Virginia Woman Facing 5 Years for Concealing Fetal Remains

women's rightsA 24-year-old woman, Katherine Dellis, in Virginia is facing up to five years in jail for unlawfully concealing human remains, a Class 6 felony.

Police found a stillborn fetus in a dumpster in Rocky Mount, Virginia after they were tipped off by a local hospital. Hospital officials became suspicious when Dellis arrived with severe vaginal bleeding, symptoms that suggest she may have given birth during her third trimester. Dellis denied that she had given birth.

Upon investigating Dellis’ home, and interviewing a family member who revealed that they had disposed of soiled bedsheets, police determined that Dellis had indeed given birth.

After the deceased fetus was found in a dumpster, a preliminary autopsy was performed. The results of the autopsy revealed that the fetus was a stillborn.

This case is very reminiscent of Purvi Patel, an Indiana woman who was sentenced to 41 years in prison for feticide upon having a miscarriage and throwing the stillborn fetus away.

As if having a miscarriage or stillbirth weren’t tough enough, women in America must be fearful of being prosecuted or punished if it happens to them. While Dellis isn’t being charged for having a miscarriage, rather for concealing the fetal remains, it speaks volumes that she didn’t feel comfortable admitting the truth to the hospital or police. Having a still birth is an extremely tragic, shocking thing for anyone to experience. Instead of punishment or finger wagging, the correct response would be compassion and medical care.

What do you think? Do you think the charges against Dellis are fair? Why or why not?

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Repro Roundup: September 2015


The Good

  • Over the counter birth control pills may be coming to a pharmacy near you (if you live in Oregon or California.) Read more here.

The Bad

  • Many states restrict abortion after a certain point in pregnancy. Want to know where your state stands? Read more here. 
  • Here is the chronology of Congress’ attempt to defund Planned Parenthood (even if it means shutting down the government)
    • Senate is pushing the  20-week abortion ban and the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Read more here. 
    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not want to shut down the government. Read more here. 
    • As of Sept. 25 Congress still can’t defund Planned Parenthood. This is why your votes matter. If the next Congress is even more conservative, women’s health will suffer dreadfully. Read more here.
    • Planned Parenthood is key to women’s health for many, often poor and near-poor women. Read more here.
  • Texas is making a weak attempt to provide reproductive health care to women, because its (ridiculous and medically unnecessary) restrictions have forced most Planned Parenthood centers to shut down. The care at these new centers will only be available to women whose income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level – that is abject poverty. Women who are, let’s say, only 100% below the poverty level still can’t afford care. In addition, Texas did not expand Medicaid eligibility for the Affordable Care Act, making it even harder for poor people to get care. Explain to me again how that is considered “pro-life’? Read more here.

My Closing Thoughts

I find it absolutely unbelievable that so many in Congress are willing to shut down the government if the budget includes funding for Planned Parenthood!! How in the world did this happen? With the resignation of John Boehner (though not my favorite member of congress), things may very well get worse!

Help spread the word that — as discussed in by book A Woman’s Right To Know — the spiritual basis for ending abortions in this country is not consistent with the history of one of the major religious groups associated with the anti-abortion effort.

In June of 1971, before Roe v. Wade was decided legalizing abortion, the Southern Baptist Convention called upon “Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.” They did this to save the lives of women who were being harmed and killed by illegal abortions.That was a pro-health effort. The current right-wing in Congress bases their opposition to abortion (and reproductive health care for women) on their religious affiliation. This is unacceptable!


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Repro Roundup: July 2015

Repro Roundup July

The Good

  • This month, a Federal Appeals court ruled that contraceptive coverage is not a burden on religious organizationsIf a nonprofit religious organization wants to opt out from providing contraceptive coverage to their employees, they may do so with ease. When the organization opts out, the government will then arrange contraceptive coverage for the employees instead. An order of nuns in Colorado objected to the government stepping in because they claimed it made them complicit in the delivery of contraceptives. Read more here. 
  • House lawmakers recently introduced a bill that would end the Hyde Agreement. This repeal would permit federally funded insurance plans to cover abortion service, including women covered with Medicaid. Though this repeal would be nice, it is unlikely to pass. Read more here. 

    The Bad

    • Wisconsin recently passed a 20-week limit for abortions. The bill, which makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, was passed by the Republican-led State Senate in June. It prohibits abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, when some abortion foes say an unborn child can experience pain. Twelve other states have similar bans, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks the issue. The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth District ruled in May that an Idaho ban on abortions after 20 weeks was unconstitutional. Read more here. 
    • More efforts to discredit Planned Parenthood are being made with the use of nefarious and misleading tactics. Read more here. 
    • Lately there seems to be so much concern about embryos, but none, as far as I can see, about our shamefully high infant mortality rate. This supports the notion that many in the so-called “pro-life” camp, care only about pre-born life. Where is the effort to save these babies who have already been born – a disproportionately high percentage of whom are Black? Read more here.
    • Republican politicians are refining that way that they talk about pregnancy and abortion rights in hopes that they will sound less ‘anti-woman’.  Read more here. 
    • Senate fast tracks measures to defund Planned Parenthood. Read more here.

      The Good // The Bad

      • The Good: Supreme Court stays part of Texas’ extreme anti-abortion law // The Bad: “The Court’s stay of the Texas abortion restrictions law makes it all but certain that the Justices will take up abortion rights next term.” Read more here. 
      • The Good: Federal appeals courts are withholding Obama’s contraceptive policy, guaranteeing access to free birth control for women. // The Bad: The government could have problems finding third parties to pay for contraceptives when employers object. Read more here.

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