A Pennsylvania mom was sentenced to prison for her daughter’s abortion. The woman, Ann Whalen, obtained abortion pills and gave them to her daughter to end the girl’s pregnancy.
Whalen, 39, pleaded guilty in August to obtaining the pills from an online site in Europe. MSN News reports that her daughter, who was 16 at the time, didn’t want the child.
The Pennsylvania mom was sentenced Friday by Montour County Court of Common Pleas Judge Gary Norton. She will serve 12 months to 18 months in prison for violating a state law that requires abortions to be performed by physicians.
Whalen will also have to pay a fine of $1,000 and perform 40 hours of community service once she is released from prison. The maximum sentence for the felony offense is seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. It is unclear why Norton chose the smaller sentence for the mother who helped her daughter’s abortion.
Matthew Bingham Banks, Whalen’s lawyer, previously noted that criminal prosecutions like this are not common. The mom told authorities she helped her daughter have an abortion because there was no local clinic available to go to, and her daughter didn’t have health insurance to cover a hospital abortion.
Instead, the mom ordered a pill from a European pharmacy designed to induce miscarriage. Her daughter took the pills and experienced severe cramping and bleeding. Whalen took her to a hospital near her home for treatment, according to local newspaper the Press Enterprise.
The closest abortion clinic to Whalen’s home is about 74 miles away in Harrisburg, Virginia.
Pro-choice advocates have warned that, should abortion be restricted, cases like Whalen’s will become more common. In response, pro-life advocates have suggested that laws like Pennsylvania’s are in place to help people. Such laws punish abortion providers who do not use a licensed physician.
The Pennsylvania case follows a different kind of abortion case in Florida. A man pleaded guilty to tricking his girlfriend into taking an abortion pill. The man was sentenced in January to 13 years in prison and must pay $28,500 in restitution. Florida followed the case in June by toughening state law to allow prosecutions in the death of non-viable fetuses.
Whalen is a single mother and home health nurse. Her attorney explained that his client understands “her decision was poor.” While she attempted to avoid a hospital stay for her daughter by using the abortion pills, the teenager ended up in the hospital anyway.
[Image: WFMY News]