Jennie McCormack & Roe v. Wade make WTW?! Moments for a Recovered Single Mom.



Jennie McCormack by Robyn Twomey for Newsweek

Read This, and tell me it doesn’t break your heart.

People are all, “I don’t like news.  I like human interest stories.”  That’s why so much “news” is a bunch of watered-down BS rhetoric, and we can’t get coverage of stories that matter.

But when there’s a real human interest story, the national journalist takes the opportunity to wax speculative about why nobody on either side of the abortion debate is taking up this woman’s cause; to analyze the potential effect Jenny McCormack’s case will have on holding up Roe v. Wade.

Aside from that pro-life people do not visualize the world without abortions clearly–especially since these same people are people who would restrict state and federal aid to women who carry unwanted pregnancies to term and are then saddled with a wee one–and are picturing an idyllic world of happy mommies with freshly swaddled, clean babies;  it has long been my contention that this (and many other personal decisions involving family and sexuality) should not be a political issue.

Jennie McCormack is a 32-year-old blonde who lives in a heavily Mormon area of Idaho.  She’s got three kids already and last year around this time found out she was prego again.

The article is careful to point out that she doesn’t have the internet, that she gets $250/month in child support from only one of the baby daddies, and that her life is deeply pathetic.  She is quoted as saying, “I could’t do that to my kids, I couldn’t make their lives even worse.”

Anybody else think that sounds like projection?  Just sayin’, I don’t know a single kid–rich or poor–who wouldn’t be thrilled to bits to find out she was going to be a big sister…

The article also points out that her baby daddy was tossed in the clink, around the same time she realized she was pregnant, for robbery.  Sheesh.  Bright side: at least it wasn’t for beating her, killing kids, or selling drugs.  I bet he was just robbing someplace because he thought it’d be the right thing for his family.  Also, the timing seems a little bit too coincidental to me…

So McCormack has her sister (who apparently has the internet) order her the abortion pill, which I’ve only really heard about, for $200, and since she hasn’t gone to the doctor, she takes it only to find out that she’s just given herself an abortion at around 20 weeks.  What a buzz kill.

She freaks out, puts the fetus in a box, puts it on her back porch, and calls a (male) friend, who calls his sister, who calls the cops.  WTW, Jennie?

Listen, I’m not unsympathetic.  When I was 24, I got pregnant.  My daughter’s father is, well, kind of an idiot.  I mean, he’s real fun to be around and not bad looking and reasonably intelligent, but he was kind of 24 going on 13.  I didn’t think I was screwing my life partner.  I was being young and having fun and drinking, um, not Pepsi. We were using birth control.

I am pro choice.  My choice was to carry the baby.  I asked him to choose, too, and he did.  I felt like it was unfair for me to make the choice for both of us.  My thought was, “If I can get off the hook by having a procedure, why should he be on the hook if I don’t want to?”  He has not been involved at all.  Zero contact.

But I have some questions for Ms. McCormack.  I’m 31 now, and even if state money doesn’t pay for abortions, I know how babies are made.  From first hand experience.  I also know that when you are poor and you have multiple children, there are programs available to you to make your life totally liveable, most of which are still very much in place.  And I would think that if I were 32, broke, alone with 3 kids, I would become suddenly frigid if I could not afford hormonal or procedural birth control.

Why fuck a criminal?  Why?  You know what it’s like to be alone with kids, how hard and desperate it is.  Shouldn’t you have a pretty good BS meter by now, Ms. McCormack?  Shouldn’t you know how to use a condom, contraceptive jelly, or go on the pill?

Listen, I don’t think she should go to jail for terminating her pregnancy.  I don’t think Roe v. Wade should EVER be overturned.  I think EVERYBODY who wants an abortion should be able to get one in a clean, safe setting with sterilized equipment and a loving, competent physician and oreo cookies and orange soda and a great big pile of really interesting magazines, a deep tissue masseuse on staff, and a basket of tootsie pops to which you get unlimited access. In a perfect world, wishful thinking would be birth control.

Why was the abortion pill her ONLY option?  Ok, yes, she could drive 5 hours one way to Salt Lake City, then make another 10 hour trip after the waiting period, but she couldn’t manage that logistically or financially, which I TOTALLY understand.  But why not have the baby and give it up for adoption?  I mean, what an amazing thing to do.  What a totally legal, PC, Idaho/Utah-safe thing to do!

