A Win for Women?

“If McCormack prevails, it will be a win for women across the region.” So spoke attorney Richard Hearn of Pocatello, Idaho last week, in reference to his client, Jennie Linn McCormack, who filed suit last week against Mark Hiedeman, the prosecuting attorney of Bannock County, challenging the constitutionality of Idaho’s fetal pain abortion ban, according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit also challenges the lack of access to abortion to women in her area. Idaho is one of six states in the US that have enacted fetal pain bans. The law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks when it has been determined that the child can feel pain.

Ms. McCormack, who was unemployed and already had three children, was initially charged with a felony in June when the police discovered the body of a fetus in a box at her Pocatello, Idaho home. An autopsy revealed the body to be approximately five to six months gestation. Ms. McCormack had apparently taken abortion inducing pills (procured online) in order to terminate her pregnancy, which she could not do so at a clinic because the stage of pregnancy was beyond 20 weeks.

It seems utterly absurd to think that should Ms. McCormack succeed in her lawsuit that it would in any way benefit women. Ms. McCormack was certainly in a desperate situation when she discovered that she was pregnant with her fourth child. There is no denying that raising and providing for children on your own is not easy and being out of work would definitely add to the stress of the situation. However, there seems to be no victory for women in allowing pain capable (or even non-pain capable) human beings to be killed within their wombs or supporting the building of more clinics that take advantage of their desperate situations. Clinics which would take their money and take the lives that grow within them but give them nothing real in return.

It would have been a win if Ms. McCormack had been able to have some hope. If she had encountered hope in her family or community or in any of the thousands of crisis pregnancy centers that could have offered her emotional or financial support, child care, medical care, housing, etc. Then maybe she could have seen hope in the life growing within her. A life that was capable of pain. That would have been a true triumph for women.

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