Reproductive Rights

UPDATE: Murder Charges Dropped for Georgia Woman Taking Abortion Pills

Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards announced yesterday that murder charges against a Georgia woman who ended her pregnancy using a prescription abortion pill she ordered online have been dropped.

via Beth
via Beth

According to Dougherty County authorities, Kenlissa Jones was arrested on Saturday after a call from hospital social worker. The social worker reported to police that Jones had gone into labor after taking four abortion pills she had purchased over the Internet. Jones then delivered the fetus, which did not survive. Following her arrest, Jones was taken to the Dougherty County jail, charged with murder and possession of a dangerous drug, and held without bond.

The original murder charge was unprecedented in Georgia, a state that has specific laws protecting women from legal prosecution for acts committed against unborn fetuses.

“I dismissed that malice murder warrant after thorough legal research by myself and my staff led to the conclusion that Georgia law presently does not permit prosecution of Ms. Jones for any alleged acts relating to the end of her pregnancy,” Edwards said yesterday in a statement. “Although third parties could be criminally prosecuted for their actions relating to an illegal abortion, as the law currently stands in Georgia, criminal prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own actions against her unborn child does not seem permitted.”

The National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) applauded Edwards for dropping the charges, and is calling on prosecutors to drop all charges. NAPW says that Jones “should never have been arrested in the first place.”

“A person’s health decisions during pregnancy — including the decision to end a pregnancy — should never be the subject of criminal investigation, arrest, prosecution, or public disclosure of medical information without consent,” NAPW said in their statement. “It is especially troubling to see a young black mother of a toddler charged with a crime that carries the death penalty.”

Edwards told a local news station that Jones’ case will likely go before a grand jury.

Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 6/10/15; Washington Post 6/10/15; NAPW Statement 6/10/15

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