Friday, December 29, 2006

Call to prayer: Dr. Kristin Neuhaus

Dr. Kristin Neuhaus is an ex-abortionist, not because she came to her senses but because she'd gotten in so much trouble with the Kansas Medical Board that even that crew of inDUHviduals decided it wasn't safe to let her near a uterus with a canula in her hand.

She made up for the lost income by setting up a clever arrangement with George Tiller. He would give her space in his clinic once a week and would provide her with his late-abortion patients and their checkbooks and credit cards and cold cash. Neuhaus would certify that indeed, every single one of them did need a post-viability abortion for pressing "health" reasons. (Just examine the logic of the idea of delaying the termination of a pregnancy for three days, just to get a dead fetus, because the mother's health is in danger, and you can see through this transparent ploy. But it fit the letter of the law, drafted to stand under Roe.)

However, for whatever reason, Neuhaus has stepped forward and indicated that she's willing to turn state's evidence and testify against Teflon Tiller, should the late-abortion charges ever make it to court.

Now, you and I know that Tiller's as likely to ever end up in a courtroom over his malfesiance as Fluffikins is to be taken to task by other cats for eating canaries. But Neuhaus can still go public, outside the courtroom, and blow the lid off the whole thing -- not just Tiller's illegal activities, but the fairly obvious corruption of officials he's managed to purchase. And Tiller is not a rogue abortionist that the rest of the abortion lobby can throw to the wolves. If he goes down, he may well decide to turn on his fellows. This can become a serious chink in the abortion lobby's armor. If Neuhaus speaks out.

Let's get praying, people!

A rash of holiday anniversaries

"Beth" is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a legal abortion.

Beth was 23 years old when she traveled from Massachusetts to New York for an abortion in 1971. The abortion was initiated by injecting saline into Beth's uterus. But instead of the amniotic sac, the saline went into Beth's bloodstream. Beth immediately began to have siezures and went into a coma. She was pronounced dead on December 29, 1971.

***

Mary Ann Page is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a legal abortion. She was 36 years old when she went into cardiac arrest during an abortion/tubal ligation performed under general anesthesia on December 28, 1977. Both procedures were completed, then Mary Ann was taken to the Intensive Care Unit. Mary Ann suffered several more cardiac arrests while she was in the ICU. She was pronounced dead on December 29, 1977.

***

On December 29, 1987, 31-year-old Sheila Watley had an abortion at Concerned Women's Center in Houston, Texas. She was 17 weeks pregnant, and had one child. The abortion was performed by Dr. Richard Cunningham. About four minutes into the procedure, Sheila went into cardio-respiratory arrest. She was pronounced dead later that day. The cause of death was listed as an amniotic fluid embolism, which is when fluid from the uterus gets into the woman's blood stream.

From a search on information about Cunningham's license, a lawsuit was filed against him that might have pertained to Sheila's death; the case in question was dismissed, according to information Cunningham gave the Texas medical board.

***

Hoa Thuy "Vivian" Tran, like Holly Patterson, got her abortion drugs at a Planned Parenthood. Vivian was 22 years old, and died December 29, 2003, six days into the abortion process. She'd been given the drugs on December 23 at the Costa Mesa Planned Parenthood facility. The autopsy showed that she died of sepsis.

Vivian's husband is suing the drug company, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernadino Counties, and The Population Council Inc., in Orange County Superiour Court.

Planned Parenthood spokesperson Kimberlee Ward said that PP has "absolute confidence in this method of abortion," which is hardly surprising. After all, Vivian's fetus died, leaving PP with nothing to complain about.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Safe and Legal over the Holidays: Arnetta Hardaway

Arnetta Hardaway was 18 years old when she had a mid-trimester abortion performed by Dr. George Tucker in Atlanta on December 23, 1985. Arnetta continued to bleed, and developed infection, after her abortion. On December 27, she died from her complications. Tucker had an active medical board order on his license as of January 4, 2002. The Georgia medical board web site does not reveal the details of the order.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sad anniversary: Jacqueline Smith

Over the years, may details of the Jacqueline Smith case have been lost, and the remaining story often is dismissed as an urban legend. But strange and macabre as the story is, it was all too true.

Jacqueline Smith, a 20-year-old fashion designer from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, moved to New York and took an apartment with two other women. She began spending more and more time at the home of Thomas G. Daniels, age 24, eventually all but moving in with him.

In December of 1955, Jackie told Daniels that she was pregnant. Daniels did not want to marry Jackie and instead arranged for a scrub nurse, Leobaldo Pejuan, to perform an abortion at Daniels' apartment on Christmas Eve. After performing the abortion, Pejuan became alarmed at Jackie's condition, and summoned Dr. Ramiro Morales, who told him that Jackie was dead.

Daniels and Pejuan cut Jackie's body into pieces and took it to Pejuan's home, where over the next several days they cut into as many as 50 pieces, which they wrapped in Christmas paper and disposed of in trash cans along side streets off Broadway, from 72nd to 80th.

When Jackie's father arrived for a visit on December 30, he got Daniels and together they went to the police to report Jackie missing. The police were quickly suspicious of Daniels and began to question him more closely. Daniels finally told police that Jackie had gone into the bathroom and stabbed herself to death due to his refusal to marry her, and that he had dumped her body in the Hudson River.

Police investigated, and found medical instruments in Pejuan's apartment. The entire story eventually came out, with Pejuan pleading guilty and testifying against Daniels. Pejuan was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison, and Daniels was sentenced to 8 years.



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

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Illegal anniversary: Sylvia Sawdy

Harry McDowell began calling at the home of Dr. Sawdy of Howard City, about 40 miles north of Grand Rapids, to visit Dr. Sawdy's 21-year-old daughter, Sylvia. McDowell usually came on Sundays and in the evening, and also corresponded with Sylvia.

On December 10, 1885, Sylvia went to Grand Rapids by train, ostensibly to visit McDowell's mother. Dr. Sawdy heard nothing more from or about his daughter until the morning of Christmas Eve, when McDowell's father came to him, saying that he'd gotten a telegram or telephone call from his son. The senior McDowell said that Harry had told him that Sylvia was very sick and wanted her mother to go to her.

Dr. Sawdy read the next day in the newspaper that his daughter was dead.

It came out in the trial that in November, Sylvia had consulted with Drs. Bodle, Hake, and Bradish, indicating that she was pregnant. Evidence indicated that McDowell had performed an abortion on Sylvia on December 23, and that she died that day. McDowell was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years.



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

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Safe and Legal: Kimberly Roe

"Kimberly" is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a legal abortion.

Kimberly was 25 years old and 18 weeks pregnant when she underwent an abortion in New York City on December 23, 1970. During the abortion, she went into cardiac arrest and died, leaving behind two children.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Safe and Legal over the holidays: Denise Holmes

Today marks the first of the holiday anniversaries, the women and girls who died over the holiday season, died perhaps thinking that their abortions would mark a new beginning for them.

Denise Holmes, a 24-year-old Australian woman living in Texas, decided to undergo an abortion at Avalon Hospital in Los Angeles, California, on her way home for Christmas of 1970. She never made it home.

Denise checked into Avalon Hospital (an abortion facility owned by Edward Campbell Allred) on December 21. Denise suffered an amniotic fluid embolism that carried pieces of fetal bone marrow into her lungs. She was pronounced dead by Edward Allred at Avalon at 5pm.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Safe and Legal: Myrta Baptiste

Myrta Baptiste, age 26, had abortion of her 10 week pregnancy performed by Orlando Zaldivar at Woma''s Care Clinic December 18, 1982.

