Ohio woman accused of ‘abuse of corpse’ after home miscarriage won’t face charges

An Ohio woman who gave birth to a stillborn and allegedly tried to flush the fetus down a toilet will not be criminally charged, a grand jury decided Thursday.

The Trumbull County grand jury declined to return an indictment for felony abuse of a corpse against Brittany Watts, 34, of Warren, the prosecutor’s office announced.

Watts, who faced a $2,500 fine and up to a year in behind bars, miscarried in September and passed her nonviable fetus in the toilet, according to the Trumbull County Coroner’s Office.

The case sparked national attention for its implications for pregnant women as states across the US hash out new laws governing access to reproductive health care in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

“Justice has been served… While the last few months were agonizing for Brittany, the grand jury has spoken and she is vindicated!” Watts’ attorney Traci Timko said in a statement, USA Today reported.

Brittany Watts, 34, of Warren, Ohio, will not be criminally after suffering a miscarriage at home and allegedly passing her nonviable fetus in the toilet, a grandy jury has decided. AP

“While Brittany’s fight for freedom is over, she stands with women everywhere and will use her story and experience to educate and push for legislation to ensure no other woman in the State of Ohio will have to put healing from grief and trauma on a back burner to fight for her freedom and reputation,” she said.

A few hours later, about 150 supporters gathered for a “We Stand With Brittany!” rally on Warren’s Courthouse Square — an event that had been planned before the announcement of the grand jury’s decision.

Watts was among several speakers who spoke at the rally.

Watts had been accused of clogging her toilet with the fetus and going “on with her day.” WKBN

“I want to thank my community — Warren. Warren, Ohio. I was born here. I was raised here. I graduated high school here, and I’m going to continue to stay here because I have to continue to fight,” she told the crowd.

Her lawyer said an outpouring of emails, letters, calls, donations and prayers from the public helped her client endure the ordeal of potentially facing the criminal charge.

“No matter how shocking or disturbing it may sound when presented in a public forum, it is simply the devastating reality of miscarriage,” Timko said in the statement.

Supporters of Brittany Watts cheer at a rally Thursday in Warren Ohio. AP
A group from St. Michael the Archangel School in Findlay, Ohio, gathers during the Ohio March for Life rally at the Ohio State House in Columbus in October. AP

“While the last three months have been agonizing, we are incredibly grateful and relieved that justice was handed down by the grand jury today,” she added.

A local judge had found probable cause to bind over Watts’ case after city prosecutors said she miscarried — clogging the toilet and removing some of its contents to an outdoor trash area — and left the 22-week-old fetus lodged in the pipes.

She had visited Mercy Health-St. Joseph’s Hospital, a Catholic facility in the working-class city, twice in the days leading up to her miscarriage.

Mercy Health-St. Joseph’s Hospital, where Watts had visit. AP

Her doctor had told her she was carrying a non-viable fetus and to have her labor induced or risk “significant risk” of death, according to records in the case.

Forensic pathologist George Sterbenz testified that the fetus was non-viable due to “premature ruptured membranes” as Watts’ water broke early. He added that the autopsy report found no injury to the fetus and the baby had died before passing through the birth canal.

Prosecutors alleged that Watts tried to “plunge” the toilet afterward and left the baby for dead.

With Post Wires


Written by SaleemBaloch

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