Thursday, 4:30 PM
DA: Young mother botched abortion with ulcer medication
By Brian R. Ballou and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
LAWRENCE -- Prosecutors charged an 18-year-old woman today with ingesting ulcer medication in a botched attempt to abort her second-term pregnancy.
Instead of aborting the 23 to 25 week-old fetus, however, Amber Abreu gave birth to 1 1/4-pound baby girl. The infant, who was named Ashley, died four days later, prosecutors allege.
Abreu pleaded not guilty today in Lawrence District Court to "procuring an improper miscarriage," a charge that could carry up to seven years in state prison. She was ordered held on $15,000 cash bail.
Abreu's aunt, Ana Rosario, told reporters outside court that family members were shocked by her arrest Monday by Lawrence police. The family did not know that Abreu was pregnant before she gave birth.
According to prosecutors and court documents, Abreu told investigators, "I killed my baby."
Prosecutors allege that a friend from the Dominican Republic gave Abreu Misoprostol, a drug that is legal in the United States. Misoprostol is typically prescribed to treat stomach ulcers, but it is frequently misused to induce labor, according to court documents.
Abreu told investigators that she took three Misoprostol pills on Jan. 4 and 5. She suffered abdominal pains and gave birth at Lawrence General Hospital on Jan. 6. The premature baby died Jan. 10 at New England Medical Center.
Police became involved in the case when a social worker reported that Abreu told conflicting stories about how much misoprostol she took. The drug had been detected in the baby's urine, according to court documents.