Myrta arrived at the hospital in critical condition due to delay of transfer by the clinic staff. She bled to death from 2 uterine perforations. Zaldivar could not be reached for 7 hours while hospital staff were struggling to save his patient's life.

Since Zaldivar's license was inactive at the time he performed Myrta's abortion, the CDC classified her death as being due to illegal abortion rather than legal abortion. The other deaths at that facility -- Ruth Montero, Shirley Payne, and Maura Morales -- were counted as legal abortion deaths.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pre-Roe Mortality, Redux

Just about anybody that's paid attention has heard the claim that "thousands" -- or, more specifically, "5,000 to 10,000" maternal deaths a year in the United States from criminal abortions back in the bad old pre-Roe days. In fact, Planned Parenthood's amicus brief filed with PP v. Casey still cited this bogus "fact".

Let's start with the numbers. Where did they come from? Here's an interesting exercise: when you see the 5,000 - 10,000 claim, check and see who they cite. Odds are it will be Lawrence "Larry" Lader or some other late 1960's early 1970's abortion guru. This gives the impression that Lader (or whoever) looked at whatever the then-current situation was and wrote up his findings. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The 5,000 - 10,000 claim is one of the standard abortion promotion tricks: misleading citing. Often you'll see abortion advocates citing some recent (or relatively recent) "research". But when you check their source, you'll find that the source cites an even older source. And when you check that source, you'll find that it cites yet another, older source. You'll go round and round. (I've often joked that tracking down pro-choice original source material gives me motion sickness.) Eventually, you'll find the original source. If you're persistent. And lucky.

In the case of the 5,000 - 10,000 claims, the original source was a book -- Abortion, Spontaneous and Induced -- published in 1936 by Dr. Frederick Taussig, a leading proponent of legalization of abortion. Taussig calculated an urban abortion rate based on records of a New York City birth control clinic, and a rural abortion rate based on some numbers given to him by some doctors in Iowa. He took a guess at a mortality rate, multiplied by his strangely generated estimate of how many criminal abortions were taking place, and presto! A myth is born!

Even if Taussig's calculations, by some mathematical miracle, had been correct, they still would have been out of date by the end of WWII. Antibiotics and blood transfusions changed the face of medicine. And you will notice that abortion proponents are all too aware of how dated Taussig's numbers are -- why else would they play Musical Cites instead of simply citing Taussig in the first place? But not only are the Taussig numbers dated, they were never accurate to begin with. At a conference in 1942, Taussig himself appologized for using "the wildest estimates" to generate a bogus number.

Although it took Taussig six years to reject his own faulty calculations, at least he did admit that he'd been wrong. Other abortion enthusiasts lacked Taussig's compunctions. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, admitted that he and his associates knew that the claims of 5,000 to 10,000 criminal abortion deaths were false. They bandied them about anyway, Nathanson confessed, because they were useful. This, too, is old news -- Nathanson came clean over twenty years ago.

How many criminal abortion deaths were there, then? An excellent question, and a tricky one to answer. Before the Centers for Disease Control began Abortion Surveillance Activities in 1968, and began looking at abortion mortality in earnest in 1972, all abortion deaths were typically counted together: legal (or "therapeutic"), illegal, and spontaneous (miscarriage). However, even without the CDC's intervention, public health officials were watching maternal mortality in general, and abortion mortality in particular, very carefully. After all, abortion itself was a crime, and an abortion in which the mother died could well result in a homicide investigation. This was not petty crime; the police, coroners, funeral directors, and hospital administrators were very attentive to possible criminal abortion deaths.

Peer-reviewed articles published in the decades before Roe gave varied estimates of the number of abortion deaths annually. One study determined that there were approximately 1.3 criminal abortion deaths per year in Minnesota from 1950 through 1965. Commentary on that study pointed out that if researchers combined known criminal abortion deaths with suspected criminal abortion deaths, 4.4 women were dying from criminal abortions per year in Tennessee from 1955 through 1965. A study in California reported 30 total abortion deaths per year during a period studied from 1957 through 1965, and as many as 87% of those abortion deaths were due to criminal abortions. This meant a maximum death rate in California of 26 women per year during that period.

But what can that tell us about mortality nationwide? In 1975 (the first year for which complete numbers are available), Minnesota reported roughly 1.6% of all legal abortions, Tennessee reported about 1.7%, and California about 22%. It is reasonable to assume that the proportion of illegal abortions in each state before legalization would be similar to the proportion of legal abortions in each state after Roe. If each of those states had been representative of the nation at large, that would put the national death rate at 78, 225, and 104, respectively. If we combine the totals, we find 31.7 criminal abortion deaths per year in three states, which represented roughly 26% of abortion deaths. This would mean approximately 123 criminal abortion deaths annually in the decades just before Roe.

Are these numbers realistic at all? Mary Calderone, who was then Medical Director of Planned Parenthood, reported on a conference studying abortion in America. She indicated that in 1957, there were 260 abortion deaths nationwide. That number included all abortions: legal, illegal, and spontaneous. The caluclations based on state maternal mortality investigations are fairly close to Calderone's numbers based on national data. These numbers were based on alerting doctors, law enforcement, coroners, and hospital administrators, along with public records officials, of their responsiblity to report these deaths. Taussig's estimates of 5,000 to 10,000 deaths would have meant that Minnesota authorities should have found 80 to 160 deaths per year when all their efforts could only find one or two. Tennessee should have been finding 85 to 170, rather than 4 or 5. And California should have been finding 1m100 to 2m200, rather than roughly 26.

Once more, with feeling:

  • In 1936, Frederick Taussig announced that there were 5,000 to 10,000 maternal deaths from criminal abortion annually in the United States.

  • In 1942, Taussig admitted that his calculations had been wrong, and that there was no way as many as 5,000 women were dying, much less 10,000.

  • From 1940 through 1970, abortion mortality fell from nearly 1,500 to a little over 100 (see table).

  • In 1972, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 39 women died from criminal abortions. (This number was determined by sending out letters to health officials, hospitals, and doctors throughout the country, in addition to the usual reporting methods.)



YearDeaths
19401,407
1945744
1950263
1955224
1965251
1965201
1970119

Source: "Induced termination of pregnancy before and after Roe v. Wade" JAMA, 12/9/92, vol. 208, no. 22, p. 3231-3239.



Are we supposed to believe that public health officials in Minnesota, Tennessee, and California, in cooperation with law enforcment, the medical community, coroners, and hospital administrators, were that far off? Are we supposed to believe that among abortion supporters, Planned Parenthood's Medical Director, the AMA, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control, putting forth a concerted effort to uncover every abortion death, were missing that many? Are we to believe that only Taussig's numbers -- generated with admittedly faulty calculations over sixty years ago -- are the true measure of the cost of criminal abortion in the United States? This is what abortion promoters would have you believe when they cite Taussig's discredited numbers.

You would have to go back to before WWII to find as many as 1,000 women dying from criminal abortions annually in the United States. By 1967, when the first states started allowing very limited elective abortions, the number had fallen almost 90%, to 110. Criminal abortion deaths clearly were diminishing dramatically without taking the radical step of legalization. Other strategies, such as liberalizing sterilization laws, providing competent counseling to frightened pregnant women to help them overcome their fears about having their babies, and teaching doctors better diagnostic and treatment strategies for addressing criminal abortion complications, were based on sound research and were likely to reduce criminal abortion deaths to an unavoidable minimum. (As long as some women insist on having abortions, some of them will die, no matter how diligently we try to protect them.) When current strategies are working, it's foolish to throw a monkey wrench into the works. The stragegy of improved medical care was solving the problem. Abortion advocates might have done well to listen to the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."



