Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Anniversary: 1923 death, doctor indicted

On October 30, 1923, 19-year-old Mrs. Lydia Nelson died at Chicago's Englewood Hospital from an abortion performed there that day, evidently by Dr. Charles Klinetop. On January 15, 1924, Klinetop was indicted by a grand jury for felony murder in Lydia's death.

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

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Anniversary: 1993 death in New York

On October 9, 1993, 25-year-old Giselene Lafontant underwent an abortion by a Dr. Scher at Gynecare in Monsey, New York. She was 9 or 10 weeks pregnant. Within 20 minutes, Giselene had no pulse. She was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital and placed on a respirator. Efforts to save her life failed; Giselene died on October 28.

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

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1947 abortion killed baby, heiress, and doctor

At 11 AM on October 17, 1947, Dr. Paul Singer, a gynecologist, called police and reported that a woman had come to his office suffering from an incomplete abortion. He said that he had taken 22-year-old Jane Ward, heir to the Drake Bakeries fortune, to Park East Hospital, where Dr. Oswald Glasberg, a plastic surgeon, had helped him to complete the abortion.

Jane died on October 28, and the autopsy confirmed the cause of death as criminal abortion.

After the death, Singer and Glasberg were arrested and released on bail. The baby's father, Eduardo Schneidewind, a trade promotion executive for a South American government, was questioned as a material witness but was never indicted. Dr. Alejandro Ovalle, an X-ray technician, was sentenced to one year after pleading guilty as an accessory, having profited from abortion referrals.

Singer was convicted of manslaughter in Jane's death, and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. The judge, Francis L. Valente, said that Jane had been subjected to "surgical mayhem," and that Singer and Glassberg were "completely devoid of human feeling and decency."

Glassberg was also convicted and sentenced to prison, but was never sentenced because six hours after the verdict on June 14, 1948, he committed suicide in his cell, having poisoned himself.

Singer appealed his conviction, which was upheld.

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

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gorgeous on the inside, too

HT: Ashli

Friday Five: Eduardo Verástegui

Most CitizenLink calls to action involve petitions or phone calls to senators — not a trip to the Cineplex. Yet this one — a call to see the movie Bella during its opening weekend — is also important.

Bella is a small-budget underdog film with a big message that illustrates the inherent value of life. That’s why Eduardo Verástegui, the film’s leading actor and producer, dedicated three years of his life to the project.

He realized "80 to 90 percent" of what was coming out of the media was "poisoning our society.” So Verástegui set out to make films that not only entertain, but also make a difference — a far cry from the projects that sprung him into superstardom in his native Mexico and across Latin America.

Bella opens in select theaters this weekend. Verástegui talked to CitizenLink about his faith and his journey.


You visited an abortion clinic as part of your research for your part in Bella. Tell me about that.


I ended up going to an abortion clinic because I wanted to do research — to understand my character and understand the pain she was going through so I could help her. I thought it would be very simple and easy — just get in there, stop the first young lady and ask her a few questions. Of course, I was very naive and I didn’t know what was going to happen.

When I got there, I was in shock because I saw all young ladies — 16, 17 years old — going in, and I forgot about the film and I didn’t know what to say.

I see a group of people outside trying to convince a lady not to do it. A lady in that group pointed me to a couple who didn’t speak English, only Spanish. The couple recognizes me from the soap operas, and we start talking for like 45 minutes and became friends. We talked about life and faith and Mexico and her dreams. And she missed her appointment.

I called her the next day and said, “Listen, I don’t believe in coincidences; I was there for a reason.” So we built a friendship through the phone.

Months later I receive a call from a man who was there that day and he tells me he has great news: his baby was born yesterday, and he wanted to ask me permission to name him Eduardo.

I couldn’t even talk. I just started crying.

I didn’t plan to do that, but I was used by the grace of God as an instrument to save this beautiful baby. Even if Bella doesn’t sell one ticket, I rejoice in the Lord for little Eduardo.

Dealing with the unwanted: a slice of history

On October 27, 1838, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs of Missouri issued an Extermination Order, declaring that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace...." Most Missouri citizens backed the order (although some did question or denounce it). The Mormons were, in the simplest of terms, "unwanted."

On October 30, with the Extermination Order as justification, a band of the Missouri Militia launched an attack on a small Mormon settlement at Haun's Mill, killing 17 Mormons, including a 10-year-old boy who was shot in the head as he cowered under the bellows of the blacksmith shop, and a 78-year-old man who was shot after he had surrendered his musket.

Several years ago, I spoke with a Latter-Day Saints historian, who told me that survivors of the Massacre sued the state of Missouri over the deaths of their loved ones, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court, he said, backed the state on the grounds that the killings were perfectly legal.

Meanwhile, the Extermination Order remained on the books in Missouri until recinded by executive order of Governor Christopher S. Bond on June 25, 1976. So until 1976, it was perfectly legal to kill a Mormon in Missouri. Did that make it right?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Anniversary: Hospital's efforts to save teen abortion patient fail

Sixteen-year-old Natalie Meyers was brought to San Vicente Hospital in Los Angeles by her mother on October 21, 1972. Milton Gotlib injected saline into Natalie's uterus on the 21st.

On October 22, Natalie expelled the dead baby but retained the placenta. She had trouble breathing and suffered abdominal pain, so San Vicente staff transferred Natalie to County-USC Medical Center just before midnight.

Natalie was in shock when she arrived at County-USC. She underwent a D&C there, but remained in shock from infection in her uterus. On October 26, a hysterectomy was performed to try to control the infection, to no avail. Natalie was pronouced dead at 9:35AM on October 27.

