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Georgia Drops Murder Charge Against Woman Who Took Abortion Pills

Prosecutors made the decision after closely reviewing Georgia law, which states a woman cannot be charged with feticide relating to her own pregnancy.
June 10, 2015, 5:35pm
Photo via Dougherty Police

 Prosecutors in Georgia have dropped murder charges placed against a woman who took abortion pills she bought online to terminate her pregnancy.

Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said in a statement Wednesday that this morning he had retracted the malice murder warrant against Kenlissia Jones, 23, after determining that women cannot be prosecuted for feticide on their own pregnancies under Georgia law.

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"Thorough legal research by myself and my staff led to the conclusion that Georgia law presently does not permit prosecution of Ms. Jones for any alleged acts relating to the end of her pregnancy," Edwards said. "Although third parties could be criminally prosecuted for their actions relating to an illegal abortion, as the law currently stands in Georgia, criminal prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own actions against her unborn child does not seem permitted."

"Applicable criminal law and statutes provide explicit immunity from prosecution for a pregnant woman for any unlawful termination of her pregnancy," he added.

Related: Woman Charged with Murder After Terminating Pregnancy with 'Abortion Pill'

Jones is still facing charges for possession of a dangerous drug after reportedly taking four Cytotec pills that she purchased on the internet "to induce labor" after breaking up with her boyfriend, a hospital social worker told police. Jones delivered the fetus in the car on the way to the hospital. The fetus reportedly lived for 30 minutes.

Police reports do not state how many months pregnant Jones was when she delivered the fetus, but authorities had reportedly said earlier they believed she was 5 1/2 months pregnant, according to WALB-TV.

Jones reportedly took the drug, also known as Misoprostal, which can be bought online for under $15 and is listed alongside Plan B and other "abortion pills."

Cytotec is primarily marketed as an anti-inflammatory used to treat stomach ulcers or arthritis. However, the drug also finds off-label use among obstetricians, studies say, despite FDA warnings that using Cytotec to induce labor or miscarriage may cause ruptures in the uterus and cause harm to the mother or fetus.

After giving birth, Jones was reportedly arrested and transported to Dougherty County Jail. She has since been released.

Malice murder in Georgia is punishable by death or life imprisonment without chance of parole.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.