This isn’t a case of twins: another woman has been charged under suspicion of having an abortion, in the USA.
Kenlissa Jones, a 23-year old African American mother of a toddler, is now in jail facing charges of “malice murder and possession of a dangerous drug.” Her crime? Allegedly inducing her own abortion with Cytotec that she purchased online.
This really highlights the hypocrisy of the anti-choice movement. They claim to care about preventing harm to the unborn, but by making it tougher to access abortion clinics they push the pregnant into using less safe methods of abortion, from providers that don’t care about fetal viability or pain, nor offering counseling or access to adoption services. We’ve known for years banning abortion doesn’t prevent abortions, so this constitutes willful ignorance on the part of anti-choicers.
Of the approximately 42 million abortions that do occur worldwide, almost half are performed by unskilled individuals, in environments that do not meet minimum medical standards or both. Virtually all of these unsafe abortions take place in the developing world, where the unmet need for contraception remains high and very restrictive abortion laws often are the norm.
In the developed and developing world alike, antiabortion advocates and policymakers refuse to acknowledge the facts that abortion’s legal status has much less to do with how often it occurs than with whether or not it is safe, and that the surest way to actually reduce the incidence of abortion is to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy. While they debate, obfuscate and insist on legal prohibitions, the consequences for women, their families and society as a whole continue to be severe and undeniable.
They also love throwing slippery-slope arguments at pro-choicers, yet don’t realize how slick the prosecution of the pregnant is.
Jones is just the latest in a line of
pregnant people facing jail for allegedly self-inducing, and her situation may be the
most alarming. Unlike Purvi Patel, who was convicted under similar conditions in
Indiana, Jones was reportedly on her way to a hospital when she gave birth. Her
fetus—allegedly about 5 and a half months along, according to reporters—was given
medical attention. Yet she is still being charged with murder.
Suppose someone gives birth very prematurely, or miscarries late into their pregnancy. While neither scenario was a willful act, both look identical to what Jones is alleged to have done. How are we going to tell them apart? Are we going to administer state-mandated drug tests? Rely on anonymous tip lines? Must every case of suspected abortion be marked and pursued to the fullest extent of the law? This will effectively turn pregnancy into a heavily regulated medical procedure, carrying the same punishment as murder. There’s significant potential for abuse by the state or private individuals.
But anti-choicers don’t care, because OMG FETUS!!!!1!1