NewsFri Aug 9, 2013 - 5:17 pm EST
Charges dismissed against Virginia women over alleged self-abortion
NORFOLK, VA, August 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Virginia officials have dropped charges against two women, one of whom was a former abortion facility employee, they accused of committing a self-abortion.
Jessica Carpenter was 25 weeks pregnant when she arrived at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center already in labor.
The baby boy she delivered on April 11 survived just 20 minutes after being born, according to hospital officials.
Soon after the incident, Norfolk Child Protective Services received an anonymous tip that Carpenter and her friend Rachael Anne Lowe, 27, who had once worked at Tidewater Women's Health Clinic, a Norfolk abortion facility, took measures to ensure the child would die.
Police interviewed friends of both women who said they “heard direct statements from both Carpenter and Lowe that they purchased items from GNC to ingest to cause the pregnancy to terminate,” according to a search warrant affidavit.
The affidavit also noted that two considered stealing supplies from the abortion facility that once employed Lowe, to aid in the process.
“The witnesses were also privy to the conversation in which Lowe and Carpenter conspired to break into the business of Tidewater Women's Health Clinic to procure instruments known to induce labor,” the warrant stated.
Carpenter and Lowe were subsequently charged with one count of producing an illegal abortion and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony. The illegal abortion charge could have resulted in up to 10 years in prison.
On August 6, the prosecution withdrew the charges in Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, with a provision that charges can be brought again if new evidence is found.
Under Virginia law, second-trimester abortions are allowed only if a licensed physician performs or assists in the procedure in "a hospital licensed by the State Department of Health or operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services."
Andrew Sacks, attorney for Carpenter, said that the case against his client was weak, being based on circumstantial evidence and on statements made by friends of the accused.
"I felt from the beginning that this case was not going to survive this preliminary hearing," said Sacks, according to a Fox News report.
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"I suspect they just can't prove this case medically," said Sacks. "And the client has always denied she aborted her own child. It's a very difficult case to prove. I think the prosecutor recognized that and saw that the case should be dropped."