A woman who was jailed in June for killing her unborn child while being considerably over the legal limit for abortions in the UK has won her appeal and will now be released from prison, with an appeals judge saying the case called for “compassion, not punishment”.
Carla Foster, 45, had been sentenced to 28 months imprisonment — only 14 months of which, at most, would actually be served in prison — for using an abortion pill meant to be used on babies no older than ten weeks on a 32-to-34-week pregnancy. The case generated considerable interest, particularly from the left-wing press and activists, who called it wrong to jail a woman for killing her unborn child illegally.
Woman Who Lied to Get ‘Abortion by Post’ Pills to Kill Unborn Child Jailedhttps://t.co/AT7CYkexrA— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 13, 2023
Now a judge has appeared to side with that view, the BBC reports, with the Court of Appeal finding there is “no useful purpose” in keeping Foster in prison, and accordingly reducing her sentence”. Per the report, Judge Dame Victoria Sharp said it was a “very sad” cases which “calls for compassion, not punishment”.
The Court reduced the sentence from 28 months with 14 suspended, to 14 months suspended. This is a non-custodial sentence which in this case means as long as Foster is not convicted for another crime in the coming months, there will be no further repercussions for the illegal abortion.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, an abortion provider which also campaigns against Britain’s laws restricting abortions, hailed the ruling, with a spokesman saying they were delighted and that: “The court of appeal has today recognised that this cruel, antiquated law does not reflect the values of society today… Now is the time to reform abortion law so that no more women are unjustly criminalised for taking desperate actions at a desperate time in their lives.”
As reported at the time of the original conviction:
Judge Mr Justice Pepperall found that Carla Foster… made a “tragic and unlawful decision to obtain a very late abortion” with a pill meant to be used on pregnancies no further along than ten weeks. In fact, a post-mortem of baby Lily born after Foster took a dose of mifepristone on May 9th 2020 found it was between 32 and 34 weeks old.
In UK law, abortion is not legal after 24 weeks.
As British children’s and pregnancy charity, Tommy’s, says of children born at 33 weeks: “If your baby was born this week, they would be classed as moderate to late preterm. It’s unlikely that they will have any severe problems associated with being born prematurely”… the judge said that Foster knew she had been pregnant for months and had an internet search history looking for how to induce a miscarriage and how to get an abortion past the legal limit. The mother ultimately “gave false answers” during a remote consultation with an abortion provider called the British Pregnancy Advice Service to get the pills by deception.
The judge wrote that after taking the pills, Foster continued lying during her miscarriage and afterwards, telling paramedics, medical staff, and police she was not aware she was pregnant. Judge Pepperall wrote: “Your culpability is high in that your pregnancy was between 32-34 weeks’ gestation; you knew full well that your pregnancy was well beyond the legal limit of 24 weeks; you deliberately lied in order to bring yourself within the telemedical service for early medical abortions”.
Foster was able to access the pills without an in-person meeting with a medical professional because the United Kingdom had introduced abortions by post due to coronavirus lockdowns. While the move was said to be temporary, so-called home abortions via “telemedicine” were formalised and made permanent in 2022.