A Tennessee woman accused of using a coat hanger to try to terminate her pregnancy is facing new criminal charges.
A Rutherford County Grand Jury on November 12 returned three new charges against Yocca, reported the Daily News Journal. Yocca has been charged with aggravated assault with a weapon, attempted procurement of a miscarriage, and attempted criminal abortion.
Aggravated assault with a weapon and attempted criminal abortion each carry jail terms of three to 15 years and fines up to $10,000; attempted procurement of a miscarriage carries a jail term of one to six years and a fine up to $3,000.
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Pro-choice advocates have pointed to a rash of anti-choice policies pushed through the Republican-held Tennessee legislature since 2014 that have reduced access to reproductive health care in the state.
“These acts of desperation will happen more frequently unless the Tennessee Legislature reconsiders its posture about both current and potential anti-abortion legislation and the fetal assault law which allows a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for fetal harm,”
Yocca allegedly went to her upstairs bathroom in September 2015, filled the tub with water, got in, and tried to “self-abort” her pregnancy with a coat hanger, according to police reports. Prosecutors claim Yocca, who was 24 weeks pregnant at the time, grew “alarmed and concerned for her safety” when she saw blood in the tub.
Her boyfriend took her to St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital’s emergency room, where Yocca delivered a 1.5 pound male baby, who reportedly needed extensive medical care, the Daily News Journal reported. The child was placed into the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
The nursing staff reported that Yocca made “disturbing statements” and admitted that she had attempted to self-induce an abortion.
Yocca is being held at the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center, according to the Daily News Journal. She will be arraigned on the new charges November 28.