Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Something to Know - 20 December

It is truly difficult to believe just how a bunch of old men, and a few ladies,  cannot understand the plight of women who have no right to make decisions concerning their own body.   Especially in cases where the mother or the fetus, or both are in danger of carrying a pregnancy to full term.   When you read this story of a woman in Ohio, you really have to wonder on what planet the state of Ohio exists.  Unfortunately this is the sentiment of many lawmakers in federal and state cases.


A woman who had a miscarriage is now charged with abusing a corpse as stricter abortion laws play out nationwide

An Ohio woman who had sought treatment at a hospital before suffering a miscarriage and passing her nonviable fetus in her bathroom now faces a criminal charge, her attorney told CNN.
Brittany Watts, 33, of Warren, has been charged with felony abuse of a corpse, Trumbull County court records show.
"Ms. Watts suffered a tragic and dangerous miscarriage that jeopardized her own life. Rather than focusing on healing physically and emotionally, she was arrested and charged with a felony," her attorney, Traci Timko, told CNN in an email.
"Ms. Watts' case is pending before the Trumbull County Grand Jury. I have advised her not to speak publicly until the criminal matter has resolved."
Though a coroner's office report said the fetus was not viable and had died in the womb, Watts' case highlights the extent to which prosecutors can charge a woman whose pregnancy has ended – whether by abortion or miscarriage.

See where abortions are banned and legal — and where it's still in limbo
After last year's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and the federal right to an abortion, a host of state trigger laws went into effect across the country that placed new restrictions or bans on abortion.
In turn, some women carrying fetuses with fatal abnormalities have been barred from having an abortion in their home states. Other women with potentially life-threatening pregnancies have also been unable to get an abortion, as medical exemption clauses can be vague and medical providers fear severe legal consequences.
When asked whether the charge against Watts may have been influenced by the repeal of Roe v. Wade, her attorney said ignorance is the main factor.
"I believe that this charge stems from the lack of knowledge and/or insight that men have regarding the realities of miscarriage and women's health in general," Timko told CNN.

"I don't believe the fetal personhood issue was something they considered or found relevant. I believe this case demonstrates the need for education and showcases the sweep that the fetal personhood debate has even outside the context of abortion."
A prosecutor said Watts' actions after passing the fetus are at the center of the case.
"The issue isn't how the child died, when the child died. It's the fact that the baby was put into a toilet, large enough to clog up the toilet, left in that toilet, and she went on her day," prosecutor Lewis Guarnieri said at preliminary hearing last month, according to footage from WKBN.

Trumbull County Prosecutor's Office spokesperson Guy M. Vogrin declined to comment on the case, telling CNN all cases at the grand jury level are secret proceedings under Ohio law. CNN has also reached out to the Warren Police Department for comment.
Days of bleeding and a critical timeline
Watts went to a hospital three times in four days due to vaginal bleeding, a report from the Trumbull County Coroner's Office says.
When she was first admitted to the Labor and Delivery Department at St. Joseph's Hospital on September 19, "She was diagnosed with premature rupture of membranes and severe oligohydramnios," the report states. In other words, her water had broken prematurely, and she had exceptionally low – if any – amniotic fluid.

Texas abortion law's wording is causing dangerous confusion over emergency medical exceptions, critics say
"Although a fetal heartbeat was found, it was recommended by medical staff that an induction occur of the nonviable fetus," the coroner's office report states.
At the time, Watts' pregnancy "was 21 weeks, 5 days gestation," the report says. In Ohio, abortions are legal until fetal viability – which is generally considered to be around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. After viability, the state can legally restrict abortion access unless the patient's life or health are at risk.
However, "Brittany Watts signed herself out of the hospital against medical advice on 9/19/2013," the coroner's office report states. CNN has asked her attorney about why Watts may have left the hospital without having the nonviable fetus induced, as recommended by the medical staff.

