Saturday, November 28, 2015

I Join Prolife Leders in Condeming the Planned Parenthood Shooting

Though the motives Robert Lewis Dear, the shooter at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, are not known as of this writing, nearly all the speculation is that he was motivated by opposition to abortion.

Whatever the shooter's motives were, what he did was wrong.

Whatever the shooter's motives were, officer Garrett Swasey, a pro-life co-pastor who was killed trying to protect the patients and staff at that Planned Parenthood, is the hero of Colorado Springs.

Whatever the shooter's motives were, the entire prolife movement stands against anybody who thinks that the way to stop abortion is by killing those trapped in the evil of abortion. 

Many of the most passionate activists against the violence that is abortion were once abortion workers themselves. The most high-profile is Abby Johnson, an ex-Planned Parenthood manager who now heads And Then There Were None, an organization dedicated to reaching out to abortion workers in love to rescue them from the evil of abortion work.

Abby Johnson and Garrett Swasey are what the prolife movement is all about: RESCUE. Rescuing babies slated for abortion, rescuing women who feel that abortion is their only option, rescuing the people inside clinics who are in danger from deranged gunmen.

As blogmistress of Real-Choice Post-Roe America and webmistress of the Cemetery of Choice, I join prolife leaders across the nation in condemning violence against abortion workers. They, like the innocent children and despairing mothers, are of incalculable worth, precious human beings made in the image and likeness of God.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Call for Comments from Pro-Choice Readers: What do you think?

Let's imagine for a moment that we had Star Trek style technology available and that made "beaming" the z/e/f (zygote/embryo/fetus) into a biohazard container the preferred and safest abortion method.

Let's say that the technology was further modified so that the z/e/f could be beamed instead into an artificial womb where it could complete gestating and be placed for adoption. Let's say that the entire cost of the artificial womb were paid for voluntarily by pro-adoption people so that there was no additional expense to the woman or to her insurance company or to the government.

Would you consider beaming the z/e/f into the safe place to be an acceptable alternative to beaming it into the biohazard container? Or would the destruction of the z/e/f be a key and non-negotiable component of the right to end the pregnant state?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Karnamaya Mongar: A Referral to a House of Death

Just When Life Seemed Safe 

Headshot of a middle-aged Bhutanese woman with her hair pulled back and a faint smile on her face
Karnamaya Mongar
At the age of 41, Karnamaya Mongar had survived nearly 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. What she was unable to survive was a visit to an American abortion clinic.

Karnamaya, her husband, Ash, their three children and one grandchild arrived in the United States on July 19, 2009 as part of a resettlement program. 
Karnamaya was more than 18 weeks pregnant when went to a clinic in Virginia for an abortion. But the Virginia clinic, and another in Washington, D.C., did not do abortions that late in the pregnancy. One of the clinics referred Karnamaya to Kermit Gosnell's Women’s Medical Society in Philadelphia because Gosnell had a reputation for performing abortions regardless of gestational age.

Karnamaya went with her daughter to the Gosnell's clinic on November 18, 2009. That afternoon,
Latosha Lewis, who had completed a medical assistant course but had never been certified, conducted the clinic’s version of a “pre-examination,” which was so scanty it didn't even involve weighing the patient. Falsified informed consent forms were added to Karnamaya's file.  

After the "pre-examination" was done and the paperwork was completed, Randy Hutchins, a part-time physician’s assistant who worked without State Board of Medicine approval, inserted laminaria to dilate Karnamaya’s cervix and administered Cytotec to soften it. Hen then told Karnamaya to return the next day to complete the abortion.

Drugged Up

Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia
"house of horrors" where
Karnamaya Mongar was drugged to
death by unqualified staff.
Karnamaya arrived at the clinic on November 19 around 2:30 p.m., accompanied by her daughter and her daughter's mother-in-law. At the front desk, Tina Baldwin gave Karnamaya her initial medication – Cytotec to soften the cervix and to cause contractions; and Restoril, a drug that causes drowsiness.  After giving Karnamaya the medicine, Baldwin told her to wait in the recovery area until the doctor arrived to perform the abortion.

Lynda Williams and Sherry West, who were without any medical-related qualifications medicated Karnamaya in the “recovery room” while she waited for Gosnell.

Karnamaya's daughter, Yashoda Gurung, told the Grand Jury that she waited with her mother in the recovery room for several hours. During that time, between 3:30 and 8:00 p.m., her mother was given five or six doses of oral medicine and repeated injections into an IV line in her hand.  As usual at Gosnell's clinic, no equipment was available to ensure proper monitoring of vital signs.

