Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Two Historic Abortion Deaths

Not Yellow Fever After All: Cincinnati, 1879

Twenty-year-old Jennie Fouts, separated from her husband, lived behind the First Presbyterian Church on New York Street in Cincinnati. On May 15, she collapsed on the street. When others attended to her, Jennie reported having suffered from a dull, aching pain for several days.

She took to her bed, where she was cared for until the evening of May 19, when she was admitted to City Hospital. There, she vomited a black fluid that tested positive for blood. Since this is a symptom of the yellow fever, which had killed three people in the previous few weeks, doctors treated her for that ailment.

She died on May 24, 1879. After her death authorities made contact with a doctor who had treated Jennie prior to her admission and found her to be suffering from an abortion. She would not divulge the name of her abortionist or of her baby's father.

Likely a Lay Abortionist: Chicago, 1912

On May 24, 1912, 24-year-old homemaker Margaret Dwyer died at Englewood Union Hospital in Chicago, due to sepsis caused by an abortion perpetrated the previous day byPaulina Lindenson. Lindenson's profession is listed only as "abortion provider" so it is likely that she was a lay abortionist. She was held by the Coroner on May 24, and indicted by a Grand Jury on July 19, but the case never went to trial.

Astonishing Responses to a Live Birth

Live Action News has reported a situation in which a Family Planning Associates clinic in Arizona actually called 911 for help after a baby was born alive during an abortion. Live Action provides a link to local news coverage of the incident.

The news report bends over backwards to balance between abortion-rights and pro-life views on the incident, alternatively referring to the baby as a baby and as a fetus. The coverage also fairly represents what both sides had to say about the incident.

In the 911 calls, a clinic worker told the dispatcher a fetus that was removed had vital signs.
"There was a termination that was performed," the worker said. "There is a fetus that is breathing right now, so we need someone to do services."
The 911 operator asks if the fetus has been harmed in any way.
The worker answered no, and said the fetus needed further help other than what the clinic could provide.
"The fetus is breathing so we need care for it now," said the caller. "We can't provide that care except for oxygen and we're trying to keep the fetus stable until someone arrives."
There was an important omission or area of confusion in the report, which said, "According to documents, the doctor told police that she checked several times if the fetus had a heartbeat but didn't find one." The visual during that portion of the report is of the police report, the text of which indicates that the practitioner was listening for a heartbeat before the baby was born.

As the baby was being weighed, the police report indicates, a worker said, "Oh my god, this fetus is moving!"

According to reports, the baby died about five minutes after arrival at the hospital. The reports do not indicate whether the child was a boy or a girl. There is also no indication if the original estimate of the baby's age was accurate. This site addresses errors in estimating gestational age: "The accuracy of ultrasound in predicting gestational age gets worse as the pregnancy advances. By 20 weeks, ultrasound is accurate only to within plus or minus two weeks, and by the third trimester, its accuracy falls to plus or minus 3 weeks." 

According to this article, preemie survival rates on average are:
  • 22 weeks: 0-10%
  • 23 weeks: 10-35%
  • 24 weeks: 40-70%
  • 25 weeks: 50-80%
  • 26 weeks: 80-90%
  • 27 weeks: greater than 90%
Thus, even if the ultrasound was being read with due skill, the baby might well have been a 23-week baby with up to 35% chance of survival. In calling an ambulance, and evidently providing oxygen to the baby, the clinic was doing the right thing.

Of course, the pro-life response to such a happening is to stop aborting these babies in the first place. However, it seems common sense that if a facility is aborting potentially viable babies, they have a responsibility to be prepared for live births. At minimum, there should be means of keeping the baby safe and warm while administering oxygen, and a written emergency plan, reviewed as often as other emergency plans, for providing necessary support while awaiting an ambulance.

Overall, I find the events in Arizona staggering in that:
  1. The clinic actually responded appropriately.
  2. The news outlet even bothered to cover the incident.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

2000: One of 16 Deaths at Prestigious Chain

 The Fresno Bee reported that Family Planning Associates Medical Group (FPA) and abortionist Kenneth Wright were being sued by the family of Kimberly Neil, who died after Wright performed a safe and legal abortion on her. To the best of my knowledge, this makes at least 12 dead abortion patients for FPA. The suite says that FPA staff failed to properly monitor Kimberly, and failed to treat her properly when she stopped breathing during the abortion. Kimberly died May 22, 2000.

