Idaho Law on Self Induced Abortion Blocked, Fetal Pain Ban Not
Jennie McCormack, the Idaho mother of three who was arrested for inducing her own abortion late in 2010, has won her case to have the longstanding state law that makes ending your own pregnancy a felony blocked. However, her attempt to also block the new law that bans abortions after 20 weeks was unsuccessful, as the court ruled that she did not have the legal standing necessary to challenge it.
McCormack was jailed for feticide after purchasing drugs on the internet that would cause her to have a miscarriage, after deciding she could not afford a child or to see a doctor to have the pregnancy terminated. McCormack, who believed she was about three months pregnant, instead miscarried a fetus approximately five months gestation. After a sister of a friend reported her to the police for illegal abortion, McCormack was changed with a felony, but eventually not prosecuted due to lack of evidence.
The law against ending your own pregnancy in Idaho is being argued as unconstitutional, as it can technically make any use of abortion pills illegal, even those provided by legitimate medical professionals, making abortion especially expensive and nearly inaccessible for many women in more remote corners of the state. Although McCormack also aborted after the 20 week deadline for having an abortion in the state, that law was not yet in effect when she aborted, which is why she was found not to have standing to challenge it.
McCormack’s lawyer has said that they will attempt to reestablish standing and challenge the fetal pain law again. It is the first challenge of the 20 week ban in the country, despite multiple states passing nearly identical bans in the last year.
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