Woman jailed for illegal abortion loses appeal

Carla Foster, mother of three, lied about her due date to get abortion drugs

Carla Foster, mother of three, lied about her due date to get abortion drugs

A woman imprisoned for more than two years for taking abortion pills outside the legal time limit has had her appeal against her conviction dismissed.

Carla Foster, mother-of-three, from Barlaston, Staffs, took abortion-inducing medication when the rules were eased during the first Covid lockdown, when she was 32-34 weeks pregnant.

The 44-year-old lied to a nurse over the phone in May 2020 about how far she had traveled to get the medication, after an online search: “I need to have an abortion but I’m past 24 weeks. The legal limit on abortions except in extreme circumstances.

Last week, she was sentenced to 28 months in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of administering drugs or using instruments to obtain an abortion.

An appeal against his sentence was dismissed by Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday.

Foster’s attorneys still have the option of taking the case to the Court of Appeal.

“Passionate Public Debate”

Dismissing the appeal, Justice Pepperall said: “Carla Foster’s imprisonment has sparked heated public debate against the law to criminalize late-term abortions.

“My duty was to apply the law as provided by Parliament and to pass sentence in accordance with the directions given by the Court of Appeal.

“I was aware that this case had been hanging over her since May 2020 and I considered the delay as well as all other aggravating and mitigating factors in this case to determine the appropriate sentence after the trial was three years, rather than five years, imposed by the Court of Appeal in RV Catt.

“In this case, the delay was similar in Catt. I conclude that there is no valid reason to reconsider the sentence and I dismiss the request.

Foster had claimed she felt too ’embarrassed’ to see a doctor after falling pregnant in 2019 and was unsure where she stood.

Prosecutors previously told a court that she conducted several internet searches between February and May 2020, including “how to lose a baby at six months” and “how to hide a pregnancy bump”.

Matt Hancock, then health secretary, approved a change to abortion rules on March 30, 2020, allowing services to prescribe and deliver pills over the phone.

Women previously had to go to a clinic for an in-person appointment before taking the pills at home.

“last 24 weeks”

Three and a half weeks after this change, Foster did an online search: “I need an abortion but I’m past 24 weeks.”

She lied to a British Pregnancy Advisory Service nurse practitioner in a phone call 12 days later, convincing them she was seven weeks pregnant.

The drugs mifepristone and misoprostol were then sent to her home, the first of which she took on May 9, and the last two days later.

That evening, as she called 999 to say she was in labor, she had a miscarriage and her daughter Lily was stillborn.

A post-mortem examination determined that the child was between 32 and 34 weeks gestation.

Foster was initially charged with destroying children and pleaded not guilty.

She then pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of Section 58 of the Offenses Against the Person Act 1861, administration of drugs or use of instruments to cause an abortion, which was accepted by the prosecution.

She was sentenced to 28 months in prison, of which 14 months were in custody and the rest under license after her release.

The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

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