A handwritten, hand-colored chart of names for anesthesia concoctions and the amount of each drug to go in each
Anesthesia chart drawn up by 15-year-old
Gosnell employee Ashley Baldwin
Yashoda did not know what drugs her mother was given, but typically employees gave repeated injections of the concoction of sedative drugs that Gosnell referred to as a “twilight” dose. Each of these “twilight” doses, repeated a number of times at the discretion of the unlicensed workers, consisted of 75 milligrams of Demerol, 12.5 milligrams of promethazine, and 7.5 milligrams of diazepam.

The standard practice was for Gosnell's untrained staff to give repeated doses of sedative and pain-killing drugs to the patients, without regard to a woman's size or weight, whenever it was deemed necessary by the untrained staff. For example, if the woman started moaning, she was presumed to be in pain, and would be given another dose of drugs. Karnamaya, at only 4'11" in height and 110 lb. in weight, would have been endangered by a dose appropriate for an average-sized women, much less by the massive doses administered at Women's Medical Society.

A little before 8:00 p.m., West and Williams sent Karnamaya's daughter to another waiting area. She was left there, with no idea what was happening to her mother until the ambulance arrived after 11 p.m.

Williams helped Karnamaye into the procedure room, put her on the table, and drugged her again, this time with the clinic's "custom" dose of 75 mg. of Demerol, 12.5 mg. of promethazine, and 10 mg. of diazepam. The heavily drugged patient was then left, unattended and with no monitoring equipment, alone in the procedure room.

Cardiac Arrest

Kermit Gosnell mugshot
Kermit Gosnell mugshot
Sherry West told detectives that, some time after sedating Karnamaya, Williams came out of the procedure room, yelling for help. West said that when she later entered the procedure room, Gosnell was there trying to perform CPR on Karnamaya. Lynda Williams summoned Eileen O’Neill , an unlicensed medical school graduate who worked at the clinic, from her second-floor office.

O'Neill told the Grand Jury that she thought Karnamaya was already dead by the time she got to the procedure room, but she took over administering CPR because Gosnell wasn't doing it correctly. Gosnell, meanwhile, left to retrieve the clinic’s only “crash cart” (the emergency kit to treat a cardiac arrest) from the third floor. After returning with the kit, however, Gosnell did not use any of the drugs in it to try to save Karnamaya's life. Instead he just looked through them and seemed pleased that they were up to date. He seemed purely interested in keeping outsiders from finding out that the crash cart had been nowhere near the procedure room while patients were being sedated.

O’Neill testified that Gosnell told her not to administer Narcan, a drug that could have reversed the effects of the Demerol. She said that Gosnell told her it would not work on Demerol. O’Neill also said that she tried to use the defibrillator to revive Karnamaya, but that the paddles did not work.

Emergency Services

One of Gosnell's filthy
procedure rooms
It was after 11 p.m. – long after O’Neill had decided that Karnamaya was dead and returned to her office – that Lynda Williams finally asked Ashley Baldwin to call 911. Ashley then went into the procedure room and found Gosnell alone with his dead patient. He told Ashley to turn in the pulse oximeter, which they should have been using all along to monitor Karnamaya's pulse and blood oxygen. This surprised Ashley, since Gosnell knew that the pulse oximeter had been broken for months.

Emergency personnel arrived at 11:13. They found Karnamaya lifeless in the procedure room and Gosnell just standing there, not doing anything. The paramedics immediately intubated Karnamaya to give her oxygen, and started an intravenous line to administer emergency medications, since for some reason clinic staff had removed the IV line they'd been using all day to drug their patient. They also failed to tell the paramedics about the drugs they had administered.

The medics were able to restore weak heart activity. But getting Karnamaya to the ambulance was
 needlessly and dangerously time-consuming because the emergency exit was locked. Gosnell sent Ashley to the front desk to look for the key, but she could not find it. Ashley told the grand jury that a firefighter needed to cut the lock, but “It took him [20 minutes]… because the locks is old.” Karnamaya's daughter and friend ran outside, crying, and witnessed this. After cutting the locks, responders had to waste even more time struggling to maneuver through the cramped hallways that could not accommodate a stretcher.

When the ambulance arrived at the hospital shortly after midnight, Karnamaya had no heartbeat, no blood pressure, and was not breathing. After  aggressive resuscitation efforts, doctors were able to restore a weak heartbeat. Karnamaya was then sent to the Intensive Care Unit, where she remained on life support until family members could make the trip from Virginia to say good-bye. She was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. on November 20. She had died of a massive overdose of Demerol.

