Following up on a story Broadsheet covered earlier, charges have been dropped against Tammy Skinner, 22, who was charged in March with illegally inducing an abortion by shooting herself in the abdomen. If convicted Skinner would have faced up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, the maximum sentence for self-inducing abortion in Virginia. According to the Associated Press, the judge dismissed the abortion charge "based on Skinner's attorney's arguments that the same law had been tried and dismissed under similar circumstances in both Florida and Georgia." Skinner was found guilty of filing a false police report (she originally claimed that she was shot in the stomach) but received a suspended sentence. In addition to being deeply depressed at the time, Skinner is a single mother struggling to support two children.
At this time, having an abortion in Virginia, which received an "F" on NARAL's Report Card, is no easy undertaking. As we reported earlier, state law subjects women seeking abortions to biased counseling requirements and mandatory delays; limits insurance coverage of the procedure; and greatly restricts low-income women, like Skinner, from receiving public funding for abortion. Does this mean women should resort to shooting themselves? Of course not. But it gives a clear indication of the desperate measures more and more women feel they are forced to take.