An Elkton-area woman who illegally gave a pregnant 16-year-old an abortion pill is facing five years in prison after accepting a plea deal.

The victim suddenly experienced acute pain after taking the pill, putting her in the hospital, prosecutors said. Several hours later, her baby died after the teen gave birth there, prosecutors added.

Sandra Craine, 62, of the 2000 block of Oldfield Point Road, was later indicted on two charges that related only to the adverse effect her actions had on the victim - not on the teen's baby.

Craine pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment on Dec. 16 in Cecil County Circuit Court as part of a plea agreement negotiated by Assistant State's Attorney Kevin B. Urick and her Elkton-based defense lawyer, John Downs.

In exchange for Craine's guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a second-degree child abuse charge, which also related to the victim.

Craine's sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 13. She remains free on a $5,000 bond.

A Cecil County grand jury handed up the two-count indictment against Craine in August - about two months after she mail-ordered a packet of abortion pills, RU-486, off an overseas website and gave them to the victim, prosecutors reported.

At the time, according to Urick, the teen was "20 weeks and five days" into her pregnancy.

Doctors who treated the pregnant teen at Union Hospital in Elkton told investigators and prosecutors that RU-486 must be taken during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy only, according to Urick.

Craine failed to follow other instructions relating to the abortion pills she gave the victim, according to prosecutors.

"The packaging stated that a prescription was needed to obtain the medication and that it should be taken only under a doctor's supervision," Urick said, noting that neither instruction was followed.

A pregnant woman wanting a pharmaceutically induced abortion takes specified doses of RU-486 over a series of days and under a physician's care.

"The pills arrive in the mail and (Craine) gives the packet to (the victim). She takes her first pill on the morning of June 30 and two hours later, the pregnant (victim) is in Union Hospital with pain. Her baby was born alive a short time later, but died shortly thereafter," Urick said.

Doctors who treated the victim contacted police and Det. Angel Valle of the Cecil County Sheriff's Office, in turn, conducted the investigation that led to the indictment.

This is the second abortion-related criminal case in Cecil County in recent history.

Last month, a Cecil County grand jury handed up murder indictments against two doctors in connection to late-term abortions they allegedly performed at a clinic at 126 E. High St. in Elkton in the summer of 2010.

It is believed to be the first time that abortion-related murder charges have been filed against doctors in Maryland under a state law that went into effect in 2005.

While the statute allows prosecutors to charge doctors and others who perform abortions of viable fetuses, meaning they could survive on their own outside the womb, it doesn't permit them to charge the pregnant women who arrange for and undergo abortions.

One of the murder defendants - Dr. Steven Chase Brigham, 55, of Voorhees, N.J. - is free on $500,000 bond after his arraignment in Cecil County Circuit Court on Friday. He is facing five counts each of first-degree murder and second-degree murder, as well as one charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

Meanwhile, his co-defendant, Dr. Nicola Irene Riley, 46, of Salt Lake City, Utah - remained jailed without bond in Utah on Wednesday after waiving extradition on Monday, which marks a 10-day countdown for when she must be returned to Cecil County.

Riley faces one count each of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

 

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