A defense attorney asked a judge this week to dismiss all charges against a Tennessee woman accused of trying to abort her 6-month unborn baby with a coat hanger.
Anna Yocca, 31, of Swindon Circle, Tennessee initially was charged with attempted murder against her unborn son, who survived but has extensive injuries; however, the charges were downgraded to aggravated assault in February.
News Channel 5 reports Yocca’s lawyer recently filed a motion to dismiss the assault charges, too. Abortion activists also have been protesting the charges against Yocca.
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.
Here’s more from the latest report:
In fact, Yocca’s attorney has now filed a motion to dismiss the assault charge, arguing that to do otherwise “makes every pregnant woman vulnerable to arrest and prosecution if she is perceived to have caused or even risked harm to a human embryo or fetus… and that the prosecution is absurd, illogical and unconstitutional.”
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A judge was expected to decide if the prosecution continues after hearing arguments on the defense motion Tuesday morning.
Yocca’s trial was scheduled for next May.
When arguing against the first charge, her attorney Gerald Melton referred to the language of the state statute on attempted murder. Melton said the Tennessee Code “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.” Melton argued that Yocca’s case falls under the exception.
“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.”
Her baby boy is in state custody, according to local news reports.
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.