A Woman Who Tried to Set Clinics on Fire Is Now Testifying in Support of 6-Week Abortion Bans

Jennifer McCoy spent two years behind bars in the 1990s.

Alain Pitton / ZUMA

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When a Louisiana House committee met on Wednesday to discuss a bill that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, the bill’s sponsor brought a special guest to testify: Jennifer McCoy, who spent two and a half years in prison in the 1990s for conspiracy to commit arson at two Virginia abortion clinics.

What’s more, McCoy had ties to Scott Roeder—who assassinated abortion provider George Tiller in 2009—and repeatedly visited him in jail, according to local reporting from the time.

McCoy claimed during her testimony Wednesday that an abortion clinic in New Orleans falsely told her she was pregnant and scheduled an abortion she didn’t need. She supports the heartbeat bill, she said, because, “If they had been made to show a real-time ultrasound, it would have been a whole lot harder for them to fake the fact that I wasn’t pregnant and tell me that I was.”

McCoy acknowledged her criminal history, saying, “Twenty-three years ago, it is true that I did plead guilty to conspiracy and I did serve two and a half years.” However, she failed to mention that her crimes specifically targeted abortion clinics.

The Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee unanimously backed the bill, which was sponsored by Democratic state Sen. John Milkovich. The bill still needs the approval of the Louisiana House and governor in order to pass.

Last week, Georgia passed a similar law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected; on Tuesday, Alabama went further by criminalizing abortion procedures altogether.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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