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  • Everything about the details in thiscase is a horror show - i wouldn’t read this if the headline disturbs you. She was grief stricken alone & the courts want to play with this semantic remains of a fetus. This is some cult type behaviour,fam. 😒

    source-

    msn.com/en-us/news/other/she-miscarried-in-her-bathroom-now-she-s-charged-with-abuse-of-a-corpse/ar-AA1lxOeB

    “Brittany Watts was still hooked to an IV, sick for almost a week from a potentially fatal miscarriage, when a detective from the Warren Police Department in Ohio stepped into her hospital room. He assured her that she wasn’t in any trouble.

    For more than an hour, Detective Nick Carney interviewed Watts, 33, about the details of that morning and the whereabouts of the nearly 22-week-old fetus that was declared nonviable two days earlier. As Watts described miscarrying in her bathroom, a nurse at Mercy Health — St. Joseph Warren Hospital rubbed her shoulders and told her everything would be okay, Watts told The Washington Post in a series of text messages.

    Two weeks later, Carney arrested Watts on charges of felony abuse of a corpse for how she handled the remains from her pregnancy. If indicted and found guilty, she faces up to a year in prison along with a fine of up to $2,500, her lawyer said.

    To describe Watts’s experience, The Washington Post reviewed police reports, call recordings and more than 600 pages of medical records, interviewed her lawyer, and spoke to Watts via text message.

    The arrest has outraged health-care professionals and reproductive rights activists — many of whom fear that the stigmatization and criminalization of women’s reproductive-related outcomes is expanding in the 18 months since the Supreme Court reversed a nearly 50-year precedent that gave women the constitutional right to an abortion. Even before restrictions from the Dobbs decision took hold, low-income women and women of color, particularly Black women, were disproportionately criminalized while pregnant.

    As many as 30 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages, usually in the first trimester and often before a woman knows she is pregnant. Late miscarriages, such as Watts’s, are relatively rare, and doctors say that there’s no clear guidance for how fetal remains should be handled. In the past seven years, Ohio is among several states that enacted laws mandating that products of pregnancy be buried or cremated, although these rules typically apply to a health-care setting such as a clinic or doctor’s office rather than individuals who experience a pregnancy loss at home or elsewhere. A judge last year blocked Ohio’s law from being enforced pending a legal battle.

    “Moving this over to the individual after a miscarriage just heightens the question, ‘What are they supposed to do?’ ” said Dov Fox, a national health law and bioethics expert at the University of San Diego School of Law. “If it’s already difficult for hospitals, for individuals facing difficult circumstances and navigating pregnancy loss to undertake the medical system is not just a tall order but a prohibitive one.”

    Watts later learned through her lawyer that the nurse who had reassured her had reported her to the police.

    Neither health-care workers nor law enforcement officials dispute that Watts’s pregnancy loss was natural, and the coroner’s report determined that the fetus was uninjured, but a Trumbull County grand jury is now investigating her case.

    Watts said that along with mourning her loss, she is also dealing with how her “life was turned upside down” the day law enforcement was asked to intervene.

    “I am grieving the loss of my baby,” she told The Post this week. “I feel anger, frustration and, at times, shameful.”

    Watts, a medical receptionist at a different hospital, had woken in pain on the morning of Sept. 22. At her home in Warren, Ohio, about an hour east of Cleveland, she tried walking around indoors, but it didn’t lessen the pressure she felt in her abdomen.

    Watts was in her bathroom when she delivered a roughly 15-ounce fetus over the toilet. At the time, she said, she “didn’t know that at 5:48 a.m. her life would change forever.” The delivery left a mess of blood, stool, tissue and other bodily fluid, clogging the toilet. Watts scooped out what she believed was stopping the toilet and placed it outdoors, near the garage, cleaned the bathroom and showered, records show.

    To maintain appearances to her mother, whom she had not told about the pregnancy, Watts drove to a hair appointment, said Traci Timko, Watts’s attorney. The hairdresser noticed Watts’s pale face and immediately called her mother to take her to the hospital. It was Watts’s fourth pregnancy-related trip to the hospital that week.

    When a hospital nurse asked Watts where the fetus was, Watts told her, and later the police, that the fetus was outdoors, near the garage; Watts added that she didn’t look inside the toilet to make sure. A hospital note written and signed by the nurse said, “Advised by risk management to contact Warren City Police to investigate the possibility of the infant being in a bucket at the patient’s residence.” The next record shows that the nurse called the police.

    “I had a mother who had a delivery at home and came in without the baby and she says the baby’s in her backyard in a bucket,” the nurse said, according to a call recording obtained by The Post. “I need to have someone go find this baby, or direct me on what I need to do.”

    A spokesperson for Mercy Health, Maureen Richmond, declined to comment “out of respect for patient privacy.”

