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January 3, 2013 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions.

Single page version of the New Republic article (triggers print queue)

Background
A week after her at-home abortion, Jennie Linn McCormack was arrested. "McCormack ran afoul of a 1972 Idaho law that makes it a felony for a woman to perform her own abortion" (in a manner not sanctioned by the state.) "Not only does the law pre-date Roe v. Wade, it pre-dates RU-486." Her case was dismissed. The court ruled there was no way to enforce a law which forbids women from inducing their own pregnancies.

McCormack then appealed the decision, claiming the law itself was unconstitutional. This past September, the US Court of Appeals Ninth District agreed. The decision is here (pdf). An interesting read. From the New Republic article, above:
"Written by Democratic appointee Judge Harry Pregerson, the ruling describes in detail the difficulty poor women experience in obtaining an abortion in Idaho. These restrictions, he argued, essentially outlawed the procedure for them, potentially violating the “undue burden” test sometimes invoked by the Supreme Court. He maintained that, since it was so hard for McCormack to obtain a legal abortion, it was unjust to charge her for having an illegal one."
McCormack's lawyer then filed a motion "that, if successful, would halt prosecutions of all women and doctors in Idaho for illegal abortion, and overturn the pain-capable law." The case has been heard. A decision is pending.

Editorial from one of the experts called by McCormack's lawyer in New York Times Opinionator: Can Neuroscience Challenge Roe V. Wade?
posted by zarq (66 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Doesn't wanting to have a funeral for the abortus negate the notion that it is not a human being in the first place? Isn't that just extra buckshot in the anti-abortionists arsenal?
posted by Renoroc at 10:35 AM on January 3, 2013


I've been to funerals for pets, organizations, spans of time, ideas...
posted by and so but then, we at 10:40 AM on January 3, 2013 [21 favorites]


Doesn't wanting to have a funeral for the abortus negate the notion that it is not a human being in the first place? Isn't that just extra buckshot in the anti-abortionists arsenal?

Funerals are for the living to express emotions, not proof that the one being mourned has particular cognitive faculties. (People have funerals for pets, you know...)
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 10:44 AM on January 3, 2013 [12 favorites]


I agree with your point, Philosopher Dirtbike, but not your belief that pets don't have cognitive faculties. Many pets do.

Re the case at issue, of course McCormack and her lawyers are right . . . but I'm profoundly worried about whether DIY abortions are safe as well as legal.
posted by bearwife at 10:49 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I kind of have no idea why we're talking about funerals here. In the main article linked above, the police arrest the woman and take the fetus to a funeral home. What does that have to do with the woman who had the abortion?
posted by koeselitz at 10:49 AM on January 3, 2013 [16 favorites]


I've been to funerals for pets, organizations, spans of time, ideas...

...Tech (albeit prematurely)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:51 AM on January 3, 2013


18-21 weeks? How does a grown woman of pre-menopausal age go ~5 months without a period and not think something is up? The article mentions "children", which means that she's not unfamiliar with how her body displays pregnancy. She's not a rookie at this.

This isn't an abortion issue, this is a seriously dumb person issue.
posted by gsh at 10:53 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the main article linked above, the police arrest the woman and take the fetus to a funeral home. What does that have to do with the woman who had the abortion?

Or the fetus, for that matter. If they'd taken it to the circus, it wouldn't have become a clown thereby.
posted by R. Schlock at 10:55 AM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


gsh: “This isn't an abortion issue, this is a seriously dumb person issue.”

No. This is not an abortion issue. This is not a "seriously dumb person" issue. This is a health care issue.

It sounds like you don't believe certain people deserve health care.
posted by koeselitz at 10:57 AM on January 3, 2013 [73 favorites]


gsh: "This isn't an abortion issue, this is a seriously dumb person issue."

Or a seriously frightened person issue, or so on. Why frame it that way?
posted by boo_radley at 10:59 AM on January 3, 2013 [21 favorites]


oh, hello koeselitz.
posted by boo_radley at 10:59 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


This isn't an abortion issue, this is a seriously dumb person issue.

