A Woman Has Been Arrested for Allegedly Taking Abortion Pills

By Carter Sherman

The case is sure to spark fears among abortion rights advocates about the future of self-managed abortion.


A South Carolina woman was arrested and charged earlier this week after she allegedly took abortion pills to end her pregnancy over a year ago.

The case dates back to October 2021, when the woman turned to a Greenville, South Carolina, hospital for medical help, according to local news outlet the State, which first reported the news. She reportedly told medical personnel that she had taken the pills, and the Greenville County Coroner’s Office ultimately reported her to the police. A warrant for her arrest was signed in 2022.

This is the latest case of a woman facing criminal consequences for self-managing her abortion, and it’s sure to spark fears among abortion rights advocates about the future of self-managed abortion. Performing your own abortion one of the few options available to the millions of abortion seekers who live in states that banned the procedure in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Typically, these abortion bans target abortion providers, not patients.

The woman passed a fetus that was determined to be 25 weeks and four days, according to the State. She reportedly posted a $2,500 bail and was released. It is not clear why there was such a delay between the alleged incident and her arrest.

Currently, South Carolina outlaws almost all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, the South Carolina legislature is currently weighing bills that would ban abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy or even from the point of conception. South Carolina is also one of just a handful of states in the country where self-managing your own abortion is explicitly illegal.

Self-managing an abortion early on in pregnancy can be medically safe; the World Health Organization even has recommended protocols for doing so. There are signs that more people are now turning to self-managed abortion since the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe: At least 20,000 packets of abortion pills are estimated to have been shipped to people in the country in the six months following the decision, VICE News reported last week.

Self-managing an abortion in any state can be legally risky. Between 2000 and 2020, law enforcement in 26 states investigated or arrested at least 61 people for allegedly being involved in a self-managed abortion, according to a report last year from the legal advocacy group If/When/How, which also runs a legal defense fund for people facing criminal consequences for self-managed abortion. In 45 percent of those cases, healthcare providers or social workers tipped off police.

A spokesperson for the Greenville Police department did not immediately return a VICE News request for comment, and If/When/How was not able to comment to VICE News on this specific case.

Originally Published: https://www.vice.com/en/article/n7ejw8/south-carolina-woman-arrested-taking-abortion-pills