    She miscarried in her bathroom. Now she’s charged with abuse of a corpse.
    She miscarried in her bathroom. Now she’s charged with abuse of a corpse.
    © Courtesy of Traci Timko
    ‘Demonized’ for an everyday occurrence

    Two weeks later, on Oct. 5, Detective Carney drove to Watts’s home and placed her under arrest. Watts said that, until then, she didn’t even realize she had been charged with “abuse of a corpse.” The law, which outlines that “No person, except as authorized by law, shall treat a human corpse in a way that would outrage reasonable community sensibilities,” has been used before in Ohio in relation to women’s reproductive health.

    In 2019, a Warren County, Ohio, woman was found guilty of abuse of a corpse in connection with the death of her newborn daughter; her defense lawyer said the baby was stillborn. A judge put the woman on probation for three years, but her probation was terminated after roughly a year, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    According to Olwyn Conway, a professor of law at Ohio State University, “abuse of a corpse” historically falls under a broader law against grave robbing. Given the statute’s history, she questions whether prosecutors are applying the law as it was intended.

    Prosecutions stemming from pregnancy loss occurred in the Roe v. Wade era, but post-Dobbs, “prosecutors feel they have more leeway” to pursue such cases under statutes such as abuse of a corpse or concealment of a birth, said Kylee Sunderlin, legal support director of If/When/How, a nonprofit network of reproductive justice lawyers.

    Those statues, Sunderlin said, tend to be ambiguous, archaic and never intended to be used against someone who experiences a pregnancy loss.

    Timko said that Watts is being punished because police and prosecutors do not understand the natural and common process of a miscarriage.

    Watts, who has no criminal record, is being “demonized for something that goes on every day,” Timko said at the hearing in Warren Municipal Court on Nov. 2, according to WKBN. The city of Warren is part of Trumbull County.

    George Sterbenz, a forensic pathologist, testified that an autopsy found no injury to the fetus and that the fetus had died before passing through the birth canal. “This fetus was going to be nonviable … and the fetus was too young to be delivered,” Sterbenz said.

    Warren Assistant Prosecutor Lewis Guarnieri, who did not respond to The Post’s requests for comment, said in court that the case is about what happened after the miscarriage.

    “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 a toilet, left in that toilet, and she went on with her day,” he said.

    Sunderlin and others who criticize Watts’s arrest question the public safety value of her prosecution.

    “This is a prosecutor believing that they’re the arbiters of what’s in the public interest,” Sunderlin said. “But they’re prosecuting someone over a pregnancy outcome. Who are they actually protecting?”

    Timko said the case is now about defining the term “corpse.” Ohio’s laws do not define corpse, and without a definition, the public is left to argue the issue, she said.

    “In most cases, criminal law applies to persons who are defined as humans who are viable,” Timko said. “In Brittany’s case, she knew the fetus was not viable.”

    No clear guidance

    Before police began to investigate Watts, the medical office receptionist had spent the three previous days in and out of the hospital as her pregnancy faltered.

    By the time she first visited the hospital on Sept. 19, Watts already suspected she was miscarrying. She was passing large clots of blood and describing her pain as intense, according to her medical records. Doctors confirmed her suspicions, telling her that although there was fetal cardiac activity, the pregnancy was not viable. Watts left the hospital that day against medical advice, telling the doctor she could “better process what was happening to her at home.”

    The next morning, Watts returned, expecting to be induced to deliver her preterm pregnancy. Abortion is currently legal up to 22 weeks of pregnancy in Ohio. For the next eight hours, doctors and officials determined 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.

    One doctor was particularly blunt about the urgency of inducing Watts’s delivery: “My recommendation instead of waiting until mom is on death’s door before proceeding with treatment, is to deliver this baby” by inducing, the doctor wrote.

    Seven hours later, Watts still had not been induced. She wanted to leave, according to medical records. Finally, when the doctor returned to the hospital room to discuss the induction plan, records state, Watts’s bed was empty and her IV bag was draped over the railing.

    At home, the pain and bleeding wouldn’t let up, prompting Watts to briefly return to the hospital the next day, but she again left against medical advice after not being able to see her OB/GYN soon enough.

    It was during Watts’s next visit to the hospital, on Sept. 22, that her status would change from patient to potential criminal suspect.

    Although miscarriage is common, it is nonetheless an isolating experience, doctors say. When it comes to fetal remains, the guidance outside a health-care setting is murky.

    “As to the disposal of fetal remains after abortion or miscarriage at home, I know of nothing,” Fox, the University of San Diego School of Law bioethics expert, said of guidelines. “This is not an area where you’re going to find best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” or the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.

    Cassing Hammond, an OB/GYN and associate professor at Northwestern University’s medical school, said that an outcome such as Watts’s — a second-trimester rupture of membranes — is not uncommon.

    “While her process for the disposal of remains may be unusual, the actual clinical scenario the patient faced is not unusual and is something any pregnant person could confront,” Hammond said. And although OB/GYNs would prefer people be in a health-care setting during a second-trimester pregnancy loss, “anyone experiencing a miscarriage has the possibility of passing that at home.”

