Idaho woman induces DIY abortion, US Appeals court blocks prosecution

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007
Idaho woman induces DIY abortion, US Appeals court blocks prosecution
4
Mon, 09-17-2012 - 4:00pm

More on DIY abortion, this Idaho mother of 3had a DIY abortion in 2010, and the courts have declined to prosecute. 

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday blocked the prosecution of an Idaho woman who aborted her pregnancy by taking pills instead of traveling to a clinic or hospital as required by state law.  Chicago Tribune link (link has been mended and now works, sorry, I did find my pasting error)

Essentially, there are no providers in her part of the state, and so she bought pills online and self-induced, without any medical oversight.  Let's be clear, this is a bad idea, a dangerous thing, but if one feels driven to do this, I think she went about it in the safest way available to her. 

The courts did not strike down the law making what she did illegal, but the text of the ruling seemed to state that they are moved by her lack of functional access to appropriate abortion care, and therefore do not want to prosecute her. 

 

This doesn't solve the larger problem - why was she unable to access legal abortion? 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-24-2012

Well, darn, the Chicago Tribune link wouldn't work. But I totally agree with you - why in the world was she unable to access a legal clinic? SO much safer- even if she had to drive a little ways to get to one. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2012

I was able to find the story here.

I think it's unusual that the courts actually took her circumstances into consideration, but I'm glad they did. She obviously did the best she could within her ability; just makes you wonder how many others may be in the same type of situation.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007

Looks like she would have had to drive a long ways, then pay a large fee out of pocket.  Also, I don't know if its the case in her state, but in many states one has to go through the "counseling" appointment 24 hours earlier, which means two trips - two days off work and two days arranging childcare. 

Sorry about the bad link, maybe I just dont have the knack of the local html.

This is from NBC. (link works for me - please do let me know if I'm posting bad links!)

McCormack searched for an abortion provider but there were none in Bannock County, where she lived, the court opinion said, adding in a footnote that 87 percent of counties in the U.S. do not have abortion providers.  

She knew she could get an abortion in Salt Lake City, Utah, about 138 miles away, but the procedure would cost between $400 and $2,000, the opinion said.

Thing is, that's about the same price she would pay locally to me, though she wouldn't have to drive as far.  I can see where this would be an oppressive healthcare cost (though far less than a term delivery) but it's not in any way unique to her.  Thing is, the cost of that same pill (lets just make the foolish assumption that her internet vender sold her what she thought she was buying) wholesale to the healthcare provider is around $300, because there is only one drug company licensed to sell it in the US and so they charge whatever they please (this would never happen in a nation with single-payer healthcare, we pay much more for all our medications). So even though a "medication abortion" seems less complicated, it's not really less expensive. 

I wonder how that will be applied to future test cases? 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007

How about using tele-medicine to provide coverage in these places that don't have access?  It doesn't solve the financial barrier, but might permit a single provider to reach a larger geographic region.

Telemedicine abortions in Iowa

What do you all think?  Safe?  Convenient?  Would you be okay with this?