N. Ireland Woman Convicted of Self-Induced Abortion

She gets a 3-month suspended sentence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 5, 2016 12:22 PM CDT
N. Ireland Woman Convicted of Self-Induced Abortion
File photo of a woman in Chile who used misoprostol to terminate her pregnancy.   (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

A woman in Northern Ireland who aborted a fetus after ordering drugs off the Internet has received a three-month suspended sentence. Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland, though it's legal everywhere else in the UK, notes the Guardian. The unidentified woman, now 21, pleaded guilty and told the court that she couldn't afford a trip to Britain for a legal abortion and ordered the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol online after hearing about them at a clinic. She then aborted the fetus, which was 10 to 12 weeks old, reports CNN. Her roommates called police when they found it in the trash.

The judge in the case said he was not aware of anyone ever being prosecuted under the 150-year-old abortion law, but an anti-abortion group thinks he went far too easy in his punishment. The 1861 law calls for a life sentence for anyone guilty, says Precious Life, and the group says it is "very shocked" at the outcome. Amnesty International is "utterly appalled" at the case, too, but for the opposite reason. "A woman who needs an abortion is not a criminal," says the group. "The law should not treat her as such." (More abortion stories.)

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