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Woman kept in police cell for 36 hours after stillbirth due to suspicions she had ‘illegal abortion’

A woman was kept in police custody for 36 hours after having a stillbirth because of suspicions she had an abortion after the legal cut-off point, it has been claimed.

UK abortion providers, who supported the woman, denied she had flouted the legal deadline and warned the treatment she endured “should be unthinkable in a civilised society”, with “no conceivable” public interest in holding her.

They added that the woman has been under investigation for a year and a half, but still not charged with any crime.

Jonathan Lord, medical director of MSI Reproductive Choices, one of the UK’s leading abortion providers, told The Independent the woman unexpectedly delivered a stillborn foetus at home that was about 24 weeks old.

Dr Lord, the co-chair of the British Society of Abortion Care Providers, who shared the woman’s story with The Independent, said: “She was shocked to give birth due to not knowing how far along pregnant she was. She was admitted to hospital.

“Because healthcare colleagues were suspicious, and knew she had been in touch with us, an abortion provider, as she told them, they suspected her of having an illegal abortion and called the police. But she wasn’t over the limit for a legal abortion.

Dr Lord said the experience of having an “extraordinarily unexpected” stillbirth before being taken into police custody during lockdown was “traumatic” and “distressing” for the woman.

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Source: The Independent, 5 July 2022


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