Mum-of-three, 44, jailed over illegal abortion loses appeal against her 28-month prison sentence

22 June 2023, 00:04

Carla Foster has had her appeal rejected
Carla Foster has had her appeal rejected. Picture: Facebook

By Emma Soteriou

A woman jailed for more than two years for taking abortion pills when she was between 32 and 34 weeks pregnant has had her appeal application rejected.

Carla Foster, 44, was sent abortion pills after lying to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) about how far along in her pregnancy she was, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court previously heard.

An appeal against her sentence was rejected on Tuesday but her lawyers still have the option to take the case to the Court of Appeal.

The prosecution accused Foster of making a number of searches online between February and May 2020, including "how to have an abortion without going to the doctor" and "how to lose a baby at six months".

Foster, who had three sons before becoming pregnant again in 2019, did not see a doctor about her pregnancy because she was "embarrassed" and was unaware about how far along she was, the court was told.

She received a 28-month sentence, 14 of which will be spent in custody with the remainder on licence.

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Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Pepperall said: “The imprisonment of Carla Foster has sparked a passionate public debate against the law to criminalise late-term abortions.

"My duty was to apply the law as provided by Parliament and sentence in accordance with the guidelines given by the Court of Appeal.

“I was aware of the fact that this matter had been hanging over her since May 2020 and I took the delay into account together with all the other aggravating and mitigating factors in this case in determining the appropriate sentence after trial was three years, rather than five years, imposed by the Court of Appeal in R V Catt.

“As it happens, the delay was similar in Catt. I conclude there are no proper grounds for reconsidering the sentence and I dismiss the application.”

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Foster spoke to a nurse practitioner at BPAS on May 6 2020 and, based on her answers to questions about her pregnancy, it was determined she was only around seven weeks pregnant.

She was later sent abortion pills in the post.

After having taken the pills later, a 999 call was made at 6.39pm saying Foster was in labour. Her child was born during the course of the phone call, prosecutors told the court.

The baby was not breathing and despite resuscitation attempts by paramedics, who arrived at the scene at about 7pm, she was pronounced dead at hospital around 45 minutes later.

Foster was initially charged with child destruction and pleaded not guilty.

She later pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, administering drugs or using instruments to procure abortion, which was accepted by the prosecution.

The maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

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