so much fun

Idaho Jails Discover Exciting New Potential Guests: Ladies Who Take RU-486

pill-poppers enter here

Jennie Linn McCormack, a single mom from Pocatello, Idaho, was just around when the sister of her friend and the local police department needed someone to blame for McCormack’s abortion, which she induced in late 2010 by purchasing RU-486 over the Internet. The manufacturers and sellers of RU-486 were nowhere to be found, and there were just too many of them, and it was just a hassle. McCormack, surviving on child support checks and already a mother of three, couldn’t afford to pay the $500 to get an abortion in Salt Lake City, where the closest abortion clinic is located, so she turned to her sister in Mississippi, who purchased the pill and mailed it to her. She later confided in a friend about the abortion. Then the friend’s sister called the police. McCormack was arrested for inducing the abortion, which is illegal in Idaho thanks to a 1972 law. Some months later, Idaho and other states enacted fetal pain abortion laws, making it illegal to have an abortion after 19 weeks because it allegedly causes pain to the fetus. McCormack is now suing a state prosecutor, contending that Idaho made abortions inaccessible to her. This makes Jennie Linn McCormack both a social pariah and the poster child of the fetal pain abortion debate. She must be thrilled.

What’s complicating the case is that McCormack underestimated how far along she was in the pregnancy, and after the abortion occurred she wrapped the fetus in a plastic bag and left it on her back porch. She says she was “paralyzed” by the event and didn’t know what else to do. When the police questioned McCormack about the matter, she asked why they were asking her about her “personal stuff.” The police officer responded, “Well there’s legal and there’s personal.”

BUT. Even the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List ladies, of all people, have called the case “not acceptable”!! (These are the words of the group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, who says it’s one thing to prosecute an abortion doctor; it is quite another to “criminalize” a woman for having an abortion). Adding to the complications, this is apparently the first time this 1972 law is being enforced, according to a Daily Beast piece from last year.

Rick Hearn, a lawyer and physician, represents McCormack, and just last week was granted a motion to intervene, not only as a lawyer but as a doctor, in McCormack’s case.

McCormack, having induced the abortion so late, is apparently not the “ideal candidate” to head up a pro-choice debate in the Supreme Court, Slate contributor Will Saletan said, with cautious cynicism (this is “the sort of ghoulish image pro-choice activists try to avoid,” says the Daily Beast, more bluntly). Still, a handful of pro-life groups have filed a brief on McCormack’s behalf. Meanwhile, McCormack has been ostracized in Pocatello. The initial case against her (for which she was also represented by Hearn) was dropped last year due to lack of evidence, but there is the threat that prosecutors will re-file. She lost her job after her mug shot appeared in the local paper, she barely leaves the house, and she’s starting an online business, but is afraid that people will find out that she’s behind it. [NPR, The Daily Beast]

About the author

Liz is a writer. She has written for this site, evidently, and also The Awl, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, The Economist and others. She is the author of a short story collection, Cover Story.

View all articles by Liz Colville

Comments

Hey there, Wonkeputians! Shypixel here to remind you to remember our Commenting Rules For Radicals, Enjoy!

  • nounverb911

    Rick Santorum would have had the fetus stuffed, put a wig on it and given it to his daughter to play with.

    • Guppy

      Are we sure he didn't already?

  • Jus_Wonderin

    I have always wondered if this should be called "Are you for 86?"

    • nounverb911

      CONTROL Agent 99 was.

    • Baconzgood

      David Lee Roth's Eat 'em and Smile album.
      Van Halen's (Oh You Ate One Too) OU812

      • http://wonkette.com smokefilledroommate

        And Gang Green's I81B4U

    • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

      No, but IB469

    • http://facethesuncastnoshadow.wordpress.com/ Mumbletypeg

      Like restaurant kitchen slang. "Are You For 86'ing Our Unborns?"

      • Jus_Wonderin

        Yes, that is the way I have always thought it sounded.

    • MosesInvests

      UR2L8.

    • BoatOfVelociraptors

      Pentiums are so 90's

  • mormos

    well she's clearly guilty of being a woman so…

    • anniegetyerfun

      Burn her!

