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NY Penal Law § 125.50: Self-Abortion in the Second Degree

July 1, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

While abortion is generally legal in New York, under certain circumstances it is a crime. An “abortional act” is defined as an action that is intended to cause a miscarriage. The abortion can be a physical illegal operation that is performed upon a pregnant woman, or it can be carried out by the taking of medication to induce a miscarriage. Four different abortion-related offenses are laid out  in the New York criminal code.  Two of them are related to performing an abortion on another person.  The other two are related to self-abortion. In order to be charged with a crime for performing an unlawful abortion, it is not necessary that you have carried out the abortion on another person.  You can also be charged with a self-abortion offense if you unlawfully perform the abortion on yourself.  Under New York Penal Law § 125.50 you could be prosecuted for the crime of self-abortion in the second degree if you carry out an abortion on yourself that is not justifiable. A self-abortion is only justifiable under the following circumstances:

  1. If a duly licensed physician has notified you that the procedure is necessary to save your life, or
  2. If you are no more than 24 weeks pregnant.

Offenses that are Related

Self-abortion in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 125.55

Abortion in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 125.40

Abortion in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 125.45

Possible Defenses

In order for you to be convicted of the crime of self-abortion in the second degree, you ned to have intended to bring about a miscarriage. If you did not realize the actions you took would cause you to miscarry your baby, then you might be able to successfully defend against a charge of self-abortion in the second degree.

The Sentence

Since self-abortion in the second degree is categorized as a class B misdemeanor, if you are convicted, the judge could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail. The judge also has the option of sentencing you to a 1 year probation term, as well as requiring you to pay a fine.

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