No Criminal Charges Laid in Ohio Miscarriage Case as Jury Declines Indictment

WARREN, Ohio — A woman in Trumbull County, Ohio, will not face criminal charges after a grand jury declined to indict her for abuse of a corpse. Brittany Watts, 34, was arrested in October on allegations of miscarrying her 21-week-old fetus at home and attempting to dispose of the remains by flushing them down the toilet. However, following an autopsy that determined the fetus had died in utero, the grand jury decided not to pursue charges.

Watts pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of abuse of a corpse and could have faced imprisonment for up to a year and a fine of $2,500 if convicted. The trial hinged on whether there was enough evidence to support a felony indictment, with a municipal judge initially ruling there was “probable cause” of a crime. Watts’ attorney, emphasizing that such incidents occur frequently, argued against demonizing his client, who is Black. The judge involved in the case has since retired.

The situation garnered considerable attention from both national media and advocates for reproductive health. A crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe, titled “Justice for Brittany Watts,” has raised more than $230,000 as of Thursday.

The miscarriage case brought to light the complex legal and ethical questions surrounding the treatment of fetal remains. It also raises concerns about the potential criminalization of individuals who experience miscarriages, ultimately sparking a larger discussion about reproductive rights and access to adequate healthcare.

Reproductive health advocates argue that incidents like Watts’ miscarriage occur regularly and should not be subject to criminalization. Instead, they emphasize the importance of providing supportive healthcare environments for individuals who experience such traumatic events.

While Watts has been cleared of criminal charges in this case, her experience highlights the need for greater awareness and understanding of the physical and emotional toll that miscarriages can have on individuals. Moving forward, it is imperative that society and the legal system approach these situations with empathy and compassion, recognizing that decisions about reproductive health are deeply personal.

In conclusion, a grand jury in Trumbull County, Ohio, has decided not to indict Brittany Watts on charges of abusing a corpse following her miscarriage. The case drew nationwide attention and raised important discussions about reproductive rights and access to healthcare.