I'm far to the right of most of MetaFilter, but I'm okay with seriously dumb people having the same rights as the smart ones.
posted by Etrigan at 11:01 AM on January 3, 2013 [75 favorites]


Bodies do weird shit all the time. I skipped periods for three months because I was incredibly stressed. I've randomly gained weight, randomly lost weight, felt nauseous in the mornings, cried a lot, and been pregnant 0 times. It's rare, but not beyond the realm of possibility, to not realize you are pregnant because bodies do not behave the way they are supposed to all the time.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:04 AM on January 3, 2013 [45 favorites]


She thought she was at 12 weeks; she was at 18-21. It may be hard for some of you to believe this, but not all women's bodies follow a perfect, reliably countable 28-day menstrual cycle.
posted by rtha at 11:04 AM on January 3, 2013 [43 favorites]


18-21 weeks? How does a grown woman of pre-menopausal age go ~5 months without a period and not think something is up?

Most women don't menstruate with exact regularity.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:05 AM on January 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


"I kind of have no idea why we're talking about funerals here. In the main article linked above, the police arrest the woman and take the fetus to a funeral home. What does that have to do with the woman who had the abortion?"

Regardless of the trickier question of the fetus' personhood/potential-personhood/lack-of-personhood what the cops found was still human remains that needed to be handled by a professional.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:05 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do we know if she was perimenopausal at the time?
posted by infini at 11:05 AM on January 3, 2013


Also, while this is not a "dumb person" issue, it is absolutely an education issue; that she didn't know ANY other method of birth control other than condoms is disconcerting.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:07 AM on January 3, 2013 [12 favorites]


18-21 weeks? How does a grown woman of pre-menopausal age go ~5 months without a period and not think something is up?

She thought she was 12 weeks pregnant. It took another few weeks for the pills to come in. It's not uncommon to have weird things or irregular cycles that throw off your timing. I needed an ultrasound to confirm gestational age with this pregnancy; in my case, what I thought was an abnormally light period was actually heavy breakthrough bleeding and I was a month further along than I was expecting (despite actively trying for a pregnancy).
posted by snickerdoodle at 11:07 AM on January 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


That made her guilty of a felony, reasoned the Bannock County prosecuting attorney, Mark L. Hiedeman, who filed the charges.

"It just felt like it fit the statute," Hiedeman said. "[And] this wasn't the first time this has happened. She's had abortions before, and miscarriages. I mean, she was obviously getting pregnant time and time again and not protecting the unborn fetus."


Meet Mark Hiedeman -- a walking, talking constitutional violation!
posted by brain_drain at 11:07 AM on January 3, 2013 [19 favorites]


18-21 weeks? How does a grown woman of pre-menopausal age go ~5 months without a period and not think something is up?

The article mentions that it took her 2 months to obtain the RU-486 from an out of state source. So she must have known she was pregnant at 10-12 weeks.
posted by zarq at 11:08 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I kind of have no idea why we're talking about funerals here. In the main article linked above, the police arrest the woman and take the fetus to a funeral home. What does that have to do with the woman who had the abortion?

See the end of the TNR article:

McCormack, too, thinks a lot about the fetus. As we watched her son bounce a bright yellow ball against the fence in her backyard, she told me that what she wants most is a proper burial. “Just because of the circumstances doesn’t mean I’m heartless,” she says. “It’s still a piece of you, you know?”
posted by brain_drain at 11:09 AM on January 3, 2013


Regardless of the trickier question of the fetus' personhood/potential-personhood/lack-of-personhood what the cops found was still human remains that needed to be handled by a professional.

"Human remains" connotes that a person has died (to me, at least).
posted by Etrigan at 11:10 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


brain_drain: “See the end of the TNR article...”

I saw that, but it says nothing about her asking for a funeral. And it seems strikingly off-key to take that one emotional comment out of a very long article and use it as a jumping-off place for discussion here.
posted by koeselitz at 11:12 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


This isn't an abortion issue, this is a seriously dumb person issue.

It's a distraction to the real issue that this wouldn't have happened if this woman had access to decent healthcare, but yes, McCormack is portrayed as unrealistically naive and unlucky in the article. She keeps getting pregnant, but it's always the fault of another person or misfortune. You can almost see her wringing her hands and crying "Why does this keep happening?" when the reason why someone gets pregnant is pretty obvious.

So she's not as helpless and removed from the circumstances as the author wants her to be in order to grab readers' sympathies. But the fact remains that she didn't want to carry the baby to term and she didn't have the access to abortion that would have presented it.

