Mom Imprisoned for Giving Daughter Abortion Pills

Pennsylvania mom Jennifer Whelan gets up to 18 months
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2014 4:06 AM CDT
Bottles of the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 are seen at a clinic in Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(Newser) – A Pennsylvania mom who helped her 16-year-old daughter end an unwanted pregnancy is going to spend up to 18 months behind bars. Single mother Jennifer Ann Whalen, 39, was sentenced Friday to between 12 and 18 months under a state law that says only doctors can carry out abortions, reports Reuters. Whalen obtained miscarriage-inducing "abortion pills" online from a company in Europe, and she took her daughter to the hospital when she suffered pain and bleeding after taking the pills. She pleaded guilty last month.

Whalen, who lives in a small town 74 miles away from the nearest abortion clinic in Harrisburg, told investigators that there was no nearby clinic that could have performed the abortion and that her daughter didn't have insurance to cover an abortion in a hospital, reports the Press Enterprise. She was also fined $1,000 and ordered to do 40 hours of community service after her release. The Pennsylvania law could have resulted in penalties of up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine, according to Reuters. (A Dutch physician and activist grants requests from around the world for drugs for "stay-at-home abortions"—but she won't ship to the US.)

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