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Breaking: Women's March Cleveland calls felony charge against Black Warren, Ohio woman who miscarried racist and wants it dismissed....Activists say she is also being mistreated because Ohio women won the legal right to abortion at the ballot box

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Staff article:

CLEVELAND, Ohio-Women's March Cleveland, one of the largest grassroots women's rights activist groups in Northeast, Ohio, is calling for a criminal charge leveled against a young, Black woman from Warren, Ohio who miscarried at some 22 weeks of pregnancy to be immediately dismissed, saying the charge at issue is racist and that the woman is purportedly being targeted by police and prosecutors because she is Black, and for political reasons.

Prosecutors and police charged Brittany Watts (pictured), 33 and of Warren, Ohio, with felony corpse abuse, accusing her of attempting to plunge the toilet after her miscarriage. A judge ordered a bind-over of the case to felony court as prosecutors prepare to submit the case to a Trumbull, County grand jury.

The city of Warren is roughly 60 miles southeast of Cleveland and is 28 percent Black.

According to Warren police, Watts, who has no criminal record and  miscarried at home, should have wrapped up the lifeless fetus and delivered the remains to police headquarters, which activists say is absurd.

Watts went to the hospital before she miscarried and was  later released in spite of pregnancy complications determined by doctors, who said the fetus could not survive outside of the womb.

Area women's rights activist groups remain upset over what they say is government mistreatment of Watts.

"We want the criminal charge against Ms. Watts dismissed and we will not tolerate young, Black pregnant women already in distress being misused by  police and prosecutors angry because Ohio women won on Issue 1 in  November," said Women's March Cleveland head organizer Kathy Wray Coleman, a longtime Black Cleveland activist and organizer. She added that "police and prosecutors after Ms. Watts apparently do not know the difference between a corpse and a fetus when they seek to terrorize and prosecute Black women and girls in a disproportionate fashion."

The seasoned Black, female activist and organizer, also a longtime local journalist who writes on Black issues, went on to say that "ignorance is bliss and racism and sexism are still very much alive and well in Ohio and elsewhere, and Black women remain at risk for unfair, selective, and politically-motivated prosecutions by a systemically racist and sexist legal system in Ohio and elsewhere in the country."

Research reveals that Black women and girls who miscarry in Ohio and elsewhere who discard a fetus are prosecuted at a higher rate than similarly situated White women and girls.

Ohio voters passed Issue 1 on Nov 7, a statewide measure pushed by Democrats and women's rights activist groups like Women's March Cleveland and aggressively opposed by key Republican leaders in the state that codified the legal right to abortion and other reproductive rights for Ohio women in the Ohio Constitution.

Dr. George Sterbenz, a forensic pathologist, said in  a hearing that  there was no no injury to the fetus and said Watts’ fetus died before going through the birth canal. He added that Watts’ medical records showed she visited the hospital twice before the birth.

“This fetus was going to be non-viable,” said Sterbenz. “It was going to be non-viable because she had premature ruptured membranes — her water had broken early — and the fetus was too young to be delivered.”

Police and prosecutors say Watts is being prosecutor not for miscarrying but for allegedly abusing a corpse after miscarriage, though doctors say it was a premature fetus.

The case has garnered attention from media outlets across the country, including Black venues, as well as the attention of famed Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump.

Watt's' attorney said her Black client is being treated unfairly for something that has become routine.

“This 33-year-old girl, with no criminal record, is demonized for something that goes on every day,” said Traci Timko, Watts’ defense attorney.

Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research published research in 2021 showing that Black women had a 43% increased risk of miscarriage compared to White women.

Coleman said that "instead of singling out pregnant Black women in Ohio for malicious and selective  prosecutions, authorities should address disparities relative to Black women who face disproportionate complications during pregnancy, including higher miscarriage rates, and even death."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black women are three times more likely to die during pregnancy than White women.

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com, the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.

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