Woman Prosecuted for Seeking to End Her Own Pregnancy (GA)

Georgia v. Kenlissia Jones

In 2015, Kenlissia Jones was arrested and held without bond in Georgia on the charge of "malice murder" for allegedly using the drug misoprostol to have an abortion at home, outside of a medical setting. After Pregnancy Justice and local allies spoke out again st the arrest, the County prosecutor concluded that there existed no legal grounds in Georgia for charging a pregnant woman with murder for terminating her own pregnancy (and issued a press release to that effect). While the murder charge against Ms. Jones was dropped and she was released from jail, this occurred only after she had endured the trauma of an arrest, incarceration for several days, and violation of her rights to medical and personal privacy.

Ms. Jones still faced a misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous drug – misoprostol. According to the World Health Organization and medical research, misoprostol is not a "dangerous" drug. It is used safely around the world for a wide variety of obstetric and gynecological health care needs, including treatment of postpartum hemorrhage and safe termination of pregnancy. Moreover, public health principle s and human rights demand that all women be able to speak confidentially to health care providers a bout the use of any drug during pregnancy, without fear of arrest and prosecution.

Pregnancy Justice and Ms. Jones’s defense counsel prepared motions to dismiss the case and to suppress and exclude evidence. The remaining charge was dropped in 2016, but neither Ms. Jones nor her counsel was informed of this until March 2017 . Ms. Jones filed a civil rights lawsuit challenging the improper criminal proceedings, violations of medical privacy, and denial of health care while incarcerated.


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