Anna Yocca—Punished, Shamed and Rotting in Prison for This System’s Crimes Against Women
A Horrific Harbinger of Trump/Pence’s Program for Women
by Sunsara Taylor
December 7, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Anna Yocca has been sitting in jail in Tennessee for nearly a year. What is her “crime”? She is accused of having attempted a self-abortion in her own home with a coat-hanger. 32-year-old Anna Yocca was originally charged with attempted murder; then in February that charge was reduced to aggravated assault. And now, prosecutors have succeeded in charging Anna Yocca with three felony charges: aggravated assault with a weapon, attempted procurement of a miscarriage, and attempted criminal abortion.
Whether she attempted a self-abortion or not (something her lawyers contest), only a society and system with utter contempt for women would see this as a “crime”! And yet, that is precisely the kind of society we live in—with far, far worse being promised and normalized already by the president and vice president elect.
Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement
We live in a society where the right to abortion is effectively nonexistent for women in huge swaths of this country. Nearly 90 percent of counties do not have any abortion provider. In Tennessee there are just seven abortion clinics, none of which perform abortions after 16 weeks of gestation and many women have to travel more than 100 miles to find a clinic to have an abortion. With federally funded abstinence-only programs the norm in huge numbers of schools, millions and millions of young people never receive any scientific sex education or learn about contraception. A growing movement of religious fascists is fighting to make it more difficult for women to obtain contraception that would prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Fascists threaten and harass women outside almost every abortion facility across this country. And women who get abortions are shamed in most churches, in film, television, mainstream media, and the broader culture.
When a woman is driven to desperate and life-risking acts to terminate a pregnancy because all of society has conspired to prevent her from easily and freely exercising her own reproductive choices, it is this system that has committed a crime! Not the woman!
Yet, rather than recognize the risks that Anna Yocca was forced to take (if she did, indeed, attempt to terminate her own pregnancy) and offering her help and support, the woman-hating system we live under has charged her with three felonies and held her in prison!
But this is not all. If it is true, as she has been accused, that Anna Yocca had wanted to terminate her pregnancy, then the hospital (where she had gone because she was hemorrhaging) carried out a heinous, unconscionable and unforgivable crime against her. They didn’t offer her this option. Instead, two weeks later she gave birth to a 1.5 pound fetus who was immediately put on life support. So, either she wanted to have a child and all the charges are bullshit and should be dropped. Or, she didn’t want to have a child and the hospital and the state disregarded Yocca’s desires and forced her into motherhood against her will.
Rather than showing compassion towards a woman who has been mistreated by this society and needed help and support, they treated her as nothing more than a human incubator and a heartless criminal. Then they turned her over to the police and turned the child over to state custody.
A Dangerous Precedent and Horrific Harbinger
This is an extremely dangerous precedent and it must be fought. Abortion access, birth control and real sex education must be drastically expanded, not further undercut. No woman should ever find herself without access to abortion services on demand and without apology. And if a woman ever does, and decides to take matters into her own hands, she should be supported—not criminalized!
Many people dismissed Donald Trump’s threat during his campaign to “punish” women who get abortions. They were oh-so-relieved and happy to hear him “walk this statement back.” But this is exactly what is already taking place in this country. And, if we do not stand up NOW and STOP the consolidation of the Trump/Pence fascist program against women—with their promise to appoint anti-abortion Supreme Court “justices” and other grotesque and open misogyny, along with their vicious attacks on many other oppressed people—Anna Yocca’s horrific experience will be the future we bestow upon many, many more young women and girls and future generations. Do not sit back and let this happen. We must resist.
Fetuses are NOT babies.
Abortion is NOT murder.
Women are NOT incubators!
Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!
Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!
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