Pennsylvania Mom Jennifer Whalen May Go to Jail For Providing Teenage Daughter Illegal Abortion Pill

| by Allison Geller

A Pennsylvania woman is facing jail time for giving her daughter an at-home abortion pill that sent her to the hospital with hemorrhaging.

Jennifer Whalen, 38, bought an illegal at-home abortion kit online for $45 when her 16-year-old daughter became pregnant in January 2012, the Daily Mail reports. The pregnancy was unwanted, and Whalen said she couldn’t find an abortion clinic and did not have health insurance for her daughter.

The kit came with two drugs: misoprostol and mifepristone. Two weeks after administering both, Whalen’s daughter complained of stomach pains. When she began bleeding, Whalen rushed her to the hospital.

According to medical records, the teen was treated at Geisinger Medical Center for an “incomplete abortion and a urinary tract infection.”

Whalen says she is a nurse, but she does not have a nursing license. She works for a nursing home near Danville, according to WNEP.

Two years have elapsed between the discovery of the botched abortion and the charges because the case "was unusual and investigators had to research the drugs involved and other elements of the situation,” according to the District Attorney. 

Whalen could face jail time for a felony count of medical consultation and judgment. She has also been charged with misdemeanors of not being licensed a pharmacist, endangering the welfare of a child, and assault. She has been freed on $25,000 bail and awaits her arraignment in March.

Emily Bazelon on Slate writes that tightened abortion restrictions have led to the prosecution of other women seeking to terminate their pregnancies. A mother in Idaho was 20 weeks pregnant when she took Mifeprex, because the procedure would have been too difficult and costly at a far-away abortion clinic. 

Sources: Daily Mail, WNEP, Slate