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U.K. mother sentenced to prison for using abortion pills during last trimester of pregnancy

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London – A mother of three has been sentenced to more than a year in prison in the U.K. for taking abortion pills after the legal time limit. 

Prosecutors said Carla Foster, 44, who became pregnant in 2019, was sent abortion pills in the mail by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) after information she provided led them to estimate that she was seven weeks pregnant. Rules in the U.K. allow for abortions to be carried out at home with pills through the 10th week of pregnancy, and in a clinic generally until 24 weeks.

Prosecutors said Foster searched online for “how to hide a pregnancy bump,” “how to have an abortion without going to the doctor,” and “how to lose a baby at six months” between February and May 2020.

In May 2020, she allegedly took the pills. A call to emergency services was made and she had a stillbirth, prosecutors said.

A postmortem examination of the fetus determined the cause of death to be the use of the abortion medications, and Foster was estimated to have been between 32 and 34 weeks pregnant, according to Press Association (PA), the British news agency.

Foster has said she moved back in with her estranged partner, who was not the person who impregnated her, at the beginning of the U.K.’s coronavirus lockdown in 2020. Her lawyer, Barry White, indicated that the circumstances of the lockdown may have affected her decision to acquire the medications.

“The restrictions placed on services to advise women may explain why there were so many internet searches for information on behalf of the defendant,” White said, according to PA. “The defendant may well have made use of services had they been available at the time. This will haunt her forever.”

Ahead of the hearing, a number of women’s health organizations sent a letter to the judge asking for leniency, but their request was denied, CBS News partner network BBC News reported.

The prison sentence sparked a backlash among rights groups in the U.K., which criticized the prosecution’s decision to bring the case to trial. Groups have called for urgent reform to the U.K.’s abortion law, which is based on an 1861 act that can bring a life sentence if certain conditions are not met.

“What possible purpose is served in criminalising and imprisoning this woman, when at most she needs better access to healthcare and other support? She is clearly already traumatised by the experience and now her children will be left without their mother for over a year,” Harriet Wistrich, director at the Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ), told PA. “When most forms of violence against women and girls go unpunished [in the U.K.] this sentence confirms our very worst fears about contemporary attitudes to women’s basic human rights and an utterly misdirected criminal justice system.”

The chief executive of BPAS, Clare Murphy, the organization that provided the pills to Foster, also called on lawmakers to reform the regulations.

“This is a tremendously sad story and underscores the desperate need for legal reform in relation to reproductive health,” Murphy told the Press Association. “No woman can ever go through this again.”

A spokesperson for U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told BBC News that the government had no plans to reform Britain’s abortion laws.

“Our laws as they stand balance a woman’s right to access safe and legal abortions with the rights of an unborn child,” the spokesperson said.



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Houthis claim responsibility for deadly Tel Aviv drone strike

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Houthis claim responsibility for deadly Tel Aviv drone strike – CBS News


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One person was killed and several more wounded when a drone exploded in central Tel Aviv early Friday morning, about a block from the U.S. consulate. Yemen-based Houthi militants have claimed responsibility for the attack, which pierced through Israel’s sophisticated air defense system. It’s unclear exactly what the target was. Debora Patta reports from Tel Aviv.

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Federal agencies raise security concerns after Trump assassination attempt

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Federal agencies raise security concerns after Trump assassination attempt – CBS News


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Nearly a week after the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump, federal authorities still don’t have a motive for the shooting. Earlier this week, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security released an updated security bulletin outlining threats they are monitoring ahead of the November election. CBS News national security contributor Sam Vinograd joins with analysis.

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U.S. celebrates 55 years since Apollo 11 moon landing

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U.S. celebrates 55 years since Apollo 11 moon landing – CBS News


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This weekend marks 55 years since the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao joins CBS News to look back on the small step for man and giant leap for mankind.

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