The next day, September 20, Watts returned "for the same issue and left against medical advice again," the coroner's office report states.
Watts returned on September 20 expecting to be induced to deliver her preterm pregnancy, according to The Washington Post. But for hours doctors and officials mulled the ethics of inducing labor for a woman who had been diagnosed with preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), had no detectable amniotic fluid, was bleeding vaginally and had advanced cervical dilation, the Post reported. Watts eventually left.
Then on September 22, Watts returned to the hospital "for vaginal bleeding with retained placenta after a home delivery," the coroner's office report states. "According to medical records, Brittany Watts stated that at approximately 5:58am … she delivered the fetus into the toilet of her residence."
Police and coroner's staff respond to home
The hospital staff notified the Warren Police Department, which responded to Watts' home, the coroner's office report says.

CNN reached out to the hospital for comment about why staff notified police. Maureen Richmond, vice president of integrated communications at Mercy Health – a Catholic health care system that includes St. Joseph Warren Hospital – sent the following statement to CNN:
"The safety and security of every patient who comes to us for care is our highest priority. Out of respect for patient privacy, we will not discuss individual specifics of care.
According to the coroner's office report, "Brittany stated to police that she had taken the fetus out of the toilet and placed in it a black bucket. She then told police that she put the remains near the garage in the back yard."
An investigator from the coroner's office also responded to the scene. "Near the side of the garage, next to a large trash can, there was a pile of tissue, blood and what appeared to be paper towels in the weeds," the coroner's office investigator, Alaina Jamison, wrote in the report.

A Texas woman's horror story explains the new reality for some American women
When Warren police detectives were called out to investigate the scene, they discovered "the downstairs toilet was filled with blood," the coroner's office report says. "Looking into the toilet, it was filled to the brim with water, blood, blood clots and tissue."
The coroner's investigator checked inside the toilet bowl and "felt what appeared to be a small foot with toes," the investigator's report says. The toilet was later broken apart by Warren police detectives, "and the fetus was retrieved," the report states.
An autopsy revealed the fetus' cause of death was intrauterine fetal demise – meaning the fetus died inside the womb – due to severely low amniotic fluid from the premature rupture of membranes.
Miscarriage is most common early in the first trimester, often before a woman knows she's pregnant. It's less common to naturally lose a fetus more than halfway through gestation – often known as stillbirth. About 21,000 stillbirths happen each year in the US – about 1 in 175 pregnancies, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Abuse of corpse laws hinge on 'sensibilities'
Ohio law defines abuse of a corpse in somewhat subjective terms.
"No person, except as authorized by law, shall treat a human corpse in a way that the person knows would outrage reasonable family sensibilities," the law states. This kind of "abuse of a corpse" would be a second-degree misdemeanor.
In addition, "No person, except as authorized by law, shall treat a human corpse in a way that would outrage reasonable community sensibilities," the law says. A violation of these terms constitutes "gross abuse of a corpse" – a fifth-degree felony.
However, "(t)here is no law in Ohio that requires a mother suffering a miscarriage to bury or cremate those remains," Watts' attorney said.
"Women miscarry into toilets everyday," Timko wrote in an email to CNN. "In fact, the Ohio Legislature has created broad immunity to women for acts or omissions during pregnancy and has admonished that women should 'in no case' be criminalized for the circumstances or outcomes of their pregnancies."
"The prosecution of Ms. Watts is tragic and unjust," she wrote. "We will continue to fight."
Physicians say the prosecution is 'ludicrous'
Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights slammed the criminal charge against Watts, saying it would deter other women who suffer miscarriages from seeking medical help.
"As citizens, we are outraged that the criminal justice system is being used to punish Ms. Watts who, like thousands of women each year, spontaneously miscarried a non-viable fetus into a toilet and then flushed," the group said in an open letter to the Trumbull County prosecutor.
"By seeking to indict her, you are clearly implying that anyone who miscarries at any point in pregnancy in our state must retrieve the fetal tissue whether they are at home, at work, at school, at a restaurant or other public place and preserve it until the tissue can be disposed of properly even though Ohio law does not define what a proper disposal method would be. … That fact alone renders your prosecution both unjust and ludicrous," the letter says.
"As physicians we are deeply concerned that your actions will deter women who miscarry from obtaining the medical attention they need and deserve."
This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN's Deidre McPhillips and Whitney Wild contributed to this report.


Q. What is the difference between a law-abiding gun owner and a criminal?

A.  The .2 of a second that it takes to pull a trigger.

No comments:

Post a Comment