The autopsy found most of Natalie's internal organs swollen and hemorrhagic. Death was attributed to hyaline membrane disease brought on by the abortion.

Edward Allred's mega-chain would become a founding member of the National Abortion Federation.

Natalie is one of many abortion patients to die at one of Edward Allred's facilities. Others include:

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Illegal anniversary, doc arrested

On October 12, 1929, 33-year-old Agnes Johnson underwent a criminal abortion at the Chicago office of Dr. Joseph Stern. On October 26, Agnes died. Stern was arrested that day. On November 1, he was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury.

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

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Letter to my Congresscritter

Sixty Pro-Life Groups Ask Congress to Block Funding Planned Parenthood

I'm not content to let any sixty groups speak for me.

I wish to add my voice to those calling for Congress to suspend funding for Planned Parenthood.

You might recall that the investigation into possible illegal harvesting of fetal parts was at a Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, Kansas. Dean Alberty indicated that he witnessed fetuses as old as 32 weeks being aborted. The recent allegations brought before law enforcements are therefore only rehashing what had already been attested to in the past.

But I would also like to point out Planned Parenthood's carelessness with the lives of the women who trust them. Perhaps you recall the horrible septic abortion deaths of Holly Patterson and Vivian Tran in California. They got their abortion drugs in an unapproved, off-label manner at Planned Parenthood.

But even after the needless deaths of these two women, Planned Parenthood did not mend their ways. Two additional women have died from septic abortions after being given RU-486 in an off-label manner at Planned Parenthood. These deaths are mentioned in the March 18, 2006 New York Times article, "After 2 More Deaths, Planned Parenthood Alters Method for Abortion Pill". These two women might well be alive today had Planned Parenthood not played Russian roulette with their lives.

Planned Parenthood also sent Diana Lopez home to bleed to death after an abortion in 2002. And just this year, Edrica Goode died of sepsis when a Planned Parenthood nurse-practitioner inserted laminaria into her cervix despite obvious signs of vaginal infection.

Planned Parenthood puts a lot more of our tax money into public relations than they do into safeguarding the lives of women who trust them.

I would be glad to provide more information about women and girls injured and killed after trusting Planned Parenthood.

Again, I hope to see your vote in favor of suspending all funding of Planned Parenthood until they stop breaking the law and start safeguarding women's health and lives.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'd forgotten I had this

Analytical Tools. These are resources I've pulled together from prolife, prochoice, and abortion-neutral sources to help sort the chaff from the grain.

I'll be checking later for broken links. I just came up empty in blog searches and wanted to offer something of use.

If you spot a broken link you can let me know.

Relief or regret?

One of each. Though I think the jury is still out on the first woman. She probably hasn't even passed her due date yet, which is far too soon to have processed how she's going to cope.

A couple of things struck me in these women's stories.

First of all, they both ended up on the abortion table because they were sexually involved with men who were not committed to them. Buying love with sex, essentially. It's a losing proposition even if you don't end up pregnant.

Second of all, both of them found the abortion chute greased, so to speak. There was nobody to do anything but affirm a choice that was made in a period of intense stress, and in the second woman's case in an information vacuum.


Select a Candidate Quiz

You, too, can take the quiz here.

I can't get all my results to post with their cut-and-paste code, so here's the raw text. Though I wonder.

John McCain Score: 52
Agree: Iraq, Immigration, Taxes, Stem-Cell Research, Health Care, Abortion, Social Security, Line-Item Veto, Energy, Death Penalty
Disagree: Marriage

Duncan Hunter Score: 45
Agree: Iraq, Taxes, Stem-Cell Research, Health Care, Abortion, Social Security, Line-Item Veto, Marriage, Death Penalty
Disagree: Immigration, Energy

Fred Thompson Score: 45
Agree: Iraq, Taxes, Stem-Cell Research, Health Care, Abortion, Social Security, Line-Item Veto, Marriage, Death Penalty
Disagree: Immigration, Energy

Tom Tancredo: Score: 37
Agree: Taxes, Stem-Cell Research, Health Care, Abortion, Social Security,Line-Item Veto,Marriage
Disagree: Iraq, Immigration, Energy, Death Penalty
Sam Brownback Score: 37
Agree: Taxes, Stem-Cell Research, Health Care, Abortion, Social Security, Line-Item Veto, Marriage
Disagree: Iraq, Immigration, Energy, Death Penalty
Mike Huckabee Score: 35
Agree: Stem-Cell Research; Health Care; Abortion; Social Security; Line-Item Veto; Marriage; Death Penalty
Disagree: Iraq, Immigration, Taxes, Energy

And I don't feel like formatting the rest. Suffice to say I'd take almost anybody but Satan ahead of Clintion or Obama, which was no surprise, was it?

And there's this quiz:

Here are the candidates in the order in which they match your views:
Click on a candidate's name or photo to learn more about the candidate.
Issues in boldface are those you selected as important.
A match on an issue is denoted with a check mark ().

Tom Tancredo 19.0

John McCain 18.0

Ron Paul 17.0

Mike Huckabee 16.0

Duncan Hunter 16.0

Fred Thompson 16.0

Anniversary: Woman dies, midwife or nurse implicated

On October 25, 1922, 24-year-old Lillian Hulbert died at Chicago's St. Anne's Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion performed on her there that day. The coroner identified a Mrs. M.C. Anderson as responsible for Lillian's death. Anderson's profession is given as nurse or midwife.

