19-Year-Old Girl Sent to Jail for Self-Managed Abortion in Nebraska

Far proper lawmakers have been ramping up the criminalization of abortion for the reason that Supreme Courtroom overturned Roe v. Wade.

A 19-year-old lady in Nebraska has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and two years of probation for ending a being pregnant with abortion drugs. Though she was 17 when she ended her being pregnant in April 2022, she was charged as an grownup and confronted as much as two years in jail.

Self-managed abortion is barely explicitly unlawful in Nevada and South Carolina, not in Nebraska. However prosecutors have criminalized people for abortions, miscarriages and stillbirths by charging them below different statutes. On the time of the teenager’s self-managed abortion, the process was banned within the state after 20 weeks post-fertilization. The teenager was 28 weeks pregnant on the time of the self-induced abortion.

Since then, Nebraska has handed a 12-week ban that’s presently in impact however going through authorized challenges. Nonetheless, these legal guidelines solely apply to licensed abortion suppliers within the state, not folks managing their very own abortions.

The teenager’s mom is awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled for September 22, on separate expenses. She is facing two felony charges — together with one for performing an abortion past 20 weeks — and one misdemeanor.

“[The prosecutors] tried to color a portrait of this mom and daughter in a destructive mild and to deprive them of their humanity and to erase the truth that we’re speaking about a young person who was not able to have a toddler,” Emma Roth, employees lawyer with Being pregnant Justice, told Jezebel.

The investigation into the teenager — and the mom who ordered abortion drugs for her daughter — started in April 2022 after somebody tipped off police a couple of stillbirth and disposal of the fetus. Police despatched a warrant to Meta, the corporate that owns Fb, requesting messages between the mom and the daughter about ending the teenager’s being pregnant. Meta complied with the request and offered the police with the messages.

Abortion advocates have raised the alarm about tech firms probably collaborating with police to criminalize folks for having abortions for the reason that reversal of Roe v. Wade.

“It’s abhorrent, however unsurprising, that Fb willingly turned over a consumer’s non-public messages to help within the unjust prosecution of her self-managed abortion…” abortion advocate Lauren Rankin wrote for Truthout in August 2022. “This can be one of many first circumstances of Fb collaborating with the criminalization of abortion care, however it definitely received’t be the final.”

Whereas the mom and daughter had been charged earlier than Roe was overturned, abortion advocates are involved that the criminalization of pregnant people will solely enhance. From 2000 to 2020, If/When/How, a reproductive justice group, recognized 61 circumstances by which folks had been criminally investigated or arrested for allegedly ending their very own being pregnant or serving to another person achieve this.

For the reason that reversal of Roe, at least 24 states have banned or severely restricted abortion care or are anticipated to take action sooner or later. At the very least 19 states have criminalized abortion; in lots of of those states, performing an unlawful abortion constitutes a felony. This legislative session, Republicans in Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Arkansas have additionally launched legal guidelines that will enable prosecutors to cost individuals who have abortions with murder, which is punishable by the death penalty in these states.

The results of abortion criminalization have been most felt in marginalized communities, reproductive rights advocates have famous.

“The criminalization of abortion care is one other approach by which our prison authorized system is being wielded to regulate the our bodies and futures of people who find themselves disproportionately Black, Brown and low-income,” Lauren Johnson, director of the ACLU’s Abortion Prison Protection Initiative, wrote in February.

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