Massachusetts Teenager in Self-Abortion Case Given Pre-Trial Probation

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 3, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Teenager in Self-Abortion Case Given Pre-Trial Probation

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 3
, 2008

Salem, MA ( — Massachusetts teenager Amber Abreu, an 18-year-old who was arrested after she used an anti-ulcer drug to kill her unborn child, has been given pre-trial probation. Abreu’s case has reopened the question of whether the Roe v. Wade decision established a woman’s right to an abortion on herself.

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 in January 2007 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 in the case say 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. As a result, she has been charged with producing a miscarriage.

On Monday, Salem Superior Court Judge David Lowy Monday gave Abreu a pre-trial probation, according to an AP report.

Judge Lowy also ordered Abreu to complete a mental health evaluation and have treatment as indicated.

If Abreu complies with the order, the judge said he would dismiss the charges against her.

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.

Last March, Abreu talked with the Eagle Tribune 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.