December 22, 2015
"Our Greatest Fear Has Come To Pass: Coat-Hanger Abortions in Tennessee," Cherisse Scott, RH Reality Check: SisterReach's Scott writes about Anna Yocca, a Tennessee woman who attempted to self-induce an abortion "and was arrested and charged this month with attempted murder." Scott writes that while "we don't know what would have brought Yocca to self-induce," we can try to put ourselves in her position to "better understand why laws seeking to criminalize a health-care procedure do more harm than good, especially when it comes to groups already marginalized in our society." Scott notes that the Tennessee Legislature in the last five years "has made deep cuts in child-care assistance and comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education in schools." Further, pregnant women who use drugs can be prosecuted under the state's fetal assault law, she adds, writing, "Yocca's arrest appears to be a striking indictment of failed public policy, and a precursor of things to come if we don't reverse these trends." She continues, "It is not the job of lawmakers, district attorneys, or health-care workers to police our bodies or pregnancies, or to inflict their personal religious beliefs onto our lives and futures. However, it is the job of Tennesseans to make sure women and girls have access to life- and health-affirming health care." Scott adds, "As advocates, our job is to make sure that no woman on this side of the new millennium should fear arrest or incarceration for trying to end a pregnancy, experiencing a miscarriage, stillbirth, or for seeking medical treatment in any of these circumstances." Scott concludes, "SisterReach is calling on everyone to stand with us and our co-laborers in Tennessee as we demand that the Rutherford County district attorney, the Tennessee legislature, and our fellow residents take a step back to look beyond the shock of what Yocca reportedly did and think about the conditions women and girls in Tennessee are forced to live under -- to what kind of future we want for women and girls across Tennessee" (Scott, RH Reality Check, 12/18).
What others are saying about access to care:
~ "It Shouldn't Take a Superhero To Access Abortion Care in Prison, But in 'Jessica Jones' It Does," Renee Bracey Sherman, RH Reality Check.