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Two women charged with illegal abortion in Virginia

May 21, 2013 at 2:56 PM

NORFOLK, Va., May 21 (UPI) -- Two Virginia women tried to induce an abortion that ended with one woman's preterm baby dying shortly after birth, authorities allege.

Jessica Renee Carpenter, 20 and her roommate, Rachael Anne Lowe, 27, were each charged April 30 with one count of producing an illegal abortion. The charge carries a prison term of between two and 10 years if they are convicted. The Norfolk women, who also are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a felony, are free on bail pending a June 20 hearing.

Police said Carpenter, who was 25 weeks pregnant -- near the end of her second trimester -- and Lowe conspired to end Carpenter's pregnancy. Norfolk Child Protection Services received an anonymous tip that Carpenter and Lowe planned to visit a drug store and buy things Carpenter could ingest to induce the abortion.

On April 11, Carpenter turned up at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center in labor. She gave birth to a boy who died about 20 minutes after being born, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday.

Lowe previously worked at a women's health clinic as a janitor. The clinic provides abortions to women who are 14 weeks or less past their last menstrual cycle. The clinic's doctor told the newspaper Lowe had no medical training or duties though she would sometimes hold a woman's hand while she was undergoing a procedure, including an abortion.

Lowe quit the job via text message last year, the doctor said.

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