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The US state of Indiana sentenced a mother on charges of foeticide — an act that causes the death of a foetus.

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Updated: 08:41 GMT, Apr 1, 2015 | Published: 08:41 GMT, Apr 1, 2015 |
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The US state of Indiana has been featured heavily in world media for passing religious freedom law. Last Monday Indiana has sentenced 33-year-old Purvi Patel to 20 years in prison on charges of foeticide-an act that causes the death of a foetus. She is the first woman to be convicted of the crime in the US and the decision has ignited heated debate across the country.

 Reproductive rights activists are outraged. They believe the sentencing of Ms. Patel highlights how US prosecutors are using laws designed to protect expecting mothers to criminalize women for terminating a pregnancy.

 Ms. Patel was arrested in 2013 after seeking help in an emergency room for excessive bleeding, with an umbilical cord protruding from her vagina. Despite initially denying the pregnancy, Ms. Patel eventually admitted to medical authorities that she had a miscarriage and threw the stillborn foetus in a dumper near her home. After a police investigation uncovered the plastic bag with the foetus inside, Ms. Patel was charged.