Woman Devastated After Being Slapped With A Felony Charge Following Her Miscarriage

by Gee NY

Brittany Watts, a 33-year-old resident of Warren, Ohio, is confronting a bizarre legal challenge after experiencing a miscarriage at home.

The issue has reignited a broader conversation about the criminalization of pregnancy-related incidents and the treatment of pregnant and postpartum women in the justice system.

Watts has been charged with felony abuse of a corpse, a development stemming from the discovery of the remains of her 22-week-old fetus in a toilet at her residence.

The case is set to go before a grand jury, as reported by WKBN.

In late September, local law enforcement responded to a call at Watts’ residence in Warren, where they discovered the fetus in the toilet, noting signs of injury on the deceased baby, according to the Tribune Chronicle.

Warren Police Detective Nick Carney relayed Watts’ account, stating that she claimed she “felt the baby come out, and there was a big splash.”

During a preliminary court hearing in early November, Dr. George Sterbenz, a forensic pathologist, explained that there was no injury to the fetus.

Sterbenz clarified that the baby had died before Watts gave birth and that she had sought medical attention at a hospital on two occasions prior to the incident.

Sterbenz revealed that the fetus faced non-viability due to premature ruptured membranes, making delivery unfeasible at the time. Watts’ attorney argued that her client, with no criminal history, is being unfairly portrayed for what should be considered an everyday occurrence.

However, Warren assistant prosecutor Lewis Guarnieri underscored the focus of the case, emphasizing the act of leaving the baby in the toilet and proceeding with her day, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.

The case gained national attention after civil rights attorney Ben Crump shared Watts’ story on social media, describing it as “heartbreaking.” This incident has sparked renewed concerns about the criminalization of pregnant women and postpartum individuals.

Statistics from Pregnant Justice reveal that over a thousand pregnant women faced criminalization between 2000 and 2022 for various reasons, including miscarriages, failure to wear a seatbelt, and not seeking medical care during pregnancy, among others.

Lourdes Rivera, president of the nonprofit organization Lourdes Rivera, expressed deep concern, stating, “We should all be incredibly concerned about the fact that pregnant people are getting arrested, prosecuted, separated from their children, and incarcerated for actions that should not be illegal.”

Municipal Court Judge Terry Ivanchak’s decision to move forward with Watts’ case has sparked discussions and reactions on social media, prompting individuals, including medical professionals like OBGYN Jennifer Gunter, to share their own experiences and insights into the complexities surrounding pregnancy-related incidents.

Gunter emphasized the panic and emotional turmoil often associated with such situations.

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