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Grand Jury Drops Case Against Ohio Woman Who Suffered Miscarriage

Brittany Watts, an Ohio woman who faced a criminal charge after she suffered a miscarriage at home, will not be indicted, a grand jury decided Thursday, USA Today reports. Watts had been charged with felony abuse of a corpse after she miscarried last September and passed her nonviable fetus in her bathroom, according to the Trumbull County Coroner’s Office. Watts faced a $2,500 fine and up to a year in prison. "Justice has been served... While the last few months were agonizing for Brittany, the grand jury has spoken and she is vindicated!" said Watts' attorney, Traci Timk. "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 insure 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."

Watts' case ignited widespread criticism nationwide and fear among reproductive rights advocates who said it was an overreach of the law. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade, pregnant people across the country have been grappling with new state laws limiting access to reproductive health care. Thursday's decision was announced hours before about 150 supporters gathered for a “We Stand With Brittany!” rally in Warren. Numerous reproductive rights groups and activists expressed relief at the case’s outcome, including Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, which lobbied Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins to drop the charge against Watts. The group had said the charge conflicted with the state's amendment protecting access to reproductive health care that was passed last November. The group called the criminalization of reproductive outcomes a “dangerous trend.” “It not only undermines women’s rights but also threatens public health by instilling fear and hesitation in women seeking necessary medical care during their most vulnerable moments,” President Dr. Marcela Azevedo said.


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