On Wednesday, Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards stated that murder charges against Kenlissia Jones would be dropped.
Jones, 23, had been arrested and charged with “malice murder” Saturday after her five-month-old fetus died from her ingesting an abortion pill called Cytotec, which warns that it should only be used in the first trimester of pregnancy. Jones gave birth in a car on her way to the hospital after taking the pills; according to a family member, the child died 30 minutes after Jones’ arrival at the hospital.
“Ms. Jones had been charged by the Albany Police Department for the offense of malice murder,” Edwards said. “However, this morning, I dismissed that malice murder warrant after thorough legal research by myself and my staff led to the conclusion that Georgia law presently does not permit prosecution of Ms. Jones for any alleged acts relating to the end of her pregnancy.”
Although third parties could be criminally prosecuted for their actions relating to an illegal abortion… the criminal prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own actions against her unborn child does not seem permitted. Having researched the matter, an overwhelming majority of jurisdictions confronted with the prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own prenatal conduct that ultimately causes harm or death to the subsequently born child does not permit such prosecutions.
Jones was released from custody when she said she would face a misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous drug.
According to prosecutors, Jones bought the drug from Canada through the Internet. Pathologists performed an autopsy on the baby boy to see if the baby ever breathed, which would officially rule that a live birth occurred. Jones has a son, Qaden, who is 20 months old.
Ricco Riggins, Jones’ brother, said that his sister has been pregnant three times, and told the Washington Post that he had known of only one child, Qaden, until he found out later that a second child born within the last year had been given away.
He said his sister has had trouble with the law before, and asserted that she has mental problems, adding, “The family is poor, so there’s not a lot of funds and everything. She felt like she didn’t have any money to get an abortion the legal way, and so as a result of not having money and being in a position of no resources, she ended up doing it the illegal way to not bring another child in the world… to not burden anyone else or burden herself.”
Jones’s mother told The Post after she spoke to Jones in jail that she doesn’t think “her mind is really there.”