A man from West London has been arrested and jailed after he sold abortion drugs online for an illegal abortion.
Satbal Singh, 41, will spend two and a half years in prison for his part in the illegal sale. According to the Evening Standard, Singh acted as the “UK arm” of a Mumbai-based website, and stored pills at his home to mail to customers. He supplied the deadly pills to a couple from Gloucestershire in September 2018, after they were told by an abortion business that their baby was too far along to be legally aborted.
A search of the couple’s home led to the discovery of the abortion drugs mifepristone (most commonly known as the “abortion pill”) and misoprostol. In the U.S., these drugs are both given when a woman is prescribed the abortion pill protocol.
A police investigation was later launched when the mother did not show up at the hospital for the birth, which implies that she was originally planning to have her baby. “She told them she had lost the baby, she and her partner gave conflicting accounts of how the pregnancy came to an end, and they were arrested,” prosecutor Rosalind Earis said.
According to reports, she was four and a half weeks beyond the legal abortion age limit in England, which is 24 weeks. That puts her at nearly 29 weeks pregnant when she began seeking out an illegal abortion. Her baby was well beyond the age of viability, and was capable of surviving outside the womb.
Babies born as young as 21 weeks are sometimes able to survive and thrive when given proper medical care.
While the pills were found, the baby has not yet been located. A discarded envelope with unused pills was also found, and police were able to trace it to Singh, because he used his own bank card to pay the postage.
“It appears tragically that the baby is the real victim in this case,” said Judge Karen Holt. “There is no evidence put before the court that the baby is now alive.”
Though the couple gave conflicting stories of what happened, the court learned that the couple had searched online for abortion pills, and it was the baby’s father who placed an order for the drugs. Singh initially denied involvement and claimed he only sold jewelry, clothes, and toys online — but a search of his home two years after the baby’s death revealed more abortion pills and evidence that he was in contact with the Mumbai website operator. Singh pleaded guilty to supplying the pills.
The judge condemned Singh for sending the pills to strangers outside of a medical facility under circumstances he did not know. However, as pointed out by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), current abortion pill dispensary rules in both the U.K. and the U.S. allow abortionists to do exactly that. A spokesperson for the pro-life organization said:
[…] Judge Holt rightly condemned Mr Singh for supplying deadly abortion pills ‘to people unknown… in unknown circumstances… outside suitable medical care’.
While this is true, these ‘circumstances’ differ very little from the current imposition of DIY home abortion by the Government, allowing vulnerable women to procure and take abortion pills remotely and without medical supervision.
Abortion pills, which are neither safe nor simple, can have devastating consequences for women, as SPUC recently reported on when a 23-year-old student in Argentina died following a legal chemical abortion.
DIY home abortion puts women at further risk, of infection and even death, as well as increased risk of coercion.
While it appears that Mr Singh has been justly punished, the Government is just as morally culpable as any other trader of abortion. When will the Government be held accountable?
Though Singh is in jail, the parents of the baby are still being investigated and the website selling abortion pills is still in operation.
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