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Gender and Women's Studies

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Reproductive rights, Purvi Patel -- Trials litigation etc., Abortion -- Social aspects, Reproductive health -- Law and legislation


Purvi Patel was bleeding after a miscarriage when she drove herself to the local hospital in South Bend on the night of July 13–14, 2013. She hid the lifeless fetus behind the family restaurant she worked in (Gray, 2015; Bazelton, 2015). Despite the precarity of her postpartum condition, with a twenty percent loss of blood, Patel was incarcerated after being subject to questioning by County Metro Homicide Unit Detective Galen Pelletier, a few hours after she checked in at the emergency unit. Patel’s pleas of miscarrying were not heeded so she was treated as if she had executed a premeditated abortion. Patel was convicted on two counts of 1) feticide, in keeping with Indiana state laws at the time, and more controversially 2) of child neglect and endangerment. Patel became the only woman in U.S. history to be convicted with a twenty-year sentence for feticide. National media did a one-time coverage of i Purvi Patel’s case warning readers about this apparent injustice and how it would change the interpretation of reproductive health law in the US (McCarter, 2018; Bazelton, 2015). More importantly, Patel’s conviction would provide dangerous precedence for abortion as a crime for which the woman can get a lengthy sentence of two or three decades. The law stands to be perverted to entrap a woman rather than protect her pregnancy from harm by an abusive partner.

While key national dailies covered the incident, it was the blogosphere that provided a critical public arena with rich commentary to fulfil the citizen’s role in a deliberative democracy. In a time when advocates of the digital divide beg for net neutrality, examining blogs is especially important (Eckert, 2018; Duffy, 2015; Fraser, 2007). Therefore, I have chosen to analyze three significant blogs from 2015, chosen because Purvi Patel’s case was being tried and convicted in Governor Mike Pence’s Indiana. And secondly, I examine Reproductive Health and its variants Population Control and Eugenics as transnational discourse(s) in the age of globalization. I use case studies of China, India, and the US to demonstrate how biopolitical control of women’s bodies by the state constitutes vital policy design in the service of national development and progress (Stoler, 2010).


© 2018 Kapoor. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Originally appeared in Gender and Women's Studies, volume 1, number 1. May be accessed at



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