District attorney drops 'abortion pill' murder charge

Published: Jun. 10, 2015 at 2:50 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2015 at 6:18 PM EDT
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Dougherty County District Attorney said he has dismissed the murder charge against Kenlissia Jones, whose five-month fetus was delivered after she took an 'abortion pill.'

District Attorney Greg Edwards outlined much of a statement he released Wednesday in a news conference. But he said that he would be open to any further efforts by police in the case.

Jones was released from custody Wednesday after agreeing to appear in court for a misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous drug.

"Ms. Jones had been charged by the Albany Police Department for the offense of malice murder. However, this morning, I dismissed that malice murder warrant after thorough legal research by myself and my staff led to the conclusion that Georgia law presently does not permit prosecution of Ms. Jones for any alleged acts relating to the end of her pregnancy," District Attorney Greg Edwards said in a release.

Prosecutors said she purchased a drug called Cytotec from a source in Canada over the Internet, which caused her to deliver the baby boy, who died after about half an hour at a hospital.

GBI pathologists checked samples from the baby Tuesday, after an autopsy was ordered.

Fowler said part of the need for the autopsy was to determine if the baby ever took a breath, which could help officially rule that a birth occurred.

As of Wednesday morning, officials did not announce any ruling on whether a birth occurred.

Jones has another son who is just under two years old.

In addition, Edwards said that fundamentally, the issues at the heart of the case are legislative issues, for lawmakers to define.

Georgia Law On Abortions

In Georgia, women have explicit immunity from prosecution for any unlawful termination of their own pregnancy.

In part, District Attorney Greg Edwards' statement also said, "although third parties could be criminally prosecuted for their actions relating to an illegal abortion... the criminal prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own actions against her unborn child does not seem permitted."

"Having researched the matter," Edwards said, "an overwhelming majority of jurisdictions confronted with the prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own prenatal conduct that ultimately causes harm or death to the subsequently born child does not permit such prosecutions."

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