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

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I wonder who has died that we don't know about

The Mom blogged about her experience with RU-486. Her baby, sadly, had died in-utero. She was offered the choice between two abortion techniques to remove her dead baby, or to just wait it out. Not wanting to carry her dead child for possibly two more weeks, but not wanting her dismembered, either, The Mom chose the induction:

I wanted to write about my own experience taking Mifeprex, the abortion drug known as RU-486.

In July of 2006, I was 18 weeks pregnant with our sixth child. We were excited about this new person , but had all of the normal trepidations that come with a new baby. I don't think it matters if you are expecting your first or your tenth, the worries and fears are all the same.

On the fourth of July, we went to a friend's house for swimming and a bar-be-que in celebration, with plans to go downtown to watch the fireworks that night. I hadn't been feeling right for a couple of days and complained to my friend that I had a back ache, and just generally felt run down. I spent the day curled up in a chair and went home before the fireworks began.

The next day, I had the kids' grandmother come over and I drove myself in to my midwife's office for a little reassurance and to just get peace of mind that everything was okay. It wasn't. Our baby had died at some point during the previous week. I was given three options for what to do now:
1. Surgical intervention- Called a D&E, the doctor would dilate my cervix and evacuate the "contents" of my uterus (that's the way he put it..touching isn't it?)
2. Induce labor with Mifeprex within the next 24 hours to get things over with quickly
3. Wait for nature to take care of it.

Normally I'm in favor of doing things naturally, but it could have taken 2 or more weeks for me to go into labor, and I didn't feel that I could emotionally handle walking around with my dead baby inside of me waiting to set off an emotional time bomb. I chose the induction, then I had to call my husband and tell him our baby was dead, then tell our other children.

We went to the hospital the next morning at 9:00 AM for the induction. I was told that it could take up to 24 hours for labor to begin. Really, I just wanted them to give me the drugs and let me go home. I didn't want to spend 24 hours on the maternity ward listening to the cries of other people's healthy babies and wait for my own heartbreak to begin. I have been in labor a few times and thought it was reasonable to think that I would know when to come to the hospital. I was told I could bleed to death. I stayed.

Labor began for me about 3 hours after I took the first dosage. It was administered both orally and vaginally. Within the first hour, I understood why I couldn't have gone home. I began to pass blood clots. They came in steady succession like pearls on a string. They ranged in size from the size of a chicken's egg to as large as my fist. Every time I moved another clot would become loose and come out. I thought I was hemorrhaging; I thought I was going to bleed to death. It was horrific. I forgot why I was there for a while and just sat on the bed crying and shaking in fear that my 4 living children would grow up without me. I have no idea how much blood came out of my body. I stopped counting clots at 20. After 20, it just didn't seem to matter any more. I asked the nurse if my experience was normal and she assured me that this was what an RU-486 abortion looked like and that I was fine.

Our daughter's body was delivered four and a half hours after the first contraction. She was the size of my hand. She was smooth and shiny and pink with perfect fingers and toes. Heartbreakingly small and achingly perfect. Our midwife wiped her clean and laid her on a blanket before handing her to me. I have never seen such agony as I saw on my husband's face when he heard her whisper, "It's a girl." His face looked like it folded in on itself. Our baby was really and truly dead. Somehow it didn't seem real until we held her in our hands and looked at her through our tears.

It wasn't over yet. I still had to deliver the placenta. It took another two hours for it to let go and come out of me. The doctor who was supervising kept coming by to check and ask "Is it out yet?" in a strangely cold voice. I later learned from my midwife that she performed abortions herself and was deeply disturbed by our pain. She told our midwife to get us out of the hospital as quickly as possible because we were upsetting the staff, and that she didn't understand why we were crying over something which was little more than a tumor in medical terms.

I can not imagine being 14, at home, trying to hide this from my mother, and having this experience. My brain can't even get to that place of fear. A child, scared and alone, passing blood clot after blood clot, thinking you're bleeding to death, but afraid to tell in case you aren't. And then, delivering that impossibly small body. Perfect, lifeless, and undeniably human. What does a little girl do when her body hurts that much, and her mind fears that much, and her baby lies dead in her hand? How is this okay?

I am not sure what the answers are, but I do know that women deserve better than to be treated this way. Our bodies and our minds deserve better protection. People can chant and scream about the rights of women, but I know that women and girls have a right to something better than this. They have a right to something better than abortion.

Reprinted with permission. Thanks!

Excellent book now available online

When Abortion Was a Crime, Leslie Reagan

Reagan is unabashedly, nearly rabidly, prochoice, so nobody can dismiss her work as just so much antichoice agitprop. She does an excellent job of looking at what abortion was really like prior to decriminalization. And though she also clearly has no clue about people's motivations, she also clearly documents the campaign against abortion.

I consider it a must read for people on both sides.

The anniversary. And how I found out.

When Kevin Sherlock did his massive abortion mortality research in the 1980s, he wrote up the story of how 19-year-old Angela Scott died at Atlanta Women's Pavillion. I learned of Angela's death when I stumbled across the 1991 edition of his Abortion Death Log.

Angela's abortion had been performed on June 2 of 1979 at what I later confirmed was a National Abortion Federation member facility.

Angela stopped breathing in the recovery room. Staff rushed to her aid and managed to resuscitate her. They loaded her into an ambulance and turned their attention back to their other patients.

That was when they made a horrifying discovery. Deloris Smith, just 14 years old, had been put under sedation for an abortion being performed by Dr. Jacob Adams. The nurse-anesthetist who had been running Deloris' drip had rushed off to aid Angela -- and had left Deloris unattended, with the anesthesia drip still running. Alone and unconscious, with powerful drugs running unchecked into her body, the young girl had gone into cardio-respiratory arrest.

