The district attorney’s office in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, announced Thursday that prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against a teenage girl who allegedly self-induced an abortion.
According to The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City law enforcement said that in 2012, a 16-year-old girl, whose name was not released because she was a minor at the time, intentionally took medication in order to terminate a pregnancy. A spokesperson from the district attorney’s office said that there was not enough evidence to file charges against the girl.
Responding to the news, reproductive rights advocates said that they fear the laws being implemented in the state that restrict access to abortion services will cause cases of self-induced abortion to become much more prevalent.
Jill June, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, told RH Reality Check that the dilemma women in Oklahoma face is completely “asinine.” June said that while it is illegal to terminate a pregnancy without the supervision of a licensed physician, lawmakers continue to pass legislation that cuts off a woman’s access to such physicians.
Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed into law SB 1848, which among other things requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The new law is expected to close two of the state’s three abortion providers, leaving only Reproductive Services in Tulsa as the lone abortion provider.
SB 1848 was modeled after a Texas law, which has severely restricted access to reproductive health care in that state, most notably in the Rio Grande Valley. The law also has been duplicated in other states, including Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Alabama.
“The recent passage of this dangerous legislation in several states, including in Oklahoma, only reduces a woman’s access to safe, legal abortion,” said June. “Women will not stop needing abortion care. Fortunately, the young woman in this instance will not face criminal charges, but many other women will risk prosecution and compromise their own health and safety in order to end a pregnancy.”