Miscarrying Non-Viable Fetus In Bathroom – This autumn, when Ohio was deep in a divisive battle over abortion rights, Brittany Watts, a 21-week pregnant woman, started to pass heavy clots of blood.
The 33-year-old Watts made her first prenatal visit to a doctor’s office behind Mercy Health-St. Joseph’s Hospital in Warren, a working-class city located roughly 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Cleveland. Prior to this, she had not even told her family that she was pregnant.
Watts’ water broke too soon, the doctor explained, and even though there was still a fetal heartbeat, the fetus would not live. In order to have what amounted to an abortion in order to deliver the nonviable fetus, he advised going to the hospital to have labor induced. According to case files, she would be at “significant risk” of dying otherwise.
Three terrifying days later, Watts had to make numerous trips to the hospital, miscarry into her home’s toilet, flush it, and then jump in. The police investigated and accused Watts, a Black woman, with abuse of a corpse.
That’s a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
Her case was sent last week to a grand jury. It has touched off a national firestorm over the treatment of pregnant women, and especially Black women, in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump elevated Watts’ plight in a post to X, formerly Twitter.
Michele Goodwin, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of “Policing The Womb,” said the case follows a pattern of women’s pregnancies being criminalized against them. She said those efforts have long overwhelmingly targeted Black and brown women.