A British woman who used medication to induce an abortion after the United Kingdom’s legally allowed limit has been sentenced to prison for 28 months, the PA Media news agency reported.
In a case that sparked calls for an overhaul of reproductive justice laws in the country, the mother-of-three, 44, was handed the sentence by a judge in Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court in central England on Monday. She had pleaded guilty to dispensing drugs or using instruments to obtain an abortion. The maximum sentence in the country is life imprisonment.
The woman will serve 14 months in custody and the remainder on license after her release. She was first charged with child destruction and pleaded not guilty.
She had searched a number of abortion-related items online in the months between February and May 2020, after she became pregnant in 2019, the prosecution said.
She had a conversation with a nurse at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), an abortion care facility, on May 6, 2020, PA Media reported. BPAS mailed her abortion-inducing medication after concluding she was about seven weeks pregnant, based on her answers.
Five days later, after the woman ingested the drugs, an emergency call was made saying she was in labor. Her child was born during the phone call, and was later pronounced dead at hospital following resuscitation attempts by paramedics.
The woman was between 32 and 34 weeks pregnant at the time, a post-mortem examination revealed. The baby’s cause of death was documented as still birth and maternal use of abortion drugs, according to PA Media.