She was 19 and took an abortion pill to end her pregnancy. Now she’s been sentenced to jail.


She was 19 and in the early stages of pregnancy.

The teen from Northern Ireland tried to raise money to end the pregnancy. She needed to go abroad to access a legal and safe abortion and that would cost her around $1000 – $4000. In the end, time was against her and that amount of money a dream.

Somewhere between online games and Youtube clips, she found an abortion pill online. She took the pill and was arrested after her flatmates went to police.

Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland, except in limited circumstances. Now 21 but arrested at 19, The Telegraph reports the woman pleaded guilty to two charges of procuring her own abortion with ‘a poison and of supplying a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage’ and has been given a three-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

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The conviction and sentence according to The Telegraph is "believed to be the first of its kind".

The judge's sentence could even be considered lenient as the crime committed under the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861 can carry a life sentence.

US Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, just last week said he believed women who get abortions should be punished. Trump then backtracked slightly saying abortion practitioners should be targeted instead. On Monday he about-faced on exactly who needs to be punished for abortions (let's face it, it's probably going to be a woman) telling Fox News his answer about whether or not women should be punished for getting abortions was "not a wrong answer".

You can watch Trump making his gob-smacking statement below (post continues after video)

Video via MSNBC

In fact, the US Presidential Candidate told Fox News, "There were other people that wrote me letters by the hundreds saying that was a great answer to that question the way it was raised.”

And it has only taken about a week for that "great answer" to become a reality. This woman, who can't be named for legal reasons, is real - not just a faceless 21-year-old in a news story.

She's a breathing, feeling, criminal.

Northern Ireland can't seem to get its head around the fact that, sometimes, men and women - teens even - have sex.

They know, however, how to shun, shame and bully "unwed mothers", with a dark history of forced adoptions occurring just 60 years ago. Some of those forced adoptions were by powerful institutions like the Catholic church and some of these babies were taken from their mothers, without their consent, and adopted out for a price .

The cruel, heavy past of being a young, unmarried pregnant woman in Northern Ireland is not so far away.

In the film Philomena, Judi Dench's character was forced to give up her son. Image via YouTube (MovieClips Coming Soon). 

What were the real options for this teen who couldn't afford to travel to another country to access a safe termination?

"They may seek money from loan sharks and the time needed to make these arrangements means that their abortions take place later in pregnancy than is the case for their sisters elsewhere in the UK," suggests The Conversation.

"This creates a vicious circle. They may need to raise the additional funds necessary for a later, more expensive procedure. Other women may drink bleach or deliberately throw themselves down stairs in an attempt to provoke miscarriage."

"A third group of women pursue the option of sourcing abortion pills online – which is what has happened in this case."

And these abortion pills that are supplied by trusted sites, according to The Conversation, are recognised by the World Health Organisation as essential medicines.

"In a similar case in Australia, a jury refused to accept that abortion pills were “noxious substances”. Having heard expert evidence on that issue, it acquitted the woman who had used them."

Charging a desperate, and probably already financially struggling teen for having an early term abortion, putting her through the court system, finding her guilty, then, finally, sentencing them to a three-month prison sentence suspended for two years?

A teen who no doubt listened to music that had lyrics more offensive and outrageous than the idea of a woman's right to control her own body.

Is this a strange new world or the dark ages?


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