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State v. J.M.S. (2011)

01 July 2011 Published in Resolved Cases

Reproductive Rights, Indigent Defense - J.M.S., an indigent juvenile from a small rural Eastern Utah town, allegedly attempted to terminate her pregnancy in May of 2009, by paying someone to beat her. Based on the faulty argument that the method by which J.M.S. sought to terminate her pregnancy was not an allowable "abortion" "procedure" under then-existing Utah law, the State charged J.M.S. with Criminal Solicitation to Commit Murder.

The juvenile court correctly determined that the charges against J.M.S. were unsustainable and dismissed them, because Utah law explicitly provides that women who seek to terminate their own pregnancies cannot be prosecuted criminally for those decisions. The State appealed bringing the case before the Utah Supreme Court. The ACLU of Utah sought permission to submit an amicus curiae ("friend of the Court") brief on behalf of J.M.S., offering its expertise on issues of privacy, reproductive freedom, and criminal defense. The Court denied the ACLU motion and the case was heard on April 13, 2011. A decision is pending. 

Read the ACLU of Utah's full motion here (PDF) >>
Read Legal Director Darcy M. Goddard's Affidavit in Support here (PDF) >>
Affidavit Exhibit A (PDF) >>
Affidavit Exhibit B (PDF) >>
Affidavit Exhibit C (PDF) >>
Affidavit Exhibit D (PDF) >>
Affidavit Exhibit E (PDF) >>