A Georgia prosecutor dropped a murder charge Wednesday against a 23-year-old woman whose arrest after taking pills to end her pregnancy baffled even abortion opponents.
Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards issued a statement saying he had dismissed a malice murder charge against 23-year-old Kenlissia Jones, who spent about three days in jail before she was released. But Edwards said Jones still faces a misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous drug.
Abortion-rights advocates and opponents of abortion alike had said they were stunned by the murder charge. Georgia has prohibited the prosecution of women for feticide or for performing illegal abortions in cases involving their own pregnancies. After reviewing the law, Edwards said he reached the same conclusion.
“Georgia law presently does not permit prosecution of Ms. Jones for any alleged acts related to the end of her pregnancy,” the prosecutor’s statement said. He planned a news conference later Wednesday afternoon.
Jones was arrested Saturday at the hospital where she sought help after a county social services worker called police, according to an Albany police report.
A hospital social worker told police that Jones had taken four Cytotec pills that she ordered online and delivered her fetus after breaking up with her boyfriend. Cytotec is a brand name for misoprostol, a prescription drug used in combination with mifepristone to induce non-surgical abortions. The pills are sold with prescriptions in the U.S., but available over the counter and online in many countries.
The social worker told police Jones went into labor and delivered the fetus in a car on the way to the hospital. The fetus did not survive.
The police report does not say how far along Jones was in her pregnancy. WALB-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1Irtzju) earlier that authorities said Jones was about 5 ½ months pregnant.
“I have been involved in the pro-life movement for well over 20 years, and I’m not aware of a situation like this ever,” Genevieve Wilson, a director of the anti-abortion group Georgia Right to Life, said Thursday. “I’m very surprised by it.”