Woman Who Suffered Miscarriage Wins Case Against “Abuse of Corpse” in Controversial Ohio Prosecution

An Ohio woman who tragically suffered a miscarriage at her home in Warren came close to being prosecuted for “abuse of a corpse.” Now the legal battle has been won, and critics are appalled that she was nearly punished for the traumatic event.

A Resounding Legal Victory

In a recent legal victory in Ohio, Brittany Watts, a 34-year-old woman from Warren, has been exonerated by a grand jury, marking a crucial victory in a case that stirred discussions about the legal implications surrounding miscarriage. The grand jury’s decision not to press criminal charges against Watts offers a resounding affirmation that legal clarity should prevail in situations related to pregnancy loss.

The legal journey for Watts began when she faced a felony charge for abuse of a corpse after experiencing a miscarriage. This charge, brought forth by the Warren Police Department and bound over to a Trumbull County grand jury, raised questions about the intersection of personal tragedy, legal intricacies, and societal expectations.

Trumbull County Prosecuting Attorney Dennis Watkins said, “It was up to the county grand jury to determine whether Watts should be indicted and stand trial.” Watkins stressed that his team had no intention of prosecuting, stating that he “never assessed the evidence or advised as to charging” Watts.

“(This office took) some criticism and vicious personal attacks by the few who didn’t understand that a reasonable amount of time was needed to do our duties and misreported that we were seeking an indictment in this case,” he insisted.

Legal Advocacy and Watts’ Defense

Throughout the legal proceedings, Watts was represented by her attorney, Traci Timko, who staunchly argued against the felony charge. Timko, expressing gratitude after the grand jury’s decision, stated, “While the last three months have been agonising, we are incredibly grateful and relieved that Justice was handed down by the grand jury today,” followed by, “To the countless women who reached out to share their own devastating stories of pregnancy loss- Brittany read every one of them and felt a sisterhood to each of you.

The emails, letters, calls, donations and prayers- they all played a part in empowering and getting her through each day.”

Watts’ miscarriage journey unfolded against the backdrop of multiple hospital visits due to severe bleeding. The medical staff diagnosed premature rupture of membranes and severe oligohydramnios, conditions necessitating induction due to the nonviable nature of the fetus.

However, Watts chose to leave the hospital against medical advice, introducing ethical considerations about inducing labour for a pregnancy with complications.

On September 22, Watts returned to the hospital after a home delivery, reporting bleeding with a retained placenta. This event led to the controversial charge of abuse of a corpse, revealing the legal system’s archaic way of interpreting and addressing the complex circumstances surrounding pregnancy loss.

Legal Ramifications and the Roe v. Wade Context

Watts’ case unfolded in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade, a landmark ruling regarding the federal right to an abortion.

Timko, Watts’ attorney, previously suggested that the charge against Watts might be influenced by a lack of knowledge about miscarriage and women’s health, “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,” she said.

The Assistant Prosecutor, Lewis Guarnieri argued, “the fact that the baby was put into a toilet, large enough to clog up the toilet, left in that toilet and (Watts) went on her day,” was a huge concern for the police.

Timko suggested that Watts was “demonized for something that takes place in the privacy of (women’s) homes regularly.” The attorney argued that “Women miscarry into toilets every day” and “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.”

Advocacy Concerns and Medical Perspectives

Physicians and advocacy groups, including Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, expressed concerns about the criminal charge against Watts.

They were concerned about the potential deterrence it might pose to women seeking medical help for miscarriages, “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.”

As Brittany Watts emerged victorious from the legal battle, her case became a focal point for considering the broader implications of legal decisions on women experiencing miscarriages.

The mix of personal tragedies, legal complexities, and societal expectations has revealed the challenges faced by women.

The post Woman Who Suffered Miscarriage Wins Case Against “Abuse Of Corpse” In Controversial Ohio Prosecution first appeared on Edge Media.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / SynthEx.

Oscar Davies, an expert in US and UK politics and sports, is renowned for his sharp and engaging writing style, appealing to a broad spectrum of readers.

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