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

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Safe and Legal: Venus Ortiz

A suit was filed on behalf of Venus Ortiz, age 23. The following are the allegations raised in the suit against National Abortion Federation member Eastern Women's Center.



Evidence indicated that the abortion of Venus' approximately 15-week pregnancy was performed by a Dr. Leiber. The abortion took place at Eastern February 24, 1993.

The suit alleged that there was negligence in administering anesthesia to Venus, and failure to establish an airway. Brevital, fentanyl, and midazolam were administered in dosages and manners contrary to standards of practice, causing Venus to suffer a synergistic reaction.

Eastern's staff failed to promptly diagnose and attend to cardio-pulmonary arrest. Eastern's notes of 5:35 PM indicate "2:35 PM end of surgery ... we noticed patient's ashen color and the pulse oximeter tracing and digital readout were gone from the monitor." Emergency medical services were called. The reading of Venus' blood pressure at that time was 90/55; four minutes later it was recorded as being 146/62.

Venus was transported by ambulance to a hospital, accompanied by Dr. Cyrus, Dr. Goodman, and/or Dr. Jeffrey P. Moskowitz. However, the damage had already been done. Venus was left in permanent need of respirator, with profound brain damage. Venus remained in a coma/vegetative state. She was hospitalized a little over five months before being transferred to permanent nursing home care.

To further underscore Eastern's neglect of patients' needs, the suit also noted that although this was her 4th abortion, Venus had not been referred to a social worker.

Venus remained in a permanent vegetative state for the remainder of her life. She died in New York on December 16, 1998 at the age of 29.

Two other patients, Dawn Ravenelle and Dawn Mack, also died of complications of abortions done at Eastern Women's Center.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Safe and Legal: Mary Pena

On December 15, 1984, Mary Pena underwent an abortion at San Vicente Hospital in Los Angeles. Mary had thought that she was 3 months pregnant, but doctors discovered she was at 22-weeks.

During the procedure, performed by either Edward Allred or Ruben Marmet, Mary sustained two cervical lacerations, and because she was bleeding heavily, a hysterectomy was performed in an effort to save her life. The surgery was not successful, and at 1:50 am on December 16, 1984, she died while on the operating table.

Mary was 43 years old and the mother of five.

The Investigator's Report states "Dr. Allred cleared the case with Coroner and body was released to the family picked mortuary ... and services held. When the death certificate was taken to Kern County Health Department they refused to accept it and called the case to Los Angeles Coroner. ... Mortuary in Bakersfield will bring body to this office for autopsy on morning of 12-20-84."

Only then was cause of death attributed to exsanguination due to cervical laceration due to therapeutic abortion. The cervix showed two lacerations - a small one that had been sutured and a large unsutured one extending through the full ring of the cervix.

Once a cause for the fatal hemorrhage was determined, the death certificate was accepted, and Mary was laid to rest again.

San Vicente had been purchased by National Abortion Federation member Familiy Practice Associates Medical Group shortly before Mary's death.



Other deaths at FPA include:

Natalie Meyers and Sara Lint had died at San Vicente before FPA bought the place.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Friday, December 15, 2006

Abortionist charged in murder of wife

Doctor pleads not guilty to killing his wife

Malachy DeHenre, who performed the fatal abortion on Leigh Ann Alford in 2003, faces a second trial for the 1997 shooting death of his wife, Dr. Nyasha DeHenre. She was shot in the head in the couple's home. His first trial, in 1999, resulted in a hung jury.

He was also indicted in the rape of a patient in 1992.

HT: JJ

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Safe and Legal: LaSandra Russ

Twenty-year-old LaSandra Russ, from Berkley, California, went to Los Angeles to have an abortion on December 13, 1971. She was six weeks pregnant. The abortion was performed at Memorial Hospital of Hawthorne the next day, December 14. LaSandra went into cardiac arrest almost immediately after the abortion. Attempts were made to revive her, but she was finally pronounced dead on December 15.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Safe and Legal: Edith Cote

Edith Cote was 38 years old when she submitted to a safe and legal abortion in New York. On December 14, 1991, she was unresponsive and was taken to the emergency room at Syosset Hospital. Hospital staff were unable to save Edith's life. Her cause of death was listed on her death certificate as pulmonary amniotic embolism after an induced abortion.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Safe and Legal: Sharon Hamplton

First, a little background.

In one session of a National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar, a participant indicated that when he pulled bowel (extracted part of a patient's bowel through a perforation in her uterus), his preferred method of treatment (if you can call it that) was to stuff the bowel back through the perforation, administer medications to make the uterus contract and control bleeding, monitor the woman more carefully in recovery, and if she seemed okay, send her home none the wiser.

The moderator was appalled. He pointed out that even if there was no obvious injury to the bowel, it might be bruised and damaged. The recommended procedure is to admit the patient to the hospital and examine her bowel, and observe her for signs of further injury. The moderator then asked how many of the other participants followed this method of stuffing the bowel back in and hoping for the best. Six participants raised their hands to be counted.

I knew it was only a matter of time before one of these bowel-stuffing abortionists killed somebody. That's where the unwitting Sharon Hamptlon stepped into the picture.

She went to Bruce Steir at A Lady's Choice Women's Medical Center for an abortion on December 13, 1996. She was 20 weeks pregnant.

Steir remained at the facility for about an hour after Sharon's abortion. She was still in the recovery room when he left.

Sharon's mother, Doris Hamplton, gave a statement to the medical board about the day her daughter died. Excerpts from Doris's statement can be found at ...And So I Could Hold You and You Could Go to Sleep. Here are some excerpts:
Maybe around 3:00 pm I took Curtis inside to use the bathroom. I saw a grey haired man dressed in green surgical clothes sitting at a desk. He said, "You know she is far along." I said, "No. I didn't know because she didn't tell me." Then I saw Sharon in the recovery room about 3:30 or 4:00 pm. She looked so bad that I felt scared. She was laying on a lazyboy style chair with an IV in her left arm and a blood pressure cuff on the other. She looked very pale. Her eyes were partially open and I could see only the whites of her eyes as if she were in shock. She was not speaking and her whole body was shaking real hard in big shivers. Her legs were especially bad. The doctor said, "She doesn't react to drugs well." .... A woman came in and said that Sharon didn't need the blankets that were on her already and pulled the blankets off. Other girls in the recovery room were vomiting and the attendant woman told the girls to keep vomiting, that vomiting was good for them at this time. I went back to the waiting room and a Spanish lady came out and said that Sharon would be ready in a few minutes as soon as the IV finished.

Sharon was in the recovery for only about 45 minutes, because at 5:00 pm they came out and said she was ready to leave. I heard someone say that the doctor was real busy and he had to rush out like he was going to the airport, something about him having to go to Sacramento or San Francisco. I saw two women struggling to place Sharon in a wheelchair. Sharon could not walk at all and she was not speaking. She looked very, very pale now.

....

On the way home to Barstow, I stopped at Wendy's to get a sandwich for little Curtis. I tried to wake Sharon but all she said was "Huh, Huh." Then Curtis said, "Mamma, I love you. Do you need anything? Are you okay?" And Sharon said, "Okay. I'll take a drink." Sharon was lying in the backseat of the car and said to Curtis, "Come on back with me Curtis. I love you and so I could hold you and you could go to sleep." She was silent for about one hour. Near Victorville, she said, "I'm so hot. Please let the window down." I opened the window a bit. After that, Sharon was silent forever.

