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13th Jun 2023

A woman sentenced to 28 months in jail for having an abortion

Clodagh McKeon

Woman jailed for having an abortion

Prosecutors say the mum-of-three misled healthcare staff

A woman has been sentenced to more than two years in prison after she went through with an abortion after the legal time limit during the Covid lockdown.

Campaigners and MPs in the UK are reacting with complete outrage with many insisting that abortion rights are not only “under threat” but that they barely exist.

The mum-of-three was arrested and sentenced by UK police after she received medication to terminate her pregnancy by post under the ‘Pills by Post’ scheme following a virtual consultation.

The scheme was introduced during the pandemic so that women with unwanted pregnancies could effectively terminate at home if they were up to 10-weeks.

According to The Guardian, the woman was believed to have misled the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) by saying she was under 10 weeks pregnant when actually, she was about 28 weeks along.

The mum-of-three took abortion pills during lockdown (Getty)

Doctors later discovered the woman was in fact seven or eight months along (32 to 34 weeks) – which is illegal according to British law.

In England, abortions are legal up to 24 weeks but they must be carried out in a hospital or clinic.

Upon being arrested, the 44-year-old woman pleaded not guilty.

However, in March after a second hearing, she pled guilty under the Offences against the Person Act and was sentenced to 28 months in jail.

The judge said the woman felt ” very deep and genuine remorse” for her actions.

Since the sentencing, people have been reacting with complete outrage at the court’s decision and have been protesting in solidarity with the woman.

Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy, took to social media to voice her anger, tweeting: “This case reveals bitter truth contrary to what some claim abortion is not legal in England – and you can be prosecuted for having one.

“No other healthcare procedure has such a status. No other patient group would be treated this way. It’s time to change law and trust women.”

Last summer, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, along with over 65 healthcare and women’s rights organisations, signed an open letter to Max Hill QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions at the CPS, to stop prosecuting women who chose to end their own pregnancies.

That letter noted how 17 women were investigated following the termination of their own pregnancies.

It read: “It is never in the public interest to charge women who end their own pregnancy, and no woman should face investigation or prosecution for ending a pregnancy or experiencing unexpected or unexplained pregnancy loss.”

During the woman’s sentencing hearing, the judge called this letter “inappropriate” and said it’s “up to parliament to change the law, and those who object to the law to lobby parliament.”

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