Attempted murder charges are being dropped against a Tennessee woman accused of trying to abort her late-term baby son with a coat hanger, according to local news reports.
Instead, Anna Yocca, 31, of Swindon Circle, likely will be charged with aggravated assault against her baby son, who survives, The Daily News Journal reports.
In September 2015, Yocca was 24-weeks pregnant with her son when she allegedly filled a bathtub with water, untwisted a wire coat hanger and stuck it into her womb in an attempt to kill him in a late-term abortion, LifeNews reported. Afraid after seeing the amount of blood, Yocca called her boyfriend who took her to the hospital. Later, she gave birth to her son, weighing 1.5 pounds, and doctors were able to save the baby boy’s life. However, the coat hanger damaged the boy’s brain, lungs, eyes and heart; and doctors expect he will have to have continued medical care for the rest of his life, according to reports.
After being arrested in December, Yocca initially was charged with attempted first-degree murder. However, on Monday, her attorney, Gerald Melton, asked a judge to dismiss the charge. According to the Times Free Press, Melton said the prosecutor in the case agreed to bring a new charge against Yocca to a grand jury next week.
The report continues:
Melton told The Daily News Journal on Monday that the way the attempted murder statute is worded, the charge is “just not applicable in this case.”
In the motion to dismiss, Melton refers to the definition of attempted first-degree murder in the Tennessee Code, stating that while it “defines ‘another’ or ‘another person’ to include an embryo or fetus as a victim to any act made criminal homicide by statute, an exception exists in application of this part to acts by the pregnant mother toward her own embryo or fetus.”
He anticipates the state coming back with an aggravated assault charge instead.
“We’re dealing with a much more realistic legal territory there,” he said.
Melton said Yocca has not had a psychological evaluation yet, but she seems to be holding up when he sees her every week.
The Daily News Journal was not able to get an update on the child’s condition.
The baby boy is in state custody, according to the report.
“The whole time [Yocca] was concerned for her health, her safety, and never gave any attention to the health and safety to the unborn child,” Sergeant Kyle Evans, a spokesman for the Murfreesboro, Tennessee police, previously told local CBS affiliate WTVF. “Those injuries will affect this child for the rest of his life, all caused at the hands of his own mother.”
However, abortion advocates have been quick to come to Yocca’s defense. In December during her arraignment hearing, pro-abortion protesters filled the courtroom and chanted, “Abortion is not murder,” according to The Daily News Journal.
In December, the pro-abortion blog Think Progress sympathized with Yocca, claiming that she could not find an abortion clinic close enough to abort her unborn son.
“There is no abortion clinic in Yocca’s town of Murfreesboro, TN, so she would have had to drive the 45 minutes to Nashville for a legal procedure,” according to the blog.
A similar case occurred in 2014 when Purvi Patel was arrested after she allegedly took abortion pills to take the life of her viable unborn baby. Patel later admitted to police that, after taking the baby’s life, she had placed the newborn in a dumpster behind a local restaurant, which her family owns. The infant was dead when it was found.