Since Dr. Adams had accompanied Angela to the hospital, staff refused to release Deloris to an ambulance until Adams returned to discharge her. This resulted in a 30-minute delay, during which time the ambulance crew was kept from treating the young patient.

Angela lingered for a week in a coma before dying on June 11. And Kevin's death log left us ignorant of the fate of Deloris. What had become of her? While we were writing Lime 5, Mona and I tracked down leads, but to no avail. We couldn't, with the resources available to us at the time, find out what had happened. Had she recovered? Was she still in a coma? Had she died?

We went to Washington DC for a press conference to launch Lime 5 I had a per-diem to cover my meals and incidental expenses, and quite a bit of free time while Mark and Tulane worked on the press conference. So off I went to Library of Congress to see what I could see.

I went to the periodicals archives and looked for old issues of the Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution. The papers had merged, and a librarian helped me to find where the indices for the separate papers were shelved. I figured I'd start in 1979, when Deloris had been injured, and work forward from there.

I turned to the proper index page for abortion stories, and found this:

"Girl, 15, dies after being in a coma since abortion last June"

I burst into tears there in the stacks, under the bewildered stare of the librarian.

"She died," I told him. Then I realized he'd have no idea what I was talking about. I stammered out something, I forget what, pulled myself together, and tried to find the article, but it wasn't on the microfilm where it was supposed to be. It wasn't until we got back to Texas that Mona was finally able to track it down.

Deloris had never regained consciousness. She'd finally been moved to a nursing home, where she died of adult respiratory distress syndrome on October 24, 1979, some time after her fifteenth birthday.

We also found one more article, one that I've lost. It said that Deloris' mother sued the clinic after her child's death. She had learned that the pregnancy test they had performed on the girl had come back negative.

Deloris Smith, dead at 15, might not have even been pregnant in the first place.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Christmas Catalog

It's coming on the Christmas season again! And World Vision has put out its Gift Catalog. I'm fanatical about clean water, and World Vision has many ways you can contribute to that. There are also options for helping options for helping children with disabilities. Other options focus on the needs of girls and women. And there are options for supporting health care.

World Vision has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, an independent research group that analyzes how efficient a charity is by how much of their money goes to actually providing the services in question, rather than to administration and fund raising. Four stars is their highest rating, and means "Exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its Cause."

Illegal anniversary: Doctor, pharmacy clerk charged

On October 16, 1936, 26-year-old Katherine DiDonato, mother of two, was admitted to Roosevelt Hospital to be treated for complications of a criminal abortion. Katherine's husband reported that the abortion had taken place three days earlier. Detectives were told that Katherine had bought pills from drug clerk Hyman Kantor, who had then recommended Dr. Aloysius Mulholland to perform an abortion.

Katherine died at 2 AM on October 23. Both Mulholland and Kantor were arrested and charged with homicide.

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

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Anniversary: Illegal abortion death, midwife convicted

Emma Bickel, a 59-year-old midwife, was charged with second-degree manslaugher in the death of 19-year-old Emily Nohavec of St. Louis. Bickel had been a midwife for 28 years, and had a reputation for "uprightness" and honesty.

Emily, who was single, had been living with her sister in St. Louis, and she worked as a clerk in her sister‘s vegetable store. On October 18, 1913, she first reported feeling ill. On Monday, October 20, a Dr. Reber was summoned to see her. He diagnosed her with septic peritonitis. The next day, her condition was critical and she was admitted to Rebekah Hospital. There, Dr. Garcia was called in for consultation. Drs. Reber and Garcia agreed that an immediate laparotomy was needed to try to save Emily‘s life.

The doctors found Emily‘s abdominal cavity inflamed. A cyst about the size of a pear surrounded her left ovary, her right ovary was surrounded by pus, and there was pus in her fallopian tubes. The doctors removed these purulent organs and inserted drainage tubes.

Dr. Reber also curetted Emily‘s uterus and packed it with iodoform gauze. Emily‘s uterus had an ulceration about the size of a hazelnut inside the cervix. The edges of this ulceration were ragged and torn, and Reber concluded that this was caused by instrumentation. Reber also believed that swelling near where the fallopian tube entered the uterus was caused by instrumentation. Reber believed that an abortion had been performed a week to ten days before he was first called to examine Emily.

Dr. Garcia, on the other hand, agreed that Emily had recently been pregnant, and that the pregnancy had ended at about two months, but noted "there were no direct punctures or cuts, scratches, or anything of that kind in the uterus, or in the abdomen." He agreed with Dr. Reber that the sepsis was caused by an abortion, but he disagreed about the abortion having been induced. Dr. Garcia concluded that Emily might merely have miscarried.

Despite the efforts of both doctors, Emily died the following day, October 23.

That same day, Dr. Hockdoerfer performed an autopsy. He made the same findings as Drs. Garcia and Reber, except that he also found a section of placental implantation about the size of a quarter. He agreed that retained placental tissue had caused the sepsis, but did not find any signs of damage from instruments. Emily had been in good health prior to her final, fatal illness.

While Emily was hospitalized, police officer William H. Coates arrested Emma Bickel and brought her to Emily‘s bedside. Coates testified that he asked Bickel if she knew the girl, and Bickel said yes, she did know her. Coates testified that he then said, "You performed an abortion on her, didn‘t you?" To which, he testified, Bickel replied, "Yes." Coates took Bickel to the police station where she made a statement. Coates wrote out the statement as follows:

Department of Police, City of St. Louis.
7:16 P. M., Oct. 22, 1913.
To whom it may concern I herein state that on or about October 13th, 1913, Emily Nohavec came to my house in the evening and said she was in trouble and wanted me to help her out. I told her it was dangerous for to do a thing like that, and she said, ‘You need not be afraid,‘ that ‘I won't tell on you.‘ I then inserted a catheter into the private parts and opened her womb. She then paid me about five or seven dollars; I don‘t remember which. She came back in two days, and I again put the catheter into the womb. She left, and I never saw her until I saw her this evening at the hospital.
The above statement was made of my own free will, and not by any threats or promises or violence to me.
[Signed] Emma Bickel.
Witnesses: Off. W. H. Coates; Off. David J. O‘Connor.

