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Britany Watts, her mother to attend Biden's State of the Union as guests of Reps Shontel Brown and Joyce Beatty....Watts is Black and was unjustly charged with a felony for miscarrying in her Ohio home, which upset Women's March Cleveland

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staff article:

CLEVELAND, Ohio-Brittany Watts (pictured),  a 33-year-old Black woman from Warren, Ohio who miscarried at some 22 weeks of pregnancy and was charged by the city with felony corpse abuse but subsequently  escaped an indictment by a Trumbull County grand jury will attend President Biden's State of the Union on Thurs., March 7 in Washington, D.C. Her mother, Annette Watts, will also attend, according to a press release.

Warren is a small city some 59 miles southeast of Cleveland that is roughly 28 percent Black.

Watts is the guest of 11th Congregational District Congresswoman Shontel Brown, a Warrensville Hts Democrat,  and her mother the guest of Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, a Columbus Democrat. Both announced the news in separate press releases.

Rep Brown spoke on the House floor on Wednesday on the need to pass the Women's Health Protection Act, which would establish a nationwide right to the full range of reproductive care: abortion, contraception, family planning, miscarriage management, IVF and more.That proposed legislation has stalled in Congress as Republicans push for a federal law that bans abortion after 15 weeks, all while campaigning for votes from women across the country as the 2024 presidential election nears and Republicans fight to regain control of the U.S. Senate and the White House in November.

The grand jury issued a no bill last year relative to Watts, which meant no criminal charges in the since dismissed case, a case that drew national attention and angered women's rights groups in Ohio like Women's March Cleveland, the largest grassroots women's rights activist group in Northeast, Ohio.

Women's March Cleveland had called for the felony charge to be immediately dismissed, saying the charge at issue was racist and that Watts was purportedly being targeted by police and prosecutors because she is Black, and for political reasons.

"This case has racial implications for sure and we are pleased that the grand jury saw through the racism as we continue to be concerned about racist and malicious prosecutions of Black pregnant women in Ohio," said Women's March Cleveland head organizer Kathy Wray Coleman after a grand jury declined to indict Watts, Coleman a longtime Black Cleveland activist, digital journalist and community organizer.

The so-called facts of the case are murky at best, Coleman said.

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.

Prosecutors and police said Britanny Watts attempted to plunge the toilet after her miscarriage. A judge ordered a bind-over of the case to felony court and prosecutors submitted the case to a Trumbull, County grand jury, obviously to no avail.

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 in November, a statewide measure pushed by Democrats and activist women's rights 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 was being prosecuted not for miscarrying but for allegedly abusing a corpse after miscarriage, though doctors say that it was a premature fetus.

Watt's' attorney said her Black client was 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 before the case went to the county grand jury.

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 like Britanny Watts who miscarry due to no fought of their own 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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