What about her family?  She says her mom is Mormon and embarrassed by the whole thing, but her sister helped her–couldn’t she have sat with the kids while McCormack went to Salt Lake City?  Aren’t the Mormons about procreating?  I bet she has a gaggle of other siblings, at least one of whom she could’ve hornswoggled into watching her brood while she took care of this small matter, right?  Or lending her the cash?

I guess I just don’t have a lot of pity for Ms. McCormack.  I have been so traumatized by my ONE unwanted pregnancy, by my FIVE years in various forms of poverty, by the way in which having a baby–especially having one by yourself–makes everything about 17 times harder; that I just wouldn’t have made babies two and three.

Once a person is part of the poverty culture, you hear about all of the stuff that’s available.  I could’ve had way more welfare than I did. I had welfare birth control for a while.  I had food stamps and cash assistance off and on.  We had WIC during Child’s first yearish.  And while it was stressful, we always had a place to live, heat, food, a phone, and enough.

I’m not boasting.  I’m just saying that there’re ways to handle shitty situations.  And making more babies is probably not a legitimate choice.  Especially since there are systems in place to help a woman take control of her fertility.

Maybe I’m not being fair to Ms. McCormack. Maybe all three of her children were planned, and the guy who’s in jail is her husband who used to have a nice job and she was a stay-at-home-mom and they lived in a reasonable apartment.  Maybe all of her children have the same dad (but why is she only getting support for one of them?), and maybe she was being extremely cautious (with multiple forms of birth control), or maybe she was raped (heaven help her).

But I suspect that if her story was one that doesn’t make her look like an irresponsible boob of epic proportions, it would be getting told, and the pro life people–or the pro choice people–would’ve latched on a year ago.  She’d be making money off speaking engagements and would’ve been able to move someplace less rural where she could have friends who don’t care that she’s had an abortion.

My point is that yes, the people around Ms. McCormack are not at all acting like the God fearing people they purport to be, but it would seem that Ms. McCormack is making a bunch of low-mental choices which should not be excused on the basis of the bigoted behaviors of the religious people in her region.

I feel like in 20 years, when Abortions are all legal and nobody thinks twice about it because they’re too busy trying to stop human cloning, this would be one of those things that wind up in Darwin Awards:   Woman performs own abortion, puts medical waste in shoe box on porch, sues city.


Author: April Line Writing

Writing about whatever the f*ck I want.

5 thoughts on “Jennie McCormack & Roe v. Wade make WTW?! Moments for a Recovered Single Mom.”

  1. I’m generally against abortion – except when the Mother’s life is in danger – and I pretty much think the morning after pill is okay.

    The reason being is based around property rights. An unborn child has rights, in my opinion, once the heart starts beating. By having an abortion you are invading another human being’s property rights – right to life. I mean, one of the consequences and risks of sex is pregnancy – even birth control is 99% – so we have to accept those risks.

    However, it is unfair to have an abortion. The child can’t speak out for itself, similarly the way a 1 year old can’t. I see little difference in killing a 1 year old or an unborn child – except the fact that there is less guilt involved, its less messy, and you haven’t actually developed a relationship.

    I think given the choice, if I were an unborn child, I’d take my chances with life over any other obstacle – so it’s not fair that a mother choose for it. Yes, its the mother’s body, but it’s also the child’s body. How does the woman’s right to choose supersede the child’s?

    Having sex is like an unspoken contract and agreement of the risk. If the man fathers a child he should support it, if the mother becomes pregnant she should give it a chance at life. If anything give the child up for adoption.

    Good thought provoking post!

    1. Good, thought-provoking response! Thanks for taking the time to read & to comment.

      I’m of the mind that people should be free to self-govern. I don’t think another person’s abortion or lack thereof is really anybody’s business besides that person and her partner.

      But I will say that it never occurred to me to think of life as property, and that a fetus has property by having life, even if that life is not viable outside its mother…

      1. “But I will say that it never occurred to me to think of life as property, and that a fetus has property by having life, even if that life is not viable outside its mother…”

        Like I said, its similar to a one year old – which couldn’t sustain without a parent to feed it, keep it warm, shelter it, etc.

        I agree that people should be able to govern THEMSELVES, but abortion is giving the mother the right to Govern the child’s life as well – which is why I argue that it is an invasion of property rights/liberty. “Pro-Choice” is ironic because it’s not giving any choice to the child at all – thus the government should enforce laws that protect property rights – in this case the child’s.

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