Woman jailed for self-abortion

A woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison after she self-aborted her baby

A woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison after she self-aborted her baby

First published in National News © by

A woman who aborted her own baby within a week of his due date has been jailed for eight years.

Sarah Catt bought drugs on the internet which induced her labour when her pregnancy was nearly full-term.

She claimed the boy was stillborn and that she buried his body but no evidence of the child was ever found, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Catt, 35, already had two children with her husband when she became pregnant in 2009. She believed the baby's father was a man with whom she had been having an affair for seven years.

She tried to terminate the pregnancy in 2010 but discovered she had missed the legal limit of 24 weeks. She made several searches on the internet relating to illegal abortions and abortion drugs, including "Where can I get an illegal abortion?" and "Inducing an abortion at 30 weeks".

Catt, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, bought a drug used to terminate pregnancy or induce labour over the internet from a company in Mumbai, India, in May 2010. The drug was delivered to her home address when she was 38 weeks pregnant and she is believed to have taken it towards the end of May 2010 when she was nearly 40 weeks.

Catt was arrested in September 2010 and was interviewed several times over the next year. She told police she had undergone a legal abortion at a Marie Stopes clinic in March of that year - despite being nearly 30 weeks pregnant at that stage. She pleaded guilty earlier this year to administering a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage.

Catt told a psychiatrist she had taken the drug while her husband was away and delivered the baby boy by herself at home. She said the child was not breathing or moving and that she had buried his body but has not revealed the location. She did not tell anyone what had happened.

The court heard that Catt gave a child up for adoption in 1999. She later had a termination with the agreement of her husband, tried to terminate another pregnancy but missed the legal limit, and concealed another pregnancy from her husband before the child's birth.

Mr Justice Cooke said she had robbed the baby of the life it was about to have and said the seriousness of the crime lay between manslaughter and murder.

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