GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A woman is facing charges in Greenville, accused of breaking a controversial law. The police report said her crime was taking an abortion pill.
The alleged crime happened in October 2021.
Greenville Police said after taking a pill to end her pregnancy, the woman went to the hospital and gave birth to a stillborn baby girl.
According to the police report, the woman is now facing charges for abortion/performing or soliciting abortion.
They said she gave birth to a stillborn baby at 25 weeks, 4 days gestation.
“I don’t think this has ever happened before to my knowledge,” said Greenville attorney John Reckenbeil.
When contractions began, the report said she went to St. Francis, and when the baby was stillborn, the hospital called the Greenville County Coroner’s Office.
“The hospital did nothing wrong. The hospital was in a situation where they have an affirmative duty to report,” said Reckenbeil.
The investigation continued until September 2022 and the woman in question was arrested just days ago. The police department said they just located her and she had two warrants on her, including failure to appear.
South Carolina is one of only three states to criminalize self-managed abortions.
Reckenbeil said the timing of this case is important.
“When the incident took place back in 2021, that was before the Federal Supreme Court did away with Roe v. Wade,” he said.
The attorney said that over the past few years, there has been such a transition of federal versus state law.
“It’s flipped, where the federal law used to have protection of the right to privacy for abortions. Now, the Supreme Court of South Carolina is the one that instituted the right to privacy as of January 25, 2023,” said Reckenbeil.
In February 2021, the fetal heartbeat bill was passed in South Carolina.
“No doctor in this state is going to jeopardize two years of imprisonment to perform any sort of abortions,” said the attorney. “So, if an individual in October 2021 is thinking about this, they don’t have any other option, because of the fact that the fetal heartbeat bill, which has now been deemed unconstitutional.”
Right now, Reckenbeil said there are limitations to abortions in the state.
“In a second trimester, up to 24 weeks, you have to have the consent and it has to be done by a physician. With consultation, basically like the life of the mother is at risk,” he said.
According to Reckenbeil, the state’s case will hinge on two things: whether or not the pregnancy was viable and whether or not the Constitution protects this woman’s right to make the choice to end her pregnancy.
The police department said they will not release specifics of when the pill was taken before the trial.
Even if the state is trying to pass a new law now, Reckenbeil said because of ex post facto, it will not apply to the woman’s actions back in 2021.
The police department said the woman posted bail and was out the next day.
7NEWS did reach out to the South Carolina Attorney General’s office to see if this has been prosecuted before, we have not heard back.