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Indian-American woman charged with foeticide in US

PTI 29 Aug 2014, 13:31:56 PM IST
New York: A 33-year-old Indian-American woman, accused of neglect in the death of a newborn whose body was found in a restaurant trash bin, has also been charged with foeticide in the US.

Purvi Patel was initially charged with endangering the life of a newborn but St Joseph Superior Court, Indiana, allowed prosecuters to add the foeticide charge.

The infant's body was found outside a Mishawaka restaurant in July 2013 after Patel went to a hospital, The South Bend Tribune has reported.

Court documents allege Patel told medical staff that she had delivered a baby at home but believed that it was dead, but an autopsy ruled the infant was born alive.

Documents also allege Patel took drugs ordered from Hong Kong to try to abort the pregnancy.

Patel faces between six and 20 years in prison for foeticide and up to 50 years imprisonment for neglect of a dependent when she goes to trial, currently scheduled for September 29.

According to the report, Patel cut the umbilical cord herself and the baby was apparently alive when she dumped it.

Patel now faces two charges -- the initial count of neglect of a dependent, and the new charge of foeticide that was added last week.

Under Indiana law, a woman can only be convicted of neglecting a dependent if it can be proved that she gave birth to a live baby.

In a pre-trial court hearing on Tuesday, Patel's lawyer Jeffrey Sanford asked for a delay in the trial date to give his team more time to prepare a defence against the new foeticide charge.

Sanford asked St Joseph Superior Court to strike the amended charge, arguing he does not have time to launch a defence before the September 29 trial.

"They are different medical issues," Sanford said.