When called upon to testify in court, however, Bickel denied having performed an abortion on Emily. She said that she never knew Emily until the girl came to her house, saying that she was "in trouble." Bickel said that she asked Emily, "How far along?" To which Emily replied that her period was two weeks late. Bickel said that Emily told her that she was married, and that she had taken some medicine to cause an abortion, and had also taken a box of pills. Bickel said that she told Emily, "Well, if you are only two weeks gone they ought to bring you by your next monthlies." Bickel said that she then sent Emily away.

Bickel said that about two weeks later Emily, who had still not given her name, returned, saying that she was ill, and willing to pay $7 for an examination. Bickel said that she used a speculum to examine Emily, and found her cervix open and exuding a foul discharge. Bickel testified that she told Emily to consult a doctor. She said that this took place about two weeks prior to Emily‘s death, and that she‘d not seen the girl between the examination and being brought to the hospital by Officer Coates.

Bickel testified that she had confirmed that she knew Emily, and that the girl had come to her house, but that Coates did not ask her at the hospital if she had performed an abortion. She said that she was taken to the police station, that Coates had written out the statement and told her to sign it, so she‘d complied.

Bickel said that she‘d never told Coates that she‘d inserted a catheter, that she‘d tried to discourage abortion, telling Emily "that it was a dangerous thing to do a thing like that." She said that she‘d only signed the statement because she was excited and confused and was merely doing what she was told.

Despite her protestations of innocence, Bickel was convicted. She was sentenced to three years in prison. She unsuccessfully appealed her conviction.

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

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Who have I missed?

When I read this article in the Cape Cod TImes about the abortion death of Laura Hope Smith (pictured), I noticed at the bottom that it said that there were nine abortion related deaths in 2005.

I know of two for sure: Christin Gilbert (pictured) and Oriane Shevin. I also know of three possibilities: "Cherish", "Tara", and "Wanda", who died of complications of chemical abortions recently.

That means that if the CDC is actually managing to count all the dead (which I doubt - see why here), there are still four to seven women I don't know about who died just in 2005.

Does anybody have more information? The reporter must have contacted the CDC and gotten the data for 2005, which is evidently the most recent year they've even bothered pretending to research. The most recent Abortion Surveillance Summary I can find is for 2003. And it doesn't note abortion deaths for 2003, though it does note the following numbers for the most recent ten year period:

2002 - 9 (I found 3: Diana Lopez, "Adelle" Roe, and Stacy Zallie. So there are six women whose 2002 abortion deaths I don't know about.)

2001 - 6 (I found 1: Haley Mason. Five more deaths I don't know about.)

2000 - 11 (I found 3: L'Echelle Head, Kimberly Neil, and Nicey Washington. Eight more I don't know about.)

1999 - 4 (I found 1: "Yvonne" Roe. Three more I don't know about.)

1998 - 10 (I found 4: Tamika Dowdy, Lou Ann Herron, Kendra McLeod, and Virginia Wolfe. Six more I don't know about.)

1997 - 7 (I found 3: Maureen Espinoza, Tammy Harris, and Nichole Williams. Four more I don't know about.)

1996 - 9 (I found 4: Carolina Gutierrez, Sharon Hamptlon, Chivon Williams, and Tanya Williamson. Five more I don't know about.)

1995 - 4 (I found 2: Lisa Bardsley, and Linda Boom. Two more I don't know about.)

1994 - 10 (I found 7: Pamela Colson, Alerte Desanges, Jammie Garcia, Christine Mora, Sara Niebel, Magdalena Rodriguez, and Ingrid Thomas. Three more I don't know about.)

1993 - 6 (I found 4: Andrea Corey, Giselene Lafontant, Kathy McKnight, and Guadalupe Negron. Two more I don't know about.)

So there are 48 to 52 women whose abortion deaths during 1993-2002, and in 2005, haven't made internet news, whose deaths went unnoticed but for their loved ones and public health officials. Which means that we're not watching these abortion facilities closely enough. They're not being held accountable.

As for the CDC's count, I also found Shelby Moran who died in 1999, but I can't imagine that the CDC would be counting her because too much time passed between the abortion that left her incapacitated and her death in the nursing home where she'd been cared for. I expect the same for Venus Ortiz, who was left in a coma after her abortion and finally died in 1998. Though Angela Sanchez went to an openly opperating and apparently legal abortion clinic in 1993, her death will be counted as an illegal abortion because the woman passing herself off as a doctor was really the clinic owner. They won't count Brenda Vise because although it was abortion malpractice that caused her death, she had an ectopic pregnancy at the time, and the CDC started counting those separately in the mid-1970's. So that's four deaths I have that I know the CDC won't count.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Local MSM finally covering Laura Smith death

Eileen and Tom Smith had just sat down to watch the evening news when the received a call no parent ever wants to get. The woman on the other end of the line was hysterical. She said the Smiths' 22-year-old daughter, Laura, was in the emergency room at Cape Cod Hospital. The doctors were looking for next of kin. Mary Ann Bragg, "Parents search for clues in daughter's unexplained death", Cape Cod Times, October 21, 2007)

That call came on September 13, 2007. The hysterical woman on the phone was Laura's friend Karen, who had brought Laura that day to Women Health Clinic in Hyannis for an abortion.

