A 32-year-old Tennessee woman was indicted on three felony charges this week in connection with an alleged attempted self-abortion that took place a little more than a year ago. Anna Yocca is facing charges of aggravated assault with a weapon, attempted procurement of a miscarriage and attempted criminal abortion after a grand jury sided with Rutherford County prosecutors. Earlier this year, an attempted murder charge was reduced to aggravated assault, but prosecutors have been dogged in trying to bring more severe charges against her.
Yocca has been jailed since December of last year, and the charges stem from an incident that took place in September 2015. She’s accused of attempting to perform an abortion in her bathtub using a coat hanger 24 weeks into her pregnancy. According to court documents, she began bleeding heavily and her boyfriend rushed her to the hospital where she gave birth to a 1.5-pound baby boy. Authorities said the baby suffered serious injuries from the coat hanger, but that doctors were able to save the infant’s life. He’ll have health complication throughout his life due to the trauma, authorities said.
In May of 2015, Tennessee’s governor signed a new law into effect mandating a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. Under the law, women seeking an abortion are required to make two visits to an abortion clinic: the first to received in-person counseling from a doctor, and the second — after a two-day wait — to undergo the abortion. Any doctors or clinics who don’t follow the mandatory two-day waiting period could be subject to misdemeanor and felony charges, and risk having their medical licenses revoked. The new law also stipulates that if a pregnancy has reached its 24th week, and a viable child is born during the course of an abortion, physicians have a legal obligation to take steps to preserve the health and life of the child. Yucca was exactly 24 weeks into her pregnancy at the time of the alleged self-abortion.
Yocca’s lawyers have moved to have all of her charges dismissed. They argue that prosecutors are charging her under a law that is not meant for women who have attempted a self-abortion. Yocca continues to be detained on $200,000 bond and is expected to be arraigned on the new charges at the end of the month.
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