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