A Pennsylvania mother was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Friday for giving her 16-year-old daughter abortion pills.
Jennifer Ann Whalen, a nursing home aide, was found guilty of violating a state law that says abortions must be performed by a physician.
Whalen bought misoprostol and mifepristone online from Europe for $45 in 2012, and gave them to her pregnant 16-year-old daughter to cause a miscarriage.
Slate reported that the mother told police that there was no abortion clinic nearby, the closest clinic would have charged $500, and her daughter did not have health insurance to pay for the abortion. The closest abortion clinic to Washingtonville is 74 miles away in Harrisburg. Whalen also said she didn't know she needed a prescription for the drugs.
According to the Press Enterprise, the teen experienced acute cramping and bleeding, and was taken to Geisinger Medical Center. Medical records obtained by police show that she was "treated for an incomplete abortion and a urinary tract infection".
Last week, Montour County Court of Common Pleas Judge Gary Norton sentenced Whalen to 12 to 18 months in prison for the felony crime, fined her $1,000, and ordered her to perform 40 hours of community service upon her release. She could have received up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine for the crime. Her attorney, Matthew Bingham Banks, said the case was uncommon.
Whalen's sentencing follows a case in Florida in which a man gave his girlfriend an abortion pill and told her it was an antibiotic. John Andrew Walden admitted that he scratched the identifying labelling off a bottle of Cytotec – a drug that induces labour and can cause abortions. His then girlfriend, Remee Jo Lee, lost the baby, and filed charges against him.
"I was never going to do anything but go full term with it, and he didn't want me to," Lee told WPTV News.
In January, Walden was sentenced to 13 years in prison, and ordered to pay $28,500 in restitution.