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13th Jun 2023

A woman sentenced to 28 months in jail for having an abortion

Clodagh McKeon

Prosecutors say the woman misled healthcare staff

A woman has been sentenced to more than two years in prison after she went through with an abortion after the legal time limit during the Covid lockdown.

Campaigners and MPs in the UK are reacting with complete outrage with many insisting that abortion rights are not only “under threat” but that they barely exist.

The mum-of-three was arrested and sentenced by UK police after she received medication to terminate her pregnancy by post under the ‘Pills by Post’ scheme following a virtual consultation.

The scheme was introduced during the pandemic so that women with unwanted pregnancies could effectively terminate at home if they were up to 10-weeks.

According to The Guardian, the woman was believed to have misled the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) by saying she was under 10 weeks pregnant when actually, she was about 28 weeks along.

Doctors later discovered the woman was in fact seven or eight months along (32 to 34 weeks) – which is illegal according to British law.

In England, abortions are legal up to 24 weeks but they must be carried out in a hospital or clinic.

Upon being arrested, the woman (44) pleaded not guilty.

However, in March after a second hearing, she pled guilty under the Offences against the Person Act and was sentenced to 28 months in jail.

The judge said the woman felt ” very deep and genuine remorse” for her actions.

Campaigners are taking to the streets

Since the sentencing, people have been reacting with complete outrage at the courts decision and have been protesting in solidarity with the woman.

According to Glamour UK,  Stella Creasy, an MP for Walthamstow, tweeted: “This is happening here, not America, El Salvador or Poland. Here in the UK.”

Many people agree with Ms. Creasy’s post and are angry that the women’s right to have an abortion resulted in a prison sentence.

Last Summer, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, along with over 65 healthcare and women’s rights organisations, signed an open letter to Max Hill QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions at the CPS, to stop prosecuting women who chose to end their own pregnancies.

That letter noted how 17 women were investigated following the termination of their own pregnancies.

It read: “It is never in the public interest to charge women who end their own pregnancy, and no woman should face investigation or prosecution for ending a pregnancy or experiencing unexpected or unexplained pregnancy loss.”

During the woman’s sentencing hearing, the judge called this letter “inappropriate” and said it’s “up to parliament to change the law, and those who object to the law to lobby parliament.”


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