Jun 22, 2015
Early in June, the Albany Police Department in Georgia charged and jailed a woman for taking a known abortion pill and killing her fetus. Kenlissia Jones, a black woman, took Misoprostol to terminate her pregnancy at 22 weeks. A hospital social worker called the police to report Jones for terminating her pregnancy. The police charged Jones for murder with malice, which can carry the most severe punishments under Georgia law, including life in prison or the death penalty.
Later, the District Attorney dropped the charges and released Jones from jail, explaining that “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.”
But, this did not end the city officials’ attack on Jones. Now, she faces a charge of possession of a dangerous drug.
Misoprostol (marketed as Cytotec) is a known drug, approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for usages to reduce the risk of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin and ibuprofen. So, Misoprostol is not a “dangerous” drug.
Misoprostol is also known to induce labor. World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of Misoprostol for safe medical termination of pregnancies up to 12 weeks from last menstrual period (the first trimester). After 12 weeks, the use of Misoprostol for abortion can cause health complications, including uterine rupture and bleeding, according to the FDA. For this reason, the health organizations advise the use of this drug under the supervision of medical personnel for termination of pregnancies after 12 weeks.
Georgia could and should have provided this medical supervision to women like Jones as a public service. Georgia should have treated abortions as a health issue, NOT a criminal act.
Instead, Georgia attacks the abortion rights of women in many ways its officials invent. In May of 2012, Georgia passed a law banning abortion providers from performing abortions for pregnancies after 22 weeks. It had been 26 weeks before this law became effective in January 1, 2013. Georgia is the 10th state that has a 22 weeks ban.
Also, Georgia prevents health insurance policies from covering abortion unless women’s health is endangered. Federal law has long banned Medicaid from covering abortion. This makes abortion inaccessible for low income women.
Now, Georgia wants to turn a known abortion drug into a “dangerous” drug.
Georgia aims to criminalize abortion rights of women, like Jones, who have the courage to take their future into their own hands. Its officials, like those in other states and the Federal government, are the ones acting with malice – against women, particularly those with low incomes.