We got home to Barstow and I saw that Sharon, still laying in the back seat was naked from the waist up, having removed her shirt, shoes and socks. I started yelling, "Sharon. Sharon. Wake up," but she didn't and my husband, Ben Hamptlon, said, "Call 911."

According to Nancy Myles, an untrasound technician who was assisting Steir during Sharon's abortion, Steir was having trouble locating and extracting the fetal skull. She said that he looked at her strangely and said, "I think I pulled bowel."

Steir was already on probation with the medical board at the time of Sharon's abortion; he had a history of botching abortions, including causing uterine perforations. He'd been found negligent in six abortion cases, including three in which the woman had to undergo a hysterectomy. One woman had to have a fetal skull removed from a tear in her uterus. Steir surrendered his licence in 1997, in the wake of the fallout surrounding Sharon's death.

Pro-choice organizations, including the national leadership of NOW, and the National Abortion Federation and the California Abortion and Reproduction Rights League, rallied around Steir. One supporter stood outside the courthouse with a sign reading, "Abortion doctors are heroes, defend Dr. Bruce Steir." The Feminist Women's Health Center in Chico, with whom he once was affiliated, set up a "defense committee" and raised funds for his legal expenses.

Joseph Durante, who owned the facility, was also on probation with the medical board at the time of Sharon's fatal abortion. He had attempted a late abortion which resulted in the birth of a live but injured infant.

Sharon was a single mother who worked part-time at Burger King while attending community college. Sharon's mother said that she wanted to go off welfare and become a nurse. California taxpayers funded the fatal abortion through Medi-Cal.

Steir eventually plea bargained. He was sentenced to a year in prison, with six months of the sentence suspended in leiu of community service. He was also given five years' probation. At the sentencing hearing, four years after Sharon's death, Sharon's father said he still often pulled his car to the side of the road, looked at his daughter's picture, and wept.

Steir was released after serving only four months of his sentence.

Again, from Doris Hamplton's statement:
I don't know how she heard about Dr. Durante's offices. I think he was recommended by the people at San Bernardino County Social Services or by Dr. Krider. Sharon was on Medi-Cal and had Pacific Care as the Medi-Cal managed care agent. I understand that because Dr. Durante and Dr. Steir were on probation they were not entitled to Medi-Cal payment, but they got it anyway. I understand that their office was not accredited as an ambulatory surgical office, and that it was supposed to be accredited to comply with the law. I had no idea that Dr. Durante and Dr. Steir were on probation with the Medical Board for incompetence and negligence against women patients. I am sure that Sharon did not know either. If I had known, I would never have taken Sharon to such a bad place with such bad doctors. I learned about their records in the newspaper articles.

....

I cry every day for the terrible loss of my daughter, and I am overwhelmed that 3 year old Curtis had his mother taken away forever. My husband, Ben Hamptlon, (father of Sharon), is sick with grief, has terrible head pain, is under the care of a doctor for this and has been taking strong pain medicine since Sharon's death. My prayer is that these doctors be stopped immediately so that no other girl will be killed and that no other family will have to suffer as we have.


For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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But who would stand in the way of science?

Ukraine babies in stem cell probe
Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.

....

Ukraine has become the self-styled stem cell capital of the world.

There is a trade in stem cells from aborted foetuses, amid unproven claims they can help fight many diseases.

But now there are claims that stem cells are also being harvested from live babies.

The BBC has spoken to mothers from the city of Kharkiv who say they gave birth to healthy babies, only to have them taken by maternity staff.

In 2003 the authorities agreed to exhume around 30 bodies of foetuses and full-term babies from a cemetery used by maternity hospital number six.

....

In its report, the Council describes a general culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth, and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate.

This is what you get when you decide that the ends justify the means, that it's okay to kill Peter to save Paul, to steal a phrase.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Safe-n-legal: Sandra Williams

Thirty-year-old Sandra Williams was 11 weeks pregnant when whe underwent an abortion on December 12, 1984. She went home following the abortion. Less than twelve hours later, she was dead. Her death certificate noted that she died from a pulmonary embolism.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Meanwhile, across the street...

Abortion site has Catholic neighbor
A pale half-moon hung in the blue sky on a cold, windy morning Saturday as about 60 Catholics prayed across the street from Tulsa's only abortion clinic.

It was a ritual that has been going on several times a week for years.

But now it is different. They were standing on land owned by the Diocese of Tulsa.

Two months ago, the diocese bought just under a half-acre empty lot across the street from the Reproductive Services of Tulsa, 6136 E. 32nd Place.

"This gives us a place where we can hold prayer, and support of life, . . . and a place to offer support for people that might otherwise choose abortion," said Tim Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities.

The diocese has not decided what to do with the land yet. Ideas include a memorial garden for children killed by abortion, a CPC,

The diocese wants to make the use of the land an ecumenical effort rather than purely a Catholic endeavor. A spokesman said, "We don't want this to be a place of confrontation. We would want to use the property to send a message to every woman that is going into the abortion clinic that we don't condemn them. We pray for them, and we will do anything we can to support them."
Reproductive Services executive administrator Linda Meek, who has been at the clinic for 16 years, said she had no problem with the diocese buying the land as long as they remain peaceful.

"I guess that's fine. They've been coming here for years. They're always quiet and peaceful," she said.

.....

Barbara Santee, former executive director of Pro-Choice Oklahoma, said Catholics have been holding vigils at the clinic for years, and have always been prayerful and respectful.

Of course, there's got to be the obligatory quote from somebody who just doesn't get it:
Valerie Ackerman, president of the board of the Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, said she understood why the diocese wanted to buy the land.

"It makes me sad, though, because it assumes women are not morally mature enough to make their own religious and moral choices," she said.

That somebody who purports to be "religious" would object to people doing outreach and prayer for women in a difficult situation .... Prayers that Ms. Ackerman's eyes might open.

HT: Birth Story

Christmas reminder

Remember that you still have plenty of time to give a Christmas gift in a loved one's name through World Vision. They'll even send an e-card or snail card for you!

Medical care seem to be more expensive at World Vision than at Mercy Ships, possibly because Mercy Ships relies so much on in-kind donations. So they don't have to pay a doctor or for the OR, they just have to pay for the actual surgical supplies.

Nevertheless, many things in the World Vision catalogue are exciting, and they're available for giving in a wide price range:

A fish pond for a community: $200.

Water treatment tablets to enable 250 kids to get safe water at school for a year: Just $50.

A prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care kit can increase survival and health for mother and baby: $116.

Provide a girl in China with education for a year: $350.

Provide an older child or adult with a marketable skill: $50.

Provide a child with school supplies: $32.

Provide a disabled person with a wheelchair: $14. (The wheelchairs are donated by Free Wheelchair Mission; World Vision just needs help with the shipping costs.)

Provide an injured person with a prosthetic limb: $1120

Educate an African orphan for a year: $70.

Warm, portable shelter for a Mongolian family: $1862.

Provide a family with a clean, safe stove that requires less fuel than their traditional fire pits: $150.

Provide a family with ten fruit trees: $65.

Provide high-quality crop seeds for a family: $17.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Who to thank for public health miracles

In 1999, the Centers for Disease Control released "Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Healthier Mothers and Babies." This report is a study in what public health efforts can achieve, but also serves as a great example of how statistics can be misused to further the pro-abortion agenda.

