Grand jury in Ohio declines to indict woman charged over miscarriage

Brittany Watts, 34, of Warren, Ohio, miscarried her baby at home and was charged with "abuse of a corpse" last October. She faced up to a year in prison, but the case is over after a Grand Jury declined to indict her. The case is the latest in an alarming series of prosecutions and prohibitions aimed directly at women who are pregnant, have miscarried or who plan to or have aborted their pregancies in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ending the constitutional right to an abortion.

… Watts delivered the fetus at home over a toilet. She then returned to the hospital, where she told authorities she thought she had taken the fetal remains out of the toilet and placed them in a black bucket. The fetal remains were found wedged inside the toilet bowl, according to the coroner's report. … A subsequent autopsy showed that the baby had died before being born due to a spontaneous miscarriage and that no illicit drugs were present. Watts was arrested two weeks later on accusations of "abusing a corpse."

Police and the city attorney of Warren, Ohio, were the people responsible for pursuing charges against Watts. The case was kicked to a grand jury by a judge who retired not long afterwards. Ohio voters amended the state constitution in November 2023's election to enshrine abortion rights.