Two Deaths, One Day: Chicago, 1925

On November 20, 1925, 29-year-old Anna Kick died in Chicago's Washington Park Hospital from an abortion performed that day at an undisclosed location. The coroner determined that a midwife was responsible for Anna's death, but did not determine the midwife's name.

On that very same day, 23-year-old Helen Bain, a homemaker, died in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day. Dr. George Slater was arrested on November 21 for Helen's death. Slater was indicted by a grand jury for homicide on May 1, 1926.

Helen's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a physician. The mantra among abortion-rights organizations that before legalization, the world of abortion was a world of rusty coathangers and untrained quacks is false. In fact, it's an insult to the abortion-minded women of yesteryear to assume that they were all so mentally unhinged or utterly mindless as to reflexively reach for the rustiest knitting needle in the basket. The vast majority sought out professionals of the same caliber they'd go to for any other obstetric or gynecological issue, as Anna went to a midwife.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

1935: An Oklahoma Doctor's Fatal Handiwork

On November 17, 1935, Georgia Marie McGill, 21-year-old daughter of oil company superintendent George McGill, died from an apparent criminal abortion in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Marie's father identified Dr. W. R. Mitchell as the perpetrator. Mitchell was already a reputed abortionist, and police had already gotten many complaints about him prior to Marie's death. He was implicated in about half a dozen other abortion deaths, but I have been unable to get more details about those cases.

Mitchell was arrested and tried but the case ended with a hung jury. After the trial, Mitchell resumed his abortion business and was arrested again for his practice.

Marie's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1930s.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

Monday, November 16, 2015

Preparing for March for Life and Other Roe Events: Tombstone Signs

With the upcoming anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, life advocates are planning marches, vigils, and rallies across the country. I first saw these tombstone signs in a picture of an Operation Rescue rally in Wichita back in the 1980s. They're a powerful reminder that women are still sometimes paying the ultimate price for the belief that they and their unborn children are mortal enemies.

Imagine the visual of a sea of these marching past a group of the uninformed, or a contingent of abortion-rights counter-protestors. They'd also make a spectacular stationary display in the form of a cemetery that visitors can wander through, reading the signs and learning about the women for whom abortion was the last choice they ever made.

The signs are easy to make, and now the foam board, that used to cost more than $3 a sheet at office supply stores, is available for $1 a sheet at Dollar Tree. I made a set of 40 for March for Life in DC. Raising funds is a cinch, since you just ask people if possible to donate $1 for their own plus sponsor additional signs for $1 each. A teen or church group could easily churn out a set in a day.

Start by printing out the names, ages, dates of death, and so forth. You can get a file from me with the information, along with links for more info for the backs. I find that twice the width of a landscape-oriented letter-sized page is about the width of the sign. I also believe you get a nicer result if you vary the fonts among the signs.

When it's time to cut the signs, you'll need something large and rounded to guide you in cutting the tops. As you can see, I used a Christmas tree stand. A trash can lid, saucer sled, or tray will do as well. Use a razor knife. I would just score the foamboard sometimes. Other times I'd stack the foam board, use a bit more force, and just slice them through. Both ways work fine -- just be careful that you don't damage your floor.

If you don't cut through the whole way on the first stroke, use the razor knife to cut through the rest of the way to get a nice rounded top. Scissors don't work well; they tend to mash the board and not give you a nice clean cut.

Cut the words for the front from the page where you've printed them. I've found that the double width of a landscape-oriented letter-sized sheet is just the right width. I can't see any real advantage in using legal sized paper, because it's not wide enough for the sign if you use a single sheet, and it's two wide if you go twice the width. Ledger sized paper would probably work well.

Spray adhesive works best. It allows you to reposition the words if you need to. The adhesive is inexpensive and available in the craft department of Wal-Mart, though if you prefer you can also get it at craft stores. Just be careful when you spray -- it tends to land on other things around the signs you're working on. Put old newspapers down if you don't want a thin sticky layer of glue on the floor.

With the spray adhesive, you have plenty of time to place the words on the sign. You can move them if you need to. I find that the razor knife works well for lifting the edges for repositioning. Just be warned -- your hands will get pretty gunky with a mix of glue and printer ink.

Print out each woman's story and put it on the back. You can also add copies of relevant documents that I link to, such as medical board disciplinary documents or news clippings. I put pictures on the front when I can get them, with additional pictures on the back when a woman's story has more than one photograph with it. This enables people to become familiar with the stories of the women, both to educate themselves and to answer questions.