It's an unfortunate fact that abortion is still such a taboo that even many people who are for it allow it to be stigmatized-- they feel a need to imply that every person who needs one is generally responsible with contraception and a victim of bad luck. This muddies the issue-- no matter how a woman came to be pregnant, it's her body and her decision to abort.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:13 AM on January 3, 2013 [20 favorites]


I agree with your point, Philosopher Dirtbike, but not your belief that pets don't have cognitive faculties.

I said that the funeral isn't proof that they have particular cognitive faculties, not that they don't have any. I believe many animals are cognitively complicated, but that's moot. The point is that having a funeral is evidence of the emotions of the living, not the abilities or personhood of the dead.

People who try to politicize a woman's grief after an abortion are pretty vile.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:15 AM on January 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


She keeps getting pregnant, but it's always the fault of another person or misfortune.

The article says that she only had access to condoms. That's yet another health care failure.
posted by snickerdoodle at 11:17 AM on January 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


Perform her own abortion? Words fail me. What a state healthcare must truly be in, in America.
posted by marienbad at 11:22 AM on January 3, 2013 [15 favorites]


Just a note: Menstrual periods are not every month, regularly, all the time, without fail for every woman. There are health factors that make missing periods common, and not related to pregnancy. That might not be so in this case, but it's still a thing to know. (Also, the power of denial?)
posted by nile_red at 11:34 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


It is deplorable that a woman should be charged with a crime when terminating an unwanted pregnancy, more deplorable still that anyone should live in a place where there is no access to safe, legal abortion, and appalling that only one method of contraception would be available to an adult woman in the United States.

Calling McCormack stupid, shaming her for having other children and not knowing how far along her pregnancy was, and attacking her for her wish to hold a funeral for her aborted fetus -- these are all unacceptable ways of marginalizing her, and by extension, other women in similar positions.

This isn't about how far along McCormack was. She was pregnant; she knew she was pregnant. She couldn't afford another child, and she couldn't afford a clinical abortion.

We as a society can't afford to mock women who are put in these kinds of positions. We don't get to sit around in judgment and call her a hypocrite because she wants a funeral. We don't get to sit in judgment because she ordered pills off the internet. We just don't.

This kind of attitude, in which we mock the misfortunes of others? It's cruel. The sorts of things McCormack has endured in Idaho are cruel. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I expect MeFites, of all people, to be better than that.
posted by brina at 11:47 AM on January 3, 2013 [95 favorites]


It should be noted that frequently in the first trimester, women experience bleeding that can masquerade as periods. The only accurate indicator of gestational age is size of the fetus.

Also I want to punch people who blame this woman for her situation.
posted by incessant at 11:56 AM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


The only accurate indicator of gestational age is size of the fetus.

Size of the gestational sac, no?
posted by zarq at 11:59 AM on January 3, 2013


What was most disconcerting to me about this article was reading about the abortion rights advocates wanting the "men in white coats" to handle arguing and serving as witnesses/plaintiffs for the medical abortion challenges. I like that McCormack is a "messy" case. The messier, the better. Life is messy, people do stupid things, they fuck up. WE ALL DO. So reading that Planned Parenthood and others think McCormack's fact trail is unseemly...well, fuck that.
posted by Kokopuff at 11:59 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


As a perfectly healthy 29-year-old, I once went 104 days without a period and without being pregnant. My very good friend, at 11 weeks pregnant, had bleeding heavy enough to ruin her sheets and mattress pad (with a repeat episode at 15 weeks), without losing the pregnancy. Anyone who thinks you'd necessarily have to be "seriously dumb" not to know you were pregnant the instant sperm meets egg is, themselves, quite badly uninformed.
posted by KathrynT at 12:00 PM on January 3, 2013 [51 favorites]


It's no one's business what was going through Jennie Lynn McCormick's mind, not when she had previous abortions, not when she gave birth to her children, and not when she acquired medication to induce abortion. (By the way, self-administered misoprostol is still effective and relatively safe, even when it's not taken in the presence of a clinician and even if it's not taken in combination with mifepristone. It's certainly preferable to a knitting needle or Drano.)

