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Tennessee woman charged with attempted first-degree murder following self-induced, coat hanger abortion

A Tennessee woman has been charged with attempted first-degree murder for a failed self-induced abortion attempt.

According to the Daily News Journal, Anna Yocca of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was 24 weeks pregnant when she decided to perform her own abortion. She filled a bathtub with water and inserted a coat hanger into her womb.

After the tub filled with blood, she panicked and alerted her boyfriend. He took her to a hospital, which transferred her to a larger facility in Nashville, where she gave birth to a 1.5-pound baby boy. Yocca is now jailed with a $200,000 bond.(1)

The doctors told investigators the child will require medical support for the rest of his life because of injuries inflicted during the botched abortion attempt. Jail officials told the Associated Press that they don’t know whether Yocca has a lawyer.(1)

“The whole time [Yocca] was concerned for her health, her safety, and never gave any attention to the health and safety to the unborn child,” Sergeant Kyle Evans, a spokesman for the Murfreesboro, Tenn., police, told local CBS affiliate WTVF. “Those injuries will affect this child for the rest of his life, all caused at the hands of his own mother.”(1)

Tennessee’s strict anti-abortion law

Anti-abortion activists note that Tennessee’s law protects both unborn children and their mothers. Nevertheless, critics note that Tennessee’s strict anti-abortion laws make it difficult for women to receive an abortion legally, which makes them resort to dangerous, illegal alternatives.

According to Tennessee law, women are required to make two trips to the clinic 48 hours apart before they can have the procedure. The National Women’s Law Center reports that in 2010, approximately 59 percent of Tennessee women lived in a county devoid of an abortion provider.(1)

In a separate study conducted by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, after the state passed new legislation that resulted in the closure of 20 clinics, approximately 100,000 Texan women attempted self-induced abortion with alcohol, pills and drugs, or by getting punched in the abdomen.(1)

Sometimes, women who perform a self-induced abortion can be charged with feticide. Back in April, for instance, a 33-year-old Indiana woman named Purvi Patel became the first woman to be charged and sentenced for feticide. Prosecutors claim Patel performed the self-induced abortion and left the baby for dead.(1)

Fetal homicide is considered a crime in 38 states, including Tennessee. The state passed legislation in 2012, which broadened the definition of personhood to include a fetus at the moment of conception, which made it the 23rd state to have such an all-encompassing definition.(1)

Little known fact: The definition of a person was never restricted to mean a living member of the species homo sapiens. It was adopted by Christians in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity to express three persons in one God. Early Christian theologians regarded a person as a being with a rational substance, which doesn’t necessarily include or exclude people.(2)

Coat hanger abortions tend to be regarded nowadays as an episode of the past shadowed by a time before Roe v. Wade. Unfortunately, hangar abortions remain prevalent. In 2009, for instance, three doctors wrote a case study involving a pregnant woman with twins who attempted a coat hanger abortion.(1)

Buckling under intense questions from her doctors, “she confessed to attempting to end her pregnancy earlier that day by passing a coat hanger deep into her vagina until she felt a ‘pop,’ followed by a gush of fluid and the onset of her abdominal pain,” the report said.(1)

Her self-induced abortion resulted in “sepsis, chorioamnionitis, fetal demise, and a total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy for complications of endomyometritis,” it continued.(1)

Yocca’s incrimination occurred after a month-long jury investigation into her September abortion. She is scheduled for a court appearance on December 21.

Sources include:


(2) CedarVille.Edu

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