In February of 1968, Nancy Ward flew from Oklahoma to Kansas City with her boyfriend for an abortion Nancy's father had arranged. Nancy and her boyfriend visited Dr. Richard Mucie at his ear, nose, and throat clinic. Mucie examined Nancy and told the couple that he would contact them at their hotel.
At 11PM Mucie called and arranged to pick them up and drive them to his clinic. During the abortion, Mucie made a 1/2 inch tear in Nany's uterus. Nancy went into shock and died at the clinic. An autoppsy revealed parts of a 4 1/2-month fetus still in Nancy's uterus.
Mucie was convicted on June 8, 1968, of performing an abortion "not necessary to preserve the life" of the mother. He served 14 months then was released on parole. His medical license was revoked on May 4, 1971.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.
Now, here's the puzzler for the prochoice: Was Nancy's death a tragic and unacceptable illegal abortion death, or an example of how all surgery has risks, like other legal abortion deaths?
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
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