Family Planning Associates Medical Group is a member of the prestigious National Abortion Federation, which proportely assures that all members adhere to the highest standards of safety and care. I know of 16 women who have died after abortions at FPA. In addition to Kimberly, they are:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cleveland, Chicago, and Kansas City from 1883 to 1958

Midwives in Cleveland and Chicago, 1883 and 1904

In early May of 1883, 21-year-old Julia Renacheve left the Cleveland home she shared with her sister and brother-in-law, saying that she was going to the country to visit some friends. Nobody thought anything was amiss until the evening of Tuesday, May 15, when Julia's sister learned that she was at the Garden Street home of midwife Sylvia Webster. She and her husband hurried to the home to find Julia deathly ill. Jacob told police that Julia had said to him, "I am a very sick girl. I have suffered martyrdom." She said that Webster had perpetrated an abortion on her, but begged him to keep it a secret until after her death.

The following day, May 16, Julia's paramour, Charles Seymour married Julia at her bedside. The next day, as Julia's condition continued to deteriorate, her sister came by with a carriage to take her home. Just as they were leaving, Webster gave Julia some medicine, which rather than improve her condition put her into a stupor from which she never recovered.

That Friday, May 18, Julia died. On Saturday, she was buried. Either one of the Weismans spoke up, or somebody else became suspicious, because Julia's body was exhumed and an autopsy was performed, confirming that she had died from abortion complications.

In July of 1883, Webster was put on trial for Julia's death. Seymour turned state's evidence against Webster. The trial resulted in a hung jury on June 15.

The death of Margaret McCarthy in Chicago on May 18, 1904, follows the same pattern as Julia Renacheve Seymour's death. Her paramour, Benjamin Tedrick, brought her to the home of midwife Gertrude Plenz. Several days after the abortion, Margaret was admitted to Mary Thompson Hospital, where she admitted to an abortion before dying. Plenz avoided prison, and three years later was arrested for the abortion death of Sarah Cushing.

A Mystery Abortionist in Chicago, 1925

On May 18, 1925, Della Davis, a 25-year-old Black woman, died in Chicago from an illegal abortion performed that day, leaving behind her husband, Huston. The person responsible for her death was never caught. However, given the plethora of physicians and midwives running abortion practices in Chicago at the time, there is a strong likelihood that she availed herself of one of them.

A Doctor in Kansas City, 1958

Janice Easterbrook, who was 20 years old, lived with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Easterbrook in Arcadia, Nebraska. Two doctors in Nebraska had already told them that Janice was pregnant, and the family traveled to Kansas City, Missouri for a third opinion from Dr. William M. Korth. With lab tests and an exam, he confirmed that Janice was about 3 to 3 1/2 months pregnant. Korth later testified that there had been no signs of either health problems that would prevent Janice from carrying to term, or that anybody had tried to tamper with the pregnancy. With this confirmation of pregnancy, the Easterbrooks went to 49-year-old Dr.Harry Werbin's office to try to arrange an abortion. He was closed for the day so they returned the next morning, May 16, 1958.

The receptionist greeted them and made an appointment for them to meet with Werbin at 11:30 that morning. The Easterbrooks told Werbin that they wanted him to do "whatever was necessary to keep her from having the baby."

Werbin took Janice into his office to examine her, then consulted with her parents, explaining that he charged $100 per month of pregnancy, so the charge for Janice's abortion would be $300. The parents asked Werbin if the abortion would be dangerous, but he assured them that he wasn't having any "bad luck," and that a day or two after the abortion Janice would be able to continue on a trip through the Ozarks with her family. Mr. Easterbrook handed $300 to his wife, who handed the $300 to their daughter, who handed it to the doctor.

Werbin took her back into his private office. About ten or fifteen minutes later, Janice emerged, not seeming ill, but with some blood drops on her shoes. Werbin took her back into his office, and instructed her mother to go down to the drug store and buy some Kotex. When Mrs. Easterbrook returned with the Kotex, the parents asked Werbin if Janice should go to the hospital, and he said, "No. Let's leave the hospitals out of it. I know how to take care of it, and what to do." He gave Janice some medication, and gave her parents one of his cards, on which he'd written the name of the U-Smile Motel on Highway 40.

