Dougherty County, Georgia, district attorney Greg Edwards dropped the malice murder charge Wednesday pending against 23-year-old Kenlissia Jones who was arrested over the weekend after using an “abortion pill” and delivering a fetus that did not survive. But he says he will still pursue a misdemeanor charge for possession of a dangerous drug. Jones allegedly purchased Cytotec from an online pharmacy without a prescription. She has been released from custody and reunited with her one-year-old son.
“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,” Edwards said in a statement about the case. He told The Associated Press that the police charged her without consulting his office, adding that they used “their best understanding of the law,” but that they didn’t get it right.
National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) agrees that the arrest should have never happened. “As a result of the state’s actions, Ms. Jones had to endure the trauma of arrest, imprisonment, and the profound violation of her rights to physical liberty as well as medical and personal privacy,” the organization said in a statement. “A person’s health decisions during pregnancy—including the decision to end a pregnancy—should never be the subject of criminal investigation, arrest, prosecution, or public disclosure of medical information without consent. It is especially troubling to see a young black mother of a toddler charged with a crime that carries the death penalty.”
The organization also takes issue with the dangerous drug possession charge. Misoprostol, the generic name for Cytotec, is used for many things, from the treatment of ulcers to the prevention of excessive bleeding after childbirth to the inducement of legal nonsurgical abortion. NAPW has challenged Edwards to drop the drug charge against Jones.