The reality is that she was trying to make a responsible decision, to do what was best for her and her family. Given her situation, and the limited access she had, she saw this as her only option. (And if she'd even had the wherewithal to go to a clinic for an abortion, she'd have been turned away once they did the ultrasound--Idaho doesn't permit abortions after 20 weeks "except in cases of health/life endangerment." [Guttmacher PDF])

It irritates me to no end that so many people demand unreasonable standards of nobility, humility, wisdom. Guess what? Humans aren't perfect. Many of us aren't particularly sympathetic. Doesn't mean we're less deserving of bodily autonomy.
posted by cowboy_sally at 12:04 PM on January 3, 2013 [29 favorites]


bearwife: but I'm profoundly worried about whether DIY abortions are safe as well as legal.
That's the whole point of the ruling: that, lacking reasonable access to safe medical procedures (a doctor-performed abortion), she had to resort to a less-safe alternative.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:21 PM on January 3, 2013


Doesn't wanting to have a funeral for the abortus negate the notion that it is not a human being in the first place?

Nowhere in the article does she say anything about wanting to give it a funeral. She expresses a desire that it have a "proper burial," as opposed to sitting in a police evidence locker, which doesn't strike me as unreasonable. That could be just as much about wanting to put the entire episode behind her as some belief that it's a human being.

Particularly given that the authorities have reserved the right to refile charges, I'd certainly want the thing buried or cremated or otherwise unavailable to them, too. Anything else is just asking for them to keep it around until they can haul it out in front of a jury for a little private freak show.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:25 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow to the pretty fucking insensitive comments in this thread.
posted by odinsdream at 12:49 PM on January 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


[Folks, as per always, if you like to discuss somewhat sensitive topics with other people her on MetaFilter please at least look like you are making an effort to understand other people's sensibilities and not just your own. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 12:58 PM on January 3, 2013


18-21 weeks? How does a grown woman of pre-menopausal age go ~5 months without a period and not think something is up?

Hi my name's Kate and my body chooses to deal with the fact that I'm a woman by having periods whenever it feels like and sometimes not for 6-9 months at a time but then maybe 2 weeks apart and I had 2 periods for the entire year of 2009 before randomly having them again in 2 and then 1 month intervals. My point is you clearly have an inaccurate view of how women's bodies work and it'd be nice if you were a little more charitable especially considering your own ignorance on the topic.

I know this has been addressed like 25 times now but damn.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:09 PM on January 3, 2013 [36 favorites]


Wow, didn't even have to scroll to find the first comment blaming her / calling her out as dumb. Just, wow.
posted by xedrik at 1:28 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


My body doesn't work like the medical books insist it should. I can go months without a period and then suddenly have one that lasts for two weeks and can soak a super tampon that should last four hours in twenty minutes. Womens' bodies can be weird.

I also don't suffer morning sickness. So I didn't know I was pregnant for the entire first trimester. I've talked about before in an AskMe. This story is totally believable.
posted by FunkyHelix at 1:34 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


How does a grown woman of pre-menopausal age go ~5 months without a period and not think something is up?

You'd be amazed. My wife works for an adoption agency and they quite regularly get birthmoms who didn't know they were pregnant until they went into labor. Human physiology is weird that way.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:37 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


xedrik: “Wow, didn't even have to scroll to find the first comment blaming her / calling her out as dumb. Just, wow.”

Well, it seems as though those comments have been thoroughly denigrated in this thread already. Probably after a certain point the best thing to do is ignore them and move on to talking about this in a more productive way. I feel bad, because I feel like I kinda kicked off a pile-on; but anyway, there's a lot of really interesting stuff that's worth considering in a measured way.

Kokopuff: “Life is messy, people do stupid things, they fuck up. WE ALL DO. So reading that Planned Parenthood and others think McCormack's fact trail is unseemly...well, fuck that.”

Well – I guess I can see their point of view, in large part anyway. It sounds like McCormack had already been vindicated; the point in pushing the case up to the Ninth Circuit was to obtain a decision that would help others in her situation, and since that court only rendered a relatively narrow decision in her favor, it's not likely it will have a lot of impact. The point is to try to find test cases that can be used to effectively clarify the right to safe and affordable abortion. Plenty of women whose cases deserve fighting for don't necessarily fall into the category of useful test cases for higher court consideration of abortion.