Janice returned with her family on Saturday morning, May 17, per Werbin's instructions. Werbin took her back into his office for about fifteen minutes. When Janice emerged, she was crying and told her parents, "He hurt me." That evening at the motel, Janice began to vomit violently. Her mother called Werbin, who demurred at first, but came to check on his patient once her mother insisted. He came back and forth to the motel several times, spending more and more time on each visit, staying there most of Saturday night. Janice was sick and in a lot of pain, and Mrs. Easterbrook again suggested taking Janice to a hospital. Werbin reassured the parents that it was not uncommon for women to be in Janice's condition after an abortion. He used a curved instrument about ten inches long to remove some tissue from her vagina.

On Sunday morning, Janice got up to use the toilet, where she passed a mutilated fetus about six inches long. Her parents summoned Werbin, who summoned criminal abortionist Dr. Richard Mucie to assist him at about 11:00 a.m. Janice's parents were alarmed that she appeared blue and was breathing rapidly. Werbin and Mucie held a quiet conversation that the parents couldn't overhear, then Mucie picked Janice up and carried her out to Werbin's car, telling her parents to caravan with them to Independence Hospital.

After driving about six miles east, Werbin did a U-turn, and the Easterbrooks lost him in traffic. Werbin went to General Hospital, where he met Joseph L. Connors, a non-physician and deputy coroner, at about 3:10 p.m., telling him that the dead woman in his car was a patient he'd been called to treat at the U-Smile for hemorrhage.

Mucie testified that Werbin had called him in to assist in treating a botched self-induced abortion at the motel, and that Werbin had performed a curretage to remove tissue, while Mucie had given her medications to stimulate circulation. Mucie concluded that Janice had died from an embolism, possibly air or a clot lodged in the heart or lungs. He said that the reason they'd not taken Janice to Independence Sanitarium was that Independence wasn't friendly to osteopaths.

The Jackson County Coroner, Dr. Hugh H. Owens, performed the autopsy that afternoon, May 18, and found ample evidence of a pregnancy and an abortion performed with instruments. Janice's uterus had been perforated, and Owens concluded that she had bled to death. Werbin was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to two years. His sentence was upheld on appeal.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Abortion Deaths: 1876, 1919, 1924, 1972

New York Midwife, 1876

Matilda Beringer, age 34 arranged for an abortion, which was perpetrated by midwife Johanna White at her New York practice in mid-March of 1876. Immediately Matilda began to experience severe pain so she went straight home and took to her bed. On Saturday, May 14, Dr. William Fayner was called on to care for her and found her suffering from peritonitis. When his efforts to treat her did not have the desired effect he brought in a second physician, Dr. Samuel Gluck to consult. The two continued to treat her until her death on May 17.

Matilda's husband, Edward, told authorities the he'd heard gossip about his wife but that she had never said anything to him about the abortion. The police evidently had no reason to doubt him, since he was not charged as an accessory in his wife's death. When arrested, White admitted to having perpetrated the abortion and was held on $2,000 bond.

Unknown in Chicago, 1919

On May 17, 1919, 27-year-old nurse Gertrude Schaefer, a widow, died at Chicago's Wesley Hospital from septicemia caused by an abortion perpetrated by an unidentified person. Given the plethora of physicians and midwives operating with little let or hindrance in Chicago at the time, it is likely that Gertrude had availed herself of one of them.

A Chicago Doctor, 1924

On April 2, 1924, 26-year-old homemaker Mary Whitney underwent an abortion at the Chicago office of Dr. Lou E. Davis. On May 17, Mary died at St. Mary's Hospital of complications of that abortion. Dr. Davis was held by the coroner on May 19. Davis was also implicated in five other Chicago abortion deaths:

Mary's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a physician, though Chicago in that era also had a plethora of midwives who practiced abortion.

Safe and Legal in New York, 1972

"Danielle," age 18, had decided to take advantage of the liberalized law, and traveled from Massachusetts to New York for a safe and legal abortion.  The abortion was performed on May 17, 1972. Minutes after the abortion was completed, Danielle was dead. She'd developed arterial and venous air emboli (air in her blood stream).

