Judge Signs Arrest Order for C-Section Mom
SALT LAKE CITY – A judge on Tuesday signed an arrest warrant for Melissa Ann Rowland (search), the woman formerly charged with murder for delaying a Caesarean section (search), for failing to check into a drug rehabilitation facility in Indiana.
Third District Judge Dennis Fuchs ordered the $10,000 bench warrant for Rowland, said Deputy Court Clerk Geoff Huntsman.
The rehabilitation was part of a plea deal Rowland made with prosecutors, who dropped the murder charge in April in exchange for two third-degree felony counts of child endangerment. The agreement required Rowland to prove by May 30 that she had entered treatment, said Huntsman.
Rowland, who has no permanent address, used a prepaid phone card and a pay phone to call The Associated Press on Friday. She then said she planned to fax documentation that day showing her intentions to enter a mental health facility on Tuesday in Chillicothe, Ohio.
A message left for the executive director of the Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board (search), which contracts with public and private health care agencies in five Ohio counties, was not immediately returned.
It was not immediately clear why Rowland sought her court-ordered treatment in Ohio when Fuchs allowed her to get that help in Indiana.
Salt Lake County prosecutors originally charged Rowland, who admitted using drugs while pregnant, with first-degree felony murder in March after she purportedly refused a C-section until her twins were delivered in January and one was stillborn. The other twin was adopted.
Rowland's case gained national attention and spurred several activist groups to protest on her behalf.
As part of a plea agreement, Rowland pleaded guilty in April to child endangerment and was ordered to undergo a drug treatment program.
Third District Judge Dennis Fuchs sentenced her to two terms of up to five years in prison, but suspended the sentence.
She was placed on "good behavior probation" for 18 months. Fuchs ordered her not to consume drugs or alcohol, to complete mental health and substance abuse treatment, to complete a parenting skills class and to perform 100 hours of community service. The treatment could be sought anywhere.
Rowland said Friday she has voluntarily been attending treatment programs for drug and alcohol use, and will enter the court-ordered mental health program in Ohio on Tuesday.