The Rise of DYI Abortions, Why are they Happening and What Can be Done to Change it?

by Acola2 on September 13, 2013 - 5:44pm

 

Jennie Linn McCormack was only 14 when she had her first son Tanner, in 1993. After having her son she got her GED and worked various jobs, until she got married four years later (age 18) to a different man. They had a daughter together a year later (age 19) and they eventually got divorced in 2004.  She had another son in 2009, with a different man and then got pregnant again less than a year later with a “old friend” that had just gotten out of jail. He paid for her to get an abortion but then shortly after that she got pregnant again with another child. By that time he was already back in jail on a violation of parole, she didn’t have any money or anything, so she decided to have an abortion. With an abortion at a clinic costing anywhere between $400 and $2,000, the mandatory waiting period of 72 hours, and the closest abortion clinic from her being six hours away, McCormack didn’t have the money to afford the abortion or stay at a motel during the waiting period, so her sister helped her to order an abortion pill online costing only $200.  About two months later she got the pill in the mail on December 23rd, 2010 and took it that night. By the next morning (Christmas eve) she delivered a dead fetus that was much larger then expected, and visibly a female with identifiable features and hair. Later the autopsy would confirm that the fetus was anywhere between 22 and 25 weeks, meaning McCormack was about five months pregnant at the time the illegal abortion was preformed. She didn’t feel right to throw away the fetus so she put it in a box under her bed. Not knowing what to do with it, a few weeks later she called a friend for help, who called his sister, and she called the police on McCormack. The police showed up and arrested McCormack where she then described the details of the abortion. In May of 2011, she was charged by Bannock County Prosecutors’ office, due to the fact that it’s a felony for woman to have an abortion in a manner not sanctioned by the state (Idaho). In the end, McCormack’s lawyer was able to get the charges dropped due to lack of evidence but the prosecution made it extremely clear that if more evidence was to come about, he would consider refilling charges.

 

            The basis of this article is to relate McCormack’s story, to why DYI abortions are occurring more frequently in this day and age. This article tells the statistics of why they are occurring, and what can be changed to help them not occur as frequently. To start off with, before Roe v. Wade was legalized in 1973, which stated an abortion may be preformed until the fetus is  “viable”, which is between 24/25 weeks, woman were attempting to perform abortions by sticking sharp objects into their cervix or taking dangerous drugs to terminate the unwanted pregnancy.  Once Roe v. Wade was legalized, in the 1990’s some female activists were advocating DYI abortions since accessing one had become increasingly hard since abortions were legalized, especially for poor woman, and the fact that in 1976, the Hyde Amendment was passed banning most types of federal funding for abortions so they had become extremely expensive. Another point in the article is that 87% of the U.S. have no abortion providers, and seven states only have one abortion clinic. There have also been many abortion-restricting measurements that have been passed, these laws redefine the legal parameters for abortions by stating the abortion needs to be performed by 20 weeks, before the fetus can feel pain. The fact that there are so many new laws in place since Roe v. Wade was established, and there are far and few clinics around makes it extremely difficult for woman to get an abortion performed, therefor they are relying on DYI abortions in the form of drugs such as, Cytotec and Mifeprex (both approved by the FDA) which have a 95 to 99% rate of terminating the pregnancy within the first nine weeks. While they do cost a couple hundred dollars from a doctor, they are also being sold online for anywhere between $45 and $75. This has been an answer for woman that are poor and don’t have clinics close to them and an alternative to the surgical procedure.  I don’t necessarily agree with abortions, or the fact that there are now drugs to do it at home by yourself. I understand that woman are doing it on their since to get an abortion performed can be extremely expensive, there are few clinics around and there are many new laws that make getting an abortion extremely hard, but I don’t believe it is okay in any way.

(Calhoun, 2012)

 

Magazine Article

            Calhoun, A. (2012). The Rise of DIY Abortions. (Cover story). New Republic, 243(20), 14-17. 

 
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