"Anna Yocca has spent almost 12 months behind bars, after she attempted to give herself an abortion 24 weeks into her pregnancy. In September 2015, the then 32-year-old tried to use a coathanger to induce a “self abortion” in a water-filled bathtub in hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Yocca, who was initially charged with attempted first-degree murder against her unborn baby son who survived the ordeal and has since been adopted, has been in jail on a $200,000 bond since December. Earlier this month, Yocca faced three new charges of aggravated assault with a weapon, attempted procurement of a miscarriage and attempted criminal abortion, after the court later reduced her murder charge to aggravated assault. After Yocca started bleeding uncontrollably in the bathtub, her boyfriend rushed her to hospital, before she was transferred to another hospital in Nashville to deliver her injured but alive baby, who weighed just 680 grams. Yocca’s lawyer filed a motion that tried to have her case dismissed, claiming that bringing the woman to trial “makes every pregnant woman vulnerable to arrest and prosecution if she is perceived to have caused or even risked harm to a human embryo or foetus … and that the prosecution is absurd, illogical, and unconstitutional”. Yocca’s case, according to activists, highlights the dangerous reality for women living in states across America with harsh abortion restrictions. In an interview with Vice, Cherisse Scott, the founder of the reproductive justice non-profit SisterReach in Memphis, said that the tragic circumstances around Yocca’s case clearly showed the desperation and physical harm women are willing to put themselves through when abortion isn’t made legal or readily available. “The fact that we’re even having a conversation about a woman trying to terminate a pregnancy is still a big deal,” Ms Scott said. “We’re definitely in a far more volatile space now than we ever have been before. “We are turning the clock back to the 70s, where women — in particular black women and poor women — were using hangers in order to terminate a pregnancy.” During the US election, President-elect Donald Trump raised the idea of punishing women in the US for their abortions. In March this year, Mr Trump sat down with MSNBC’s Christ Matthews to discuss women’s reproductive rights, and what punishment — if any — should be given to those who undergo illegal abortions. “Should abortion be punished?” Matthews quizzed. “Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?” After fumbling to find his words, Mr Trump replied: “The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.” Nearly 44 years after the supreme court ruled women in the US have the right to legal abortion, it’s reported that self-induced abortions are still a significant phenomenon. The Guardian reported that every year, “there are potentially thousands of women in the US who attempt to end their pregnancies by themselves. Some even succeed.” When CBS journalist Leslie Stahl asked Mr Trump what women living in states where abortion is outlawed would do, he simply replied, “Well, they’ll perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state.”......... Women across the country are deeply troubled by the threat to their reproductive rights under the Trump presidency, with fiercely anti-abortion Mike Pence as Vice President-elect."
See Harper's story - on the right to choose in Rapid City - at the link below: (Thanks to The Marshall Project for bringing this story to our attention. HL); "This summer the Supreme Court smacked down Texas’s onerous abortion regulations, the latest legislative attempt to impose severe restrictions on access to the procedure. But the problem isn’t just in Texas. Writer Kiera Feldman of Harper’s Magazine visited Rapid City, South Dakota, where residents “must travel farther to reach an abortion provider than residents of any other place in the nation.” The layers of regulations (including one that requires two separate trips to a clinic, and several that require physicians to disseminate inaccurate medical information) have made the procedure effectively inaccessible in most parts of the state, including for the young woman at the heart of the story. — Beth Schwartzapfel."... "South Dakota law requires facilities that provide abortions — including medication abortions — to obtain a special license from the Department of Health. Yet for patients like Ashley, the problem isn’t merely that the law makes it hard for doctors to perform the procedure; it is that few in Rapid City would be willing to. Physicians’ right to refuse is legally protected. Since 1973, the state has exempted medical professionals from any liability that might result from such a refusal, regardless of whether a woman is seeking an elective abortion or having a medical emergency. These and other laws make South Dakota among the most difficult places in the United States to end a pregnancy. Lawmakers tried to ban abortion in both 2006 and 2008. The first time, the proposed ban was absolute, except to save the life of the mother; the second time, it made exceptions for rape and incest. Proponents campaigned against “abortion as birth control.” Kate Looby, a former director of Planned Parenthood of South Dakota, remembered the censorious tone of the legislators: “Women, if you’re going to have sex, you’re going to have to deal with the consequences.” Voters rejected both bans by a margin of around 10 percent each time, but new restrictions have been introduced nearly every year since. In 2011, the state mandated a seventy-two-hour waiting period that requires women to make two separate trips to the clinic: first for an initial consultation, and then, three business days later, another for the procedure itself. Regulations compel doctors to tell women that “abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being,” that abortion is linked to suicide and depression, and that state funding may exist to cover the cost of prenatal care and childbirth. Women must be told the gestational age of the fetus and what it looks like. Also in 2011, legislators passed a bill that forces women to visit a crisis pregnancy center in addition to making the two trips to the clinic. C.P.C.’s, which are run by antiabortion groups, often discourage the use of contraceptives, and are known for such underhanded tactics as telling women that abortion is linked to breast cancer and infertility. That bill is currently stayed by a district court, but in March 2016, South Dakota passed two additional laws. One mandates that women receiving medication abortions be told — erroneously — that the procedure is reversible if they change their minds between the first and second doses. The other prohibits abortions at or beyond twenty weeks — meaning that a woman who discovers too late that she is carrying a nonviable fetus must wait for it either to expire in utero or to die after birth." (Thanks to The Marshall Project for bringing this enlightening story by Kiera Feldman to our attention. HL);
See Guardian story - Jailed for ending a pregnancy: how prosecutors get inventive on abortion - at the link below: "Nearly 44 years after the supreme court ruled that women in the United States have a right to a legal abortion, self-induced abortions are still a significant phenomenon. As the Guardian reported on Monday, every year, there are potentially thousands of women in the US who attempt to end their pregnancies by themselves. Some even succeed.
Unwittingly or not, these women are operating in murky legal territory. Only seven states have some law that makes it explicitly illegal for a woman to attempt her own abortion, and in most states and at the federal level, the law says nothing at all. But that hasn’t stopped individual prosecutors from going after women who self-induce abortions, or try. All told, in the United States, a woman who attempts to induce her own abortion may potentially be running afoul of any one of 40 different laws – including those against child abuse, or drug possession, or practicing medicine without a license – according to the Self-Induced Abortion (SIA) Legal Team, a project associated with Berkeley Law. And this is not settled law. Several times, after a woman has been jailed and prosecuted, a court has ruled that the law under which she was charged didn’t apply to women who attempt their own abortions."