Woman Not Charged With Murder After She Tried to Kill Her Unborn Baby With a Coat Hanger

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 16, 2016   |   5:31PM   |   Nashville, TN

A Tennessee woman who allegedly tried to abort her late-term unborn baby with a coat hanger faces three new charges this week after prosecutors dropped murder charges against her in February.

Anna Yocca, 32, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, previously faced charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault against her baby son, who survives; but earlier this year, prosecutors agreed to drop the murder and assault charges and bring new charges against her.

USA Today reports a grand jury indicted Yocca on Saturday on charges of aggravated assault with a weapon, attempted procurement of a miscarriage and attempted criminal abortion.

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, according to authorities. Later, she gave birth to her son, who weighed 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 news reports.

LifeNews could not find any updates about the baby boy’s condition.

Yocca’s scheduled arraignment is Nov. 28, according to the report. She currently is in the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center on $200,000 bond.

After being arrested in December 2015, Yocca initially was charged with attempted first-degree murder. However, in February, 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.

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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.

Abortion advocates have been defending Yocca. 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 2015, 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.