It's only Monday, and Indiana's already having an awful week. While the state is receiving heavy criticism for the religious freedom bill signed into law last week, Indiana woman Purvi Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of feticide and neglect of a dependent for a stillbirth. The hashtag #BoycottIndiana has taken over social media, and the state of Connecticut is boycotting Indiana due to the controversial law that will no doubt encourage discrimination against the LGBT community.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act that has anyone who supports equality up in arms allows businesses to reject gay customers based on their religious beliefs. Hundreds of people protested outside the Indiana Statehouse over the weekend, waving signs that read, "no hate in our state," and critics across the country have taken to social media to voice their decisions to #BoycottIndiana. Connecticut took an even larger stance, announcing Monday that Gov. Dan Malloy would sign an executive order stopping state-funded travel to Indiana. Malloy tweeted: "When new laws turn back the clock on progress, we can’t sit idly by. We are sending a message that discrimination won’t be tolerated."
Patel's sentencing is just as troublesome for women's reproductive rights. The young woman was found guilty of feticide and neglect of a dependent for allegedly using abortion drugs to terminate her 23-week pregnancy, racking up 20 years in prison and five years probation, though whether or not she actually used the abortion-inducing drugs is debated. As the first American woman to be sentenced for allegedly ending her own pregnancy, Patel's case represents a major step backward for women's rights.
If you needed more of a reason to #BoycottIndiana, here are some other outrageous laws on the books in the state.
According to Indiana's Code, Title 35, a person who failed to take care of a dependent child can use the fact that they "provided treatment by spiritual means through prayer, in lieu of medical care" as a legitimate defense. The state obviously values its religious beliefs, but that shouldn't stand in the way or equality or childcare.
Indiana residents have to stock up on booze before the holidays because it's illegal to sell alcohol on Christmas Day. The government website doesn't specify the reason behind this law, but it likely revolves around Christmas being Jesus' birthday. Lots of non-Christians celebrate Christmas these days, but it remains a religious holiday first and foremost in Indiana. However, it's not illegal to sell alcohol in the state on any Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu holidays.
On Puppet Shows
If anyone in Indiana is paid to perform a puppet show, wire dance, or tumbling act, they must pay a $3 fine for their "immoral practices." What does Indiana have against puppets? This ridiculous law was meant to discourage dancing based on the antiquated religious belief that it's immoral, but it unfairly takes down puppeteers in the process.
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