Make sure you print out a copy of the list so that you can verify that you got all the signs back at the end of the event. By checking them off, you can spot any missing signs and easily replace them.

Not Resuscitated, Allowed to Die, at Phony Virginia Clinic

Headshot of a grim-expressioned middle-aged Korean woman wearing wire-rim glasses
Dr. Mi Yong Kim
A woman identified as "Patient A" (I'll call her "Adelle"), was 26 years old and had a history of anemia and sickle cell disease when she went to Dr. Mi Yong Kim's private office, which was named "Landmark Women's Center", giving the impression that it was a clinic.

Kim did not order proper lab studies, document an appropriate history, or perform a proper exam on Adelle before performing a safe and legal abortion on her on November 16, 2002. Kim administered 25 mg of Versed to Adelle, in response to her reports of pain, over a 10-minute period, without giving the medicine time to take effect.

Kim told the medical board that she did not give Adelle any analgesia for pain because she gives enough Versed to cause amnesia so that the patient can't remember the pain. The board noted that Kim lacked judgment and knowledge of intravenous conscious sedation and that she was not fit to supervise a CRNA.

At the end of the abortion, Kim noted that Adelle's pulse oximeter reading was only 70%, an alarming finding. Kim thought she found a pulse, so she did not assess whether or not Adelle was breathing. She simply ordered her staff to give Adelle oxygen by mask and call 911.

Kim administered Romazicon to reverse the effects of the Versed, but did not notice that Adelle had gone into cardiac arrest. As such, Kim made no effort to resuscitate her. The ambulance crew arrived and transported Adelle to the hospital, where she was declared dead from possible air embolism.

The medical board noted that Kim was not certified in Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support, nor was she or anybody else on her staff qualified to perform an intubation or use crash cart equipment. Kim did not document the operative report for Adelle. Kim told the board that the police had told her not to make any further notes in her file.

Although Kim had voluntarily surrendered her license in New York before opening her looked-like-a-clinic, the Virginia medical board did not suspend or yank Kim's license, instead noting that she was making improvements in her quality of care. She was instead placed under stipulations regarding her use of anesthesia in her office and her record-keeping.

Late 19th and Early 20th Century Abortion Deaths

On November 7, 1882, 23-year-old Elizabeth "Lizzie" Holstein of Philadelphia grew ill with fever and chills. Over subsequent days, as she grew progressively more ill,  she spoke to her aunt and confessed that she was ailing from the effects of an abortion performed by her dentist, Dr. George Buchanan, on the night of October 7. She also made a similar deathbed statement to Dr. Samuel D. Marshall, had attended to Lizzie in her final sickness.

In spite of all that Dr. Marshall could do, Lizzie died on November 16 from cumulative blood loss. Dr. Marshall notified the coroner's office. The police came to the house and got Lizzie's false teeth, which they brought to Buchanan. He identified them as his work, whereupon he was arrested. Some confusion arose as to whether the dentist Lizzie had meant was the recently arrested Dr. Buchanan or his father, also named George, who sometimes worked in the dental office when he wasn't in prison.

George Buchanan the younger was convicted in Lizzie's death, but was quickly granted a new trial. I have been unable to determine if the trial actually took place and, if so, what the outcome was.


On November 16, 1905, 18-year-old Dorothy Spuhr died in County Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed on November 13. Midwife Julia Gibson, aka Timmons, was arrested and held by the coroner's jury. Gibson went on to perpetrate a fatal abortion on Bessie Braun the following year.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Abundant Information From 1901, Scant From 1912

There are three abortion deaths in the Cemetery of Choice for this date. I have an abundance of information on the first, but a dearth on the others.

Irma Brown

Irma Brown
On November 15, 1901, 22-year-old Irma Brown of Garden City, Kansas, died at County Hospital from complications of an abortion. Dr. Robert E. Gray, age 42, was arrested November 19 and held without bail. The original accusation had come from nurse Margaret Tedford, who had cared for Irma after she'd taken ill.

A police captain said that he had spoken to Irma as she lay dying, and that she said Gray had performed an abortion on her. There was doubt as to whether Irma's confession would be admitted in the trial because it had been written out by the police officer, but Irma had not signed it. Daniel Healy, the hospital warden, testified that Dr. McPherson at County Hospital had not allowed Irma to sign it because she was so weak that he feared the exertion of signing the document might kill her.