That said, obviously I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know exactly how it works.
posted by koeselitz at 1:50 PM on January 3, 2013




"How does a grown woman of pre-menopausal age go ~5 months without a period and not think something is up?"

I don't know. How do grown men pass venereal diseases to women, without noticing their horrible, painful burning and sores? What makes some men so inhuman that all they can think about is their own sexual gratification, while displaying an obvious level of hatred and disrespect towards women?

(Oh, I'm sorry... that's right. The symptoms aren't always so clear, and vary greatly from one person to another. Sorry for saying something so inadvertently sexist there. I guess I was too busy generalizing to actually think about these things.)

Some women have light bleeding or spotting very early in pregnancy – around the time their period is due – and they may mistake that for a period.

But realistically, if a woman does something she has the legal right to do at 18 weeks rather than at 12 weeks... when in both cases, she should have been able to wait many weeks longer... who are you to judge her, or call her stupid? She was making the best decision for herself and her family... and it was HER decision to make.

"In the main article linked above, the police arrest the woman and take the fetus to a funeral home. What does that have to do with the woman who had the abortion?"

I personally think this should be considered theft, but the way the law works out, not only do you not have any rights over the fetus in question, you don't even have the right to fully specify what you want done with your own corpse.
posted by markkraft at 2:29 PM on January 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


A more personal case in point as to why men should not judge women for having abortions a bit later than they would prefer, and should support the right of women to have abortions later than they might otherwise feel comfortable with:

My girlfriend takes birth control pills, but not for birth control. She takes them to control her periods, which tend to be very irregular. Sometimes, they are just a bit of spotting... but sometimes, they result in dangerously heavy bleeding for weeks. Even with the pill, she still has irregular levels of bleeding, but it is much more manageable and much more akin to either no bleeding or relatively normal bleeding, even though she still has months where she'll bleed for a couple weeks.

Despite taking the pill, it is still possible -- though not likely -- for her to get pregnant. (The pregnancy rate with "typical use" is about nine percent per year.) And if she did get pregnant, I would fully expect her to potentially not know it for quite awhile, based on her period or lack thereof.

So, yes, stereotyping women or calling them stupid based on how you think they should've interpreted their period... or their guaranteed rights?! NOT COOL.
posted by markkraft at 2:47 PM on January 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


women have attempted home abortions with mercury, quinine, pennyroyal, iron sulfates, and a mixture of camel saliva and deer hair; Hippocrates once advised a prostitute to jump up and down.

I'm very fond of English novels of the 20's and 30's. At that time it was "common knowledge" that one might bring on the menses with a hot bath and a glass of gin. Or horseback riding. Or jumping from a table.

There have been times when midwives have been trained and knowledgeable and times when they have been burnt at the stake or otherwise prohibited from practicing their profession. Unfortunately it is not always practical or desirable to be pregnant, so without good, safe, reliable methods, women have sometimes turned to dangerous, unreliable methods. Thankfully we now have the internet to share information.

Even when you have legal access to abortions these days in America they are not always affordable-- someone who can't afford to have a baby may not be able to come up with $600.00 cash (or whatever the going rate is in your neighborhood.) It is the great tragedy of women that we bare the brunt of procreation. I would think it no bad thing if abortion or day-after pills were available from any drugstore in America without prescription for under $20.00.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:02 PM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


ugh. bare the brunt. Mea Culpa for wasting my editing window. Although I'm sure pregnant women have had to bare a lot of body parts, their brunts were never one of them.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:11 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


A woman living on $250/month with three kids decides not to have another one and that is a stupid decision?
posted by borges at 3:16 PM on January 3, 2013 [19 favorites]


"How does a grown woman of pre-menopausal age go ~5 months without a period and not think something is up?"

Clearly someone needs to watch a couple of seasons of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant."
posted by nooneyouknow at 3:38 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Funerals are for the living to express emotions, not proof that the one being mourned has particular cognitive faculties.

No, I'm pretty sure the funeral is at the very least an acknowledgement of the life of the deceased. And all of those people who have had pet funerals have considered them as part of the family.
posted by Renoroc at 3:54 PM on January 3, 2013


I expect that the most sensible* way to fight illegal abortions is to prosecute the performers and not the mothers, and to count self-abortions as the mother, similar to tactics used against prostitution except that auto-prostitution doesn't exist.**

*You understand the limited context of my comment, hopefully.

