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Crime, Law and Justice

Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Idaho Woman Arrested For Abortion

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Jessica Robinson
/
Northwest News Network
Jennie McCormack of Pocatello, Idaho, comforts her youngest son. McCormack was charged under Idaho law for having an illegal abortion.

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.