Mum jailed after delivering stillborn baby at 34 weeks | The Sun

A MUM has today been jailed for 28 months for taking abortion pillsafter the UK legal time limit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mother-of-three, now 44, admitted illegally inducing her abortion during lockdown at an earlier hearing.

She received the medication under the "pills by post" scheme, which allowed drugs to be supplied for pregnancies up to ten weeks after a remote consultation.

The woman was past the ten-week point when she took the pills – with the court determined that the foetus was between 32 and 34 weeks.

She was originally charged with child destruction, but later pleaded guilty to procuring drugs to induce an abortion.

It is understood that the woman was not able to attend a scan and did not know how advanced her pregnancy was.

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Police accompanied by an NHS consultant attended while the woman was in hospital after delivering the stillborn baby, the court heard.

She was supplied the drugs by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), which said that patients seeking abortions should never be threatened with prison.

During the sentencing hearing today at Stoke Crown Court, the Crown has argued that the woman had known she was pregnant for around three months.

Mr Price, for the prosecution, said she made web searches about concealing a pregnancy and inducing miscarriage.

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He added that BPAS told the woman that drugs would be provided on the basis she had given accurate information.

The Crown also said that the woman's internet searches showed careful planning and that she had a "considerable amount of experience in matters of pregnancy".

Mr White, in mitigation, said a joint statement from medical authorities and statements from family had been presented to the court.

He said the woman "effectively gave the prosecution the case" by telling officers what she had done, and that she is filled with grief and remorse.

The court heard that the woman has left letters for her children in case she does not return home today, and has not been able to tell them what she has done.

Mr White said that members of the woman's family have distanced themselves from her, and that she is reliant on mental health services.

He said that she will "live with the decision to end her pregnancy in this way for the rest of her life".

In his sentencing remarks, the judge said that he did not believe imprisonment in the woman's case would deter women from seeking lawful abortion care.

He said that the woman's "level of culpability is high" and that she "knew full well that your pregnancy was beyond the legal limit".

The judge added that the woman "deliberately lied" to procure the abortion drugs.

In mitigation, he said that the woman was in the "first and most intense stage of lockdown", that she was "in emotional turmoil" and that she was "wracked by guilt".

He said that the woman is a mother to three children, one of whom has additional needs.

The woman was sentenced to 28 months in prison, with the judge commenting that the sentence after trial would have been three years.

He added that the woman's sentence would have been eligible to be suspended with full credit if she had indicated her guilty plea at the earliest opportunity – describing it as "one of the tragedies" of the case.

Slamming the prosecution of the woman, Labour MP Stella Creasy said: "It is an hangover from another era that our abortion laws are based not on healthcare considerations, but first and foremost criminal sanctions.

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"This case shows that the failure to address this has very real modern day implications.

"In the light of repeated attacks on women’s rights and the lack of compassion this case shows, it's never been more urgent to ensure it is a formal human right of all women in the UK to access a safe, legal and local abortion if she chooses."

When can an abortion be carried out?

Abortion is one of the most tightly regulated of all medical procedures.

If you are less than ten weeks pregnant, you may be able to have a medical abortion at home after an initial appointment with the hospital or clinic.

Most abortions in England, Wales and Scotland are carried out before 24 weeks of pregnancy.

They can be carried out after 24 weeks in very limited circumstances – such as when the mother's life is at risk or the child would be born with a severe disability.

Most abortion services will ask women to perform an ultrasound scan to determine how many weeks pregnant they are – with the length of pregnancy calculated from the first day of your last period.

Impartial support and information is available from Brook, BPAS, MSI Reproductive Choices UK and NUPAS

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