Jailed Mom Bought Abortion Pill Online
A 39-year-old mom from rural Pennsylvania is serving 9-18 months in jail for buying a pill online to help her daughter induce a miscarriage.
It all began when Jennifer Whalen’s 16-year-old daughter came to her after learning she was pregnant. Jennifer said she’d support any decision her daughter made. After taking a few days to think over her options, the teen determined she couldn’t have a baby so young, and asked her mom to look up clinics, according to the New York Times.
But Pennsylvania’s strict abortion laws left few options.
Clinics were far away, expensive, and a 24 hour waiting period required added hotel costs and time off work. And, Jennifer and her husband had just one car.
But then Jennifer found an online site selling a prescription medication costing $45 that would induce miscarriage.
She didn’t know that buying the drug was illegal.
Such purchases are banned to prevent scams. But this drug was actually safe.
The pill worked as it should: miscarriage causes bleeding and stomach pains. But not realizing this, mom and daughter got scared and went to the hospital.
And so mom ended up in jail for “endangering the welfare of a child through the unauthorized practice of medicine and pharmacy” (meaning: administering a drug without a prescription).
Yet decisions could have been made differently. As Emily Brazelon from the New York Times pointed out,
Hospital authorities decided that they were mandated to report Whalen because they made a judgment call that what she did was “suspected or actual child abuse.” The district attorney, could have declined to press charges. And the judge could have refrained from sending Whalen to jail.
Meanwhile, abortion opponents say they don’t want to imprison women who abort (around 1 in 3 US women).
This case is not about pro-life or pro-choice, (it’s) about endangering the welfare of a child through the unauthorized practice of medicine and pharmacy.
Yet jailing mom endangers her children who are left unsupervised, and who lose their mom’s income.
And, pregnancy and childbirth are more dangerous than abortion — especially for 16-year-olds.
Plus, laws restricting abortion threaten women’s health, leading some desperate girls and women to order pills online that might be unsafe, or go to back alley abortionists, or perform abortions on themselves with the help of knitting needles or coat hangers.
Making abortion illegal doesn’t stop it. In fact, the stricter the law, the more abortions you tend to get (largely because countries that restrict abortion also restrict sex education and contraception).
That’s why doctors, religious leaders, and women’s advocates had once fought to allow women to terminate pregnancies: because so many girls and women were dying from botched abortions.
Meanwhile, I’m wondering when the DA will start going after men who buy Viagara online, without a prescription.
Related Posts on BroadBlogs