Wednesday, February 08, 2023

February 8, 1968: Retroactively Safe and Legal

Nancy Ward
In November of 1967, Nancy Ward, a student at the University of Oklahoma, told her boyfriend, Fred Landreth, that she was pregnant and wanted an abortion. Fred contacted his father for help. On January 30, 1968, Fred's father contacted osteopath Dr. Richard Mucie at his ear, nose, and throat clinic in Kansas City to consult with him about an abortion.

Mucie wanted to know how far advanced Nancy's pregnancy was. There were some calls back and forth between the elder Landreth, his son, and Mucie. Eventually Fred indicated that Nancy had been examined by a doctor and was about 13 or 14 weeks pregnant.

On February 7, Nancy and Fred flew from Oklahoma to Kansas City and visited Mucie at his clinic. Mucie examined Nancy while Fred waited, then told the couple that he would contact them at their hotel. The two had dinner and went to a show, then went to the hotel. 

At 11 p.m., Mucie called and arranged to pick Nancy and Fred up and drive them to his clinic. He took Nancy back for the back room while Fred waited in the outer office. About 20 to 30 minutes later, Mucie, dressed in a surgeon's gown, returned to the front office and asked Fred for money, $400, before starting the procedure. It wasn't until about 7:30 on the morning of February 8, Mucie came out and asked Fred if he wanted to come back and see Nancy.

Dr. Richard Mucie
Fred went with Mucie into the office and saw Nancy lying on a couch with a cover over her. Fred said, "Hello," to her. She smiled and moved her hand. Mucie told Fred that Nancy was still sedated. Fred went back to the waiting room to nap. He was awakened at about 11:30 that morning by Mucie's porter. Mucie told Fred that Nancy had suffered a heart attack and was in shock and had been taken to the hospital. He told Fred that he would come back for him, then went back into his office. Fred went looking for him and followed the sound of his voice to a back room, where Mucie was lying on a cot, talking on the phone and saying something to the effect of needing to call the coroner and filling out a death certificate.

Stunned, Fred went back to the waiting area. Mucie came out a few minutes later, told him that Nancy had died, and that they needed to stick to the story that the couple had been traveling through Kansas City and had called him because Nancy had started to have chest pains. It was around that time that the ambulance arrived. The driver and attendant found Nancy on a cot. Mucie told them that she still had a pulse, and instructed them to take her to Osteopathic Hospital and administer oxygen on the way. 

The ambulance driver and attendant noticed that Nancy's fingers had blood on the, her arms were stiff, and her hands were in a "clawed" position. They lifted Nancy and found that she was already stiff. The doctor at the hospital concluded that Nancy been dead about four hours. He called Mucie, who told him that he'd been treating Nancy for about two weeks for a heart condition. Nancy's body was taken to the morgue, where a detective observed the autopsy, noting needle marks on her arms, buttocks, and left breast. The detective took custody of the uterus, which had a tear about half an inch long inside. It also contained the skull and upper spine of a fetus of roughly 4 1/2 to 5 months gestation. Most of the remainder of the fetus, consisting of a shoulder blade, upper arm and shoulder joint, and part of a collar bone, was found in the trash at Mucie's clinic.

The autopsy found abundant evidence of the abortion, including stains from antiseptic on Nancy's upper thighs and genital area, a 1/2 inch tear in Nancy's uterus. The condition of her uterus, heart, and other organs indicated that she had gone into shock and died at the clinic at about 9 a.m. February 8, in spite of Mucie's attempts to resuscitate her. She had bled to death.

Mucie took the stand with a story that he hoped the jury would believe. He confirmed the call from Fred's father, the repeated calls back and forth as they tried to figure out the gestational age, and that Fred's father wanted to arrange an abortion. Mucie said that he had merely offered to examine Nancy for a $4 fee. He admitted that Fred and Nancy had come to his office and said that he'd examined Nancy and found her to be 4 1/2 to 5 months pregnant. He said that he told Nancy that she was so far along that nobody would be willing to do an abortion.

