Several years ago, Jennifer Ann Whalen, of Pennsylvania, a 39 year old mother, helped her pregnant 16 year old daughter, who did not want to be pregnant, get abortion drugs from an internet site. They used these to induce an abortion, and they did this because of the lack of safe, legal, affordable abortion care in the area they lived. The nearest abortion clinic was 75 miles away, and her daughter didn’t have health insurance.
For this she was convicted of violating a state law that requires abortions to be performed by a physician, and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Four points are extremely relevant to highlight and are related to where things are headed with the attacks on abortion and birth control rights:
ABORTION RIGHTS ARE IN A STATE OF EMERGENCY: Throughout the US there is an abortion rights emergency, headed quickly towards disaster for women. In 2014 Texas saw the biggest round of clinic closures ever to hit a single state since abortion was legalized in 1973, and it’s not over yet. Texas, a state of roughly 13 million women, went from having 44 abortion clinics to just 19 in one year, and depending on a 5th circuit court ruling, could be left with only 7. Six states have only one abortion clinic. These restrictive laws, attacks on abortion doctors, harassment and stigma heaped on women that seek abortion, and mass closures of clinics, have driven women to take matters into their own hands, risking their lives in order to not be forced to bear children they do not want.
ABORTION IS BEING CRIMINALIZED: The doctor at the hospital that Whalen took her daughter to (after her daughter began having severe cramping and bleeding 2 weeks after taking the abortion drugs) turned her into the police and set in motion a criminal investigation. This is outrageous, and sets dangerous precedent for other women; who may decide after they risk self-abortion, that they cannot risk seeking professional medical help if they need it. 5,000 women a year died before Roe made abortion legal, and emergency rooms were filled with women that had uterine infections. If we continue on the current course, abortion will become an outright crime, and then not only will graveyards and emergency rooms fill with women, the jails will also fill with women. Women whose only crime was to want a life other than becoming a mother.
(Even women that want to become mothers, but who have miscarriages, health crises, or addiction issues are increasingly facing jail time. Indeed- some already are. From 1973 to 2005 the National Advocates for Pregnant Women study identifies 413 cases where pregnant women were arrested, incarcerated, detained in in hospitals or mental institutions, and forced to undergo medical treatments- including surgery. This number is currently on the rise due to “fetal homicide” and “child endangerment” laws. A fetus is NOT a child, abortion is NOT Homicide, and women are NOT state-mandated incubators.
ABORTION IS NOT A CRIME! WOMEN THAT DON’T WANT TO BECOME MOTHERS ARE NOT CRIMINALS! NO JAIL TIME for Jennifer Ann Whalen, and NO SHAME for her daughter, or any woman that seeks abortion. Whalen has been sentenced to more time than the likes of Rick Perry, Greg Abbott, and the other ruling class functionaries that are responsible for instituting vicious, woman-hating, anti-abortion laws. They are the real criminals, with the blood of women on their hands. Whalen has been fined $1,000 and sentenced to 12-18 months in prison, and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service. If she had been convicted on all counts, she could have been sentenced to 7 years, and up to $15,000 in fines. She was charged with medical consultation, unlawfully dispensing medicine, endangering the life of a child, and simple assault. Medical consultation is a 3rd degree felony. This is OUTRAGEOUS, and UNACCEPTABLE! All charges and fines should be dropped immediately!
THERE IS A MOVEMENT THAT YOU SHOULD JOIN: to fight against the attacks on women and abortion rights, and for the liberation of women! Everyone has an interest in fighting for women’s liberation. Women are half of humanity, and if women cannot even make the essential decision about when and whether to become mothers, if women are forced into motherhood against their will, then they are enslaved. If women are not free, then no one is free. This sentence against Jennifer Ann Whalen should be reversed! Also, the movement to reverse this overall war on women must grow!
* CORRECTION to original post: Whalen is married, not single.