Pregnant & Charged: Ohio Mom Miscarriage Nightmare. Can This Happen to You?

Pregnant & Charged: Ohio Mom Miscarriage Nightmare. Can This Happen to You?

Amidst the ongoing abortion debate in Ohio, Brittany Watts, 21 weeks and 5 days pregnant, faced a traumatic experience leading to criminal charges. Watts, who had not disclosed her pregnancy, suffered a premature rupture of membranes, making her fetus nonviable. Advised by a doctor to induce labor to prevent life-threatening complications, she ended up miscarrying at home.

Watts, a Black woman, now confronts charges of abusing a corpse, a fifth-degree felony. This case has gained national attention in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump highlighted Watts’ situation, emphasizing the challenges faced by pregnant women, particularly women of color, post-Dobbs.

In this legal landscape, prosecutors increasingly target pregnant women, creating a post-Roe “wild, wild West.” Black women, in particular, are disproportionately affected, facing aggressive policing in healthcare, law enforcement, and courts. The absence of federal abortion protection intensifies this scrutiny, as seen in Watts’ case.

Watts’ miscarriage occurred when abortion was legal in Ohio up to 21 weeks and six days. The hospital’s hesitation, fearing legal repercussions, delayed care, contributing to Watts leaving without treatment. The incident unfolded amidst heated anti-abortion campaigning, making healthcare providers cautious.

Her lawyer, Traci Timko, emphasized the challenging decisions healthcare providers now face post-Dobbs, pushing them to be conservative due to potential criminal liability. Watts’ case underscores the impact of the legal landscape on pregnant women’s choices and the fear of prosecution.

As Watts faces charges, the vague abuse-of-corpse statute raises questions about the legal status of a nonviable fetus and the definition of a “corpse.” Clarity is crucial to understand what actions, in the context of a miscarriage, constitute a crime. The case highlights the need for a thoughtful and compassionate approach to women’s experiences during miscarriage, avoiding invasive and unnecessary legal interventions.

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Emily Johnson

Meet Emily Johnson, a rising star in the world of news reporting. Armed with a Communications degree from Harvard University, Emily's writing is a perfect blend of creativity and fact-based journalism. She specializes in human-interest stories, bringing the personal touch that makes every story relatable. Whether it's heartwarming tales or societal issues, Emily is your guide to the trending news you won't want to miss.

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