Mucie said that Nancy became frantic, saying that it would kill her father to learn of the pregnancy and that she would kill herself if nobody would perform an abortion. He said he gave Nancy some Vistaril to calm her then dropped the young couple back off at their hotel.

Mucie said that he had run some errands and gone to bed when he got a call from Nancy. "She was crying and hysterical" and feeling very ill. He said that he told Nancy to come back to the clinic. When the couple arrived, Mucie said, Nancy told him, "I had to do it. I just had to do it."

He then described at length examining Nancy. "She was in a state of aborting, and at this time immediate medical attention had to be instituted." He described at length the procedure to finish the abortion Nancy had supposedly started and treating her for the complications she suffered. 

Mucie was convicted on June 8, 1968, of performing an abortion "not necessary to preserve the life" of the mother. Illegal abortion at that time carried a penalty of 3-5 years, with the sentence to be increased in cases where the mother died. Mucie was sentenced to ten years, but only served 14 months then was released on parole. Parole was set to expire on July 27, 1977. His medical license was revoked on May 4, 1971. 

After Roe v. Wade overturned Missouri's abortion law, Mucie successfully appealed his conviction and got his license restored under a ruling that made Roe retroactive in Missouri. He was released from probation and his record expunged of the manslaughter-abortion conviction.

Watch Retroactively Safe and Legal on YouTube.

Sources:

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

February 7, 1929: Death in the Home of a Midwife

Serene Mary Baker, age 17, of Venice, Illinois, died at the home of 80 (87?)-year-old Mary Adamson, 4501 West Main St., Belleville, IL.

Adamson was described in the February 9, 1929 Decatur Evening Herald as an "alleged midwife." The December 11, 1930 Belleville Daily News-Democrat identifies her simply as a midwife.

Rolla Carmack, aged 20, of East St. Louis, told police that he was the baby's father and that he'd paid Adamson $25 to perform an abortion.

Rolla's older brother, Edward (Irving?) Carmack, told Police Chief Charles W. Arbogast that he and his younger brother accompanied Serene to the Adamson home for the abortion on February 2.

Adamson denied having performed the abortion and refused to say anything more.

Adamson was indicted by the Grand Jury in April of 1929 and the trial was set for May 2, but both parties agreed on a postponement. Then Mrs. Adamson's attorney approached the judge asking for her to be released on bond so that she could be hospitalized for "senility." She was released on a $52,000 bond and was instructed to return to jail as soon as she regained her health. She remained free on bail 

Rolla wasn't charged with a crime, likely in exchange for turning state's evidence against Adamson. However, once the defense was ready to proceed -- not until December of 1930 -- he was nowhere to be found and the trial was delayed by the prosecution. He had moved from East St. Louis to Detroit then vanished from the prosecution's radar.

Sources:






February 7, 2013: Emergency Equestrian Supplies

Quote attributed to Planned Parenthood: "Providers already have plans in place in case of an emergency to ensure patient safety." Photos of Dr. LeRoy Carhart and Jennifer McKenna-Morbelli. This "provider" gave out an emergency contact number that ran to an answering machine at his wife's equestrian supply business. This delayed the help that could have saved the life of this woman. It's time to stop abortion quackery.

Jennifer McKenna-Morbelli, a 29-year-old kindergarten teacher, and her husband, Timothy James "TJ" Morbelli, had eagerly anticipated the birth of their baby, named Madison Leigh. However, because of a prenatal diagnosis, Jennifer, accompanied by her parents, husband, and sister traveled from New Rochelle, New York to a late-term abortion facility in Germantown, Maryland on Sunday, February 3, 2013. Madison was 33 weeks gestational age.

