Do Idaho's abortion laws discriminate against the poor?

September 7th, 2011

Categories: abortion providers, abortion restrictions, economic justice, unfair laws

Jennie Linn McCormack is a mother of three living on less than $250 a month in southeastern Idaho, hundreds of miles from the nearest abortion provider. Arrested for terminating a pregnancy with pills she bought online last year, now she's fighting back: she has filed a lawsuit saying that Idaho's 1972 law against self-induced abortion discriminates against low-income women who are left with no other options.

In fact, 87% of all U.S. counties lack an abortion provider. It's even more difficult to get an abortion in rural areas, where 97% of all counties lack a provider. Getting an appointment and finding enough money are just the beginning: as the clock ticks, people far from a clinic must then find transportation to the city, arrange for childcare for at least one day, and possibly find the money to stay in a hotel overnight. These roadblocks alone add up to discrimination against the poor.

The US District Court in Boise, Idaho will hold a hearing on Jennie's lawsuit tomorrow, Thursday, September 8, 2011.

You can read Jennie's statement here.

Update: On September 12, 2012, a federal appeals court ruled that Jennie McCormack could not be charged as a criminal. Read more about her case from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, an organization that represented Ms. McCormack in court.