Idaho Abortion Law Favors Fetuses Over Children


Jennie Linn McCormack was not interested in becoming a poster child for illegal abortion when she made the decision to get RU486 (the "abortion pill") off the Internet and induce an abortion. She thought she was 12 weeks along and she made her decision out of sheer necessity. But now, having been charged for a crime (the charges were later dropped), she has inadvertently become a huge story in the abortion debate.

Already a mom of three, McCormack's boyfriend and father of her fetus had just gone to jail. She was unemployed and living on $250 a month in child support for one of her three kids. It wasn't an ideal time to fall pregnant. So when she did, she decided to ask her sister to get RU486 on the Internet. She thought she was 12 weeks pregnant, but she was more like 20, thus making it a later term abortion. Because she was in Idaho and a friend reported it, she went to jail. 

Idaho has a law dating back to 1972 that makes it a crime punishable by five years in prison for a woman to induce her own abortion. Though she was eventually released, her mug shot was in the paper and her anonymity destroyed. All because she made a difficult choice favoring her three living children.

At first glance, McCormack isn't very sympathetic. At the very least, she should have seen a doctor to confirm how far along she was and then she could have pursued legal means of termination.

But the fact is, she was living well below the poverty line with three children, including one 2-year-old to care for. Her access to abortion was limited, so even if she could have afforded the babysitter, she would have had to make the 2.5-hour drive to Salt Lake City to get the abortion; the mandatory waiting period would have meant she had to do it twice. She also had no computer, no car, and no sitter. So how was she supposed to deal with it?

We can argue all day long about whether she was making the right choice, but, in the end, it's no one else's choice but hers. She was thinking of the living, breathing children she had to feed on the outside of her body. No one can fault her for trying to take care of them the best she could.

But no one is talking about them. They are all talking about the fetus she aborted. It's unconscionable and really the height of hypocrisy. Pro-lifers want us to believe they care about children, but no one is really questioning whether arresting these three children's mother was the best option for them.

She may very well have found people willing to house her and feed her through her pregnancy. But after that? Then what? McCormack made a brave choice and a loving one for the children she had, and she is being vilified for it. It's simply outrageous.

Do you think she should be in trouble?


Image via World Can't Wait/Flickr

crime, abortion


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Whitn... WhitneySM

If she was that poor and couldn't care for the children she already had, why didn't she use BIRTH CONTROL?

angev... angevil53

you can ask the why's and how's all day long but it doesn't change what happened. she did what she needed to do and why does it matter WHO induces an abortion as long as the mother wants it done. she would have figured out how to do one way or another she chose a "safer" method than some women do.

Zyva Zyva

Birth Control is not something that works 100% of the time. I was on Birth control when I got pregnant with my third, sometimes, things, simply, happen. 

Gigan... GigantaursMommy

If she was really doing it for her children wouldn't she have aborted a little earlier? Like at 6 or 8 weeks when she very first found out? If I was in her situation and knew I couldn't care for the baby I would either put it up for adoption right then or abort ASAP I surely wouldn't wait around for the poor baby to get any bigger.

casan... casanderson1

Its her body.......I'm tired of people trying to control what we do to our bodies!!!

She shouldn't be in jail that's just ridiculous.

@WhitneySM she probably couldn't afford to get birth control....and even if she had been taking it she still could have gotten pregnant. I'm 29 weeks pregnant and I had the Nuva Ring in when I conceived.

casan... casanderson1

@GigantaursMommy - Maybe she didn't know she was mom was 4months pregnant with my little brother when she found out. She was still having her period.

elfis... elfishpirat

She broke the law. Period. If she were truly thinking about her children, she wouldvhave 1) Not gotten pregnant in the first place or 2) Gotten a legal abortion or 3) Placed the baby up for adoption.

She isn't being punished by "pro-lifers", she's being punished because of her own decision to break the law.

Ladyw... Ladywithtwo

20 weeks is late term and illegal. Period.

Mamab... MamabearC

Obviously when one is unemployed and in poverty, birth control is not always affordable. I do agree that she should have made that decision sooner but it is absolutely ridiculous to put her in jail and take her away from her other children for it.

nonmember avatar Polamolapola

Most likely she was on welfare during the times she was pregnant with her first three kids. Sounds like she simply makes bad choices in her life. She's getting child support for just one of her kids? Does that mean all of the children where fathered by different men? Her kids might be better off elsewhere, not under her care.

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