Following a trend of conservative state governments criminalizing women’s reproductive health choices, Georgia woman Kenlissa Jones was arrested and charged with malice murder after taking an abortion pill.
On Saturday, the 23-year-old Jones reportedly took the drug Cytotec, which is often used in the U.S. in non-surgical abortion procedures, to self-induce an abortion. Jones’ brother Rico Riggins told local news WALB that she went to the hospital after taking the drug because she was “in a world of hurt.” She miscarried the fetus while in the car en route to the hospital. Jones, who is the mother of a two-year-old, was subsequently arrested and taken to the Dougherty County Jail, where she is being held without bond.
Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards told WALB that her case will likely go before a grand jury, because Georgia and federal laws will need to be “explored.”
Jones’ arrest comes roughly two months after an Indiana court sentenced Purvi Patel to 20 years in prison after she suffered a miscarriage. Patel’s case marked the first time a woman was successfully convicted and sentenced under a feticide law.
After news of Jones’ arrest broke on Tuesday, advocates condemned the charges. Reproductive rights group A is For on Twitter called the jailing “an egregious and unconstitutional violation.”
Others noted that prosecution of Patel, an Indian woman, and Jones, an African American, highlight the particular barriers placed against females of color under the GOP’s ongoing ‘war against women.’
“As states escalate efforts to restrict abortion and cut funding for family planning and other programs, women who miscarry or self-induce and fear complications are left in an untenable situation: seek medical care and face arrest or avoid treatment and risk injury or death,” wrote Salon reporter Katie McDonough.
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