The 1970 liberalization of abortion had made New York an abortion mecca until the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling that abortionists could legally set up shop in any state of the union. In addition to "Danielle," these are the women I know of who had the dubious benefit of dying from the newfangled safe-and-legal kind of abortion in pre-Roe New York: "Judy" Roe, July 12, 1970; Carmen Rodriguez, July 19, 1970; Barbara Riley, July 20, 1970; "Amanda" Roe, September 22, 1970; Maria Ortega, October 10, 1970; "Kimberly" Roe, December 23, 1970; "Amy" Roe, January 2, 1971; "Andrea" Roe, January 20, 1971; "Sandra" Roe, April 18, 1971; "Anita" Roe, May 11, 1971; Margaret Smith, June 16 1971; "Annie" Roe, June 24, 1971; "Audrey" Roe, July 1, 1971; "Vicki" Roe, August 17, 1971; "April" Roe, August 22, 1971; "Barbara" Roe, September 23, 1971; "Tammy" Roe, October 13, 1971; Carole Schaner, October 20, 1971; "Beth" Roe, December 29, 1971; "Roseann" Roe, February 27, 1971; "Connie" Roe, March 8, 1972; "Julie" Roe, April 16, 1972; "Robin" Roe, May 4, 1972; and "Roxanne" Roe, May 13, 1972.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Chicago, 1916: A Doctor Accused

Portrait of a middle-aged white woman with short dark hair and fine features, wearing a lacy white top
Anna Albers
On May 16, 1916, 25-year-old Lucile Bersworth died in Chicago's German-American hospital after telling authorities that Dr. Anna Albers (pictured) had perpetrated an abortion on her. She also mentioned a man named Fred Krause, so he might have been her baby's father. Though Albers was held by the coroner and indicted by a Grand Jury, the case never went to trial. She was rather a respectable physician, at least as of 1912, so she seems an unlikely abortionist.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Deadly Abortions, 1884-1994

An Unnamed Chicago Doctor, 1884

On May 11, 1884, a young woman who had given her name as Alice Brown died at the Chicago residence of Mrs. R. A. Hough. She was identified as 20-year-old Lottie Hudson of Austin, Illinois. She had gone to Chicago to live with a man identified as C. O. Owen, "a printer who already had a wife and family." He was boarding with Lottie's mother, Mrs. Hudson, who had visited Lottie twice at Mrs. Hough's home during her illness. It was determined that Lottie had died from blood poisoning due to an abortion, believed to be perpetrated by a doctor whose name neither Lottie nor Mrs. Hough either could or would divulge.

Self-Induced in Chicago, 1915

Homemaker May Johnson, age 36, of Melrose Street in Chicago died on May 11, 1915 from a self-induced abortion "after advice from quack."

Sent Home to Die, New York, 1971

"Anita" is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a legal abortion. Anita was a 23-year-old mother of two when she traveled from Massachusetts to New York to take advantage of the law legalizing abortion. She was 22 weeks pregnant. On May 11, 1971 the doctor initiated a saline abortion by injecting a strong sterile salt solution into Anita's uterus.The idea was that the fetus would inhale and swallow the fluid, which would cause massive internal hemorrhaging and death. this would then trigger labor. Anita's doctor sent her home to expel the fetus. The next day, Anita was found unresponsive at her home. She was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival. She had bled to death.

Misdiagnosis Leads to Death, New York, 1981

A lawsuit filed by the father of Barbara Dillon, a 22-year-old college student, alleged that Barbara underwent a safe and legal abortion performed by Dr. Mark Silver at Long Island Gynecological Group April 18, 1981. Barbara's father said that the pathology report identified placental tissue, but no fetal parts. This meant that something had gone wrong, and that Barbara needed medical care, but nobody contacted her to tell her this. Barbara suffered pain and bleeding from May 5. She went to the emergency room and was treated with antibiotics and advised to see her family doctor. She was in severe pain later that day, so her roommates called the emergency room again. They were told to give the antibiotics more time.

