December 23, 2015 — On Tuesday, a Tennessee woman who allegedly tried to self-induce an abortion at 24 weeks of pregnancy pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted first-degree murder, Reuters reports (Ghianni, Reuters, 12/22).
The woman, Anna Yocca, was arrested earlier this month after the grand jury for Rutherford County, Tenn., issued the indictment. She is being held on a $200,000 bond.
A report from law enforcement states that Yocca in September attempted to self-induce an abortion by using a coat hanger. Yocca's boyfriend took her to the emergency department at St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital after she experienced significant blood loss as a result of the attempted abortion. She later was transferred to St. Thomas Mid-Town in Nashville, Tenn., where the infant was delivered.
Tennessee is one of 38 states that enacted a "fetal homicide" law. The state in 2012 approved a law that expands the definition of "another person" to include fetuses at any point in gestation. Twenty-two other states have similarly broad definitions. Under the Tennessee law, individuals can be charged for harm committed against an embryo or fetus. The law includes an exemption for pregnant women who obtain legal abortion care (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/15).
Yocca appeared in the Nashville-area court by video from the Rutherford County Jail in Murfreesboro. Circuit Judge Royce Taylor appointed Yocca a public defender at her request. Meanwhile, abortion-rights supporters at the courthouse protested Yocca's arrest.
Yocca's next appearance in court is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2016 (Reuters, 12/22).