Mom Sentenced to Prison for Giving 16-Year-Old Daughter Abortion Pills

A mother has been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison for helping her teen daughter obtain an illegal abortion. Jennifer Ann Whalen pleaded guilty to buying her 16-year-old daughter abortion pills online from Europe. Whalen, a single mom who lives in Pennsylvania and works as a home health aide, said that she wasn't located near any clinics that offered free abortions and that she didn't have health insurance that would cover a hospital stay. Buying the pills online violated a state law that requires an abortion to be performed by a physician.


While it's understandable that we need laws that say surgical abortions should be done by medical professionals -- they used to be done in all manner of unsafe ways by people without medical credentials -- the reality is that when you make abortions virtually impossible to obtain, women will find a way around that. It is the lack of safe alternatives that makes dangerous alternatives so tempting.

While the teen was hospitalized for severe cramping and bleeding, this is what happens during a spontaneous miscarriage, which is what an abortion pill would cause.

According to Pennsylvania's abortion law, a non-surgical abortion must be performed at less than nine weeks (unclear how far along the teen was). One to three days must be taken off school or work for the process. A transvaginal ultrasound must be given. And counseling must be received. Quite a complex process and not feasible for everyone, especially the working poor. Clearly the intent here is to make it very difficult for the average woman to get the abortion pill or even consider it.

But now this mom will be in jail and unable to support her child at all. Doesn't exactly sound like family values. Keep in mind this is a single mom. Unclear where the dad is or if he is now going to support her since the mom can't.

The mother has also been fined $1,000 and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.

More from The Stir: Mom Forced to Have Baby at 25 Weeks After Asking for Abortion

This is why abortions must be kept safe, legal, and easier to access. Without that, moms and daughters will do what they need to do. The crime here is that an abortion wasn't accessible to this teen and that health care with a hospital stay wasn't accessible to this mom.

Do you think this mom should be put in jail?


Image via Hamed Saber/Flickr

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