On January 9, 2017 Anna Yocca of Murfreesboro pleaded guilty to attempted procurement of a miscarriage, a class E Felony, in exchange for her immediate release from jail.
31 Year old Yocca was indicted for attempted first degree murder after she used a coat hanger in an attempt to terminate her 24 week pregnancy. The charges were handed down by the November 2016 Grand Jury.
In 2015, Yocca was taken to St. Thomas Rutherford Medical Center in Murfreesboro by her boyfriend after she became alarmed at the amount of blood in the bathtub after trying to abort her child. Medical staff later transferred Yocca to St. Thomas Mid-Town in Nashville where she could receive more extensive treatment, which is where the 1.5 lb baby was not only born, but also saved by doctors.
Several nurses and doctors told Murfreesboro detectives that Yocca made disturbing statements regarding Baby Yocca and wanting to terminate the pregnancy. Doctors indicated the quality of life for the newborn would be forever harmed due to the reported actions by the mother. The medical staff said that the child has medical issues with his lungs, eyes and heart due to damage allegedly caused by Yocca with the coat hanger.
The child was later turned over to the Department of Children Services.
According to an organization called Healthy and Free Tennessee, "Yocca's defense attorney Gerald Melton succeeded in getting the murder charge dismissed. She was re-indicted for aggravated fetal assault under a 2014 law that explicitly permitted arrests of pregnant women."
Nancy Rosenbloom, National Advocates for Pregnant Women's Director of Legal Advocacy, warned "at a time when much of the country is taking more seriously the need for criminal justice reform, the prosecution of Anna Yocca indicates a larger trend in the punishment and incarceration of women in Tennessee. Using the state's abortion laws to punish pregnant women will increase the state's already record high prison population in which women make up the fastest growing part."
Yocca was released from the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center this week (Jan. 9, 2017) and given credit for her one year already served behind bars.
MPD ARREST REPORT #15-19815
Court Docket 2016 - November