Miscarriage or Crime?
On Monday, a fetus was found at a sewage pump station in Morgantown, WV. According to news articles, anything larger than 3/4 of an inch gets trapped by the screen, and “it’s likely the fetus was flushed down a toilet.” Another article indicates that the fetus was not full term, which seems obvious given that they assume it was able to get through toilet plumbing. The fetus has been sent to state medical examiners for further investigation including possible determination of age, sex, and race.
The thing that gives me the willies? “Morgantown Police Sergeant Matt Metheney said police aren’t certain whether a crime has been committed [because the fetus was “so small”]. They’re trying to locate the mother of the “unborn child” to learn what happened.” They’re also “calling local hospitals and the West Virginia University Health Center to see if anyone checked in with related health issues,” and “Investigators are asking anyone with information to call Morgantown police at 304-284-7522.” None of the stories indicate the size of the fetus, but to suggest that it’s bigger than 3/4″ and “too small to determine age, gender or race,” so was sent to the ME. How big is toilet plumbing? How does that compare to this fetal development chart?
Look, I understand that they want to make sure nothing untoward happened. The spectre of getting a police visit if you miscarry into a toilet is quite chilling, though. What of the women they might “suspect” based on reports from local hospitals or individual tips? Will they be subjected to testing to see if they might have been pregnant? Pregnancies go wrong and end early quite frequently, and it just simply freaks me out to think about law enforcement making it their business to try to root out the poor woman, if that is what happened.
WBOY Channel 12 in Morgantown headlines their piece, “Abandoned Fetus Discovered in Morgantown.” If this is simply the story of a woman having an unfortunate miscarriage, “abandoned” seems a little judgmental, no?