Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Idaho Woman Arrested For Abortion

May 29, 2015

An Idaho woman who faced criminal charges for having an abortion won a victory at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Friday.

The federal court found several Idaho restrictions on abortion to be unconstitutional.

Jennie McCormack of Pocatello was charged under a 1970s-era law that requires second trimester abortions to take place in a hospital and makes it a crime for a woman to perform her own abortion. McCormack had used abortion-inducing pills purchased off the Internet to end a pregnancy.

But the case also took on a more recent Idaho law that bans abortions after 20 weeks. For that, McCormack’s attorney Rick Hearn signed on as a plaintiff. He’s a lawyer and a doctor. He got both laws overturned.

“It’s just a good day for me, for Jennie, and I think for constitutional rights in Idaho,” Hearn said.

The court found that requiring hospitalization places an undue burden on a woman trying to obtain an abortion. And it said the 20-week so-called Fetal Pain law categorically bans some abortions before viability, in violation of Supreme Court precedent.

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