Eileen and Tom hadn't even known that their daughter was pregnant.

Karen and Laura had arrived at the clinic in the morning for preparatory steps to abort Laura's 13-week baby. The two young women were to return in the afternoon for the actual procedure. Laura wasn't supposed to drive, so Karen drove and the two ran errands. Because Laura wasn't supposed to eat, Karen fasted with her friend.

They returned to the facility at about 4 in the afternoon and waited. Laura was called in at about 5, and Karen stepped out briefly, expecting her friend to be out of surgery in about fifteen minutes. But Laura didn't emerge from the bowels of the clinic. A worried Karen grew increasingly distressed.

And then all of a sudden [an assistant] comes out and says she's not breathing. And I was like, what do you mean she's not breathing," Karen told the Cape Cod Times.

Fire department rescuers were dispatched to the clinic at 5:49 p.m., and found an unresponsive patient. They initiated CPR and took her to the hospital. Karen followed, but was not permitted to see her friend. She asked about Laura's condition. "It doesn't look good," she was told. But Laura was already dead on arrival. It was 6:22 p.m.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Anniversary: Mentally disabled rape victim dies after care at National Abortion Federation clinic

Nineteen-year-old Diane Boyd lived in a Missouri state institution for the developmentally disabled. There, she was beaten and raped in July of 1981, and was later discovered to be pregnant.

An abortion was arranged for Diane at National Abortion Federation member Reproductive Health Services in St. Louis, and Diane's mother signed a consent form. The abortion was performed October 22, 1981. Diane died the next day.

According to suits later filed by Diane's mother, RHS staff and abortionist Robert Crist did not check for possible drug interactions before giving Diane valium and sublimaze. These drugs evidently reacted with Diane's usual medication, thorazine, causing her to stop breathing. Diane's mother said that the clinic lacked heart monitoring equipment or resuscitation equipment.

Diane was not the last woman to die after abortion by Crist. Seventeen-year-old Latatchie Veal bled to death after an abortion by Crist in 1991. Twenty-two-year-old Nichole Williams died of DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulopathy) after an abortion by Crist in 1997.

Fourteen-year-old Sandra Kaiser committed suicide after a 1984 abortion at RHS, performed without her mother's knowledge or consent.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

About those grave fetal abnormalities....

Babies aborted for minor disabilities:

MORE than 50 babies with club feet were aborted in just one area of England in a three-year period, according to new statistics.

Thirty-seven babies with cleft lips or palates and 26 with extra or webbed fingers or toes were also aborted.

The data have raised concerns about abortions being carried out for minor disabilities that could be cured by surgery.

Abortions are allowed up to birth in Britain in cases of serious handicap, but the law does not define what conditions should be considered grave enough to allow a termination late in the pregnancy. That is left to the discretion of doctors.

The Commons science and technology committee is carrying out an inquiry into whether the law should be made more specific.

Some parents, doctors and campaign groups are worried by what they see as a tendency to stretch the definition of serious handicap.

The justification the doctors give is that cleft lip or palate, or extra or webbed fingers or toes might (my emphasis) be indicative of other problems that can't be diagnosed in-utero. Better safe than sorry! Better to eliminate any number of babies with purely cosmetic problems (surgically correctable, I might add) than to let a more seriously affected baby live!

So, kids with webbed toes become collateral damage in the war on "defective" people. Another victory for the forces of tolerance and diversity!

Click here for the full breakdown. It's a catalog of what we as a society consider capital crimes when committed by the unborn. Including three babies aborted for external ear anomalies. And six for being intersex. Five for dwarfism. Twenty for Turner's syndrome. Three for Klinefelter's syndrome. One hundred and ninety-four for having Down syndrome. And fifty-two for "suggestion of underlying anomaly". I guess innocent until proven guilty doesn't apply to the possible crime of being sick or disabled.

HT: Verum Serum

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The sad aborter

Abortion: Forty years of the woman's right to choose. The author gushes about the sanitary safety of legal abortion, the horrors of illegal abortion. But frankly, how can you unbrutalize something that even a supporter can document the brutality of?

Last Wednesday a Dispatches programme on Channel 4 showed shocking images of the remains of foetuses pulled or sucked from the womb in bits: long, slick trails of blood and jelly-like tissue containing a tiny foot here, or a hand with five translucent fingers there.


Dr John Spencer, senior clinical director for Marie Stopes, was quoted by Dispatches describing what it was like to abort a foetus that was much older and larger, when it could not be removed like this or even all in one piece. "The foetal parts are soft enough to break apart as they are being removed," he said. Using an ultrasound as guidance he was seen using forceps to pull out the body parts bit by bit, describing those which were too big. "Those parts are the skull and then the spine and pelvis and in fact they are crushed."


"The purpose of abortion is to bring about the demise of a foetus for the betterment of a woman's life."

And the woman -- is this what she really wants?

Helena's will is strong, yet as she talks her chin begins to wobble. Her eyes are watering. "You have mixed emotions," she says, as if talking about somebody else. "Your head is telling you that you just can't entertain the idea of being pregnant. Your heart is telling you it's an amazing thing to happen, the most important thing anyone can do in their life ..."

Her head won, then. Just. Was it close? "Uh-huh," she says quietly, and nods.


"I might as well tell you," she says, "since this is anonymous. This is not my first time." She had an abortion four years ago and it was later, a messier business. "The second time is harder, though," she says. "You are older and more aware of the missing piece in your life. Children can be that.

