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Brittany Watts, Timko, Ohio, Miscarriage, Abortion, corpse, fetus

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More details are coming to light about the shocking case of Brittany Watts, the Ohio resident who was charged with the abuse of a corpse after she gave birth to a non-viable fetus while using the bathroom in September. Watts, who miscarried at 22 weeks, allegedly tried to flush and then plunge the fetus out of her toilet.

Watts’ startling case was sent to a grand jury in November, but several factors are hindering the court case from moving forward.

Diane Barber, the lead prosecutor on Watts’ case, told the Associated Press that Warren County officials were “compelled to move forward” with the case once it was bound by a municipal court. She doesn’t believe that a grand jury finding will occur in December.

“About 20% of the cases get no-billed, (as in) they do not get indicted and the case does not proceed,” Barber added.

At the preliminary hearing earlier this month, prosecutors and defense attorneys argued about the size and stage of Watts’ fetus and whether the unborn child was alive during the time of her miscarriage.

A Warren County forensic investigator claimed that they felt “a small foot with toes” while examining Watts’ toilet after police were called to the scene. To collect evidence, authorities seized the toilet and were able to retrieve the fetus intact. An autopsy later confirmed that the fetus died in utero before passing through Watts’ birth canal. They did not find signs of injury to the fetus.

After Watts miscarried, she reportedly traveled to a hair appointment she had scheduled without consulting medical officials. Her family did not know she was pregnant.

“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,” said Warren assistance prosecutor Lewis Guarnieri during the preliminary hearing.

Watts’ lawyer, Traci Timko, scoffed at the statement. She argued that the 33-year-old was probably traumatized by the experience, as she had been admitted to the hospital twice to address vaginal bleeding days before the incident, however, she left without being treated.

A doctor ultimately determined that Watts’ water had broken prematurely and while a fetal heartbeat was still present, they advised her to have her labor induced so that she could avoid serious complications. Medical officials told her that her baby would not survive. On the day of her miscarriage, Watts reportedly waited eight hours to receive care at a Warren, Ohio hospital, because doctors were debating on whether they would be penalized for treating her.

“You cannot be broadcasting any clearer that you just don’t get it,” Timko told the prosecutor after his harsh statement. “She’s trying to protect Mama. She doesn’t want to get her hair done. She wants to stop bleeding like crazy and start grieving her fetus, what she’s just been through.”

At the time of Watts’ miscarriage, abortion was legal in Ohio through 21 weeks. Pro-Abortion activists say Watts should not be demonized and charged for something that was completely out of her control. Many are calling the case “unjust” and an outright example of the control the law has on women’s bodies.

Timko believes the “abuse of a corpse” charge is too harsh given the gray area around the definition of corpse.

“From a legal perspective, there’s no definition of ‘corpse,’” Timko added. “Can you be a corpse if you never took a breath?”

Prosecutors argued that Watts should be held accountable for the miscarriage due to her leaving the toilet clogged after the incident, but some are saying that the Ohio resident was left with no choice. Abuse of a corpse is a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in prison and can result in a $2,500 fine.


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