Germantown Reproductive Health Services is a National Abortion Federation member facility, which means that it supposedly provides only the best and safest care. However, it is operated by Dr. Leroy Carhart, who had already had a less than savory history and whose late term abortion clinic in Belleview, Nebraska, looks like a muffler shop and had employees coming forward reporting illegal and dangerous practices.

The prolifers who gather outside when Carhart is perpetrating abortions report seeing the woman arriving for her appointments on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, appearing "pale and weak." Jennifer spent over nine hours at the facility on Wednesday. After she was discharged, Carhart and his wife left the state to work at another abortion facility.

According to Operation Rescue's anonymous source, Jennifer started suffering chest pain early on Thursday morning. She was unsuccessful in her attempts to reach Carhart, per instructions that in the event of complications she was to call clinic staff rather than go to the emergency room. In fact, an emergency number Carhart provided actually rang to the answering machine for his wife's equestrian supply business. Finally, at about 5:00 a.m. her family took her from the hotel to the emergency room. Hospital staff were unable to get in touch with Carhart either, though he eventually did return their calls.

Jennifer was suffering from massive internal bleeding and coded six times as staff struggled to stabilize her. She finally died at around 9:30 a.m.

A headshot of a plump young white woman with short, dark hair gently blowing in the breeze, sitting in a field of bluebonnets
Christin Gilbert
The medical examiner indicated that Jennifer died from disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) caused by an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) -- in other words, amniotic fluid and fetal tissue got into her blood stream and caused a cascading series of catastrophic problems including the inability of her blood to clot.

AFE and DIC are rare and difficult to predict, but are also a known complication that abortion doctors should be alert for and ready to quickly diagnose and treat.

This is the second third-trimester abortion patient to die under Carhart's care. The first was Christin Gilbert, who was being treated by Carhart at George Tiller's Wichita abortion facility in 2004.

Watch Emergency Equestrian Supplies on YouTube.

Additional source: Death certificate

Monday, February 06, 2023

February 6, 1986: Another of FPA's many anesthesia deaths

Seventeen-year-old Laniece Dorsey underwent an abortion at a Family Planning Associates Medical Group facility in Orange County, California, on February 6, 1986.

Laniece lapsed into a coma, was transferred to a nearby hospital, and died later that day.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department medical examiner blamed the death on cardiorespiratory arrest due to the anesthesia, although he also found a “thick adherent layer of fibrinous material containing moderate numbers of inflammatory infiltrates” in Laniece’s uterus.

Laniece wasn't the first or last young woman to die from abortion at a facility owned by FPA head honcho Edward Campbell Allred. Others include:

Allred's facilities remain members of the National Abortion Federation despite these deaths.

Watch "Don't Know. Don't Care." on YouTube.

Sources: Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Case No. 86-0682-AK and Orange County Superior Court Case No. 51-04-15

February 6, 1952: An Airman's Grief

 Elizabeth Barbara "Betty" Helman was the 35-year-old wife of Air Force Major Carl Helman Jr., who had been stationed in Tokyo for over a year. Evidently Betty found the separation lonely, for she became pregnant while he was away.

On January 28, 1952, Betty was admitted to the Tinker Air Force Base hospital in critical condition, suffering from pain and low blood pressure. Her red blood count was very low, and her white count very high, indicating infection. She admitted to having undergone an abortion on January 25.

When questioned by investigators on January 31, Betty said that friends had referred her to a woman named Jane. She was shown a photo and identified the woman in it, 43-year-old Mrs. Jane McDaniel White, age 43, as her abortionist. She gave White's address as the place she had gone for the abortion. Betty put her statement in writing and signed it. 

Betty said that White had put her off for several days while she got over her fear of undergoing the abortion. She promised White $100, but only paid her $50. White initiated the abortion with some kind of packing and sent Betty home.

Betty became very ill, and called White who with her daughter came to Betty's home and "scraped her out".

After Betty gave her statement, police raided White's home. White and her daughter, Mrs. S. B. Anderson, Jr., were nowhere to be found. It took eight days for police to track the pair down and arrest them for murder and procuring an abortion.