"I do want children, one day, and I dread the idea that by doing this I might somehow bring something dreadful on myself and it won't be possible. There are times when I feel, 'Wow this is a lovely feeling.' But I know that it can't last."

Helena rises and pulls on her coat. "Look, if I could I would have it, absolutely. I can't though. Financially, I would not feel in a position to do that."

Cramps have made it impossible to ignore what has been happening to her. "I do feel I have a relationship with ... I don't know what to call it. Definitely." That surprises her, she admits as she leaves, going back to a sofa, a hot chocolate and a favourite film. "I'm not sure what to think. It's not a person though because it has not formed enough and not taken on an identity," she says tentatively. "It's still special, though. It's still something. It's not nothing, is it?"

This doesn't sound like somebody who wanted her baby to die. It sounds like somebody who couldn't see past abortion, whose thinking got into a rut she couldn't pull out of. She doesn't see herself as capable of hitting the curve ball life has thrown at her, so she doesn't even swing. She just capitulates to her own sense of inadequacy.

Who is that a victory for?

Blog roundup

Here are the results of a straw poll of "values voters" and how the Republican candidates stood.

This cartoon nails it.

Should prolifers bail on the Republican party? I ditched them years ago because they were becoming indistinguishable from the Democrats on fiscal issues. They never call, they never write... ;)

The guy who tried to bomb a Houston abortion facility gets to spend 40 years rethinking his strategy. Earth to Evans: Making the agonizing choice to kill somebody whose presence disturbs you is prochoice, not prolife. Get a grip!

Another woman liberated and empowered through abortion. Sigh. How many abortions have their beginnings in destructive "romantic" relationships? And as Dr. Laura asked, "Is a woman just a wo- wo- wo- on a man?" Women with self respect don't get involved with losers like this guy. And they don't climb on the abortion table because theyr'e just too battered down by life. But how do you get to the core of the problem? Abortion won't fix it. But neither will just saying, "No abortion." This is where the CPCs win over abortion clinics hands-down. They're the only places I know of that will look at the train wreck somebody's made of her life and actually try to help her come up with a strategy for turning it around. And I think the 1:1 support and love are essential. But the trick is getting them in the door when the abortion lobby is filling their heads with lies, telling them that the people who really care are the ones who will take their money, kill their baby, and kick them out the door to sink or swim. End rant.

Election: McCain eloquent... but is he sincere?

Republican Presidential candidates addressed a pro-life forum, and John McCain made what was, to me, a very surprising statement:

“I have been pro-life my entire political career,’’ McCain said. “I believe I am the only major candidate in either party that can make that claim. I am pro-life because I know what it is like to live without human rights. That is a personal testament that you need not take on faith. You need only examine my public record to know that I will not change my position."

Hear him for yourself here.

I recall having originally liked McCain as a candidate last time he ran. I just thought that the integrity he showed while he was a POW spoke well for him. But then I learned -- or at least thought I did -- that he took a "prochoice" stand. So I rejected him as a candidate. If you're willing to throw unborn babies, disabled infants, people with severe brain injuries, etc., under the bus, to me that just disqualifies you. Unless you want to law to protect every innocent person, I don't think you're fit for public office.

I'm guessing that my rejection (Remember, I rejected a lot of candidates! I can't remember the specifics of what disqualified each and every one.) came from McCain's support of public funding for dangerous, unethical, and just ghoulish destruction of human embryos for stem-cell research.

So -- can prolifers get behind this guy or not?

Coming around, slowly

The latest CBS News poll found the following breakdown on when Americans want abortion to be legal:

  • 4% - Under no circumstances
  • 16% - To save the mother's life
  • 34% - Rape, incest, lfe of the mother
  • 16% - In all cases, but with more restrictions
  • 26% - In all cases

    Just to clarify for those of you who don't understand, opposing granting legal statud to "life of the mother" abortions doesn't mean that you want doctors prosecuted for good-faith abortions necessary to prevent the mother's death. It just means that you don't want there to be a legal loophole that unscrupulous abortionists take advantage of. A more thorough explanation is here.

    Along with the falling abortion rate, this is a good sign. It means only about a quarter of Americans approve of the status quo. But we still have a long way to go. The goal isn't to do with abortion what prohibition did with alcohol -- drive it underground. The goal is to do what the abolitionsists did with slavery -- make it unthinkable.

    We're getting there.
  • We could surely unify on this!

    Bush lovers, Bush haters, and those of us with mixed opinions about the guy ought to all be getting behind the President's Malaria Initiative.

    Anybody who has followed my blogs for long knows I'll periodically spout off about how little is being done to address this needless, deadly scourge. Well, you can pick your favorite charity and donate!

    Today's searches

    Somebody was searcing for "twilight sedation abortion". I have the following cases on file:
  • The newsletter Feminist Voices slammed the Bread & Roses abortion mill, and owner Aleksander Jakubowski. Ex-employees who spoke to Feminist Voices also alleged that Jakubowski had then "push" twilight sleep on patients at $60 a dose, sometimes threatening to send a woman home if she refused.
  • Abortionist Steve Brigham performed the botched abortion on "Millie" under twilight sedation.
  • The ill-trained staff at Maryland's Hillview abortion facility were supposedly trying to induce twilight sleep on Debra Gray when they put her under for her fatal abortion.
  • A disgruntled staffer at Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona complained that a new doctor was using twilight anesthesia though the clinic had no protocols for using it.

