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Woman charged with felony abuse of a corpse for miscarrying

Posted by Cambion 
Woman charged with felony abuse of a corpse for miscarrying
December 20, 2023
Allegedly, Ohio has laws in place to protect women from such charges in the event of miscarriage, but I guess those protections have gone out the window since the overturning of Roe. This woman is being fined $2500 and may get a year in prison for the fifth-degree felony of abuse of a corpse.

Her fetus was non-viable at a little over 21 weeks gestation because her amniotic fluid leaked out prematurely. The woman went to the ER four times for vaginal bleeding, but for whatever reason, she left AMA each time. The final time she visited the ER, she expected to be induced, but I guess the ethics committee hemmed and hawed so much about whether or not to induce her that she left again and dropped the clump at home.

I don't think it was the fact she miscarried that got her arrested, but that she miscarried into a toilet and didn't report it as a death to be investigated. Because why the hell would she? A dead fetus isn't a corpse - it's medical waste. Women miscarry fetuses and flush them all the time. It'd be like calling the coroner for a bowel movement. It seems the hospital called the police on her, probably because they knew the fetus was dead and she was going to miscarry at home. The hospital was also Catholic, so they probably got the cops involved because she "killed" her "baby" and wanted it removed from her body.

So I think the takeaway here is if you live in Ohio (or any state with abortion restrictions) and you miscarry, be sure to dispose of the aftermath in a way that does not incriminate you.



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.”

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.

“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.

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.”

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.”
Re: Woman charged with felony abuse of a corpse for miscarrying
December 20, 2023
They posted this on r/collapse. She went to a Catholic hospital and it looks like the judge or someone decided that "the toilet thing" was an indictator of not respecting "the corpse" and made her out to be the bad guy. A "sarced" fetus in a gross toilet even though that is usually how miscarriage material ends up. I wonder if she found a way to dispose of the fetus, if her home would be searched as that happened to a woman in Poland
Re: Woman charged with felony abuse of a corpse for miscarrying
December 20, 2023
Someone posted this on collape:

Basicaly a girl miscarried at home and was put in jail for it and this was 10 years ago. She developed PTSD over the incident and died of an overdose in attempt to forget about what happened.

"I knew someone online who was overweight and admits she was using drugs when she was younger. The drugs and lifestyle made her periods a bit irregular and maybe her head was a bit foggy due to it. She got pregnant and never knew it. i think her story was featured on that “I didn’t know I was pregnant” show but I couldn’t bear to watch. She thought she had the stomach flu, went to the toilet and had a miscarriage. She didn’t know what to do with the remains of her child so she put it in the freezer until she could figure it out. A friend found out and reported it. A religious, misogynous DA put her in jail and charged her with desecration of a corpse. This was maybe ten years ago and was controversial. They made her shame very public. She was traumatized by that man but cleared of the crime eventually when it was proved the baby was dead before the miscarriage.

By the time I met her, she was clean but had PTSD from the experience and time spent in jail. She was charming and had a lot of friends in our online group. Then one day, she disappeared and I was called by a sketchy friend of hers to try to track her down. I think this person knew what happened but was a criminal and didn’t want to talk to the police or the hospital. I called the hospital and they confirmed she had been there but couldn’t tell me more without a social worker. I knew what that meant. I eventually confirmed she entered the morgue as a Jane Doe. She had relapsed on heroin and died. She had been clean for several years and was funny and loved, and she was good with her family. For the record, this was an online friendship and I never met her despite being in the same city because of her agoraphobia. But after she passed I found a news story about it verifying all she claimed."
Re: Woman charged with felony abuse of a corpse for miscarrying
December 22, 2023
This is so sad and despicable. All because of ignorance. I have no words to describe the anger I feel about things like this. More lives wasted and destroyed in the name of political religious terrorism. I'm so glad I can't reproduce anymore and live in a country that actually respects the freedoms of women but I can't help but feel sad for women who are treated like breeding machines due to archaic laws.
Re: Woman charged with felony abuse of a corpse for miscarrying
December 22, 2023
That's what these ghouls want. They want to go back to the Dark Ages medically. They want to pick over miscarried remains and go through trash cans and accuse the woman of having abortions and make her prove she lost the clump naturally.

Re: Woman charged with felony abuse of a corpse for miscarrying
December 23, 2023
I saw this. I'm having a difficult time imagining anyone could possibly consider charging a woman who miscarried with felony abuse of a corpse and have the further gall to try to fine her for what her body naturally did.
Re: Woman charged with felony abuse of a corpse for miscarrying
December 23, 2023
Someone posted this on collape:

Basicaly a girl miscarried at home and was put in jail for it and this was 10 years ago. She developed PTSD over the incident and died of an overdose in attempt to forget about what happened.

This is disgusting. Jail for ten years for a miscarriage? I can't believe we're reading this in 2023. It is definitely a handmaiden's tale.
Re: Woman charged with felony abuse of a corpse for miscarrying
December 24, 2023
And then people will bitch about the birth rates plummeting. Could anyone blame women for not wanting to get pregnant when abortion is severely restricted even when the woman's life is in danger and miscarrying is going to be considered a crime? This isn't just something that will affect the "filthy whores" who abort simply because they don't want to be pregnant or can't afford a child. This will also impact the wanna-breeds who "desperately" want children.

I was going to say this is the kind of shit I'd expect from an ass-backwards third world country, but then I remembered that's exactly what the US is now.

Sounds like it would behoove women to learn how to dispose of miscarried fetal remains so as not to incriminate themselves. Also do NOT tell people when they are pregnant, but I know wanna-breeders are always ready to scream from the rooftops about their "condition." It's a fucking terrifying time to be a woman right now.
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