NEWARK – A New York lawyer specializing in reproductive justice joined the legal representation of a Lexington woman in an Licking County abortion case, according to Licking County court records.
In February 2020, Kalina Gillum, 22, from Lexington, and her then boyfriend Braden Mull, 26, from Newark, were charged with manslaughter, a first-degree crime; putting children in danger, a third-degree crime; tampering with evidence, a third-degree crime; and corpse abuse, a fifth-degree crime.
Gillum was accused in September 2019 of taking 12 misoprostol pills at her and Mull’s home in Heath, which they ordered from India earlier that month to induce labor and terminate their pregnancy. Licking County’s assistant prosecutor, Jenny Wells, at the time of the indictment, said Gillum was in her third trimester and was between 28 and 29 weeks pregnant at the time of the incident.
Wells said Gillum gave birth to a baby boy in his apartment bathroom the day after taking the pills.
“Before and after the child’s birth, Mull and Gillum were involved in text communications. After the child’s birth, none of them called 911 or sought any emergency medical treatment for the child and the child did not live.” Wells said.
The prosecutor said the deceased child was found by police in a shoe box inside a garbage bag in their apartment after the couple sought medical treatment for Gillum at Licking Memorial Hospital in the early hours of September 20, 2019.
In the weeks following the indictment, anti-abortion groups started writing about the case through a press release and blog post, some using the case to support a ban on remotely administering abortion drugs.
Licking County Court records show that New York City attorney Yveka Pierre was included in the case to co-represent Gillum alongside Mansfield’s attorney Cassandra Mayer.
Pierre serves as a senior litigation attorney in If / when / how, an organization that aims to transform the law and policies so that “people … have the power to determine if, when and how to define, create and support families with dignity and achieve sexual and reproductive well-being …” , according to its website.
Pierre was not available for comment, however, If / When / How Communications Director Andrea Grimes said: “No one should be punished for a pregnancy. Policing, prosecuting and criminalizing people because of their pregnancy does not serves justice, improves public health, or supports healthy families. “
She argued that leading legal and medical groups, including the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Bar Association, agree with this position. She also argued that Ohio law does not support this charge.
“No woman should be policed and prosecuted for her pregnancy results, and we are working to ensure that this never happens to anyone else,” continued Grimes.
Licking County Court records show that Gillum’s case is scheduled for trial in early May.
Mull pleaded guilty to charges of endangering a child and abusing a corpse in October. Court records show that the sentence in his case is set for May 19 before Judge Thomas Marcelain.
Gillum’s co-attorney, Cassandra Mayer, could not be reached for comment on the attorney’s deadline.
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