Jennie McCormack, the Idaho mother of three who was accused of “unlawful abortion” for purchasing drugs off the internet to induce a miscarriage of an unwanted pregnancy, was facing jail time and large fines under Idaho abortion laws until her case was dismissed for lack of evidence.
But now, it’s McCormack who isn’t letting the issue drop. She has filed suit challenging both the 1972 Idaho law making it illegal to end your own pregnancy, as well as the newly passed 20 week “fetal pain” ban that makes it a crime to abort any fetus after the pregnancy has reached 20 weeks.
McCormack, who believed that she was 14 weeks pregnant when she self-aborted, was found later to be closer to 5 or 6 months gestation according to the medical examiner. Under the new law, she would have additional criminal charges filed against her due to the age of the fetus despite not being aware that she was breaking a second law.
It is unclear at this point whether McCormack’s challenge of the fetal pain law, which multiple other states have enacted as well, will hold up, as she officially induced her abortion shortly before the law went into effect. However, the class action suit she has started in order to overturn the ban on ending your own pregnancy — which limits many women in the state’s ability to obtain an abortion by not allowing them access to medication abortions, only more expensive surgical procedures, has much firmer legal standing. McCormack herself swore in an affidavit that there are no abortion providers in her area of the state, and that a surgical abortion was unattainable for a mother of three with less than $250 a month in income.
McCormack’s lawyer is seeking an injunction on both abortion laws until their constitutionality can be determined, and a hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8th.
Photo credit: wikimedia commons