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Anna allegedly tried to abort her pregnancy. Now she's been charged with attempted murder.

Warning: This post deals with abortion and may be distressing for some readers. 

In a warm bath Anna Yocca lay ready to abort her unborn baby. The 31-year old was prepared. She had a coat hanger, she had the water at just the right temperature.

She inserted the coat hanger into her vagina and in what must have been a horrific and painful procedure attempted her own abortion.

It was when she began to bleed profusely that Anna Yocca became concerned, she alerted her boyfriend who called an ambulance and the 31-year old was rushed to hospital.

She alerted her boyfriend who called an ambulance and the 31-year old was rushed to hospital.

Anna Yocca lives in Tennessee, a state with difficult abortion laws and at 24 weeks – or 6 months along – she was too late for a legal termination so she was forced to resort to “backyard” methods, methods that are shocking to hear of in 2015.

Whatever her motivation for attempting to abort her unborn child with a coat hanger Anna Yocca has now become another face in the ongoing war in the US on women’s reproductive rights as she now faces a charge of attempted murder.

Last week the 31-year-old Tennessee woman was indicted and faces prison.

Yocca is being held in the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center on $200,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on December 21 to enter a plea to the charge.

People reports that her arrest warrant claims Yocca filled the bathtub in her home and “took a coat hanger and attempted to self-abort her pregnancy.”

When she began bleeding profusely, Yocca “became concerned about her safety” and her boyfriend took her to the nearest hospital.

“The whole time she was concerned for her health, her safety and never gave any attention to the health and safety to the unborn child,” Sergeant Kyle Evans told CBS.

“The whole time she was concerned for her health, her safety and never gave any attention to the health and safety to the unborn child,” Sergeant Kyle Evans told CBS.

At the hospital doctors acted to save the baby boy in line with Tennessee law. He was born, weighing just 1.5 pounds.

The arrest report claims medical professionals told detectives the infant boy’s “quality of life will be forever harmed” by Yocca’s alleged actions.

“Those injuries will affect this child for the rest of his life, all caused at the hands of his own mother,” Sgt. Evans said.

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Her son will need oxygen and daily medications to deal with injuries he’d sustained to the lungs, eyes, and heart during the alleged attempt her arrest warrant states.

The case of Anna Yocca isn’t a solitary one. In another US state, Texas, restrictive reproduction laws have seen between 100,000 and 240,000 Texas women between the ages of 18 and 49 try to end a pregnancy by themselves, according to a recent survey.

According to reports Tennessee itself doesn’t have any clinics that perform abortions after 16 weeks.

In fact the GuttmAcher Institute writes that in 2011, 96% of Tennessee counties had no abortion clinic.  63% of Tennessee women lived in these counties.

96% of Tennessee counties have no abortion clinic.

A woman must receive state-directed counselling and then wait 48 hours before the procedure is provided. Counselling must be provided in person and must take place before the waiting period begins, thereby necessitating two separate trips to the facility. In Tennessee the use of telemedicine for the performance of medication abortion is prohibited and public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

Cherisse A Scott, founder and CEO of SisterReach, a reproductive justice organization based in Memphis told The Guardian that the police officer who spoke on Yocca’s case was “egregious and unprofessional”.

Police sergeant Kyle Evans’s anti-abortion bias was clear reports The Guardian”

“ [Saying] that Yocca “wanted to kill the child” and that she “made very incriminating statements … regarding wanting to end the child’s life”. (Apparently wanting an abortion is criminal.)”

According to The Murfreesboro Post Detective Tommy Roberts, the officer who arrested Yocca also made statements about Yocca’s intent. Det Roberts said, “The nurses and doctors he interviewed indicated Anna Yocca made “disturbing statements about the baby and wanting to terminate her pregnancy.”

Caitlin Cohen for Dead State takes issue with this wording.

“Disturbing statements?” You mean like, “I wanted to have an abortion?” she writes.

Cherisse A Scott told The Guardian that situations like Roccas will only become more common “Women are attempting to self-abort due to restrictive abortion and punitive fetal assault legislation. These acts of desperation will happen more frequently unless the Tennessee Legislature reconsiders its posture about both current and potential anti-abortion legislation”.

Yocca is back in court next week. Her son remains in hospital.

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