McCormack had no income other than the $200 to $250 per month of child support she received from her baby’s father. She shared custody of her daughter, who was then 12, with her ex-husband. Tanner, 17, was hoping to go to college. “I didn’t want to raise it in that situation,” McCormack says, “nor put more on my children and me that I couldn’t handle. I had no money. No car. I didn’t have anything.”
McCormack knew that an abortion would cost $400 to $2,000, depending on how far along she was. Utah has a mandatory waiting period of 72 hours, which meant she would either need to stay in a hotel for that time, or make the six-hour round trip twice over the course of several days. She couldn’t come up with that kind of money. So she called her older sister, who owned a computer, and asked her to order abortion pills for her on the Internet. The pills cost $200, and McCormack says the logistics of arranging it all took about two months.
By the time the medication arrived in an unmarked envelope on December 23, she was in her second trimester—at, she thought, week 14. Following the instructions, she took the first pill right away and the others some hours later. That night, she started having cramps. The next morning, Christmas Eve, she delivered a dead fetus alone in her bathroom, along with the placenta and a great deal of blood.