The good news is that in the 20th century, maternal and infant mortality fell over 90%. Aseptic techniques of delivery, antibiotics, vaccinations, sanitation, and other progress in medicine and public health deserve due credit for this. It's stunning to reflect on how risky pregnancy was for mothers 100 years ago -- or even 50 years ago. At the beginning of the 20th century, for every 1000 live births, 6-9 mothers died of pregnancy-related complications. At the end of the century, the mortality rate had fallen so much that it is now measured in deaths per 100,000 live births. With a mortality rate of 7.7/100,000 in 1997, clearly childbirth was 100 times more riskier for our sisters at the turn of the last century.

Infant mortality, likewise, has improved at an astonishing rate. One in ten live-born infants died before the age of one at the beginning of the 20th century. As the century drew to a close, only one in approximately 139 babies born in the United States died before his or her first birthday. This is especially astonishing when you reflect that the end of the century, tiny premature infants that would have been tabulated as miscarriages at one time are now being counted as live births -- which means that our improvement in infant mortality has progressed even though we're trying to save infants who would have been given up for dead a century ago.

The bad news is that our public health officials are so enamored of abortion that they attempt to attiribute better public health to legalization of their favored activity:

The legalization of induced abortion beginning in the 1960s contributed to an 89% decline in deaths from septic illegal abortions during 1950-1973.

It's disengenuous, to say the least, to credit a few states loosening abortion restrictions starting in 1968 with the huge decline in septic illegal abortion deaths during the nearly twenty year period preceding the change. Abortion guru Christopher Tietze attributed the decline in abortion deaths during that period to improved abortion techniques (especially the development of vacuum aspiration), improved emergency care (including improved antibiotic and blood transfusion therapy), and a contraceptive-driven drop in unwanted pregnancies. If someone with Tietze's enthusiasm for abortion hesitated to lay this public health achievement on abortion's doorstep, one must wonder what is going on inside the heads of those folks at the CDC.

Of all the public health accomplishments from 1950 to 1973 -- improved antibiotics, improved access to blood products, broader access to adequate prenatal care, and improvements in environmental health, to name a few -- our public health employees at the CDC single out limited legalization of abortion.

To whom is credit actually due, if it is not due to abortionists and abortion agitators? Let's look at some factors.

1. At the beginning of the 20th century, many maternal deaths were due to one sad factor: inadequate childhood nutrition. Inadequate calcium and vitamin D, especially for city children, caused ricketts. This meant that women who developed ricketts as children had small and/or malformed pelvises. This caused obstructed labor, a major contributor to high maternal mortality. This problem has been virtually eliminated, along with most nutritionally-related complications of pregnancy and childbirth. For this, we should thank:

  • Public health officials who pushed for vitamin D fortification and pasteurization of milk

  • Farmers who increased the supply of milk and produce.

  • Agricultural officials who worked to improve the health of farm animals and to improve farm productivity.

  • Truck drivers and other transportation workers who brought the milk and produce from farm to city.

  • Inventors and entrepeneurs who made elctricity and refrigeration cheap and widely available so that milk, meat, and produce would stay fresh.

  • Planners and workers who built the highway system and other elements of the transportation infrastructure to facilitate the transport of milk,
    and fresh meat and produce, from farm to city.

  • Inventors and entrepeneurs who created jobs and raised the standard of living so that families could afford milk and fresh produce for their children.

  • Grocers who made all of these products available to consumers.


2. The biggest contributors to the reduction in septic deaths were the unglamorous enterprises of sanitation and hygiene. Less trash in the streets meant fewer rats and other vermin, fewer risks of disease. Running water, sewage treatment, and the widespread use of gas and electric stoves and water heaters made the basic healthy hygiene we take for granted available. For this, we should thank:

  • City planners who developed strategies for improving cleanliness of our urban areas.

  • Utility workers who keep our water running and hot.

  • Sanitation workers who expose themselves to the dangers of garbage-related diseases and in doing so, protect mothers and children.

  • Waste-management workers of all levels, who have eliminated the ages-old health hazards of, to put it daintily, "grey water."


3. Of course, medical advances played their vital roles. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to:

  • Joseph Lister and others who pioneered antiseptic technique that reduced septic compliations and made c-sections practical.

  • J.Y.Simpson and other pioneers of anesthesia who made c-sections and other surgery practical.

  • Ignaz Philip Semmelweiss, whose career was left a shambles by his fight to eliminate childbed fever, and those who took his advice and began the practice of simple hand-washing, which we take for granted, in attending laboring and postpartum women.

  • Researchers and pharmaceutical companies that made antibiotics, anti-coagulants, and other vital medicines available.

  • Doctors, nurses, and technicians who developed new medical technologies and worked to make them widely available.

  • Biomedical companies and workers for making everything from sterile bandages to high-tech monitoring and surgical equipment readily available.

  • Housekeepers, orderlies, and other non-glamorous but vital workers who keep the medical environment clean and sanitary.


When you reflect on the tremendous advances in public health, especially maternal and neonatal health, of the 20th Century, give credit where credit is due. Remember that it was our fellow citizens, working daily in often thankless and dangerous jobs, who wrought these miracles as much as doctors and medical pioneers. It is thanks to the trash collector, the worker out repairing the electrical lines in bitter weather, the farmer rising before dawn to milk the cows, the stock clerk stacking oranges in the supermarket, that we can so take it for granted that we will survive pregnancy and childbirth, and that our children will outlive their parents. The abortionists and their cheerleaders should learn a little humility.

Clumsy, but it's all I can manage

I can't find another way to share "Lesser Things", by Jars of Clay. It's apt and it's haunting and posting the lyrics just doesn't cut it.

I've truncated it because the music goes on for quite a while, so the end is abrupt. Go buy it.

It's on "Who We Are Instead".

Baby with sirenomelia needs prayers

Boy with mermaid's syndrome abandoned

A three-day-old boy with sirenomelia, known as "mermaid's syndrome" because the legs are fused together like the tail of a mermaid, has been found abandoned outside a hospital in Changsha, China.

He is on dialysis and will need multiple surgeries just to survive before doctors can consider separating his legs.

A little girl in Peru, Milagros Cerron, is the second known surviving child with sirenomelia. The first was Tiffany Yorks, in the United States.

Here is little Milagros now. She's taking her first steps!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Comparative safety: Abortion and stuff people get riled up about

Many abortion advocates pooh-pooh the idea that there are any risks to abortion surgery. Phrases like, "It's safer than a shot of penicillin," or "It's safer than getting your tonsils out" fly around.

How does abortion really compare to things we consider risky?

The Centers for Disease Control claim a death rate of 1.1 deaths per 100,000 induced abortions. I would dispute that, because I don't think the CDC makes more than a cursory attempt to identify abortion deaths. Nevertheless, it's the only number we have, so we have to use it.

First, I'll compare the risk of abortion to another personal, gynecological risk: Toxic Shock Syndrome caused by tampon use. Women of my generation still remember the huge scare over TSS, and the ensuing requirements that tampon manufacturers provide uniform absorbancies and health information about TSS to potential tampon users. And what is the risk of TSS? TSS is seen in one per 100,000 menstruating women. The mortality rate for TSS is roughly three percent. So the risk of death from TSS associated with tampon use is .03 deaths per 100,000. This is considered significant enough to alert women to the risks of tampon-associated TSS, and significant enough to warrant policing of the feminine tampon industry. But a woman is more likely to die from an abortion than she is to get TSS from using a tampon -- and even if she gets TSS, she has a 97% chance of survival.

Okay, the risk of TSS was higher in 1979, when the use of new materials by some tampon manufacturers led to an epidemic. The number of TSS cases at the peak of the epidemic was perhaps 12 per 100,000 menstruating women. That's still .36 deaths per 100,000 menstruating women, or about 1/3 the risk of death from abortion. This risk was still much smaller than the risk from abortion, but rightly considered enough of a risk to alert women and hold tampon manufacturers accountable.