Betty died on February 6 from peritonitis, leaving her three children without a mother. Her husband had managed to rush home from Tokyo in time to see his wife before she died. An autopsy verified that an abortion had been performed and had caused Betty's death.

White was at first denied bail, then finally released on a $20,000 bond. 

When questioned White said, "She called me on the phone the latter part of January. She asked for Jane and gave her name as Betty. I was called several times. Then on a Saturday she came to my house and said she wanted to talk to me."

White said that Betty had told her that she thought she was pregnant. She told White that she had been vomiting. "She also said she had been taking white capsules and shots."

When Betty had asked her to perform an abortion, White asserted, "I told her I strictly was not in the business." She said that Betty's vomiting made her think that the young woman was suffering from ptomaine poisoning.

White admitted that she had indeed gotten a phone call from Betty and had gone with her daughter to the Helman home. "She asked if I would come by for she needed a laxative. I went by for I felt sorry for her and I suggested she get a doctor immediately."

White admitted under examination that had no medical training. She said that she'd assumed that Betty was suffering from ptomaine poisoning because she'd gone through a bout herself. She'd recommended a laxative for Betty because "I didn't think a little milk of magnesia would hurt her."

The criminal case against her went well until the defense managed to have the Betty's deathbed statement, given on January 31, inadmissible because it couldn't be proved satisfactorily that Betty believed herself to be near death. With the deathbed statement thrown out, the case was dropped.

This had been White's third arrest for abortion charges. She had been convicted in 1947, under the name Jane McDaniel, and sentenced to seven years for an abortion she had performed on a 17-year-old girl, but the conviction was thrown out on a technicality based on how advanced the girl's pregnancy had been. A new trial had been scheduled, but it never took place because the main prosecution witness had left the state or died. White was clearly operating as an abortionist, since an operating table, fashioned from an old restaurant table, and surgical instruments had been sized from her home at the time of her arrest -- "enough instruments and medicine to stock a small hospital." She was charged again in 1951 but the main witness had vanished and the case had been dismissed.

Watch The Atypical Abortionist on YouTube.

Sources:





Sunday, February 05, 2023

February 5, 1996: Refugee Lost Her Legs and Then Her Life

A smiling young woman of Hispanic descent, with thick dark hair and a white hat
Carolina Gutierrez
Carolina Gutierrez, a part-time waitress, had come to the United States as a refugee from Nicaragua at age 13. In the summer of 1995 she married Jose Linarte, who had also come to the US from Nicaragua as a teen. Jose, age 25, became a loving stepfather to Carolina's two young children, 5-year-old Alba and 2-year-old Darwin.

When they found out that Carolina was pregnant, Jose later said, they were happy to be having a baby together. But 20-year-old Carolina started having second thoughts because of the family's finances. She proposed an abortion. Jose was against the idea.

Without saying anything to her husband, Carolina had a friend drive her to Maber Medical Center, a storefront clinic stuck between a cigar factory and a bar in Miami for an abortion on December 19, 1995. 

The evening after her abortion, Carolina had pain in her chest and abdomen. She staggered about the house, barely able to walk. She called the clinic for help, but whoever answered the phone hung up on her.

Over the next two days, Carolina left messages on the clinic answering machine, but nobody returned her calls. 

On December 21st, she could hardly breathe, so her family called 911. She arrived at the emergency room of Jackson Memorial Hospital already in septic shock. Whoever had done the abortion had poked two holes in her uterus. Carolina underwent an emergency hysterectomy at the hospital to try to halt the spread of infection from her perforated uterus. She was put into the intensive care unit, where she battled for her life against the raging sepsis. She was on a respirator, with her fingers and feet going black with gangrene as doctors pumped antibiotics into her.

Relatives cared for her children, a five-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy, while Carolina's husband spent as much time as he could by her side. "I can't sleep. I try to take my mind off it, but it's impossible," he told the Miami Herald.

