South Carolina woman arrested for allegedly taking abortion pill to end 2021 pregnancy

The state is among just two in the US where it is illegal to self-administer abortion pills

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Saturday 04 March 2023 00:56 GMT
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A South Carolina woman was arrested for allegedly self-administering an abortion pill to terminate a 2021 pregnancy.

The 33-year-old woman was taken to a hospital in Greenville with contractions and told medical staff that she had taken a pill to end the pregnancy, according to an incident report.

The woman later gave birth to a stillborn foetus at 25 weeks and four days reported The Greenville News.

The newspaper says that investigators obtained an arrest warrant on 20 September 2022, after concluding that the woman had illegally self-administered the pill.

Greenville Police Department Spokesperson Johnathan Bragg told the newspaper that the hospital notified them about the incident.

He confirmed that the woman was arrested this week and released from jail after posting a $2,500 bond.

The current law in South Carolina bans abortions after 20 weeks and during the second trimester of pregnancy does not allow abortions without the presence of a doctor or in a certified hospital.

“People deserve the ability to make decisions about the kind of reproductive health care they want,” Farah Diaz-Tello, senior counsel and legal director for the national nonprofit If/When/How Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, told USA Today.

“When the state imposes criminal penalties like this, it strips people of the dignity of making those decisions.”

Republicans in the state attempted to introduce a six-week “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban, which was blocked by a federal court in 2021.

It went into effect in the summer of 2022 when the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.

But in January it was permanently blocked by the South Carolina Supreme Court, which ruled that the bill violated privacy rights guaranteed by the state’s constitution.

South Carolina and Nevada are the only two states in the US that have criminalized self-managed abortions, according to Ms Diaz-Tello.

Similar laws have been repealed in states such as Oklahoma, Arizona, New York and Delaware.

“It’s extremely rare in the present day and historically,” she said.

“There’s been a long-standing principle of law in most states that people can’t be charged with a crime against their own pregnancy, and there is consensus across the political spectrum that we don’t want to see people criminalized for their own abortions.”

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