Most people don't consider using tampons to be flirting with death. But still, women's lives are considered important enough to inform them of the risks, and to take measures to reduce the risks. What about riskier gambits?

How about fireworks? Every summer, we're bombarded with warnings to leave fireworks use to the professionals, lest we blast ourselves to bits. Still, professionals set up fireworks shows, and in many states it is legal to purchase fireworks. And, as folks are fond of pointing out when it comes to abortion, not everybody obeys the law. Some people will find a way to get fireworks illegally. (My brother did, and ended up with a broken arm and third-degree burns, so don't think I'm taking fireworks danger lightly.)

So how risky is playing with fireworks? The American Pyrotechnics Association, which monitors fireworks injuries, tallies the risk in terms of injuries per 100,000 pounds of pyrotechnic materials. Fireworks-Related Injury Rates, 1976-2005, shows that in 2005 there were 3.8 injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks. I contacted the National Council on Fireworks Safety for statistics on fireworks mortality, and was told, "Because fireworks fatalities are so rare and when they do occur they are generally due to illegal explosives and not fireworks, we do not have such a figure." Our high awareness of fireworks injuries is largely due to the large amount of fireworks used - over 250 million pounds a year in the United States -- and the spectacular and highly public nature of such incidents. Mortality is negligible in proportion, no doubt due to safety-consciousness and protective laws and regulations. In other words, warning people about the dangers of fireworks, and failing to warn people about the dangers of abortion, have led to a world in which playing with fireworks is safer than getting an abortion.

Another cause for alarm is amusement park rides. Consumer groups are lobbying for more stringent state controls of amusement rides, as well as for federal oversight of amusement rides. And how dangerous are these rides? According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) the odds that you'll be seriously injured on an amusement ride (requiring at least an overnight hospital stay) are about one in nine million rides -- and the odds against a fatal injury one in 750 million.

ActivityRisk of Death
Abortion1.2/100,000
Tampons0.03/100,000
Fireworksnegligible
Amusement ride.00013/100,000

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that we shouldn't take steps to ensure that people are safe. Carnival rides should be inspected, fireworks should be regulated, and tampon users should be warned of the risks of Toxic Shock Syndrome. We can't take responsibility for our own safety if we're not warned. But what I do want people to consider is how much the cavalier attitude toward abortion risks is leading to unnecessary trauma and death.

I listened to a tape of a National Abortion Federation meeting in which nurses vented their frustration over their futile attempts to get abortion patients to take aftercare seriously. These nurses could not convince patients of the importance of reporting symptoms and seeking prompt care. As a result, relatively minor complications became life-threatening.

If the National Abortion Federation nurses want to know why women won't take abortion risks seriously, they need to look in the mirror. Efforts by NAF and other abortion-advocacy organizations to present abortion as virtually risk-free have been effective. They've been far too effective, to the point where no amount of scolding by a nurse is able to overcome a lifetime of bland assurances that abortion is perfectly safe.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Anniversary: "Dear Dr. Spencer" and the death of Mary Davies

On Saturday, December 8, 1956, 26-year-old Mary Davies of New York City arrived in the Ashland, Pennsylvania office of abortionist Dr. Robert Douglas Spencer. She was seeking an abortion. According to Spencer, Mary was alone, and reported that she'd been bleeding for about two weeks. He didn't examine her, but gave her medication for pain and ergotrate to stop the bleeding. He told her to return the following day for her abortion.

Mary returned at about 10 AM on the 9th. He administered 13 cc's of Evipal in a 10% solution to induce anesthesia. "I injected that solution into the vein of the left arm and in ten seconds she was asleep." Spencer said that the next thing he noticed was that Mary wasn't breathing. She also appeared blue. He injected five cc's of Metrazol into her left leg. She didn't respond, so he gave her an additional five cc's of Metrazol, this time injecting the drug into a vein.

Mary still did not respond, so Spencer attempted to resuscitate her with oxygen. He called his assistant, Mildred Zettlemoyer, into the room to assist him. With Mary in Zettlemoyer's care, Spencer went to another part of the building to retrieve adrenaline. He gave Mary three injections of adrenaline

Mary still was not responding, so Spencer had Zettlemoyer call the laboratory assistant, Steve Sekunda, and tell him to come to the office. Spencer put a breathing tube into Mary's throat, but had to work blind because the light on his scope wasn't working. He resumed artificial respiration, "and pulled on her tongue, but got no response." By the time Sekunda arrived, at around 11:30, Spencer had concluded that Mary was dead. The puzzled man concluded "that this patient died in my office from some heart disease."

Dr. Milton Helpern, chief medical examiner for New York City, was among the experts that testified in Spencer's trial for Mary's death. Helpern concluded that Mary had been pregnant, that the pregnancy had been terminated right before her death, and that she'd died from administration of a drug used for anesthesia for performing a D&C. Mary had been in good health prior to her death.

Patricia G. Miller, author of The Worst Of Times, asked another doctor, "Dr. Bert," who had practiced before legalization, to review news reports of Mary's death and speculate as to whether Mary would have died had abortion been legal. "Dr. Bert" faulted Spencer for not having an assistant while he was administering general anesthesia. "In my view, to give a general anesthetic alone is below good medical care, even in those days." He speculated that Spencer had not had an assistant working with him due to the law against abortion -- an odd speculation, since Spencer was doing abortions quite openly, with at least one member of his staff present in the building. It's also an odd speculation considering how many legal abortionists have had patients die from anesthesia complications, either due to inadequate supervision of the anesthesia process or inadequate resuscitation efforts. Sloppy anesthesia and botched resuscitation were hardly eliminated by legalization.

Spencer's widow, Eleanor, told Patricia Miller that her husband had been quite stricken by Mary's death. He continued to perform abortions, however, along with his regular medical practice, up until the trial. He was acquitted on all counts, likely because it was impossible to prove that Mary hadn't either miscarried during those two weeks of bleeding prior to her appointment with Spencer, or been aborted by somebody else. No mention is made of any fetal remains being found in Mary's body or in Spencer's office.

Spencer briefly stopped doing abortions after the trial, "for a month or so," his widow said. But he resumed his business and eventually got entangled with a fellow named Harry Mace who set up a business for himself rounding up abortion patients and bringing them to Spencer. Spencer's widow lamented that Mace flooded Spencer with patients, pressuring him to rush through abortions. Spencer's health began to fail. He was arrested again, due to the attention attracted by Mace's activities, but died before the case went to trial.

Mary Davies is the only woman known to have died from abortion related complications under Spencer's care. Spencer is estimated to have performed between 40,000 and 100,000 abortions.



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

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Nobody counted the cost

Baby Jessica

Nobody asked if her family could afford her.

Nobody asked if she'd only end up being disabled.

Nobody asked if she had good enough parents.

Nobody asked what her quality of life was going to be.

Nobody asked, "Is it worth the money we're spending?"

Nobody asked, "Is it worth all the time and trouble?"

She was a baby. She needed us. And that was all that mattered.

If only that was all that ever mattered.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Safe and Legal: Magdalena Rodriguez

On December 8, 1994, 23-year-old Magdalena Rodrigues went to Suresh Gandotra's clinic, El Norte Clinica Medica, for what she thought was a second-trimester abortion. Gandotra later said, "I knew I screwed up," when he pulled out bowel instead of fetal parts.

Gandotra called a hospital and asked for directions to send Magdalena there by car. The staff at the hospital insisted that Magdalena should be transported by ambulance. They began to assemble an expert team for the expected catastrophic injuries.