    “The right person for the patient to call is the doctor, not the police,” Hammond added. “Calling the police on a patient going through this kind of traumatic experience is not therapeutic.”

    For Watts, the trauma of miscarrying could stretch well into next year as she awaits the decision of a grand jury tasked with poring over one of her most life-altering moments. Apart from the emotional upheaval, Watts is struggling to pay the medical and legal bills that have mounted in the past few months.

    Although she is filled with anxiety waiting for the grand jury to decide whether she should be indicted for alleged “abuse of corpse,” she said she is grateful for support from her community and people across the world.

    “I pray that my story makes a difference, and no other woman ever faces this reality,” she said. “However, if it comes to that, she has my support.”

  • Dec 16, 2023
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    1 reply

    Should have flushed it down the toilet

  • Dec 16, 2023

    op always has the most interesting threads but makes them in the most uninteresting way imaginable

  • insane

    i would like to slap the s*** out that nurse

  • Dec 16, 2023
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    2 replies

    tldr?

  • Dec 16, 2023
    ice cold

    tldr?

  • Dec 16, 2023
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    1 reply

    F*** that nurse tbh.

  • Dec 16, 2023
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    1 reply

    Like I don’t think this woman should be in any trouble and I cant imagine the toll it takes on someone mentally to go through this but the way she handled this was pretty awful

    Just like that other popular case where the mom and daughter got in trouble for taking abortion pills and then they burned and buried the fetus in their backyard…. Like what are you thinking?

  • That was f***ed up. This whole situation was handled very poorly

  • Dec 16, 2023
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    1 reply
    Dirty

    Like I don’t think this woman should be in any trouble and I cant imagine the toll it takes on someone mentally to go through this but the way she handled this was pretty awful

    Just like that other popular case where the mom and daughter got in trouble for taking abortion pills and then they burned and buried the fetus in their backyard…. Like what are you thinking?

    The two cases are not comparable at all

  • Dec 16, 2023
    CutiePieHole

    F*** that nurse tbh.

  • Dec 16, 2023

    Christian dualism is the worst

  • ice cold

    tldr?

    shorty miscarried, goes to hospital. nurse at the hospital is like "its gonna be ok dw" then calls the cops bc shorty said she put the fetus parts outside her garage. nurse thinks lady had a stillborn baby or something and then chucked it in the trash.

  • RASIE 🦦
    Dec 16, 2023
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    1 reply

    Happy for you or sorry that happened

  • Dec 16, 2023
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    1 reply

    I mean you know you're gonna miscarry, can't wait for the doctors to decide, leave by your own choice, miscarry into a f***in toilet, scoop that s*** up and just put it by the garage and go on about your day & you think what, everything's gonna be fine?

    Not even coming from a Christian standpoint, but just logically, knowing you're in a country whose supreme court did what it did, and you pull some stupid s*** like that & what do you expect?

    The US system is r.e.t.a.r.d.e.d., no doubt about it, but she basically did everything in her power to f*** up

  • Dec 16, 2023
    RASIE

    Happy for you or sorry that happened

    🤨

  • Dec 16, 2023

    Brittany Watts miscarried in her bathroom at around 22 weeks of pregnancy. She delivered the fetus into the toilet and later told police she had placed the fetus near her garage outdoors. A nurse reported Watts to the police and Watts was later arrested and charged with felony abuse of a corpse. Watts' lawyer and reproductive rights advocates argue there is no clear guidance for how to handle fetal remains outside of a healthcare setting after a miscarriage and that Watts is being punished for a natural pregnancy loss.

  • Dec 16, 2023
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    3 replies

    Threw it in the garbage?

  • Dec 16, 2023
    Lou

    Threw it in the garbage?

  • Dec 16, 2023
    Lou

    Threw it in the garbage?

    I feel like this would be how Madonna reacted

  • Dec 16, 2023
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    2 replies
    CutiePieHole

    The two cases are not comparable at all

    How aren’t they?

    Both got charged with abuse of a corpse

    One was an abortion and the other a miscarriage but that’s not what either got in trouble for. They got in trouble with what they did with the fetus.

  • Dec 16, 2023
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    1 reply

    Free her, stay outta women's business

  • why would u leave the fetus like outside in front of ur house tho

  • Dec 16, 2023

    In the court the constantly the prosecutor and there testimony calling a non viable fetus a BABY . Disgusting

  • Dec 16, 2023
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    2 replies
    MattM

    I mean you know you're gonna miscarry, can't wait for the doctors to decide, leave by your own choice, miscarry into a f***in toilet, scoop that s*** up and just put it by the garage and go on about your day & you think what, everything's gonna be fine?

    Not even coming from a Christian standpoint, but just logically, knowing you're in a country whose supreme court did what it did, and you pull some stupid s*** like that & what do you expect?

    The US system is r.e.t.a.r.d.e.d., no doubt about it, but she basically did everything in her power to f*** up

    ??? You can’t control where and how you miscarry ? Where is she to put it ?