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Woman sentenced to jail in UK for taking abortion pills after legal cut-off point

Woman sentenced to jail in UK for taking abortion pills after legal cut-off point

The woman, who has three children already, has been jailed after taking abortion pills after discovering she was pregnant again.

A woman has been sentenced to jail in the UK for taking abortion pills after legal cut-off point.

The 44-year-old woman was sent abortion-causing drugs by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).

She called the service during lockdown in 2020 and lied about how far along in her pregnancy she was, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard on Monday (12 June).

The woman, who has not been named, made a number of interest searches between February and May 2020, including ‘how to hide a pregnancy bump’, ‘how to have an abortion without going to the doctor’ and ‘how to lose a baby at six months’.

The woman was sent abortion pills.

She had three sons before becoming pregnant again in 2019. She did not visit a doctor regarding her pregnancy because she was ‘embarrassed’ and did not know how far along she was, the court heard.

The woman spoke to a nurse practitioner at BPAS, an abortion care service, on 6 May 2020 and it was determined that she was only around seven weeks pregnant based on her answers to questions about her pregnancy.

The woman was sent abortion pills in the post and days later, on 11 May 2020, she went into labour.

A 999 call was made at 6.39pm, but the child was born during the course of the phone call, prosecutors told the court.

Paramedics arrived at the scene at about 7pm, the court was told, but the baby was not breathing and despite resuscitation attempts, she was pronounced dead at hospital around 45 minutes later.

A post-mortem examination determined that the child was between 32 and 34 weeks’ gestation when born.

The cause of death was recorded as stillbirth and maternal use of abortion drugs.

The baby was born shortly after she took the abortion pills.

The mother was initially charged with child destruction and pleaded not guilty. However, she later pleaded to an alternative charge of section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, administering drugs or using instruments to procure abortion, which was accepted by the prosecution.

The maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

Prosecuting barrister Mr Robert Price said: “She lied to BPAS about how pregnant she was so they sent the tablets to her. "She said she had not seen a doctor about her pregnancy because she was embarrassed.

“While the baby was not full term, she was approaching that stage of development. Multiple and prolonged internet searches showed a level of planning.

“The taking of the drugs was a planned and deliberate act in which her intention could only have been to procure an abortion.”

Campaigners have criticised the decision.

Barry White defended the woman and said that Covid lockdowns had changed the way healthcare and advice services were operating to limit face-to-face contact.

“The restrictions placed on services to advise women may explain why there were so many internet searches for information on behalf of the defendant.

“We can never really know or imagine the turmoil she would have been experiencing at the time.

“The defendant may well have made use of services had they been available at the time. This will haunt her forever.”

He said that the woman was given a 28-month extended sentence, and will serve 14 months in custody and the remainder on licence after her release.

Most abortions in England, Wales and Scotland are carried out before 24 weeks of pregnancy.

However, the procedure can be carried out after 24 weeks in very limited circumstances such as if the mother's life is at risk or the child would be born with a severe disability, according to the NHS.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

Topics: Health, News, UK News