In the mean time, Gandotra left Magdalena unattended while he did abortions on other patients. After a half-hour delay, he finally called an ambulance, but did not inform them of the hospital that was awaiting Magdalena's arrival with a team ready to treat her. When the ambulance crew arrived, they found Magdalena in ventricular fibrillation, with no pulse, bleeding, and on the floor. The ambulance crew was not informed about the hospital that was awaiting this critically injured patient, so they took Magdalena to another hospital, one that was not prepared to treat a patient with her specific injuries.

Gandotra sent Magdalena to the hospital without a medical history or any information about her condition or what he'd done to her. The staff were totally unprepared for what they found when they examined her. Magdalena had no vitals on arrival at hospital. She was unresponsive, with fixed, dilated pupils.

When the surgeon at the hospital opened Magdalena's peritoneum, it was so distended with blood that the operating room was spattered with the escaping blood. Magdalena's uterus was ruptured, with a fetal limb protruding into her abdomen. Her cervix, uterus, bladder, and colon were lacerated. The mangled and partially dismembered fetus was of approximately 30 weeks gestation. As the autopsy describes it, "the body of the baby was not complete when autopsied. Both arms had been cut off; the heart, lungs, liver, and other organs had been cut out, the front of the chest and abdomen were missing, the right femur was fractured, the head was intact except for an area on the scalp which had been taken off from the back of the head."

Magdalena died during surgery. Her death was attributed to "complications of the acute pelvic injuries which consisted of lacerations of the lower uterus, vagina, bladder and colon." She had bled to death.

Gandotra told the medical board that he had delayed calling an ambulance because he had no admitting privileges and that the patient had asked to be released so she could walk home. This unawareness of the severity of her own injuries is a sign that a patient is going into shock and is in need of immediate care.

Gandotra's attorney said, "We don't believe this was blow the standard of care nor do we believe it was malpractice."

A nurse at the hospital that tried to save Magdalena's life said, "I've never seen anything like this before and I don't want to again."

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Safe and Legal: Myria McFadden

Life Dynamics lists 28-year-old Myria McFadden on their "Blackmun Wall" of women killed by legal abortions. LDI notes that Myria underwent a second-trimester abortion on December 7, 1987, in Washington, DC. The abortion was performed by Dr. Hazel Tape. Myria had trouble breathing after the abortion. Myria suffered heart and lung failure the day after the abortion. She died at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Srpings on December 8.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Good news from South Dakota

There are two pieces of good news in this article:

1. The annual number of abortions in South Dakota continues to fall. In 2005, there are only 805, down from a 1982 peak of 1693. That's over a 50% drop!

2. The abortion lobby isn't calling for "increased access". At least not in this article.

HT: Birth Story

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Is childbirth safety even relevant?

When cornered about unsafe abortion clinics and deaths from legal abortion, abortion apologists fall back on the old standby, "Well, it's still safer than childbirth."

Earth to abortion apologists: Even if your claim was true, it's irrelevant.

Could you imagine the public outcry if, in the wake of an airline crash, the FAA and the airline industry insisted that there was no need for an investigation and no need to take corrective measures on the grounds that, "Well, flying is still safer than driving!" We'd never stand for it. No matter how much safer airline travel is than driving, we still hold airlines to strict safety standards. No matter how much safer airline travel is than driving, we still investigate crashes. No matter how much safer airline travel is than driving, we still remain ever alert for ways to reduce risks and make it safer.

The comparative safety of an alternative method of transportation simply isn't relevant. We ask the question, "What caused this tragedy? What can we do to prevent this from happening again?" The question of how many of those airline passengers might have died had they driven instead is never asked, because it's not relevant.

But let a woman die from a legal abortion, and abortion apologists come out of the woodwork simpering, "Well, women die in childbirth all the time! Why not worry about them!" But the fact remains that there is no amount of addressing childbirth safety that will change how abortions are performed. No matter what we do about how prenatal care is provided, or what equipment is available in delivery rooms, and so forth, none of this will change what goes on in abortion clinics, just as putting airbags in cars doesn't make airline travel safer.

By all means, yes, let's address childbirth mortality. Let's make better prenatal care available. Let's educate women about the importance of good nutrition before and during pregnancy. Let's develop protocols for referring high-risk women to specialists. Let's improve all aspects of obstetric care, for the better health and safety of mothers and babies. Or rather, let's continue to do so; after all, maternal mortality fell 90% in the United States in the 20th Century -- with most of that progress being made long before abortion was decriminalized. And women who resorted to abortion reaped the benefits of these as well. Helping women to be healthier, and addressing the remaining health concerns surrounding some women's pregnancies, are very laudable pursuits. Yes, by all means let's pursue them.

But let's not for a minute forget that none of this will change a thing about abortion practice. Better screening for gestational diabetes isn't going to clean up, say, the Alabama abortion clinics.

If the abortion lobby is serious about their often chanted mantra of "safe and legal," they'd do something to address "safe" other than obsessing with "legal." They'd investigate abortion mishaps the way the FAA investigates air travel mishaps. They'd make recommendations about preventing further mishaps. They would, in short, take abortion safety as seriously as they take abortion legality.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Safe and Legal: Katrina Poole

Life Dynamics lists 16-year-old Katrina Poole on their "Blackmun Wall" of women killed by legal abortions. LDI notes that Katrina's abortion was performed the afternoon of December 5, 1988, in a doctor's office in Jacksonville, Florida. She suffered a perforated cervix and uterus, and died of hemorrhage the following day.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Monday, December 04, 2006

Anniversary: Botched abortion leads to amputation

"Nadine" went to Women's Medical Center of Los Angeles on December 5, 1981. She said later that the consent for her abortion was "obtained solely and directly as the result of certain false, misleading, deceitful, and fraudulent statements and representations and concealment of facts on the part of the defendants." Had it not been for the misrepresentations by clinic staff, Nadine said, she never would have consented to the abortion.

The abortion was performed by Emmanuel Brandeis. When the intravenous drugs were administered, damage was done to Nadine's nerves and tissues in her right hand. She had to have portions of her fingers amputated as a result. The consent forms had never mentioned amputation as a potential complication.

Nadine is not the only patient who required amputations as a result of something going wrong with an abortion. Patient "Lina," age 22, filed suit after an abortion performed by Oscar Gonzalez on April 1, 1985. Gonzales injected her with phenegren for the abortion, and sent her home afterward although her hand was swelling and developing a rash. When Lina's arm swelled and turned purple she went to the emergency room. Her arm developed gangrene and had to be amputated. Gonzalez reportedly admitted he may have misinjected the medication.

The most high-profile abortion amputation case is that of Carolina Gutierrez, who died after multiple amputations for post-abortion sepsis.

Narrowly averted abortion

Abortion vs. Premature Birth: Why My Wife and I Chose Life

What they put this couple through is inexcusable. Thank God there was a happy ending.

White and Nerdy

Another time I just couldn't resist:



BTW, that's Donny Osmond dancing. How white and nerdy can you get?

Illegal anniversary: Rita Shea

Queens patrolman Howard Bailey, morgue attendant Victor Genz, and a Texas medical student, Benjamin Lockhart, were arrested in the December 4, 1965 abortion death of Rita Shea, a 33-year-old Long Island woman. Lockhart confessed to performing the abortion in a motel room near Kennedy airport. After Rita died, her body was put in a car outside her home. Bailey, a married man, had evidently arranged the abortion to keep his affair with Rita a secret.



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

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ripples

Having a child with Down syndrome changed everything.

