A Tennessee woman who was charged with murder for attempting to perform an abortion on herself with a coat hanger has had the initial charge replaced with three new felony charges: aggravated assault with a weapon, attempted procurement of a miscarriage, and attempted criminal abortion.
Anna Yocca was 24 weeks pregnant in September 2015 when she attempted to induce an abortion with a wire hanger while she sat in a bathtub. She began bleeding and her boyfriend rushed her to the hospital, where doctors were able to save the child.
Tennessee has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country. In May 2015, Tennessee signed a 48-hour waiting period for an abortion into law, as well as a requirement that anyone seeking an abortion receive state-directed counseling. In 2011, Tennessee had nine abortion clinics in the whole state, but new restrictions passed in 2015 lowered the number to seven.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, “Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates.” Instead, they tend to lead to greater instances of unsafe abortions, which come with higher death rates for women and put a greater financial burden on public health care systems.