life. Actually no, YOU have. Because you convinced the jury that not only the baby died (and that’s why she was charged with neglect of a child that resulted in death) but, in spite of having no medical proof of Ms Patel actively inducing the miscarriage-the blood work at the time of the miscarriage came back negative for abortifacent drugs- you managed to convince them that because she researched abortion methods she had done it.
Dear Indiana Prosecutors, would any of us call you perverts if we found porn sites on your computer history? No, we wouldn’t. I work on human trafficking and spend my days researching on it, should I be jailed because I could be a trafficker? In the end I know far more about trafficking than Ms Patel knew about abortion… That clearly makes me a criminal!
So, at present we have a twenty-something year old in jail for the next 20 years for something she may not have done.
How is this going to change her? For the best? I don’t think so. Would professional medical help have changed her life for the best? Sure.
What emerges from this case, or at least what pro-choice public opinion is clinging on to, is that the State of Indiana not only doesn’t protect women but jails them for their mistakes. Entirely against my interest (sorry, I’m firmly pro-choice!) I suggest you start doing something FOR your citizens rather than AGAINST them. Create shelters for single mothers, give them a job and make sure their children stay in school, help them rebuild a relationship with their families and give them psychological support. Women who don’t want a child will always get an abortion, but I am the first to admit that in many cases women choose to terminate pregnancy because of their fear of the future, and it may serve your purpose to give them a valid alternative.
Purvi Patel didn’t have it and she is in jail. Her case is the blatant failure of the State of Indiana. She may be in jail for the next two decades, but the one who has lost is you and those you represent.
I wish you all a happy Easter, during which I am sure you will eat delicious Easter food and pray and pray and pray but I’m almost sure those prayers will be empty like the prayers of those who repeat words without understanding their true meaning.
Tomorrow God, whichever God, will love Purvi Patel for the pain she is in and for the cross she has to bear.