Safe and Legal: Jackie Bailey, Cora Lewis, and "Ellen" Roe

On December 2, 1977, 29-year-old Jackie Bailey was injected with saline by Dr. Eboreime for an abortion at Pacific Glen Hospital in Los Angeles County. Five hours after Jackie expelled the dead baby, her condition appeared grave. Shortly after midnight, she was transferred to Memorial Hospital of Glendale.

Doctors at Memorial suspected a uterine laceration, so they performed exploratory surgery. The bleeding was so profuse that they then performed a hysterectomy in a last-ditch attempt to save her life. Jackie died just before sunrise on December 3.

The autopsy report found that Jackie's uterus had ruptured during the abortion, and that her uterine artery had been lacerated. She had bled to death from her injuries.

****

Twenty-three-year-old Cora Mae Lewis had her abortion at Inglewood on November 4, 1983. She had gonorrhea at the time of the abortion, which led to inflammation of the cervix and uterus.

Cora developed fever and chills after her abortion, and was finally admitted to a hospital on Novmber 11. She was aggressively treated for pneumonia, including surgery, but died December 3. The coroner attributed her death to pneumonia and lung abscess contributed to by the uterine and cervical inflammation.

Cora is one of many deaths currently attributed to Inglewood Women's Hospital (aka Inglewood Women's Clinic) in Los Angeles County. The others are Yvonne Tanner, Kathy Murphy, Belinda Byrd, Lynette Wallace, and Elizabeth Tsuji.

****

Abortionist Andre Nehorayoff was disciplined over the abortion death of a patient identified by the medical board as "Patient E." Since other accounts of her death refer to her as "Ellen Roe", I will use this psuedonom as well.

Nehorayoff performed an abortion and discharged Ellen from his facility on November 29, 1983. She was 18 years old and in the second trimester of pregnancy. Two days later, Nehorayoff recieved a lab report that detected only placental tissue in the specimen from Ellen's abortion, indicating that there was still a lot of fetal tissue in Ellen's body. Nehorayoff noted no attempt to notify Ellen of the incomplete abortion.

At 5:10 AM on December 3, Ellen was rushed to an emergency room. She was already in a coma upon admission. An hour and 10 minutes later, she was pronounced dead. At autopsy there was a portion of the fetal left leg protruding from the uterus, and the cause of death was determined to be from hemorrhaging due to the incomplete abortion.

Nehorayoff was also disciplined regarding Patient F, whom he left in a recovery room following her abortion on December 15, 1979, without any monitoring. She turned blue and no pulse could be detected. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Saturday, December 02, 2006

"Oh Mama, Mama, it hurts so much!"

Teresa Causey clutched her mother's hand during her abortion by Joe Wesley McDaniel on December 3, 1988. Her mother later said that 17-year-old Teresa's last words were, "Oh, mama, mama, it hurts so much!" Then she lost consciousness on the abortion table.

When McDaniel was unable to awaken her, he tried smelling salts, slapped her face, then tried to reach another doctor before finally calling an ambulance.

Teresa had two perfortions of her uterus and two lacerated veins. She died of massive hemorrhage the day of her abortion.

An investigation found that McDaniel had been operating in an unlicensed facility, and that he had broken the law requiring abortions after 13 weeks be done in a hospital; Teresa had been 15 weeks pregnant. No charges were pressed against McDaniel for Teresa's death, the illegal abortion, or the unlicensed facility. Teresa left behind two children.

See Teresa's memorial at Find a Grave.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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Just when you think human beings couldn't be more callous....

Woman Arrested in Boy's Dragging Death
A 40-year-old Maryland woman driving a Dodge Ram pickup struck a middle-aged woman and her 3-year-old grandson. She kept driving even though the stroller, with the child still in it, was stuck in the undercarriage of the truck. She continued driving for three quarters of a mile, until the mortally wounded toddler fell from the undercarriage. Whereupon the woman stopped, dislodged the stroller, and drove home.

Imagine that child's pain and terror. The unspeakable anguish of his family. And the utter and absolute failure of the driver, Lazara Arellano De Hogue, to exhibit a shred of concern or compassion.

We're supposed to pray for our enemies, and that includes people who exhibit the moral sensitivity of a great white shark. But you can't expect better from a shark. From a human being? Stopping your f***ing vehicle when you've hit somebody is Morality 101. This isn't some high and holy duty we can expect only from those blessed with more than ordinary grace. This isn't laying down your life for a stranger, or facing torture rather than betray your beliefs. It's just basic human decency. It doesn't seem like a whole lot to ask.

The man who struck and killed my friend stopped immediately and called 911 with his cell phone. He stayed at the scene, shaken and stunned, until the police had come and the dead man had been taken away. My heart breaks for him. I pray for him all the time. I wonder if he's okay. I wish him every good thing. His name is Ken, if anybody wants to add him to their prayer list.

The truck driver who ran over Rich Mullins stopped. Rich's mother asked the mourners at the memorial service to remember him and pray for him. And I do. That's got to be hard, to swerve to miss an overturned vehicle and instead end up running over a man. Still, he stopped. And evidently he summoned help, saving the life of Rich's friend who lay unconscious on the side of the road. He didn't just keep driving and leave Mitch to die.

But this woman. Was this panic?

When Sandra Kaiser threw herself into traffic, the man who hit her stopped immediately. He stood near her, waving his arms, trying to stop other traffic. A woman saw him, but didn't see Sandra lying on the road. She ran over the girl and drove home. But she told her friend something strange had happened, and together they went to the scene to find Sandra being loaded into an ambulance. The woman who ran over Sandra panicked, but she did right when she came to her senses. I often think about her, about the man driving the first car, about the people who had to deal with that tragedy. And I pray for them.

This woman? What in the world was going through her head?

In the mean time, prayers for the family, the cops, the EMS workers, the witnesses to this brutal crime. Their sleep will be haunted for the rest of their lives.

May De Hogue have humanity enough to hurt over what she's done. That much I can pray for.

UPDATE: De Hogue was sentenced to ten years. An autopsy found that the child, Elijah, had survived the initial impact, but suffered fatal injuries during the dragging, which ripped the flesh right off of him. He was still alive -- barely -- when a police officer, following the trail of blood and shredded clothing -- found him.

De Hogue's priest said that she cries all the time and asks for prayers for Elijah and his family. So the prayer is answered -- she did find enough humanity to have remorse. After it was too late to be of any good to anybody but herself.

Lesser Things

I can't find this Jars of Clay song anywhere that you can give it a listen online. It's haunting. And so fitting.
It looks a lot like givin' up
Peace we bring is a bitter cup
Set our bodies down like offerings
While we pray to the god of the lesser things

If the wind should shake this house apart
The cradle hits the ground with a broken heart
Will we say we never knew a thing
While we pray to the god of the lesser things?

....

Ash to ash and dust to dust
Steel on steel or rain to rust
What mortal breath blood money brings
Forth from the altar of the lesser things

An old story, but new to me

I was browsing all things Korean on Wikipedia, when I stumbled across the Sampoong Department Store collapse. It was the deadliest building collapse in modern history.

While I was looking for more on the collapse, I learned about another needless tragedy in my home away from home: the Sealand Youth Training Center fire.

I can't get my mind off the children in room 301. Burned to death in a cargo container. Because of bribery. Because of greed.

Corruption, like the bribery that led to the Sampoong and Sealand disasters, is why the largest Korean bill in circulation is the 10,000 won -- roughly $10 U.S.

I can't say that it's working. Not to judge by the results. Korea remans the most dangerous developed nation in the world.

My home away from home.