Massachusetts Teen’s Lawyers Want Charges Dismissed in Self-Abortion Case

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 4, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Teen’s Lawyers Want Charges Dismissed in Self-Abortion Case Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 4,

Lawrence, MA ( — Lawyers for a Massachusetts teenager Amber Abreu, an 18-year-old who was arrested after she used an anti-ulcer drug to kill her unborn child, want the charges dismissed. They are asking a local judge to dismiss the case saying that the Roe v. Wade decision established a woman’s right to an abortion, even on herself.

However, prosecutors in the case say that the Roe decision does not protect women in cases where they kill their own unborn child and that the Supreme Court has given states the right to protect babies before birth.

The Eagle Tribune newspaper indicates a hearing in the case is scheduled for January 29.

Abreu used the Cytotec ulcer drug that abortion advocates have sometimes encouraged use of despite warnings from its maker that it’s not intended for abortions.

The drug failed to kill the child immediately and Abreu eventually gave birth to a baby girl last January who weighed just 1.25 pounds. She was in the sixth month of pregnancy at the time she tried to abort the baby.

Despite the delivery, baby Ashley Abreu was unable to be saved and she died four days later at a local Boston hospital.

Prosecutors charged Abreu with illegally procuring a miscarriage, a 19th century law still on the books in the state.

Abreu’s attorneys, public defenders Denise Regan and Carol Cahill, told the newspaper they think the law shouldn’t be enforced because of the Roe decision.

A grand jury heard the case last year but prosecutors gave them various wrongful information about the facts of it. That led prosecutor Kate MacDougall to present the case to a new grand jury and to obtain a new indictment on the same charge.

The Eagle Tribune indicated Abreu was re-arraigned Thursday on the revised charges and is free on a $10,000 bail.

Last March, Abreu talked with the newspaper about the incident and said she regrets her decision.

"If I could turn back the clock, I would do things differently," Abreu told the Eagle Tribune newspaper in an interview. "Those people who judge me don’t know what I’m feeling inside."

She told the newspaper she named the baby Ashley because it sounded "almost angelic."

"This is going to haunt me for the rest of my life. I pray that one day, she (Ashley) can forgive me for making this decision. When I have a family, how am I going to explain to them what happened?"

Abreu said she was scared and confused when she found out she was pregnant and she got the ulcer drug Cytotec, which is also known as misoprostol, from a friend who had visited the Dominican Republic, where she is from, and that she took them over three days.

"I wasn’t sure if I was going to take the pills. I was afraid of what was going to happen," she said.

Some abortion practitioners engage in what is known as "off-label" use because it has been found to be relatively effective in producing contractions. The maker of that drug, Searle, has issued warnings in both the United States and Australia that the misuse is dangerous for women.