By Dave Andrusko
A grand jury in Ohio has decided that Brittany Watts, 34, who tried to flush her 22-week-old miscarried baby down the toilet, will not face criminal charges.
“A municipal 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 — then left the house, leaving the 22-week-old fetus lodged in the pipes,” Julie Carr Smyth reported for the Associated Press. “The Trumbull County prosecutor’s office said grand jurors declined to return an indictment for abuse of a corpse.” An autopsy determined the baby died in utero and identified “no recent injuries.”
Abortion supporters desperately wanted to present the case as an attempt by a pro-life state to prosecute a woman for having miscarriage. Veteran pro-abortion scribe Jill Filipovic claimed Watts was “being prosecuted for having a miscarriage.” Adding more hyperbole and misinformation, she wrote “Watts’ case is a chilling preview of what could come: Miscarriage criminalized in myriad ways.”
Tierin-Rose Mandelburg of Newsbusters made the key distinction. “Miscarriages are when a child spontaneously dies in utero,” she wrote. “Abortions are when a child’s life is purposely ended while in utero. No pro-life law makes it so that a woman who miscarries cannot receive proper medical attention or care.”
“Watts was in trouble because she tried to flush her 22-week-old baby’s remains down the toilet, not because she had a miscarriage,’ she said.
Watts had visited Mercy Health-St. Joseph’s Hospital, a Catholic facility in working-class Warren, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Cleveland, twice in the days leading up to her miscarriage. Her doctor had told her she was carrying a nonviable fetus and to have her labor induced or risk “significant risk” of death, according to records of her case.
Due to delays and other complications, her attorney said, she left each time without being treated. After she miscarried, she tried to go to a hair appointment, but friends sent her to the hospital. A nurse called 911 to report a previously pregnant patient had returned reporting “the baby’s in her backyard in a bucket.”
That call launched a police investigation that led to the eventual charge against Watts.
Warren Assistant Prosecutor Lewis Guarnieri told Municipal Court Judge Terry Ivanchak the issue wasn’t “how the child died, when the child died” but “the fact the baby was put into a toilet, was large enough to clog up the toilet, left in the toilet, and she went on (with) her day.”
Traci Timko, Watts lawyer, argued that Ohio’s “abuse-of-corpse statute lacked clear definitions, including what is meant by ‘human corpse’ and what constitutes ‘outrage’ to ‘reasonable’ family and community sensibilities,” Smyth reported.