**I have heard of keeping some kind of money jar...
posted by michaelh at 4:15 PM on January 3, 2013


I think the most sensible way to fight illegal abortions is to ensure reasonable universal access to contraception, health education, and legal abortion.
posted by gingerest at 5:24 PM on January 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


Wow. The section on Cytotec now makes me wonder if I was further along when I took it.

Long story short: I was diagnosed with a non-viable embryo 9 weeks into my first pregnancy, and chose to take Cytotec to induce the miscarriage process. Five days and a whoooole lot of bleeding later, I wound up in the ER on hydromorphone. The pain was terrible, the blood loss Shining-esque, and if that's what a "heavy period" is, then I clearly have never had one.

I still remember thinking when I went to the pharmacy to pick up the drugs, "Oh, these are abortion pills. I never thought I'd need these." But for me, I needed to end what had been a terribly disappointing and sad outcome and I didn't want a D&C. I could have afforded one, and my doctor would have performed it, but I just didn't want it.

I only used half the bottle; I still have pills left. Hell, I have two more prescriptions remaining on the script. It's a little crazy-making that acquiring these drugs was just so damn easy for me, but so difficult for other women.

I'm okay, by the way. As I seem to post on any pregnancy thread on MeFi, I got good and knocked up less than a month later. I mention all this because: wow, Cytotec. That is one hell of a drug.
posted by offalark at 5:31 PM on January 3, 2013


Sometimes, things that are perfectly fine if a doctor is involved turn out to be a really bad idea if you don't use one.
posted by Hatashran at 5:39 PM on January 3, 2013


The lawyer who took her case was Rick Hearn, a Georgetown Law graduate who specializes in civil rights and personal injury litigation. A father of four and a practicing Catholic, he had once argued for the state in favor of a parental-consent law.

Congratulations Mr. Hearn on your acquisition of a spine.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:42 PM on January 3, 2013


Hatashran, this woman was not prosecuted because she decided to do something that would be "perfectly fine if a doctor (was) involved but a really bad idea if (she didn't) use one" - as far as I can tell, in Idaho, abortion is the only medical or surgical procedure that carries felony penalties if you deliberately perform it on yourself.
posted by gingerest at 7:00 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gingerest,

Not quite the same things, but just off the top of my head:

In states (not Idaho) where medical marijuana is legal but recreational use isn't, using it without a prescription is a crime.

It's legal to go to a 'Botox party' and have a doctor shoot up you and all your friends with Botox, but there is no market for mail-order Botox as it would be illegal to give it to yourself.

You certainly can't do any significant self-medication with antibiotics, ED medication, antidepressants, or birth control without getting a doctor involved, and any attempt to do so would be illegal.

Getting away from medicine:

You can't buy a house in some states without paying a lawyer to sign off on the contract. To say nothing of all the other mandated service providers you have to go through.

It's illegal to buy a car directly from someone who makes cars without going through a locally-licensed dealer.

And just on a side note, my Google history shall now forever contain a search for "legal status of doing surgery on yourself".
posted by Hatashran at 8:09 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I seem to remember Mefi talking about DIY abortions before within the past six months, maybe as a derail to another topic. And I mentioned what I've learned from my post-medical catastrophe life among the very poor... DIY abortions are not unfamiliar. There are many that know a few herbs you can buy at the local co-op. I could tell the name for three of them but I'd rather not get into trouble dispensing medical advice.

If affordable medical care is not available, then some type of affordable care will be found. Whether it's illegal or not. When there are no good choices, the least bad one starts looking pretty good.
posted by _paegan_ at 11:27 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


In thinking this over, I am perplexed by the fact she did not simply wash the fetus, wrap it in some cloth, quietly dig a hole and bury it and above all, tell NO ONE!

I have to say that my experience of young LDS women who break away a little is that they can be pretty uninformed about sex and birth control. This is a group which encourages large families.one way you do that is keep people uninformed.

I feel pretty bad for her. I have lived on that kind if ridiculously small amount of money and it's no fun even without kids. My town isn't all that expensive. Not sure about cost of living in Pocatello. How was she supposed to add another child to her family?

