Self-abortion (NYPL 125.50-125.55)

Abortion in the United States has been legal in every state since the United States Supreme Court decision on January 22, 1973. In 1970, New York passed the most permissive abortion law in America, one that defined the state as the country’s abortion refuge. The law made it possible for women to terminate their pregnancies for virtually any reason within certain gestational time limits.

While abortion is generally legal in New York, under certain circumstances it is not.

The Empire State requires a licensed doctor to perform the procedure. But all states, including New York, have some abortion restrictions. An abortion is justifiable if it is:

  1. Committed with the consent of the pregnant woman by a licensed physician under a reasonable belief that such is necessary to preserve the pregnant woman’s life, or
  2. Performed on a woman who no more than 24 weeks pregnant.

In order to be charged with performing an unlawful abortion, it is not necessary that you have performed the abortion on another person.

A self-induced abortion or self-induced miscarriage is an abortion performed by the pregnant woman herself outside the recognized medical system. The term includes abortions induced through legal, over the counter medication, as well as alternative, sometimes more dangerous means. The practices may represent a threat to the health of the woman and an unsuccessful attempt to induce such an abortion can cause lasting damage to the fetus. The availability of misoprostol an inexpensive, widely available drug with multiple uses (treatment of post-partum hemorrhage, stomach ulcers, and induction of labor) has reduced the number of births. The World Health Organization has endorsed a standarized regimen of misoprostol to induce abortion up to 9 weeks of pregnancy.

Self-abortion in the second degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 125.50

A female is guilty of self-abortion in the second degree when, being pregnant, she commits or submits to an abortional act upon herself, unless such abortional act is justifiable pursuant to subdivision three of section 125.05.

Self-abortion in the second degree is a class B misdemeanor and you could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail. The judge also has to the option to sentencing you to a probation term of 1 year as well as ordering you to pay a fine.

Self-abortion in the first degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 125.55.

A female is guilty of self-abortion in the first degree when, being pregnant for more than twenty-four weeks, she commits or submits to an abortional act upon herself which causes her miscarriage, unless such abortional act is justifiable pursuant to subdivision three of section 125.05.

Self-abortion in the first degree is a class A misdemeanor and you could be sentenced to up to a year in the county jail. It is also possible for the judge to sentence you to a probation term of 3 years.

If you unlawfully perform the abortion on yourself, you can be charged with a self-abortion offense. It is still critical that you have experienced representation.