Here’s What Happens When We Force Women To Have Babies They Don’t Want (VIDEO)
Tenn. woman charged with murder for failed self-induced abortion.
What happens when governments — like the state of Tennessee — are hellbent on forcing women into having babies they don’t want? Self-induced abortion. Last week, police arrested 31-year old Anna Yocca from Murfreeesboro, Tenn. for attempted first-degree murder after failing to end her pregnancy back in Sept. The Daily News Journal reports:
Yocca was indicted by the Rutherford County grand jury in December and is being held in the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center on $200,000 bond. Her court date was set for Dec. 21.
Alas, the tale of Anna Yocca’s botched self-induced abortion only grows more sad and gruesome from here. Her pregnancy was 24 weeks — six months — along. Detective Tommy Roberts told reporters she got into a bath tub filled with warm water, and then “took a coat hanger and attempted to self-abort her pregnancy.” At some point, the copious amounts of blood caused Yocca to become “concerned about her safety.” She then had her boyfriend take her to the local hospital.
Alas, this being a Southern state run by anti-choice Republicans, the folks at Saint Thomas Midtown in Nashville cared more about the life of Anna Yocca’s fetus than the physical and mental health of a “mother” so desperate she’d just attempted a self-induced abortion with a coat hanger. That’s right. A coat hanger. Because the GOP’s built a bridge back to the mid-20th century and taken us back to the dark ages of back-alley abortions, back before Roe vs. Wade confirmed women’s legal right to choose whether or not they wish to carry a baby to term.
That’s right. In a true-life story as terrifying as Margaret Atwood’s brilliantly dystopian sci-fi novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the Daily News Journal cheerily reports that despite Anna Yocca’s botched attempt at self-induced abortion, “medical professionals were able to save the child, who weighed 1.5 pounds.” In a statement that appears to be entirely devoid of irony, Det. Tommy Roberts declared:
“Although Saint Thomas Midtown was able to save ‘Baby Yocca,’ they indicated to me that his quality of life [because of the injuries sustained] will be forever harmed,”
Sgt. Kyle Evans displayed a similar lack of concern for the “mother” and her health after the self-induced abortion when he told CBS affiliate WTVF:
“The whole time she was concerned for her health, her safety and never gave any attention to the health and safety to the unborn child. Those injuries will affect this child for the rest of his life, all caused at the hands of his own mother.”
Was self-induced abortion Anna Yocca’s only option?
Seriously, what the hell is wrong with these people? The hospital and the police threw Anna Yocca in jail and charged her with attempted first-degree murder for a botched self-induced abortion? We don’t know if she sought medical care earlier, we don’t know if she knew how far along in her pregnancy she was, and we don’t even know anything about Yocca’s mental state: Many women experience hormonal upheavals, depression, and the onset of latent mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder when they hit their early 30s.
The police and hospital’s handling of Anna Yocca’s self-induced abortion truly marks a new low in the Republican party’s war on women and children. How can people who claim they want “small government” justify this full-throttle intrusion into what really should be a private matter? Meanwhile, this baby they so desperately tried to save at the 11th hour is permanently impaired and faces an uphill battle in a state run by people who deny children and their mothers access to healthcare and other resources they need.
Yes, six months seems rather far along for choosing to end a pregnancy. And abortions are technically legal in the state of Tennessee up to 12 weeks. But before you go on about how Anna Yocca should have “taken care of this” earlier instead of trying a risky self-induced abortion, let me remind you that the state of Tennessee puts up all kinds of barriers for women seeking birth control and abortions.
According to NARAL, these include: A ban on abortions after 12 weeks (which is flat-out unconstitutional); forced waiting periods and biased, anti-choice counseling; and a ban on public funding for low-income women seeking abortions. Furthermore, the state chose not to expand medicaid — which makes it harder for women to obtain birth control — and allows clinics and hospitals to opt out of abortions. Even when an abortion is medically necessary, these clinics will come up with any possible excuse to avoid it, even if it puts the mother at risk of dying.
We don’t know what went through Anna Yocca’s mind during the early stages of her pregnancy or while she was making her failed attempt at a self-induced abortion. But we do know that she should have had the option of making this decision earlier in her pregnancy under the care of a non-biased doctor — or better yet, had access to birth control — regardless of her income. And we do know that as long as anti-choice Republicans continue to wage their war on women, children and on Planned Parenthood, we’ll see more and more of these horrific episodes in the news.
Here’s the video from WTVF with the report on this tragic tale:
Featured image: Video screen grab/WVTF.