A Tennessee woman who allegedly attempted an at-home, late-term abortion to kill her unborn son has pleaded not guilty. Anna Yocca, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 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.
Her son survived, but the coat hanger damaged his lungs, eyes and heart, according to news report. Doctors expect the boy will have to use an oxygen tank for the rest of his life.
Yocca, 31, was arrested Wednesday after a months-long grand jury investigation. She is charged with attempted first-degree murder and jailed on a $200,000 bond. Now, she has pleaded not guilty.
The charge for the attempted abortion led to complaints by pro-abortion activists, some of whom appeared at the courthouse on Tuesday wearing T-shirts and carrying signs in support of Yocca, according to Twitter posts. The shirts read “Abortion on Demand & Without Apology.”
Yocca appeared by video monitor from the Rutherford County Jail in Murfreesboro, about 35 miles southeast of Nashville, said Lisa Marchesoni, spokeswoman for the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office. Yocca told Circuit Judge Royce Taylor that she needed an attorney, and a public defender was appointed.
The name of the defense attorney was not immediately available.
The infant, named Leo Kluge, weighed 1.5 pounds at birth. Though he survived, his quality of life was harmed, and he will need extensive medical care, according to a complaint by Murfreesboro Police Detective Tommy Roberts. His lungs, eyes and heart were injured as a result of the hanger, Roberts said.
Yocca, who is being held on a $200,000 bond, will return to court on Jan. 5.
Yocca attempted to abort her unborn son in September. Sitting in the bathtub, Yocca saw blood in the water after she stabbed the wire into her womb, according to the reports. Worried for her safety, she called her boyfriend, who took her to the hospital, the reports state.
“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, 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.”
In the hospital, Yocca still spoke about wanting to abort her baby, nurses and doctors who treated her told the TV station.
Later, Yocca was transferred to a bigger hospital in Nashville where she gave birth to her son, who weighed 1.5 pounds, according to reports.
A similar case occurred last year when Purvi Patel was arrested after she 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 at the time the baby was found.
Abortion advocates have been quick to come to the defense of women like Patel and Yocca, claiming that abortion restrictions cause women to resort to dangerous self-abortion attempts or back alley abortions to kill their unborn babies.
But the U.S. has some of the most unrestricted abortion laws in the world. And after more than four decades of legalized abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, so-called “back alley” abortionists practice out in the open, injuring and killing women and their unborn babies; and women still attempt to kill their unborn babies themselves.
The infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade did nothing to stop these tragedies, which were infrequent prior to 1973. One abortion advocate-turned pro-lifer admitted that the statistics about women dying from illegal abortions prior to Roe were made up.
Roe increased injuries and deaths from abortion by making it legal. As a result, more than 56 million babies and more than 347 women have died in the past 42 years.