Gray insisted that Irma had undergone an abortion elsewhere at the Veley Hotel and didn't want to go to the county hospital for aftercare lest her family find out. At Irma's request, Gray had taken her to Chicago and registered with her at the hotel on November 1, under the names of Irma's sister and brother-in-law. He further said that she had asked to go for a walk through the La Salle Street Tunnel, so that she could tell her family and friends that she had actually been under the Chicago River. Because of this walk, he said, Irma had suffered a fall that had injured her so that he took action to save Irma's life.

Gray's assertion was weakened by a letter from Gray that Nurse Tedford produced, saying, "My defense is just as I told you and will not be deviated from. It is that Irma slipped and fell in the tunnel a week ago. This defense will not be deviated from one iota or one jot. Remember, remember. Read quickly; decide quickly. Then destroy. bring no letters or papers of any description." Gray's defense was further weakened by his cross-examination, during which he admitted that Irma had gone to the theater with him the evening after the fall..

On March 16, the jury took six ballots over six and a half hours of deliberation. The issue at hand was whether or not the abortion which Gray had admittedly performed had been necessitated by injuries Irma had suffered after a fall. The first ballot stood nine for conviction and three for acquittal. The second found seven for conviction and five for acquittal. With each successive ballot, the jury shifted toward Gray until he was finally acquitted.

Gray's health had deteriorated during the trial. After his acquittal he remained in Chicago until he regained his health, then he returned to his home in Garden City, where public sentiment was divided as to whether his acquittal was just or not.
Two Deaths, Same Day, Scant Information

On November 15, 1912, 38-year-old Ida Kloie died in her Chicago home from an abortion perpetrated by midwife Minnie Neermann. Neerman was held by the Coroner on November 25, and indicted by a Grand Jury on December 1, but the case never went to trial. That same day, 33-year-old homemaker Fannie Scheiner died at County Hospital in Chicago after an abortion perpetrated that day by midwife Annie Balnoka. Balnoka was arrested and held by the Coroner on November 24, and indicted by a Grand Jury on December 15, but the case never went to trial.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Chicago, 1910: Another Doctor's Fatal Work

On November 13, 1910, 32-year-old Norwegian immigrant Pauline Braasch died in her Chicago home from an abortion performed there, possibly that same day. Dr. Elizabeth Burns was indicted for felony murder in Pauline's death. The source has no record of the case going to trial.

Note, please, that with issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

South Carolina Facilities Fined for Dumping Steamed Fetuses in Landfill

Planned Parenthood, Columbia SC
WIS-TV and ABC-4 have reported that three South Carolina abortion clinics and two waste disposal companies have been caught dumping fetuses in landfills after disinfecting them with steam. The combined fines against the businesses range from $2,200 and $21,15 and total nearly $51,000. The clinics are Greenville Women's Clinic, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in Columbia, and Charleston Women's Medical Center.

The investigations into abortion practices were launched by Gov. Nikki Haley in response to undercover videos in which Planned Parenthood employees discussed their woes in disposing of fetal remains. An audit of previous state inspection records had revealed lax oversight.

Two of the three clinics subsequently were slapped with fines and had their licenses suspended for other violations. Greenville Women's Clinic reportedly addressed six violations, including failure to accurately list medications available in the emergency kit. Their doctors are Terry Lynn Buffkin and Thomas William Campbell, Jr.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in Columbia, SC submitted a plan of correction for 21 violations in order to remain open. The Planned Parenthood violations included failure to verify credentials and background checks on employees, failure to have staff properly trained in CPR, failure to provide proper safety and emergency training to employees, expired medications, and storing sterile and non-sterile equipment together. Read the inspection report here. Their doctor is Jack Maxwell Valpey.

Ranch-style pale blue building amid trees along street without sidewalk, with insets of headshots of two men and two women
Charleston Women's Medical Center
Charleston Women's Medical Center , which did not have its license suspended, had challenged state licensing laws and lost their appeal in August of 2000. Their doctors are Angela Richardson Dempsey-Fanning, Gary Clayton Boyle, Gretchen Anne Reinhart, James Collis Oliver, Nicholas Stuart Fogelson, Richard Oliver Manning, and Wesley Frazier Adams Jr. Boyle pleaded down after threatening and pointing a gun at prolife protesters. Manning has been in trouble for doing abortions without hospital admitting privileges, and was sued over the abortion death of Brenda Vise, a botched abortion resulting in a hysterectomy,  and mishandling an obstetric case in a way that resulted in injuries to the baby.