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Indian American Purvi Patel’s case could prove pivotal for reproductive rights of women

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Purvi Patel shortly after her arrest

Purvi Patel shortly after her arrest

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (Diya TV) — Purvi Patel, an Indian-American woman who was recently sentenced to a 20-year prison sentence for feticide, is appealing the conviction, and the case is being watched closely by activists and experts alike who believe the judgement could set a new precedent in reproductive rights and the criminalization of abortion.

The appeal will be heard on May 23.

In March of last year, Patel became the first woman in the U.S. to be convicted and sentenced for committing feticide, after she ended her own pregnancy. Patel claimed innocence against the charge, saying she had in fact had a miscarriage. When she arrived at the hospital bleeding, her doctor contacted the authorities.

Patel was charged with feticide, inducing an abortion, child neglect and for allegedly having a premature baby and then allowing the baby to die — a rather inconsistent strain of charges, some have argued.

Farah Diaz-Tello, senior staff attorney at the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, said during a recent interview that if Indiana permits Patel’s prosecution, it will forever change the way women can be punished for such incidents.

“The state has used laws that were never intended to punish pregnant people for losing or ending a pregnancy, and now unless the appellate court steps in, anyone who self-induces an abortion at any stage (which is becoming increasingly common as abortion clinics vanish) could be charged with feticide,” Diaz-Tello said.

She added that permitting a woman to be prosecuted based on the outcome of a pregnancy could set a precedent which requires women to prove that a miscarriage or stillbirth was unintentional.

Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, said that knowing what happened to Patel could lead to other women fearing hospital visits if they are experiencing a miscarriage, particularly if they are immigrants.

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“Immigrant women already face barriers in accessing healthcare,” Yeung said. “Unfortunately the actions of this doctor have created further misinformation for immigrant women, particularly pregnant women of color, who may now be more hesitant to access emergency healthcare.”

Adding fuel to the fire, Oklahoma last week passed a law which would revoke the license of any doctor who performs an abortion for any reason other than to save a woman’s life. The offense would send them to prison for up to three years. The bill describes abortion as “unprofessional conduct” on par with writing false prescriptions and having sex with patients. It makes no mention of, and provides no exceptions for those abortions which are requested because of rape or incest.

According to multiple reports, Dr. Kelly McGuire of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center was the doctor on call who contacted police when Patel came to the emergency room. Dr. McGuire is listed as pro-life through his association with the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. After he made the initial call, McGuire also assisted police in the search for Patel’s stillborn fetus, according to a report from Salon

During Patel’s trial, it was McGuire who proclaimed a live birth had taken place, however, Shaku Teas, a pathologist who testified on behalf of the defense, said the baby was stillborn. Teas told the court the fetus’ lungs weren’t developed enough to breathe.

 

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Houston to host community summit for Indian Prime Minister Modi

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Houston hosts Modi

HOUSTON (Diya TV) — Non-profit group Texas India Forum announced they are organizing “Howdy, Modi!”, an Indian American community event for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Houston September 22nd. The venue has yet to be announced, but tens of thousands of people are expected at the event.

Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was among the members of the House antitrust committee with sharp questions for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon in a hearing focused on competition and anti-competitive behavior online.

Saravana Bhavan founder P Rajagopal died days after the Indian Supreme Court threw out his plea to postpone imprisonment in a murder conviction. He was 72. The ‘dosa king’ was found to have orchestrated the murder of a man, whose wife he wanted to marry.

And the managing director of the State Bank Of India, Anshula Kant, is taking the helm at the World Bank as managing director and chief financial officer.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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House vill passes removing Green Card country cap

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The House of Representatives passed a bill to lift the current seven percent country-cap on issuing Green Cards, a development that could benefit thousands of skilled Indian IT professionals.

The United States India Strategic Partnership Forum had a bipartisan feel to it in Washington, as the event was keynoted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senior Advisor to President Trump, Jared Kushner. Watch both of their speeches to the USISPF crowd exclusively on Diya TV.

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is resigning his post amid controversy over the way he handled a sex crimes case a decade ago against wealthy businessman Jeffrey Epstein when Acosta was U.S. attorney for southern Florida.

Billionaire Richard Branson’s spaceflight company Virgin Galactic will be the 1st publicly traded space tourism company in a $800 million deal backed by venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya’s investment company.

And Mindy Kaling’s open casting call for her upcoming Netflix series led to the hiring of Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who was cast out of 15,000 people.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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New Zealand eliminates India in cricket World Cup

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New Zealand wins Cricket

MANCHESTER, England (Diya TV) — After a rain delay stopped play between New Zealand and India, when play resumed, the Kiwis held on to win by 18 runs, knocking India out of the Cricket World Cup. It’s on to the championship round for New Zealand.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided an Indian restaurant in Washington DC, detaining several employees.

Airbnb, the Silicon Valley couchsurfing startup turned hospitality behemoth, says they made a direct economic impact of around $150 million in India in 2018.

Indian Airbnb hosts collectively made almost $28 million and welcomed nearly 800,000 guests last year. 

Chennai-based speech recognition startup, Uniphore Software Systems, raised $38 million as part of its Series C round. They’ve received funding from California venture capital firm March Capital Partners and former Cisco CEO John Chambers. 

And Indo-Australian Priya Serrao was crowned Miss Universe Australia 2019.

The 26-year-old policy advisor from the state of Victoria said she will use her new platform to promote multiculturalism. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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