The Rise of DIY Abortions
Jennie Linn McCormack took pills to end her pregnancy and hid the fetus under her bed. Her case could change the course of abortion law in America.
JENNIE LINN MCCORMACK was 14 when she had her first baby. It was 1993, and she was in junior high in southeast Idaho, where she’s always lived and where she still lives now. Blond, petite, and fine-featured, she did tap, ballet, drill team, and cheerleading. She started spending time with an 18-year-old boy in her group of friends. Because he was older and she was a virgin, she trusted him when he said nothing bad would happen if they had sex. The first time they did, she got pregnant.
McCormack hid the pregnancy for as long as she could. She’d been brought up Mormon, although her parents were divorced and didn’t make her go to church anymore. But after she started showing, she had to tell her mom. Her mother took her to an adoption agency, but McCormack ran out of the room—she was scared, but felt like she was meant to have the baby. She named her son Tanner, and she didn’t ask the father for anything.
After that, McCormack went to a school for teen parents and got her GED. She went on to work various jobs: at a car wash, a McDonald’s, a laundromat, a Dillard’s. When she was 18, she married a man who worked in the heating-and-air business, and they settled down in the sleepy college town of Pocatello. Everything nice she now owns is left over from that marriage, like the plush, comfy furniture in her living room. When she was 19, they had a daughter. But the marriage foundered, and they got divorced in 2004.
Her third child, a boy, was born in 2009. The father was “not a long-term relationship,” she says. When the baby was three months old, she started dating an old friend, Buddy Lee, who had recently gotten out of prison after serving time on a robbery charge.