Carolina's 21st birthday came and went as she lay in the ICU. Doctors fought to help the young woman to gain enough strength to undergo amputation of her gangrenous limbs. Finally doctors took off both legs below the knee. But despite the hysterectomy, the amputations, and all their other efforts, Carolina died on February 5, 1996.

"I have lost the love of my life," Jose said in a press conference. "I'm heartbroken. They have taken my happiness away."

He remained bewildered about the abortion. "We wanted a child. That's all we talked about. We even bought clothes for the baby."

When an attorney acting on behalf of the motherless children tried to get Carolina's medical records so that he could sue the clinic. The clinic owners simply shut the place down and refused to allow any contact. Maber Medical Center first began operating without a license in the 1980s. When they got caught in 1991, they simply called and asked for a license. The license was issued on request.

Maber Medical Center passed all of their inspections after licensing. This should come as no surprise since thanks to abortion-rights lobbyists, an annual "inspection" consisted of six questions answered from examining paperwork. Inspectors would verify that the clinic posted its license, kept patient files, had arrangements (on paper at least) for medical waste disposal, and had at least one doctor's name on file. There was no examination of the premises or equipment or review of staff training. 

A Miami Herald reporter went to the closed-down clinic and peered through a window:

A narrow and dingy waiting room, little more than a corridor with chairs facing each other, can be seen.... The rules are posted. No lying down. No children in the waiting room. Everyone shows up at 9 a.m. You take a number off the peg on the wall, and you wait your turn."

Maber had only one doctor officially on staff, Dr. Luis J. Marti. Because officials were unable to get any records from the clinic they were unable to determine if he had actually been the one who performed the fatal abortion.

While investigating the clinic, owned by Maria Luisa and Roque Garcia, officials noted that although Carolina could not read English, her only consent form was in English -- and the line for her signature was blank. She had paid $225 in cash for the abortion that took her legs and her life. 

Dade County Right to Life raised the money to cover funeral expenses and to help Jose to care for the children. As for abortion rights activists, one of the wrote a letter to the Miami Herald advising women to consult with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation -- organization whose affiliates and members have committed enough acts of malpractice to prove themselves untrustworthy. The Miami Herald also put in a good word for NAF with a little inset box in an article telling readers about NAF's stated standards and provided a toll-free number for women who would be left unaware that they were calling an organization that had the likes of Abu "The Butcher of Avenue A" on its membership rolls. And Representative Ben Graber, chairman of the Florida House Health Care Committee, opposed tightening abortion clinic regulations beyond the cursory check of paperwork. Any additional regulations, Graber said, would just make abortion more expensive and limit options for low-income women. Graber, like many prochoice activists after him, insisted that the best way to improve abortion safety would be to just let the doctors do as they please because this would take off the pressure. Exactly how that would motivate them to provide better care remains a mystery.

Watch Access to Horror on YouTube.

Sources: 

Saturday, February 04, 2023

February 4, 1939: Was Hattie's Abortion Really Self-Induced?

All the information I have about Hattie Scott Johnson comes from New York death records.

Hattie was a 26-year-old Black homemaker who died on February 4, 1939 in Harlem Hospital. Her cause of death was sepsis from an abortion "said to have been self induced." 

I can't rule out the possibility that Hattie's abortion was written off as self-induced because, since she was Black, nobody thought it was worth the bother to investigate any further. 

Watch Was Hattie's Abortion Really Self-Induced? on YouTube.

Friday, February 03, 2023

February 3: Forced Abortion Turns Fatal for Teen

 George Strugnall, a roofer and father of eight, told police the story of how his 16-year-old daughter Mary lost her life:

[Twenty-two-year-old Vernon] Keyser met my daughter a year ago. She was only 15 then and just out of grammar school, so my wife and I did all we could to discourage his attentions. He worked in his father's machine shop a few doors from our house and used to stop and see Mary every night. Sometimes he took her out.
A week ago my youngest boy, Raymond, 9 years old, was run over by a truck and his leg broken. Last Tuesday [January 29] my wife and I went to the People's hospital to see him, leaving Mary alone. When we returned, Mary was gone.
Keyser, the baby's father, told police:
About three months ago Mary said she was in trouble and asked me to help her. I didn't know what to do until a few weeks ago. I met Dr. [J. A.] Harter, who said he would take care of the case for $150 if I brought Mary to his office.
On Tuesday, when her parents were away, I took Mary to Dr. Harter's home. She was frightened and began to struggle, but the doctor's brother [Irving Harter] and I held her on a table while the operation was performed. Five hours later I took her to the home of a Mrs. Irma McMullen, 7037 Clarmont avenue.
Mary's condition deteriorated, so to avert any suspicion he continued to stop at the Strugnell home daily asking after Mary.

On Friday, February 1, Harter told Keyser that he couldn't do anything more for Mary and suggested that he consult with Dr. J. A. Goodhart of South Kedqie Avenue. Goodhart immediately ordered that Mary be admitted to the county hospital.

Per Harter's instructions as to "the simplest way out of it," Keyser persuaded Mary to lie and say that she had done the abortion herself. She died on February 3.

Dr. Harter was originally sought both at his office on West 63rd Street and his home on West Marquette Road, without success. Eventually he was captured and tried for homicide, but acquitted. His brother Irvine was charged as an accessory. Keyner was charged with rape and accessory to murder.

February 3, 1924: Did a Doctor Dump Adeline's Body?

On February 3, 1924, the nearly-nude body of a young woman was found in the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was identified as Adeline Podvansik, age 24.

An autopsy found that Adeline, a sales clerk, had died from acute endocarditis and puerperal (related to pregnancy) sepsis.

Two brothers, Maurice and David Rapport, were freed on $5,000 bail each in connection with the death. Maurice had been Adeline's employer. Dr. S. M. Black of Carnegie, PA, described by the Lancaster (PA) Intelligencer Journal as "a prominent surgeon," was at large. 

His attorney offered to have Black turn himself in if Black could be released on $10,000 bond. Mrs. C. B. Morgan, alleged custodian of the "hospital" where the abortion was perpetrated, was arrested.

Watch Woman's Body Found in River on YouTube.


Sources:

February 3, 2006: Death at the Good Kind of Fake Clinic

 Like many abortion "clinics", Dr. Romeo Ferrer's private practice, Gynecare Center, would look to the untrained eye like an outpatient clinic. A patient making an appointment there would likely believe she was in a licensed clinic, not a doctor's office. (Their website, in fact, described the facility as "a modern, clean clinic designed to provide quality healthcare for women and girls of all ages in the Maryland area," even though, as the medical board noted, the facility was only a private doctor's office and not licensed as a clinic.)


Denise Crowe, was 21 years old, dropped her 3-year-old son off with a babysitter and drove to Ferrer's clinic-looking office for an abortion on February 3, 2006. She had $800 to pay for the procedure. She was 16 weeks pregnant.

"She thought she'd just have it done and nobody would know," her mother, Stephanie White, later told the Baltimore Sun.

Ferrer started the abortion, a D&E abortion, at about 1:00 p.m., using ultrasound to help him visualize the baby as he dismembered it. Twenty-five minutes later, Ferrer was still pulling fetal parts out of his patient, and administered 20 units of pitocin via an IV solution. Five minutes later, he added 125 mg of Demerol and 5 mg of midazolam (Versed, a short-acting sedative and amnesia-producing medication). Because "pt. was still reacting to pain", Ferrer administered additional doses of Demerol and midazolam. It wasn't until 1:45 that Ferrer completed the abortion.

