As Twitchy reported, despite his attempt to backpedal, Donald Trump’s comment to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews regarding the need for “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions forced several leaders of the pro-life movement to publicly denounce a suggestion that none of them had made.
Or had they? Just ask this Democrat strategist.
Let's remember that the so called "orthodox" GOP view on abortion calls for banning it and jailing doctors.
— Greg Pinelo (@gregpinelo) March 30, 2016
This. When you're done being shocked by Trump, remember the rest of the field holds the same horrific views. https://t.co/Gk7fmViujb
— Martha Jackovics (@BeachPeanuts) March 30, 2016
Prolife groups everywhere: Shhh Donald, not out loud!
— Allan Brauer (@allanbrauer) March 30, 2016
Jesse Lee, the White House’s director of progressive media and online response — whose boss once told a town hall he didn’t want either of his daughters “punished with a baby” —thinks he’s found the perfect “gotcha!”
— Jesse Lee (@jesseclee44) March 30, 2016
— Cheri DelBrocco (@cdelbrocco) March 30, 2016
First things first: though many individual Republicans are expressing outrage over Trump’s comments — even Trump himself has struggled to unring that bell — this isn’t about the GOP, or the RNC, or even conservatives in general, but pro-lifers.
Second, the Guttmacher Institute is a pro-abortion think tank. It’s hardly news, then, that its researchers would claim that the “current climate of hostility toward abortion rights” in the United States not only puts women “at risk of legal prosecution and even imprisonment” but shows an outright lack of compassion.
How serious is this legal threat to women? Writing for Guttmacher, Andrea Rowan examines laws against self-induced abortion but notes that women “are not commonly charged in the United States for the crime of self-inducing an abortion,” adding later that “it is likely a small number” before veering into examples of strict anti-abortion laws in other countries.
Why the focus on self-induced abortions? Through the magic of the Internet search, Lee uncovered a Reuters article about an Idaho woman who was prosecuted for terminating her own pregnancy with an abortion pill ordered over the Internet — and who later filed a countersuit against Idaho’s “fetal pain” law, which bans abortions after 20 weeks unless there is proof the woman’s life is in danger.
That challenge failed, as Reuters noted that Jennie Linn McCormack was prosecuted by the Bannock County prosecutor not under the fetal pain law but under an older law from 1972 banning self-induced abortion. Keep in mind that RU-486 wasn’t developed until 1980 and obviously couldn’t be ordered over the Internet; it wasn’t until 2000 that RU-486 was even available in the United States.
(Did we forget to mention that the county prosecuting attorney, Mark L. Hiedeman, was elected when he ran unopposed as a Democrat? Sorry.)
A court opinion cited in McCormack’s appeal even noted that the genesis of the 1972 law dated back to the 1800s and wasn’t intended to punish women for becoming pregnant but rather to deter “home” abortions in the days pre-dating “the advent of antiseptic surgery” — not unlike how abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors inspired new laws requiring higher standards of abortion clinics, including hospital admitting privileges.
But Gosnell’s clinic isn’t the horrible place we promised. As much ink has been spilled on the ripple effects of the McCormack case, the origins of the story are difficult to find. The Reuters piece to which Lee links notes only that “McCormack, a mother of three, learned she was pregnant in the fall of 2010 and ordered pills online she believed were prescribed by a distant healthcare provider to induce an abortion. She hoped to avoid seeking a surgical abortion in Utah that she could ill afford on a monthly income of $200 to $250.”
Further details were included in piece by Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times, but that story appears to have been scrubbed from the site, as a search for “Jennie Linn McCormack” pulls up one story in which McCormick is a side note. A search of all articles by Murphy is equally fruitless. No tweets from the @latimes account the day the story was published acknowledge it. (Oregon Public Radio seems to have scrubbed its coverage as well.) Kind of odd, no?
However, the article survives in the Ogden, Utah Standard-Examiner, which picked up the L.A. Times story and ran it under the headline, “Idaho woman placed aborted fetus on barbecue.” Note that while the reporter refers only to a fetus, McCormack herself uses the words, “my baby.”
When Pocatello police got a tip that Jennie Linn McCormack had ended her pregnancy by taking an abortion drug obtained over the Internet, they showed up at her apartment one cold January day in 2011 and demanded an explanation.
McCormack eventually took them out to her back porch, where the remains of her fetus were on the barbecue, wrapped up in a plastic bag and a cardboard box.
“My baby is in the box,” McCormack said. Officers uncovered the frozen remains of a 5-month-old fetus and erected crime scene tape around the porch before taking her to the police station and charging her with a felony.
Fake? If so, Boise State Public Radio was also duped, noting McCormack’s money troubles before reporting that “the story gets more complicated.”
RU-486 is medically recommended only within the first nine weeks of pregnancy. It turns out that McCormack was way past that although she said she didn’t realize it at the time. After she aborted the fetus she was horrified by how far along it seemed. Possibly as much as 20 weeks. McCormack confided in a friend. It was this friend’s sister that tipped off the police. McCormack picks up the story on the evening the police arrived at her apartment. “I had just gotten done doing laundry and my little boy was asleep and they knocked on my door.”
The police found the fetus wrapped up in bags on her back porch. McCormack said she didn’t know what else to do with it. The police took her to the station. “I didn’t understand any of it. And that’s the first thing I said when he questioned me. ‘How can you question me about my personal stuff?’ And he said, ‘Well there’s legal and there’s personal.'”
And there will always be those who will proudly fight any legal restrictions on “personal stuff,” no matter how “complicated” the situation.
So, to demonstrate the rank hypocrisy of “suddenly outraged” pro-lifers, the White House’s director of progressive media has chosen as his example a woman who took abortion-inducing drugs purchased over the Internet to terminate her 5-month-old “fetus,” which she boxed up and left on the back porch — details of which the media is so proud it has either scrubbed them or withheld them so McCormack can be used as nothing more than a tool to hammer the GOP’s alleged “war on women.”
Fine. Own it. And give yourselves another pat on the back for your compassion.
We think this is worth repeating; maybe someone in the White House, which is continuously lamenting the divisiveness plaguing the country, might even consider doing it.
While Trump has “clarified” his position on punishing women, his statements suggest he should spend more time with pro-life conservatives.
— Tony Perkins (@tperkins) March 30, 2016