Is RU-486 a murder weapon?

A woman says her boyfriend slipped her the abortion pill. He's charged with homicide.

By Tracy Clark-Flory
December 1, 2007 12:50AM (UTC)
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Here's a story that will make your skin crawl: A 34-year-old Wisconsin man is accused of slipping his pregnant girlfriend the abortion pill RU-486. Darshana Patel says she noticed her boyfriend, Manishkumar M. Patel (who, coincidentally shares the same last name), suspiciously stirring a smoothie before offering it to her. When she saw a powdery substance on the rim of the cup, she played sick and set the drink aside. She says she kept the drink and sent the powder to a laboratory for testing. The results showed it was mifepristone.

It wasn't exactly champagne and roses up until this point. The two have been carrying on an affair for six years, as Manishkumar is married. Darshana says she gave birth to his child in 2004, but he denied responsibility. She claims to have gotten pregnant by him again in September 2006 and August 2007, but had mysterious miscarriages. After Darshana filed a criminal complaint, investigators found an envelope labeled as RU-486 at Manishkumar's home. He reportedly acknowledged they were "abortion pills."


At a recent hearing, a court commissioner in Outagamie County expressed outrage (and a fondness for alliteration): "These allegations are devious, diabolical and disturbing." Indeed, but we'll leave the ultimate judgment to the courts. What's ripe for discussion, though, is what Manishkumar has been charged with -- namely, attempted first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child. Under Wisconsin's feticide law someone who attacks a pregnant woman and causes injury or death to her fetus could face life in prison. I'll leave you with a comment sent in by a Broadsheet reader: "The 1st degree murder charge scares the hell out of me. If the charge is for action against the fetus, not the mother, then what is the difference between him slipping her the pill and her taking the pill of her own volition?"

Tracy Clark-Flory

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