I also had fairly irregular periods. I did get awful morning sickness so I generally knew, lots of women don't experience morning sickness. I was thin when I was younger. I weighed 90 ponuda. I could see the bilo. Maybe she was a more normal weight. Anyway, like I said, how she handled the remains bothers me worse.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:25 AM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Renoroc, asking for the remains to be buried instead of kept in police evidence storage is not the same thing as asking for a funeral.

I hope this case can be helpful to other women choosing between a rock and a hard place, who rarely get any sympathy or assistance from dudes with no idea about women's reproductive systems. And fuck, the sooner America sorts out its healthcare system, the happier and more productive everyone will be.
posted by harriet vane at 12:43 AM on January 4, 2013


Regarding the comments about whether it's inconsistent to have a funeral for a foetus you aborted. I'm fortunate enough never to have had an unwanted pregnancy, but if I were in the position where abortion seemed the only option, that might well be what I'd want to do.

It's not a black and white issue. Different people have different perceptions of the same stage of pregnancy: a planned and wanted ball of cells can feel like a child, an unwanted pregnancy months along can feel like a medical condition. The law cannot and should not shape itself to all those varieties of different perception and philosophy: it works on the principle of harm reduction. The harm is minimised when you have safe, legal abortions up to the point where the foetus becomes viable, and late-term abortions available in the event of severe medical problems. Which is what, in most developed countries, we have. And as any just law should, it applies to everyone, regardless of who they are and how they think.

But having a funeral for an aborted child is a perfectly consistent thought process within that thought continuum. It goes something like this:

You are my unformed child. As time goes on you will develop what you don't yet have, the capacity to think, feel, and suffer. But you don't have it yet, so if I end the pregnancy, I will not cause you suffering. You will be unconscious, and then you will wink out, and that will be the end of your short life. Under other circumstances I would love to have and raise you, but I don't have the resources or support to give you any kind of quality of life (and, sometimes, if I have you, the quality of life of my other children will take a sharp drop). I have no good choices here. The one that will cause the least suffering to the fewest people is to let you go before you get old enough to understand what's happened. It's not a choice I'm happy with, but it's the only thing I can do. I love you. I'm sorry. Goodbye.

And in that situation, a funeral is perfectly fucking appropriate. Frankly, I think a truly healthy society would allow the option of a funeral after terminations as a matter of course.

A woman does not owe the pro-life movement allegiance to the idea that it's not a child at all in order to deserve reproductive rights. Rights are rights. They are not gifts granted in exchange for the appropriate attitude. If you don't support fair rights for people whose attitudes you don't approve or don't understand, you aren't a rights activist, you're a philosophy pusher. That is not what women need. When it comes to reproduction, we've got enough of those already.
posted by Kit W at 3:17 AM on January 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


In thinking this over, I am perplexed by the fact she did not simply wash the fetus, wrap it in some cloth, quietly dig a hole and bury it and above all, tell NO ONE!

I think she was simply unable to deal with it. People do this all the time. They stop opening up bank statements when they are in dire financial straits, stop getting on the scales when they are gaining weight, stop answering the phone, stop getting out of bed, stop looking in the mirror. Our minds play games and when we have to face difficult circumstances (such as what to do with that mouldering body on the porch) it just forgets, blocks it out, because it is too difficult to handle.

I don't have any problem reconciling the idea that a fetus is too sacred to throw in the garbage but is still not a full human being with all the rights that entails. Listen, if for some reason I had to cut my own arm or breast off, I would feel weird about throwing that in the trash as well. I would either want the part removed cremated or buried rather than wrapped in plastic and dumped in a landfill.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:37 AM on January 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think the person in this article would see a far greater benefit from actual (free) sex education and talking with a life skills counselor at a non-profit much more than she would benefit from having access to affordable abortions and constitutional litigation.
posted by Debaser626 at 1:24 PM on January 4, 2013


I felt bad throwing my dead hamster in the trash, but I would still lay out mouse traps if my house was infested.

I agree with SLoG: Emotions are emotions- they don't have to make sense. What is bad is legislating other people's bodily autonomy based on your emotions.
posted by winna at 4:36 PM on January 4, 2013


I think the person in this article would see a far greater benefit from actual (free) sex education and talking with a life skills counselor at a non-profit much more than she would benefit from having access to affordable abortions and constitutional litigation.

I don't see why she should have to choose between those two things.
posted by KathrynT at 4:41 PM on January 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


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