      • Fare la Volpe

        I hear they float, you know.

        • MosesInvests

          Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?

        • Negropolis

          If they float, then you really have to burn 'em.

  • Antispandex

    As soon as a few more things are illegal, we should have no problem paying off our debt to China with prison labor…I'm never sure about it…is that ironic?

    • http://krisbunda.com/blog/index.php Designer_Radio

      I'm with you on the inevitability of us all being in prison labor camps, but paying down our debt? I'm pretty sure the Republicans will just borrow more money to nuke Antarctica for melting or something.

  • scvirginia

    She's not going into the Jar Jar business, is she?

  • BaldarTFlagass

    "she wrapped the fetus in a plastic bag and left it on her back porch."

    What, don't they have Mason jars in Idaho?

    • Fare la Volpe

      Ooooh, Mr. Bigshot, wavin' his fancy pants "mason jars" around.

    • Nostrildamus

      They do, but the fetus wasn't a Mason.

      • PubOption

        Someone could have made a little apron for it.

    • http://www.kalimao.blogspot.com MittBorg

      It's *above* the Mason-Dixon line, I bleev.

  • Goonemeritus

    Have you considered turning the Wonkette into a 24/7 Brangelina blog seriously you are starting to make me cry at my desk. Well cry more than normal in any case.

  • SoBeach

    I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.

    • http://wonkette.com TanzbodenKoenig

      And I won't forget the men who died, to take reproductive rights from me

      (not me personally, since I was lucky enough to be born with a twig and berries [u jelly ladies?] but you know, speaking out of solidarity and such)

  • veritass

    Snitches get stitches, or something.

  • niblick77

    RU-486, Did you get that ladies? Oh, and do not be telling anybody!

  • Come here a minute

    This post neglects to mention the fact that this woman is a slut.

    • niblick77

      It is right there in the first sentence "…a single mom…"!

    • veritass

      Because, of course.

    • BaldarTFlagass

      She da ho, alright.

  • http://Wonkette.com DemmeFatale

    Thanks, "friend's" sister.
    Let me introduce Marsha Looper, from Colorado, she's your kind of people.

  • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

    "Whatcha in for?"

    "Criminal Swallowing"

    • Antispandex

      If it's a crime, I only want to meet the ladies willing to break the law!

      • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

        It would be like the Scopes Monkey Trials! We need to find a willing defendant and then make sure she swallows several times just to get the point across

  • Baconzgood

    NEEDZ MOAR FETUS JAR!

  • vodkamuppet

    "My friends sister heard her friend may have had an abortion after 19 weeks, maybe. Let's ruin her life"

  • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

    I can't possibly be the first one to point out "nice friend," am I?

    Also, great friend this friend has, too. Also. And.

    TIDED: No, I was not. Thanks, DemmeFatale

  • facehead

    19 weeks, how is that not protected by Roe v. Wade?

    • anniegetyerfun

      Because states' rights.

    • Fare la Volpe

      Especially since Roe v. Wade invalidated this 1972 law exactly one year later.

  • mavenmaven

    The thought of incarcerating all these poor non-violent women is making the pay-for-prison system people drool.

    • Antispandex

      It's OK, as long as we don't keep 'em in too long, they can still make for fine strippers and whores when they get out. After all this is America, where everyone has a right to a job!

    • scvirginia

      Can we raise enough moolah selling crotchety pillows on Etsy to sponsor a martial arts class for the ladies awaiting trial?

  • BaldarTFlagass

    "McCormack, surviving on child support checks"

    Lucky for her she wasn't ex-married to Congressman Joe Walsh.

  • el_donaldo

    Odin on a pile of flaming sticks! This woman's situation is too ghoulish for pro-choicers to embrace?! It's a perfect fucking image of the horror of restricting access to abortion and politicizing the whole mess in the bargain. This world makes me sick sometimes.

    • Guppy

      Democrats by another name.

  • BarackMyWorld

    Reading Wonkette is really doing a number on my blood pressure today.

    • Jus_Wonderin

      I picked a bad day to give up drinking at work.

      • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

        It's always a bad day to give up drinking at my job. In fact, I'm thinking of quitting my job so I can quit alcohol

        • Naked_Bunny

          Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

          What. Too soon?

  • coolhandnuke

    If my "friend" orders boner pills over the internet and sends them to me, will he be arrested for the interestate commerce of loaded weapons?

  • dijetlo

    a single mom from Pocatello, Idaho…a social pariah

    Isn't that the same thing?

  • anniegetyerfun

    You know it's a sad day when the pro-lifers are, like, "No, this is really tragic and we don't feel like picking on her" but then the government is, all, "Let's arrest the fuck out of this bitch."

    Then there's the Chinese lady who is being charged with murder for losing her fetus after being revived from a suicide attempt.
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/05/25/b

    • Guppy

      It's not a "sad day," it's disingenuous. These are exactly the laws the pro-lifers lobbied for, now they're free to stand back and let the gubmint be the bad guy while Pilate washes his hands.

    • CivicHoliday

      God in heaven, both of these cases breaks my heart. These poor women.

  • http://wonkette.com smokefilledroommate

    She's Mormon?

    • anniegetyerfun

      That's what they say.

      • Fare la Volpe

        Why hasn't she denied it?

    • Not_So_Much

      If she's here in our own private Idaho, there's about a 78% chance of Mo'.

  • Terry

    Personally, I think the name of the friend's sister (the person who called the cops) needs to be made public for some good old fashioned public shaming.

    • Blueb4sunrise

      Probably not available because they're protecting her privacy.

      • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

        There's great irony in that statement.

  • scorpy1

    Good evidence that you're probably only 2 degrees of Kevin Bacon away from a "kill-em-all"-ish faux-moralist.

  • ChernobylSoup

    Requesting permission to rip out the eyes and skullfuck whoever fired her after seeing the mug shot.

    • Guppy

      That's the beauty of at-will employment: you don't even need an indictment!

  • Lionel[redacted]Esq

    See, this is just what happens when you encourage women to have sex. Rush Limbaugh was right!

    • Not_So_Much

      Exactly. What he does with his cash and boner pills in the Dominican means he doesn't have to encourage anybody to do anything. The pimps take care of all that.

  • SayItWithWookies

    Some months later, Idaho and other states enacted fetal pain abortion laws, making it illegal to have an abortion after 19 weeks because it allegedly causes pain to the fetus.

    Pain that may or may not be felt by a fetus? Priceless.
    The pain of tearing a family apart, locking a mother away from her children, leaving said children with no means of support, and permanently stigmatizing the mother because she would have to drive to another freaking state just to get a common and safe medical procedure? Just collateral damage in the great fight to remind women that they're not autonomous beings.

    • swordfis

      Question – does anyone know if a fetus feels pain at that age? For certain?

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        Facts? FACTS? We don' need no steenking facts!

  • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

    Hey, is there any way to find out what online business this woman started? Maybe we could start a campaign to quietly throw a little business her way.

    Personally, I'm hoping it's porn featuring her neighbors…

    • Lascauxcaveman

      Uh, have you seen her neighbors?

  • DrunkIrishman

    Idahoans are ALWAYS coming down to Salt Lake City to abort their little potatoes and then take in a Utah Jazz game. It's been a family tradition since at least the 1970s.

    Fuckin' Idaho!

    • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

      It's a good thing it's not a hockey game, or hat tricks could get messy.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        If you thought throwing an octopus on the ice was gross…

        • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

          That's precisely the image I had in mind.

    • http://wonkette.com Chill_Bill

      And Utah Jazz are known for aborting NBA Titles.

      • DrunkIrishman

        I'll kill ya'. I'll kill ya' dead!

        • http://wonkette.com Chill_Bill

          Karl Malone libel, also.

  • Generation[redacted]

    "We do not think women should be criminalized. Criminal sanctions or any kind of sanctions are appropriate for abortionists, and not for women.”

    So pro-life groups who have been saying abortion is murder, are now surprised that a woman is arrested for having an abortion?

