Two Virginia women are being charged with inducing an abortion using herbs they purchased at a local supplement store, according to Norfolk-based WTKR-TV.
The women are Jessica Carpenter, 20, and Rachel Lowe, 27. Court documents allege that Lowe, a former employee of the Tidewater Women’s Clinic in Norfolk, helped Carpenter induce a miscarriage at six months into her pregnancy using a combination of herbs.
Lea Smith, one of their mutual friends, told WTKR-TV that she heard them discussing an induced miscarriage. She contacted police when the infant died after being born prematurely.
Tidewater Women’s Clinic owner Dr. David Peters told the station that Lowe was never involved in any medical procedures, insisting that she was hired to do clerical work and occasionally comfort nervous patients.
He added that inducing a miscarriage with herbal supplements, a practice that goes back hundreds of years, is extremely dangerous and could have killed Carpenter. Peters also noted that the survival rate for babies born after just six months of gestation is “at best 50 percent, maybe 60 percent.” WTKR-TV did not obtain the baby’s autopsy results, and the two accused women refused to comment.
Virginia law considers self-inducing an abortion a Class 4 felony, carrying a jail sentence of no less than two years and no more than 10, along with a fine of up to $100,000.
Virginia is one of the states on the front lines of the anti-abortion movement, passing laws in recent years to require women undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound before having an abortion and implementing targeted regulations designed to force every last clinic in the state to shut down.
It’s not clear whether these policies affected Carpenter’s situation, but many pro-choice activists believe the prevalence of homespun herbal abortions will increase as women lose access to clinics that perform safe, medically supervised abortions and dispense clinically pure drugs that cause miscarriage.
Stephen C. Webster
May 22, 2013
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.