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The Internet is rallying around a woman who was arrested for taking abortion pills

Why did a Georgia prosecutor attempt to have 23-year-old Kenlissia Jones charged with murder?


Marisa Kabas


Posted on Jun 10, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 3:07 pm CDT

Kenlissia Jones, 23, was arrested last weekend in Georgia when she was found to have induced her own abortion with pills she bought online. Now, reproductive rights advocates on Twitter are using the hashtag #JusticeForKenlissia to express their support of Jones, arguing that her case was woefully mishandled by the Dougherty County police. 

Jones was admitted to the hospital last Saturday. A social worker at the hospital reported that she had taken four Cytotec pills, which the AP says “is a brand name for misoprostol, a prescription drug used in combination with mifepristone to induce non-surgical abortions.” 

After having given birth to her aborted child in a car on the way to the hospital, Jones was detained for three days. WALB reports that she was initially charged with murder and possession of a dangerous drug, prompting people to rally around her on social media with the hashtag #JusticeForKenlissa. (Note that Jones’s first name is spelled incorrectly in the most popular version of the hashtag.)

On Wednesday,  a Dougherty County prosecutor announced that he’d be dropping the murder charge against Jones. While that might seem like a win, the court still plans on prosecuting Kenlissia for a misdemeanor possession charge for the pills. 

At the time of her abortion, Jones was five and a half months pregnant, according to the WALB report. Georgia law states that women cannot have abortions after the first trimester, unless they are performed at a licensed hospital or surgical center.

But people on Twitter are pointing out that had Jones not lived in Georgia, a state that provides scant access to safe, legal abortions, she probably wouldn’t have risked her life by illegally procuring the pills online in the first place.

Although Jones was able to escape the murder charge, other women across the country are facing a similar fate. Last February, for instance, an Indiana judge sentenced 33-year-old Purvi Patel to 20 years in prison on charges of feticide, or the murder of a child. Patel, who comes from a religious Hindi family, was arrested after telling medical authorities that she had a miscarriage, disposing of the fetus in a dumpster. Prosecutors argued that Patel had tried to order abortion-inducing medication online prior to going into labor. 

H/T AP | Photo via Farm Studio Field/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jun 10, 2015, 6:26 pm CDT