Mum jailed for helping daughter get an abortion

Jennifer Whalen, 39, was accused of child abuse and assault after helping her 16-year-old have an abortion

S00M6Y

by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

Earlier this month, Jennifer Whalen, a 39-year-old mother from Pennsylvania, America, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for helping her daughter take medication abortion she had ordered online.

READ: MIRACLE BABY SURVIVES MISCARRIAGE AND ABORTION PILL

Speaking with New York Times magazine, the heartbroken mother - who has revealed she is "scared" to face jail time - revealed that her 16-year-old daughter came to her in the winter of 2012 to tell her she was pregnant.

Jennifer told her little girl that she would “support her in any decision she made", and, after taking some time to think, her daughter told her mother she wanted an abortion.

Her 16-year-old daughter wasn't ready to have a baby (stock image)
Her 16-year-old daughter wasn't ready to have a baby (stock image)

“She said, ‘I can’t have a baby right now,’ and she asked me to look up clinics,” Jennifer revealed.

But the closest abortion clinic was 75 miles away, and Pennsylvania has a mandatory waiting period law in place that requires women to go through counselling and a 24-hour waiting period before terminating unwanted pregnancies.

READ: SHOULD PREGNANT DRUG ADDICTS BE CHARGED WITH ASSAULT AGAINST THEIR UNBORN BABY?

In addition, the procedure would cost between $300 and $600. Jennifer, who works at a retirement home, just couldn't afford it.

And she hadn’t told her husband about the pregnancy. “I knew he would be upset, and I was protecting the whole family,” she said.

Jennifer knew she had to help her daughter (stock image)

After searching online for more solutions, Jennifer found an abortion pill online for $45.

“I read all the information,” she said. “They said these pills would help give a miscarriage, and they were the same ones a doctor would give you.”

WATCH: WOMAN FILMS HERSELF HAVING AN ABORTION TO PROVE IT 'ISN'T SCARY'

She didn't realise that administering it to her daughter was illegal.

When the drugs arrived, about five days later, Jennifer and her daughter read the instructions to make sure of the correct dosage and to know how to look for complications.

(stock image)

After her daughter took the pills, she started bleeding, as if she were having her period.

Jennifer said: “Then she started having stomach pains, and she got scared, so that was when I took her to the hospital.

"At first, she didn’t want me to tell the hospital anything. I told her, ‘We have to, so they can take care of you the way they need to.’”

READ: NEW ABORTION COMEDY FILM TO HIT CINEMAS THIS SUMMER

She took her daughter to the emergency room — where she was told her daughter's miscarriage was complete and that there were no complications - and doctors reported her to child-protective services as a result.

A trip to the hospital revealed that Jennifer's daughter was fine - but it meant that she was reported to police (stock image)

A few days later, the police showed up at Jennifer's house - and, a few months later, the mum was charged with a felony for offering medical consultation about abortion without a medical license and with three misdemeanors: for endangering the welfare of a child, dispensing drugs without being a pharmacist and assault.

Elizabeth Nash, a researcher at the Guttmacher Institute, has slammed the decision.

She said: “Her situation is very scary legally, because we are seeing the number of clinics dwindle.

“If women don’t have access to abortion clinics, some will turn to the Internet, and then, will they be charged with a crime?”

Jennifer, despite the consequences of her actions, is still happy she took the decision to protect her child, proudly revealing that her daughter is now going to college and working two jobs.

Would you have done the same in Jennifer's position?

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us