Grand jury declines to indict Ohio woman who had miscarriage at home

On Thursday, an Ohio grand jury declined to indict a woman who was unable to have an abortion at home on charges of abuse of a corpse. Unfounded and endangers other patients.

Brittany Watts, 34, of Warren, Ohio, was arrested in October after she smuggled a fetus into her bathroom and tried to flush the rest down the toilet. Prosecutors in Trumbull County have accused Ms. Watts of using a rare interpretation of state law.

The grand jury returned what was known as a no bill, meaning it chose not to indict. The case went to trial before a Trumbull County grand jury in November. Ms Watts has pleaded not guilty.

Had she been charged and convicted, Ms. Watts could have served up to a year in prison.

Traci Timko, Ms Watts' lawyer, said she was incredibly relieved and “grateful that justice has been served”.

“I'm glad that Brittany is now starting to heal from all of this, and I hope, I hope, that her story will be a catalyst for change,” she said.

The Trumbull County Prosecutor's Office released the grand jury's special report Thursday afternoon and said it would issue a report on the case Thursday or Friday, but declined to comment further.

Ms. Timko said that when she called Ms. Selvi on WhatsApp, she was calm at first and then started crying.

“He was an emotional roller coaster,” Ms Timko said.

A GoFundMe account for Ms. Watts, who is a receptionist at a medical office, has raised about $235,000, Ms. Timko said.

“He's known all over the country,” she said. “Three months ago, her circle was her mom, her church and the people she worked with. It was quite an upheaval.”

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Ms Watts was admitted to hospital on September 19 with vaginal bleeding. When she was more than 21 weeks pregnant, before the 22-week term, it would have been a viable pregnancy under Ohio law. Doctors determined her water had broken prematurely and the fetus was nonviable. After several visits to the hospital that included long wait times, Ms. Timko said, Ms. Watts passed on tissues at home.

The hospital notified the Warren City Police Department of the miscarriage and the “need to diagnose the fetus.” Police found the fetus lodged in her bathroom toilet, the report said. The police took out the entire toilet in her house and took the baby to the mortuary to rescue her.

An autopsy report found the fetus had died in utero — before delivery — due to complications from premature rupture of membranes.

Police charged Ms Watts with abuse of a corpse on October 5.

This is a growing story.

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