    Is the logical thinking part of their brain completely dead, or what?

    • scvirginia

      Yes, the logical thinking part of their brain is completely dead. But it was a spontaneous abortion, honest!

    • glamourdammerung

      Is the logical thinking part of their brain completely dead, or what?

      LOGIC IZ MURDER!!111!!

  • Beetagger

    'Merica just gets depressinger and depressinger.

  • BigSkullF*ckingDog

    Fuck Idaho. I have family from Idaho and I have yet to see one redeeming quality in the state. North Idaho is the Alabama of the west coast, but with more heavy metal pollution. Southern Idaho is Utah Jr. Seriously Idaho, fuck off.

    EDIT: okay, one redeeming quality. They have some kick ass whitewater rafting.

    • Not_So_Much

      As a somewhat recent resident of the state, I really wish I could refudiate your comment…

    • Lascauxcaveman

      They've got a couple of good ski areas, and lot o' that great outdoorsy natural beauty.

      If you don't run into any locals, it's actually a nice place to visit.

  • An_Outhouse

    I say we find out the 'sister's friend's' name, publish her address and we'll call it even.

    Fucking cunt.

  • owhatever

    But at least she knows she's free.

  • BigSkullF*ckingDog

    She didn't know what to do with the fetus? Does she not own any cookbooks?

  • Redhead

    I really really really really really really REALLY do not get the arrogance that would lead a person to think it is truly okay- scratch that, not just okay but preferable and holy – to punish a woman in this way for having a legal medical procedure over a clump of cells that could one day become a person – and which she might not have chosen to get rid of had these same assholes actually DONE SOMETHING to help people trying to raise unplanned kids on their own (not that her decision about her body and her life should have to be justified to any of these asshole douchebags too busy putting their junk in underage rentboys to learn anything about female anatomy or that women actually leave the kitchen these days).

  • NippleHair

    I think you misspelled RuPaul.

  • http://raresteaksandoilpainting.wordpress.com Clankie

    Wait…….what?
    I thought Roe v. Wade defined fetal viability at 24 weeks. Isn't this type of thing unconstitutional? I am a little rusty on my abortion laws because A) I think they are stupid, and B) as a gay man I am nowhere near ever going to need an abortion doctor for anything. I don't need to know anything about a law that restricts abortion to know that I am against it, although I do believe that there should be some sort of regulation in place to prevent them after the 75th trimester. This does seem like all kinds of unconstitutional, not to mention just plain awful. Also, is the Governor of Idaho really named Butch Otter? I mean, learning that might have actually had a detrimental effect on my sex drive/life. Regardless, if the Supremes eventually uphold the imprisonment and whatnot, wouldn't that effectively give all the other states license to do the same, if they could wrangle such a law, or an even more restrictive one, in place? I'm going to start sending three supreme pizzas a day each to the main residences of Alito and Thomas. Or maybe for Clarence Thomas a big ol' heaping bucket of fried chicken and some Uncle Tom's rice.

  • Callyson

    Oh, for fuck's sake.

  • gingerland62

    How little work does the police department have, that they can send someone out on an possible abortion call from her cousins best friend's sister(or whatever)?

  • comrad_darkness

    Women tell their friends waaaaay too much. Let this be a lesson to you, ladies.

  • Wile E. Quixote

    We've come to a point in this country where the right-wing fucks who are jamming all of these bullshit laws up women's vaginas aren't going to understand anything but second amendment solutions.

  • Negropolis

    to get an abortion in Salt Lake City, where the closest abortion clinic is located

    Really? Honestly? Seriously? For true? I wanted to make a joke like "Forget it, Jake. It's Mormontown."

    • http://raresteaksandoilpainting.wordpress.com Clankie

      Looks like it is that or Boise, and Salt Lake City is actually around 60 or 70 miles closer than Boise. Seems like there's a good marked in Idaho for a travelling abortion doctor. Some smart MD with the money to trick out a nondescript RV could make some serious dough.

  • ttommyunger

    Waiting for the first arrest under pedophilia statutes for any man having vaginal intercourse with a pregnant woman….Oh, it's coming!