DA Drops Self-abortion Case Vs. NYC Woman

Published January 3, 2012 11:27PM (EST)

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors said Tuesday they are dropping a rare self-abortion case against a woman arrested after her fetus was found among trash.

The Manhattan district attorney's office said it was declining to prosecute Yaribely Almonte but continuing to investigate. Prosecutors wouldn't elaborate.

Almonte, 20, was arrested in November on the misdemeanor charge, which concerns a woman forcibly causing a miscarriage when more than six months pregnant. Abortion is illegal after that point in New York, unless the procedure is necessary to save the woman's life.

The charge is seldom brought and even more rarely results in conviction, state statistics show.

Authorities previously said they were exploring whether Almonte drank an herbal concoction billed as an abortion-causing tea. Herbal teas said to induce miscarriages have long been known and have remained somewhat common in Latin America in recent years.

It was unclear whether Almonte had a lawyer, and no telephone number could be found for her Upper Manhattan apartment. The case was dropped before she was to be arraigned.

A building superintendent found the fetus, wrapped in plastic and inside a yellow bucket, near her apartment building, police said. It's unclear how authorities tracked the fetus back to her.

The medical examiner has yet to determine whether the fetus was alive when born and what caused the death.

Before Almonte's arrest, only four people statewide had been charged with self-abortion since 1980, most recently in 2010 in Long Island's Nassau County, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The 2010 case and two others were dismissed; they were brought in Nassau County in 2006 and western Monroe County, which includes Rochester, in 2000.

But a 2006 case in Wayne County, near Rochester, ended in a conviction. The case was ultimately closed without jail time or probation, according to the criminal justice agency.

By Salon Staff

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