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

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

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.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate