Wednesday, August 17, 2022

August 17, 1978: When a Criminal Abortionist Opens a Safe, Legal Clinic

Marina Deschapell, age 34, went to the Miami abortion facility at 620 SW 1st Street for a safe and legal six to eight week abortion on August 17, 1978. She reportedly chose abortion because she feared that her health problems had harmed the unborn baby. Marina, a newlywed, was pregnant for the first time.

Anna Barquet
Wife of Clinic Owner

Dr. Eduardo F. Elias, age 69, administered Valium and Xylocaine for the abortion. He was being assisted by Anna West Barquet, age 53, wife of the clinic's owner, Luis Barquet. Mrs. Barquet had been arrested along with her future husband in the 1960s for helping him run a criminal abortion ring.

Sixty to 90 seconds after the procedure, Elias noticed that Marina was not breathing. He initiated CPR, and Mrs. Barquet called Dr. Jose Suarez, the doctor who had referred Marina for the abortion. Marina's husband, Fernando, was waiting at Suarez's office. 

Somebody summoned the Miami Fire Department rescue squad. The ambulance crew found Marina with no signs of life. They attempted to resuscitate her, but, Miami Homicide Sergeant Gerald Green said, "When they got there she was too far gone." They transported Marina to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Fernando, a construction worker, was "extremely upset and overcome by shock and disbelief," police told The Miami Herald.

The medical examiner did not attribute Marina's death directly to the abortion, but rather to "an idiosyncratic reaction" to the drugs administered. Sgt. Green said, "The office was clean, and it was well-equipped for an abortion that goes according to plan. But, other than an air bag, there was really no equipment if an emergency occurred."

At the time of Marina's death, Luis Barquet, age 58, was serving a year's sentence for 10 counts of unlawful practice of medicine, grand larceny, and illegal abortion. This was related to his arrest in 1976 for operating an abortion clinic illegally. Barquet was performing abortions without a medical license. He was charged with four counts of involuntary sexual battery for examinations he performed on women under the pretense that he was a doctor. Those charges carried a possible sentence of life in prison. Barquet's attorneys countered that he should have only been charged with practicing medicine without a license. Barquet's son continued to operate the clinic, with Elias performing the abortions. 

Barquet had originally moved to Miami from Cuba in 1961 and was promptly arrested for running a criminal abortion mill. The International Association of Chiefs of Police released a study describing Barquet as "a butcher" who ran a protected abortion syndicate. He was ordered to leave the United States in 1963, which he did only to return a few days later. He was indicted in a bribery case in New York in 1965 and fled the state. He was captured in Miami Springs in 1966 while perpetrating illegal abortions in a motel. Barquet used this arrest to challenge Florida's 104-year-old abortion law, and got a ruling in his favor in 1972. Barquet, a long-time back-alley abortionist who had no women's deaths that I have learned of in his criminal practice, thus paved the way for the Florida abortion free-for-all that has led to so many women's deaths from the presumably safe, legal kind of abortion.

Watch "Criminal Abortionist Runs Safe Clinic" on YouTube.


August 17, 1971: Sunshine and Unicorns in Pre Roe New York

"Vicki" was 23 years old when she underwent an abortion in New York state, taking advantage of the liberalized abortion law. 

She was 20 weeks pregnant. The doctor decided to use the saline abortion method, which involved injecting a strong salt solution into the amniotic fluid. The fetus would swallow and inhale the fluid, which caused massive internal bleeding. The fetus would die, triggering labor. 

Saline was injected into Vicki's uterus to begin the abortion. The next day, she began to show signs of infection. She expelled her dead fetus but her condition did not improve. 

On August 17, 1971, she died of sepsis. 

LDI Sources: "Maternal Mortality Associated With Legal Abortion in New York State: July 1, 1970 ? June 30, 1972,Á± Berger, Tietze, Pakter, Katz, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 43:3, March 1974, 323.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

August 16, 1969: Safe and Legal in Pre-Roe California

Cheryl Vosseler was 17 years old when she was admitted to Fresno General Hospital on July 31, 1969, to undergo a legal abortion.

After she was discharged, Cheryl suffered from complications, and was readmitted two weeks later.

Surgery was performed August 14 to try to save her life.

Cheryl's condition continued to deteriorate. She finally died August 16, 1969.

Watch "Safe and Legal and Fatal" on YouTube.

Sources: California Certificate of Death, 69-124954; Coroner’s Inquisition 21728; Fresno County Superior Court, No. 146000, Vosseler v. Black and Red Corporation, et al.

August 16, 1989: Bullied to Death

"The last two weeks of her life, all she did was cry." -- Deborah Cardamone

Deborah Cardamone has raised her grandson since he was one year old. She had to. The child's mother, Deborah's daughter Marla Anne, died at the age of 18 on August 16, 1989. 

Pregnant after a date rape, Marla had planned to put her baby up for adoption, since she already had a toddler to take care of, but a medical-social worker at Magee Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh pushed Marla to have an abortion.

The social worker insisted that Marla had harmed her unborn baby because of Tegretol and Elavil she'd been taking for depression. No family would adopt a disabled baby, Marla was told. The social worker pointed out to Marla how difficult it would be to continue to assist in caring for her quadriplegic father if she also had to care for a disabled child. 

Statistics gave a 92% chance that the baby was fine, but Marla asked for a sonogram to be sure. After the sonogram, the social worker kept pressuring Marla. She even called Marla at home to urge her to abort. Finally, Marla gave in. She was admitted to Magee Women's Hospital for the abortion on August 15, 1989.

Magee Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh
Although the urea induction technique -- which involved injecting a chemical into the uterus -- was contraindicated due to Marla's medical history, Michael W. Weinberger injected urea into his patient's uterus anyway. Either an error during this injection or some other mishap caused the tissue of Marla's uterus to start dying. The laminaria used to dilate Marla's cervix had also been inserted by Weinberger in a manner resulting in massive infection. Her kidneys shut down.

Marla became obviously ill during the night, with nausea, vomiting, urinary incontinence, and dried blood on her teeth. Her pulse and temperature were severely elevated. At 6:30 AM the charge nurse contacted a the first of several doctors to treat Marla, but no were cultures taken.

By 7 AM Marla was "increasingly disoriented and speaking inappropriately." By 7:15, her blood pressure had fallen to 80/40, her pulse had shot up to 144, and she was "unresponsive, grunting loudly, and having seizures." 

At 10 AM, intravenous antibiotics were administered, but of course they would do nothing to address the kidney failure or rotting tissue. Marla was dead from septicemia at 12:15 PM.

The suit filed by Marla's family noted failure to notify them of her deteriorating condition. They never got to come and see her one last time before she died. 

Marla's parents adopted her orphaned son. 

To add insult to injury, the coroner's office lost the body of Marla's baby, Christopher Michael. 

Marla's family faulted the doctor and hospital with performance of an abortion that they should have known would only make Marla's existing depression worse, failure to remove the dead fetus, administering an overdose of Pitocin, and failure to consult qualified doctors.

Marla's mother adds bitterly:
I had to file a lawsuit to get any answers. Marla had died of septicemia--a massive infection from the abortion. I also learned that the social worker had never seen Marla's sonogram or discussed the results with her. Marla never saw the words on the sonogram report that would have changed everything: No abnormalities detected. My daughter was pressured to have an abortion, and there had been no reason for it, no reason at all.

I've often wondered why pro-choice women's groups have never expressed any sympathy or concern over Marla's death. Why aren't they demanding justice? Why aren't they concerned that Marla was lied to about the condition of her baby and wasn't shown the sonogram results? Why aren't they concerned that proper treatment was delayed because Marla was misdiagnosed by a resident who was only two months out of medical school? Why are they so quiet?

I believe it's because pro-choice groups don't want women to read or hear about abortion injuries and deaths. Bad publicity hurts their cause. That's why they prefer that Marla and her baby remain hidden statistics.


August 16, 1974: Dead Within Hours

Dorothy K. Brown, age 37, underwent an abortion at Friendship Medical Clinic in Chicago on August 16, 1974. Within hours, she was dead at a nearby hospital. Her death was attributed to "shock related to hemorrhagic necrosis of uterus."

Julia Rogers and Evelyn Dudley also died after abortions at Friendship Medical Center.

Monday, August 15, 2022

August 15, 1909: Failure of a Faked Death Certificate

Dr. Robert J. Hamilton
Due to errors and ambiguity in the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database, I previously posted that on August 15, 1909, Lillian Swing, age 15, died in Chicago from an abortion performed on August 9, and that Dr. Hamilton Shaver and his wife were held by the coroner's jury. The source document doesn't indicate that the case went to trial.

I've discovered that the girl's name was actually Lillian Schwinn and that the doctors involved were Dr. Robert C. Hamilton and Dr. Evangeline Shaver.

Hamilton testified at the inquest that he believed that Lillian's death was due to acute yellow atrophy, which was the cause of death on the death certificate. Shaver testified that she had signed the death certificate based not on her own conclusions, but on what she'd been told by Hamilton. Hamilton and Shaver were released on bonds of $25,000 and $10,000 respectively.

Coverage of Hamilton's trial for the 1922 death of Frances Guest seems to indicate that Hamilton's trial for Lillian's death resulted in a hung jury.

Watch "Silent Press on 1909 Death" on YouTube.

New source: 
"Doctors Held to Grand Jury for Death of Young Woman," Chicago Tribune, August 26, 1909

Sunday, August 14, 2022

August 14, 1984: Grist for the Abortion Mill

Inglewood Women's Hospital was one of the abortion hospitals that sprang up after California legalized abortion in 1967, allowing them to be done on demand as long as they were performed in hospitals. Even after 1973, when Roe vs. Wade overturned the California law requiring abortions to be performed in hospitals, women routinely spent the night either for observation or because they were undergoing multi-day saline abortions.

The Legalization Fairy did not sprinkle safety dust over Inglewood. In 1973, 17-year-old Kathy Denise Murphy was the first abortion patient die. The next was 22-year-old Lynette Wallace, who died in 1975. Elizabeth Tsuji followed in 1978. Then Cora Mae Lewis died in 1983.

Yvonne Tanner died next. The 22-year-old mother of one had an abortion performed by Stephen Pine and/or Morton Barke July 10, 1984 at Inglewood; Yvonne went into a coma immediately after the abortion, and died August 14, 1984. Her death certificate indicates coma, hypertension, and urinary tract infection. (death certificate, LA Superior Court Case No. C555261)

The last known death at Inglewood was Belinda Ann Byrd, a 37-year-old mother of three who died in 1987. 

One month after Belinda Byrd's death, Inglewood was closed for three days by the state. It immediately re-opened as West Coast Women's Medical Group, a clinic. As a clinic, the new entity was not required to have a state license. 

Of the young women who died at Inglewood Women's Hospital, Lynette Wallace, Cora Mae Lewis, Yvonne Tanner, and Belinda Byrd were Black, Elizabeth Tsuji of Asian descent, and Kathy Murphy most likely white. To say that this hospital was particularly deadly to young Black women would be an understatement.

Watch "Grist for the Abortion Mill" on YouTube.

August 14, 1994: "Self-Help" Abortion Proves Fatal

 "Having control over her own body and her own reproductive cycle is something she desired." - friend who recommended fatal concoction


Kristina "Kris" Humphrey placed a high value on "self-determination" and doing things "naturally." These values led her to choose the herbal abortion that ended her life on August 14, 1994.

Twenty-four-year-old Kris, soon to graduate from San Jose State University, had undergone a clinic abortion previously, but hadn't liked the experience. According to a friend, she found the procedure painful and the staff indifferent. Kris, said the friend, thought the staff at Planned Parenthood "treated her like she was doing something wrong, something she should be ashamed of." for choosing abortion.

Her stepbrother's death two years earlier due to an allergic reaction to a painkiller also led her to distrust modern medicine, said Kris's family.

Safe and Natural

Kris used herbal remedies for minor ailments, so she already had ideas about where to go for information on an herbal abortion. She consulted friends. One of Kris's friends said she'd done more than one self-induced abortion and recommended an abortion technique from the ironically-named Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, by Susun Weed. The method relied on a tea of pennyroyal extract and black cohosh root, both readily available in health-food stores. Both were well known as herbal abortifacients. In fact, an album by the Yeastie Girlz included a pennyroyal abortion recipe in the liner notes.

On August 5, Kris started the abortion regimen.

Over the approximately 10 days Kris was taking the tea, she went about her business, socializing with friends and family. Kris experienced abdominal pain and cramping, which she took as signs that the abortion was going as planned. Neither Kris nor her friend who recommended the tea thought anything was wrong at first.

A Mother's Concern

The only person who was concerned was her mother, Embee. The two attended a movie together on August 7, and Kris told her mother about the pregnancy and about her herbalist plans. In fact, she got a cup of water, added some pennyroyal tincture, and drank it down at the theater. "She told me it had worked for two friends," Embee later said. 

"It's natural and safe, Mom. Don't worry about it," Embee says her daughter reassured her.

Embee, who'd suffered through an ectopic pregnancy herself, saw something familiar in the way Kris was holding her side from pain. She asked Kris if she was sure that the pregnancy was normal, not ectopic, but her daughter evaded the question.

Instead, Kris told her mother that the abortion should be complete on the 9th, and that she'd call then. But Kris continued to experience problems and continued to take the abortion concoction.

Reconsideration Too Late

By Friday, August 12, Kris had given up on her herbal abortion plan. Embee and a friend offered to pay for her to have the abortion done at Planned Parenthood on the 13th. But when one of Kris's many housemates came home at 7:30 on Friday evening, she found Kris pale and feverish, and learned that she'd been vomiting. She continued to suffer chills, cramps, and vomiting for the next six hours.

Her condition continued to deteriorate. She passed out at around 11 p.m. Her friends continued to try to care for her, placing her in a cold bath at about 2 a.m. Saturday to try to address her feverish sweating. But Kris just went into a seizure, so her friends carried her to the kitchen. One of them noticed that she wasn't breathing and started screaming. One friend called 911 while another attempted to perform CPR on the kitchen floor.

The paramedics arrived at 2:27 a.m and found Kris pulseless. They managed to resuscitate her on the way to the hospital, where emergency room staff put her on a ventilator and tried to stabilize her.

A Frantic Effort

Her friends told staff about the abortion, and even brought the bottles of pennyroyal and black cohosh. The staff had no idea what effects the herbs might be having on Kris, and called poison control.

Kris was in shock and suffering from disseminated intravascular coagulopathy. "She was bleeding from everywhere," said a doctor who treated her. "She was even bleeding from all the places she was pierced--her nose, her mouth, her brow, her labia. Everywhere."

Doctors suspected an ectopic pregnancy, but feared doing exploratory surgery because Kris's condition was so fragile. While they were just done with a CAT scan at around 9:00 Saturday morning, Kris went into cardiac arrest. Staff used a defibrillator several times in addition to multiple IV lines to revive her. After half an hour, her heart finally started beating again. But despite all the IV fluids, she still had no blood pressure.

In desperation, the doctors proceeded with surgery, finding an unruptured right tubal pregnancy that was bleeding from the end of the fallopian tube. The doctors removed the pregnancy and "significant quantity of old blood which was malodorous."

Even though the tube hadn't ruptured, it appeared that the effect of the pennyroyal on Kris's liver had caused the clotting problems that had led to her excessive internal bleeding.

After surgery, Kris showed no signs of responsiveness. She was declared brain dead on Sunday. Friends and family gathered at the hospital and life support was turned off. Half an hour later, at 4:51 p.m., Kris was declared dead.

Cause of Death

Testing on samples of Kris' liver showed that her liver showed signs of damage associated with one of the substances, pulegone, contained in pennyroyal. Not enough is known of the effects of pulegone on the liver to say for sure what effect the damage had on Kris or what role it played in her death.

Kris' divorced parents are united after her death in a lawsuit filed against the pennyroyal manufacturer and the store where Kris likely bought the herbs. The store is called, in a bitter ironic twist, "Bread of Life." They want to see pennyroyal and other herbal remedies labeled with warnings about their possible negative effects.

Kris's friends, on the other hand, blame the health clinic where Kris had her positive pregnancy test. They say that the clinic should have done an ultrasound to check the location of the embryo. But since Kris had no unusual symptoms at the time, and had been given a referral to Planned Parenthood, there really was no reason for the clinic to do such an examination.

Nobody, it seems, is blaming the culture that makes abortion normative and assures young women that it's perfectly safe.

Another death due to pennyroyal ingestion in an attempted abortion is Sharran Parks, who died on Colorado in November of 1978.

Watch "Safe, Natural, and Deadly" on YouTube.


August 14, 1908: Who was Margaret Wiedman?


Blamed on Green Apples, Chicago, 1908

On August 14, 1908, 23-year-old homemaker Bertha Isserstadt, a Jewish immigrant from Austria, died at Chicago's Evangelical Deconesses' Hospital from complications of an abortion perpetrated on August 5. A woman named Margaret Wiedman, age 39, was held by the coroner. Weidman insisted that she had been summoned to Bertha's home on June 13 and asked to perform an abortion but she had refused. Bertha's death, she said, was caused by eating green apples.

Dr. Albert Schopmann testified that he was called in on July 13 to attend to Bertha, realized that she was suffering from abortion complications, and hospitalized her. Wiedman was arrested based on statements from Schopmann and others at the hospital.

I have been unable to determine the outcome of the case.

New source: "Held for Illegal Operation," Chicago Tribune, August 20, 1908

Saturday, August 13, 2022

August 13, 1922: Chicago Doctors

Beulah Pickerill, a Texas native, was 21 years old and living with her parents in the Louisville, Kentucky area. She worked there as a bookkeeper, but had other plans for her life. 

Beulah and her friend Floy L. Butler had ambitions for the stage, and on July 29, 1922 they left Louisville for Chicago. The presumption at home was that the two young women planned to develop careers as vaudeville performers, though the story Beulah had told her family was that she was going to visit friends.

An unidentified man, described as "wealthy and prominent," had arranged the journey. Whether he spirited the young woman to Chicago purely for the abortion or in order to support her dreams is unclear.

Upon arrival in Chicago, Beulah and Floy consulted with a physician on Chicago's Northside hoping to arrange an abortion, but he refused to do the abortion himself, instead referring her to Vincent Filletti and Michael Galgano. The friends went to Fillette's office on August 7 to make the arrangements and negotiate the price of $200. 

Beulah wired to Lousiville, presumably to the "wealthy and prominent" man, for the money. The abortion was perpetrated on August 9.

The young women's dreams died along with Beulah at Chicago's Mid West Hospital on August 13. 
In her deathbed statement, Beulah had identified Filletti as the abortionist.

After authorities determined that Beulah had indeed died from complications of an abortion, the two physicians were held by the coroner and indicted for felony murder. 

Floy, along with Patrick J. Owens, the manager of Chicago's Clarendon Hotel, were held as accessories. A physician identified only as Dr. Peterson was held as a witness.


August 13, 1988: Aborting Healthy "Doomed" Baby Kills Cancer Mom

Allegra Ann Roseberry of Snellville, Georgia, age 41, had been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. She was admitted to Emory Hospital for assessment and surgery in anticipation of admission to an experimental cancer treatment program. There, a sonogram during surgery revealed a 23-week pregnancy, much to everyone's surprise since Allegra had undergone fertility drug treatment in order to conceive her son Matthew.

Her liver specialist, family doctor, and gynecologist all failed to detect her pregnancy despite amenorrhea, breast tenderness, distended abdomen, and nausea because these symptoms were attributed to the cancer and other ailments. 

Allegra's doctors offered abortion as her only alternative, saying that the fetus was "doomed" due to Allegra's ailments, that the pregnancy would render her ineligible for the experimental treatment, and that the pregnancy was damaging her fragile health and would greatly hasten her death. No one arranged for a consult with a perinatologist or obstetrician. The options of continuing the pregnancy or premature delivery of the infant were not offered or discussed.

Allegra was transferred to Emory's Crawford Long Hospital for the abortion. Young W. Ahn initiated the abortion by prostaglandin suppository on August 8, 1988 without ever having discussed why Allegra had been referred for an abortion and whether the abortion was indeed medically indicated. On August 9, Allegra expelled the dead baby, whom she and her husband, Gary, had named Amy Ann. 

Allegra developed sepsis from the abortion, and died on August 13. 

An autopsy revealed that Amy had been normal.

The liver specialist contended that Allegra would have aborted Amy even if she had known the child was healthy in order to be eligible for the experimental program. The experimental program, however, did not actually exclude pregnant women. 

Allegra's gynecologist claimed that the reason for the abortion was damage to the fetus due to radiation therapy and also mentioned chemotherapy, neither of which Allegra had undergone.

All defendants held that Allegra could not have survived long enough to deliver Amy alive anyway. However, her prognosis if untreated for the cancer was 3 to 6 months. That would have put Amy's gestational age at 35 weeks at the earliest her mother was expected to die -- far past the point of viability -- and at 47 weeks had her mother survived 6 months -- nearly two months past the end of a term pregnancy.

In addition, it seems bizarre to subject a woman, as one of the last acts of her life, to endure a grueling late-term abortion rather than delay merely a single week at most before inducing labor to deliver a live infant with a good chance of survival.

The jury rendered a verdict against the liver specialist for the wrongful death of baby Amy, but returned no verdict for the wrongful death of Allegra due to their assumption that the cancer would have killed her soon anyway. Evidently they did not consider the time she could have spent being a mother to her baby daughter to be of any value.

Allegra's was not the only tragic death caused by doctors who recommended (or excused) abortion as a life-saving or health-preserving option for the mother:

  • Anjelica Duarte sought an abortion on the advice of her physician, and ended up dying under the care of a quack.
  • Barbara Hoppert died after an abortion recommended due to a congenital heart problem.
  • Christin Gilbert died after an abortion George Tiller held was justified on grounds of maternal health.
  • Erika Peterson died in 1961 when her doctors obtained her husband's permission to perform a "therapeutic" abortion.
  • "Molly" Roe died in 1975 when her doctors made the dubious decision to perform a saline abortion to improve her chances of surviving a lupus crisis.
Allegra is also not the only woman to die of an abortion sold to her on the false grounds that there was something dreadfully wrong with her baby. Marla Anne Cardamone died after a hospital social worker browbeat her into aborting what turned out to be a healthy baby.

Watch "Deadly Misinformation" on YouTube.


August 13, 1954: A Pentacostal Preacher

Nathelyn Collins, age 17, died at Cook County Hospital on August 13, 1954 from complications of an abortion perpetrated by Rev. Clarence Loveaux in a back room of his storefront church, Pentecostal Righteous Temple of God.

Loveaux, age 59, identified himself as a "divine healer." He insisted that he had only been "giving treatment" to Nathelyn, not performing an abortion. 

Despite his protestations, Loveaux had two small rooms at the back of the church that were fully equipped with all the medical tools necessary for an abortion practice. 

Police were led to the makeshift abortuary by a 17-year-old white girl, Patricia Federowicz, who said that Loveaux had performed an abortion on her. Loveaux lived in the rooms, along with his wife and an adopted daughter.

Police, who had staked out the church for two weeks prior to the raid, said that Loveaux charged between $5 and $100 each for the hundreds of abortions he had perpetrated over a ten-year period. His clientele consisted primarily of unmarried girls and women receiving welfare for themselves and their dependent children.

He was arrested and charged with murder by abortion in Nathelyn's death.

I have been unable to determine the outcome of the case.

Finding a lay abortionist was unusual in the pre-legalization days. According to independent research by Planned Parenthood and Nancy Howell Lee, about 90% of women found doctors to perform abortions -- some of them legally or quasi-legally. Howell Lee's research found that most of the remaining women found somebody with medical training. Lay abortionists were far outside the norm.


August 13, 1986: Safe and Legal in Los Angeles

Donna Heim, a 20-year-old nursery school teacher, went to Her Medical Clinic on August 12, 1986, accompanied by her sister. Donna told staff that she had asthma, and she noted this on her forms when she filled them out. Despite this pre-existing condition, a nurse anesthetist administered general anesthesia for her safe and legal abortion. Donna started to have difficulty breathing, but Mahlon Cannon continued with the procedure for five more minutes before helping the nurse anesthetist to try to restore Donna's breathing.

Dr. Mahlon Cannon
Donna's sister, who was in the waiting room, became alarmed at the intense staff activity she noticed, and questioned a staffer about her sister. She was reassured that Donna was fine. The sister saw an ambulance pull up to the building and stepped outside, where she observed her sister being transferred into the emergency vehicle. Donna's sister followed the ambulance to a nearby hospital, which summoned the comatose young woman's parents.

Donna died the next day without regaining consciousness. An investigation was sparked, and an administrative law judge ruled that Cannon was negligent in continuing with the abortion despite the patient's respiratory distress. The judge also found that Cannon often failed to do medical exams, take medical histories, or administer standard tests prior to abortions.

Donna's father, Richard Heim, told the Sacramento Bee, "I honestly thought that within a month or two the man would be in prison for manslaughter. When you go to the cemetery to visit your daughter, there's no way you can explain that, and this guy's just kicking back and making more money."

