any implement you can ever imagine
digital prints, fence, golden rope, and four accompanying pieces of text about the resurgence of anti-abortion legislation and fetal assault legislation on the wall, 2018
Anna Yocca, 31, Tennessee, 2015
Living in a county without an abortion clinic, Yocca attempted to self-induce an abortion with a coat hanger in her bathtub filled with water. When she started to bleed uncontrollably, her boyfriend took her to a hospital where she delivered a 1.5 pound, 24-week-old fetus by C-section. The fetus was later taken into the government foster care.
Yocca was charged with attempted first-degree murder, which was reduced to aggravated assault with a weapon, attempted procurement of miscarriage, and attempted criminal abortion. Two years later, she was released after pleading guilty to attempted procurement of a miscarriage and was given credit for time served.
Tennessee is one of the states with the strictest anti-abortion legislation and fetal assault legislation. In 2014, some 96% of Tennessee counties had no clinics that provided abortions, and 63% of Tennessee women lived in those counties. No clinics in the state perform abortions after 16 weeks.
Purvi Patel, 32, Indiana, 2013
Patel found herself to be pregnant from a short relationship with a married man who worked at her parents’ restaurant. Fearing of her parents finding out, Patel allegedly took Mifepristol, an abortion drug, in an attempt to self-induce an abortion in her bedroom. She profusively bled and delivered a 1.5-pound fetus who she said was stillborn.
Patel was charged with feticide and felony child neglect. She was later sentenced to 20 years in prison. A year later, she was released when the feticide conviction was overturned in 2016, while the felony neglect of a dependent conviction remained.
Under Indiana law, a person can be guilty of feticide for attempting to end a pregnancy, even if the fetus survives.
Bei Bei Shuai, 33, Indiana, 2010
After being abandoned by a married man who promised to start a new family with her, Shuai was severely depressed. Pregnant with a baby with this man, she tried to kill herself by taking rat poison. After being taken to a hospital, Shuai gave birth to a daughter by C-section who she named Angel and survived for three days before dying in her arms. After the baby’s death, she was so distraught she had another breakdown and was transferred to the mental health wing where she spent a month.
Shuai was charged with murder and attempted feticide in 2010. After continued public attention and protest, a plea agreement was offered in 2013. Shuai pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness and was sentenced to 178 days in jail.
Despite being originally passed in 1979 to prosecute third-party actors who attacked pregnant women, fetal homicide laws have recently been used against pregnant women themselves in several states, including Indiana.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, some 75% of abortion patients in 2014 were poor or low-income. Twenty-six percent of patients had incomes of 100–199% of the federal poverty level, and 49% had incomes of less than 100% of the federal poverty level.
The reasons patients gave for having an abortion underscored their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. The three most common reasons—each cited by three-fourths of patients—were concern for or responsibility to other individuals; the inability to afford raising a child; and the belief that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents. Half said they did not want to be a single parent or were having problems with their husband or partner.