The Abortion Case No One is Talking About
In January 2011, Jennie Linn McCormack was arrested in Pocatello, Idaho. Her crime? Killing her baby by lethal injection. After receiving a tip from a neighbor, police found the baby's frozen body wrapped in a plastic bag and laying on the mother's barbecue. When asked what happened to the dead child, McCormack incredulously responded, "How can you question me about my personal stuff?" To this, the officer replied, "Well, there's legal and there's personal." And clearly a dead baby on the backyard grill has legal written all over it. Or does it?
The reason Jennie Linn McCormack is not in jail today is because the pills that caused her baby's demise were not injected by the baby; they were injected by the mother. McCormack killed her child by self abortion, and the criminal case against her was thrown out. Abortion, after all, is a private, legal affair, right? Not exactly. Though abortion is federally legal in all 50 states, "private" abortions are generally against the law. A 1972 Idaho law states that all abortions must be performed by a doctor, and all second-trimester abortions must be performed in a hospital. Did I mention that McCormack was five months into the pregnancy when she aborted her child–using abortion drugs that aren't recommended past 7 weeks gestation? Adding to the legal conundrum is Idaho's more recent "fetal pain" law which forbids most abortions past 19 weeks.
All of these statutes will be put to the test next month when McCormack's civil suit goes to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. She and her attorney are challenging the constitutionality of forbidding the interstate sale of abortion drugs to non-physicians. If necessary, McCormack's attorney says he will take the challenge all the way to the Supreme Court. But despite the high stakes, the case has garnered little national attention. NPR speculates that pro-life organizations are hesitant to condemn aborting women and are quietly avoiding this case because there is no abortionist to point the finger at. They quote Marjorie Dannenfelser, from the the Susan B. Anthony List, as saying, "We do not think women should be criminalized. Criminal sanctions or any kind of sanctions are appropriate for abortionists, and not for women." On the other side, NPR suggests that abortion-rights groups would much prefer a more sympathetic plaintiff and a more sympathetic Supreme Court.
In the meantime, McCormack complains of being ostracized in her community. She eventually quit her job at a dry cleaner to avoid the whispers and nasty looks and stopped going to her Mormon church after hearing a sermon on abortion that she felt sure was aimed at her (if only that sermon had been preached before this tragedy occurred). "They can sit there and judge me," McCormack says, "but it’s not the easiest choice to ever have to make. And it was all -– a lot of it was about my children. I couldn’t put any more on them, or me.” McCormack has three surviving children and notes that the older two seem to feel ashamed of her.
Like so many others, McCormack had an abortion because she thought it would make her life better. And even though she seems to feel little remorse for killing her unborn child, her life has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. I do not say that she is getting what she deserves. I do say that she is the tragic product of a warped and immoral legal system–one which conditions mothers to believe that it is normal and natural to terminate children who are an inconvenience. McCormack had aborted in the past without any hoopla. Why should it be any different for her when she aborted at home? Is the end result any different for the baby? Is it any worse to abort a viable baby than to abort a non-viable baby? The National Abortion Federation assures us that it is not.
It's easy to condemn the apparent callousness of Jennie Linn McCormack, but at the end of the day, she is right. If there is nothing wrong with abortion, then there is nothing wrong with what she did. She should be free to self-abort to her heart's content. But if there is something wrong with abortion, then it suddenly becomes clear why McCormack's actions are so nauseating. Abortion is an act of violence that kills a living human being, and that is true no matter where or when the abortion occurs.
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.