Donna's mother, Barbara Heim, told the Daily News of Los Angeles County, "I thought they'd close the door so no one else would die." But a month after Donna's fatal abortion Liliana Cortez, another woman with asthma, also died after an abortion at Her Medical Clinic. Michelle Thames would die at Her Medical Clinic in 1987 after being improperly resuscitated. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

August 12, 1970: One of Six Dead at California Abortion Hospital

Sara Lint, a 22-year-old coed, submitted to a safe and legal abortion at San Vicente Hospital in Los Angeles, California, on August 11, 1970. She went into ventricular fibrillation soon after the abortion was initiated.

The technique being used on Sara, hysterotomy, was one with a known high maternal mortality rate. It was, in fact, surgery similar to a C-section but with the intention of allowing the baby to die of prematurity.

San Vicente staff treated Sara for an hour before transferring her to Midway Hospital down the street, where she died at 4:57am on August 12. The autopsy found yellow fluid in Sara's heart, frothy tan fluid in her lungs, and a seven-inch male fetus in her uterus.

San Vicente was where five other women underwent their fatal abortions: Natalie Meyers (1972), Mary Pena (1984), Laniece Dorsey (1986), Joyce Ortenzio (1988), and Oriane Shevin (2005)

At some point I've been unable to precisely determine, most likely late 1984, San Vicente was bought out by Family Planning Associates Medical Group, the largest chain of for-profit abortion clinics in the world. Some of the San Vicente Deaths are thus also FPA deaths. 

Watch "First of Six (Known)" on YouTube.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

August 10, 1988: Pink, Responsive, Alert, and Dead

Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health ("CRASH") was the model abortion clinic -- a published review of their earliest patient records, published by Bernard Nathanson, played a key role in "proving the safety of legal outpatient abortion."

On August 10, 1988, 19-year-old K.B. (due to confidentiality, the public record documents do not give the patient's name) was given anesthesia for a safe, legal 14-week abortion. Since Life Dynamics calls her "Kelly" on their "Blackmun Wall" of women killed by abortion, I will refer to her as Kelly as well. She is "Christine" in Lime 5.

Shortly after the procedure, she showed signs of distress: pale complexion, weak pulse, dilated pupils, and darkened blood. Though she started showing these signs by around 12:15 or 12:30, nobody summoned an ambulance until 1:05 pm. Kelly was transported to Cabrini Medical Center where she was pronounced dead from complications of anesthesia.

After Kelly's death, the health department investigated and found a mystery: Kelly's chart listed her post-operative condition as "pink, responsive, alert," even though she had gone into full cardio-respiratory arrest by the time indicated on the assessment. They learned that the note had been entered into the chart before the abortion was even performed.

The inspectors noted that CRASH "did not employ proper monitoring equipment or procedures," "had no working EKG machine," and didn't have a cardiac defibrillator. They noted that no one on staff was qualified to perform CPR. No one on staff was qualified to administer anesthesia, and they did not use proper procedures or equipment. Anesthesia was administered "by eye," with no means of accurately measuring the dose. Dosage was estimated to be twice that recommended in the procedure manual.

The operating rooms were found to be ill-lit, and there was no soap or paper towels at the scrub sink. The scrub sinks were stained, the walls and floors dirty, trash was stored in the scrub room. There were red make-up stains on the oxygen masks and nitrous oxide masks, dusty tubing on the suction machines, and blood on the wheels of the operating table. 

Professional headshot of a very distinguished-looking older white man with a balding grey pate, neatly trimmed grey beard, and wire-rim eyeglasses
Dr. David Gluck
CRASH had no documentation verifying the credentials or qualifications of medical director David Gluck. Gluck had been previously convicted of felony charges related to the sale of 48,000 Diluadid tablets to pay off gambling debts. His license had actually been revoked two months before Kelly's death, but had been restored by judicial stay.

There was no evidence at the investigation two weeks after Kelly's death that Gluck had reviewed her chart, or the charts of 18 other patients identified as having suffered complications.

The state closed CRASH for 60 days, but it never re-opened.

Dr. Gluck went on to perform the fatal abortion on Alerte Desanges in 1994.

Watch "Pink, Responsive, Alert, and DEAD" on YouTube.

  • New York Health Department Order No. 83383136, Case No. 11097
  • New York Medical Board Statement of Charges and other documents, Calendar No. 12022 & 11018
  • "State shuts abortion clinic," New York Daily News, October 1, 1988