Denise was moved to the recovery room, where at 1:47 a "surgical assistant" noticed signs of cyanosis (blue coloring) in Denise's fingernails. A nurse assistant was unable to get a blood pressure or pulse reading on Denise, and told Ferrer. He gave a verbal order for 0.4 mg Narcan, which was administered by the nurse assistant. Narcan is a drug to counteract narcotics.

Romeo Ferrer
At 1:50, Ferrer began efforts to resuscitate Denise, including performing CPR, and having an assistant perform CPR while he administered intracardiac epinephrine. Staff called 911 while Ferrer continued resuscitation efforts, maintaining an open airway with the non-professional method of head tilt and chin lift. Ferrer did not use an airway or endotracheal tube, as is customary with professionally-administered CPR.

The medics arrived to find Denise still unresponsive and without a pulse. The medics used an oxygen mask and additional drugs as they transported Denise to Anne Arundel Medical Center. There, emergency room staff continued the attempts to resuscitate her, to no avail. She was pronounced dead at 2:57 p.m.

The autopsy found no underlying physical reason for Denise's heart to have stopped. The cause of death was given as "Meperidine intoxication" (an overdose of Demerol).


The National Abortion Federation defended Ferrer, with spokeswoman Melissa Fowler telling the Annapolis Capital that abortion is safe due to "specialized quality care provided by clinics like Gynecare Center." This indicates that Gynecare was a National Abortion Federation member.


Watch Ferrer's Fake Clinic on YouTube.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

February 2, 1916: Denver Doc's First Known Death

 On February 2, 1916, Ruth Camp died from complications of an illegal abortion performed in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bennett Graff was found guilty of murder in Ruth's death, and sentenced to 11 - 13 years in prison. Graff protested "stoutly" and appealed the conviction. While awaiting trial in Ruth's death, another woman, Beulah Hatch, died at Denver's Mercy Hospital, and blame was placed on Graff for that death as well. Graff was found guilty of murder in Ruth's death, and sentenced to 11 - 13 years in prison, but won a new trial when a witness came forward and placed the responsibility for the abortion on a lay practitioner and asserted that Graff was merely attempting life-saving aftercare for Ruth.

February 2, 1978: Planned Parenthood Referral Ends in Death

Elizabeth Tsuji, a 21-year-old Cal State student, underwent a safe and legal 8-week abortion at a local Planned Parenthood on November 11, 1977. She called the clinic in December to report that she was still not menstruating, but staff assured her that the abortion had been successful.

On February 1, 1978, Elizabeth confirmed that she was indeed still pregnant, five months along. The Planned Parenthood clinic referred her to Inglewood General Hospital for a saline abortion.

In spite of its name and licensing status, Inglewood was actually an abortion hospital. And it already had problems. A young woman named Kathy Murphy had died in 1973 of sepsis from an abortion at Inglewood. Lynette Wallace died in 1975 after her doctor at Inglewood failed to diagnose her ectopic pregnancy and simply performed an abortion and discharged her. Still, this was only two dead women -- hardly enough to alarm anybody about a high-volume abortion facility. I don't know if the Planned Parenthood staff even knew about these deaths before they referred Elizabeth.

Trusting the referral, Elizabeth packed a nightgown and told her family she was going to spend the night at a friend's house. That was the last time they saw her alive.

Elizabeth underwent the abortion on February 2, and died that day. Two autopsies were performed, neither of which could find a definitive cause of the young woman's death.

Abortionist Morton Barke was somehow involved, although documents aren't clear what his role was in her death. Barke also worked at the unsavory San Vicente Hospital. He is known to have been a partner at Inglewood and to have been connected with the deaths of Yvonne Tanner and Lynette Wallace. His involvement might have been that he served in a supervisory role.

Elizabeth was the third woman to die after an abortion at Inglewood. It took two more deaths -- Cora Mae Lewis and Belinda Byrd -- for the state to finally take action and close the hospital down.

Watch Planned Parenthood's Referral to Death on YouTube.

Sources: Death Certificate 78-063811, Autopsy 78-1763