Barbara's pain did not abate. On May 10, her roommates got a neighbor to take Barbara to the university health center. Barbara was unconscious upon arrival, with no respiration, blood pressure, or pulse, and was rushed to the emergency room. There were delays finding a doctor from the clinic who would aid the emergency room physician in addressing Barbara's symptoms. She went into irreversible shock and died on May 11. It turned out that Barbara had an ectopic pregnancy which the clinic had failed to detect. 

Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually//more// likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners and the presumption that since they'd undergone abortions, pregnancy wasn't possible.

Another Saline Abortion Death, Brooklyn, 1992

"Melissa" is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a safe and legal abortionMelissa was 27 years old and five months pregnant when she checked into Lutheran Medical Center of Brooklyn on May 1, 1992. For some reason, her doctor chose the dangerous and antiquated saline abortion procedure. She died of complications on May 11.

Screaming and Disoriented in Atlanta, 1994
Fifteen-year-old Sara Neibel went to the unsavory abortion facility Midtown Hospital in Atlanta for a safe and legal abortion at 17 weeks. She was given a clean bill of health and sent home. The next day, she reported a severe headache, sore neck, neck stiffness, and trouble seeing. Her parents began the drive to take her to the hospital. On the way there, Sara began screaming and behaving strangely. When they got to the hospital, she refused to get out of the car. She was disoriented and stuporous upon admission. Sara went into respiratory arrest, and was admitted to the ICU. She was pronounced dead May 11, 1994. The cause of death was determined to be Group B Streptococci Meningitis caused by infected amniotic fluid in her bloodstream. The autopsy performed on Sara found dead tissue and a fetal bone fragment in her infected uterus.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

A Bag to Breath Into and Other Fatal Abortions

Chicago, 1928

On May 8, 1928, 27-year-old Margaret Barnts died from a criminal abortion performed by Pauline Zickerman or Nickelman. (The name is given two different ways in the source, perhaps due to illegible handwriting on their original source documents.) The defendant was indicted for felony murder on May 15, 1928. Her profession is not mentioned, but there is a good chance she was a doctor or a midwife, since many Chicago abortionists of that era were trained medical professionals..

One of Four Dead at Miami Clinic, 1981

Twenty-four-year-old Maura Morales was eight weeks pregnant when she went to Woman's Care Center for a safe and legal abortion on May 8, 1981. When she was in the recovery room, her heart went into spontaneous ventricular fibrillation -- irregular heartbeats not capable of effectively pumping blood. Maura was taken to a hospital, but died that day. Maura was the fourth woman to die at the same facility. The others were Shirley PayneMyrta Baptiste, and Ruth Montero

Misdiagnosis Leads to Death, Los Angeles, 1985

Claudia Caventou, age 33, underwent a safe, legal first-trimester abortion at Mercy Medical Clinic in Los Angeles on May 8, 1986, performed by H. N. FahmyClaudia's boyfriend was in the waiting room during the procedure. Staff told him that everything was okay, and suggested that he leave and get something to eat. Since he'd heard Claudia screaming earlier, he decided to stay. Several hours later, he heard the doctor come out and tell his staff to call 911. Claudia was taken to a hospital where she underwent emergency surgery for what doctors thought was a perforated uterus. It turned out that Claudia's pregnancy had been in her fallopian tube, which had ruptured during the abortion. Efforts to save Claudia were futile, and she died later that day.

Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually//more// likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners.

A Bag to Breathe Into, Chicago, 2009

Antonesha Ross
On May 8, 2009,On May 2, 2009, 18-year-old Antonesha Ross went to Women's Aid Clinic of Lincolnwood, Illinois to have an abortion performed at 13 weeks of pregnancy. Dr. Josephine Kamper performed the abortion, while CRNA Lawrence Hill administered anesthesia. During the abortion, Antonesha's blood oxygen saturation fell to between 80% and 90%, and she began to cough up blood through her mouth and nose. An employee gave her a bag to breathe into.

Needless to say, this wasn't any help, and Antonesha went into cardio-respiratory arrest. She was not provided with proper resuscitation and she died, leaving behind a toddler and an infant. 

Antonesha was the third patient I know of to have died after abortions at Women's Aid Clinic. Kathleen Gilbert and Dorothy Musorewa had both been sent home to bleed to death.