    Somebody wanted information on 22 week fetus.
  • Before: Illustration: "SIZE: weight about 12.25 ounces (350g). Crown-to-rump length at this time is about 7.6 inches (19cm). .... Bones of the ear - hammer, anvil and stirrup - harden, making sound conduction possible. Fetus recognizes maternal sounds such as breathing, heartbeat, voice, and digestion. .... Respiratory system continues to develop; lungs are not yet able to transfer oxygen to bloodstream and release carbon dioxide by exhaling."
  • During: Illustration photo showing removal of head.
  • After: induction, D&E

    Somebody else wanted "20 week abortion". The pictures above are close enough as far as the fetus goes. As for the mothers:
  • "Vicki" was 20 weeks pregnant when she underwent a fatal aboriton.
  • "Francine" was 20 weeks pregnant when she endured a botched abortion at Eastern Women's Center.
  • Margot" thought she was less than 12 weeks pregnant, but her baby turned out to be 20 weeks along.
  • C.J. LaBenz initiated what he thought was a 20-week abortion, but the patient gave birth to a live 27-week baby that was left unattended in a dirty utility room until he died.
  • Gail Wright died of sepsis from her 20-week abortion.
  • "Malorie" was 20 weeks pregnant when she underwent her fatal saline abortion.
  • Mary Bradley was 20 weeks pregnant when she underwent her fatal legal abortion.
  • David Benjamin fatally injured Guadalupe Negron trying to abort her 20 week fetus.
  • Other 20-week abortion fatalities include "Brenda", "Barbara", Sharon Hamplton, Lisa Bardsley, and "Colleen".

    Somebody else wanted "abortion mill stories". Welcome to my blog. That's pretty much what I do. Check in daily.

    Rosie Jimenez, the woman who saved $10 by picking an illegal abortion over one at Planned Parenthood, remains a popular search.

    Christina Goesswein, one of the many victims of Moshe Hachamovitch was a popular search as well.
  • Anniversary: Carpetbagging legal abortionist kills second patient in four months

    Carole Schaner was 37 years old when she traveled from Ohio to Buffalo, New York, for a safe and legal abortion. Dr. Jesse Ketchum performed a vaginal hysterotomy abortion on October 20, 1971. Carole was 14 weeks pregnant.

    After the abortion, Carole went into shock, and was taken to a hospital. She was in shock when she arrived. Despite all efforts, Carole died before doctors could even fully asssess the extent of her injuries. She left behind four children.

    The autopsy found that Carole's cervix and uterus had been cut open, and an artery outside her uterus had been cut. It also noted sutures that had evidently been put in by Ketchum in an attempt to repair the damage. The sutures, however, completely closed Carole's cervix, allowing her to continue bleeding from the injured uterus and artery.

    Carole was the second woman to bleed to death after an outpatient hystertomy abortion performed by Ketchum; Margaret Smith had died four months earlier.

    Another former criminal abortionist, Milan Vuitch also had kept his nose clean as a criminal abortionist, then went on to kill two legal abortion patients. Wilma Harris and Georgianna English both died under Vuitch's care. Likewise Benamin Munson had a clean record of a criminal abortion but went on to kill two women -- Linda Padfield and Yvonne Mesteth -- after legalization.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    History: Criminal anniversary from 1877

    On October 20, 1877, Nellie Ryan, an unmarried 21-year-old white woman from Turner Junction, Illinois, died in Chicago during a criminal abortion. Midwife Amelia Spork was arrested for Nellie's death.

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

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    Friday, October 19, 2007

    NARAL's panties in a twist. Here's a suggestion.

    I am on the email list for NARAL Pro-Choice (sic) America, and they've got their panties all in a twist because on Halloween, Congress is gonna decide if we can go back to giving US tax dollars to organizations that push abortion in other countires. And, of course, they expect that even if Congress does go for the funding, Bush will of course veto it, so they want your congresscritter girded to override the veto.

    Ya know, it's kind of ironic that organizations filled with people who sport buttons saying "End US Involvement in Women's Wombs" are all wanting to fund US involvement in women's wombs -- even if it's totally against the wishes of the women in question.

    Now of course, according to the email, the best way to "restore vital reproductive health care to" (i.e. throw lots of pills and condoms at) poor women around the world is to send NARAL money.

    I'd like to point out that even if, like NARAL, you're an enthusiastic fan of treating the word's poor and oppressed people like so many stray cats to be spayed and neutered, you don't have to fork over your hard-earned cash to NARAL to tell your congresscritter. You can email him or her right here.

    Personally I'd recomend that you tell your congresscritter to keep our tax money out of poor people's crotches. But you may beg to differ. Either way, you can eliminate the middle man, then do something else with the money NARAL wants you to send. You can provide real help and health care to poor women (and children and men) through Mercy Ships.

    NARAL is asking for certain amounts. I'll suggest what you might send directly to the poor women of the world instead:

  • $35: For just $25, you can provide a "New Life Kit" to a woman Mercy Ships has treated for her obstetric fistula. Or you can provide the thorough eye exam that is the first step toward restroring sight to a blind woman, man, or child.
  • $50: Provide vital dental care to a desperately poor child. Just $45 will provide agricultural training to help a family gain the life-sustaining, healtful benefits of enough to eat. And that person can pass his or her training on to the entire community.
  • $75: Can provide a "New Life Kit", and an thorough eye exam, and bandages for surgery patients
  • $100: Provide a case of surgical gowns for the surgeons who are underwriting their own volunteer work, providing life-changing, often life-saving, surgery to the poorest of the poor.
  • Other: $200 will keep a ship's engines running for an hour, allowing Mercy Ships to reach people in need. $360 will underwrite surgery for a suffering woman, child, or man. $3,000 (not that much if you're well-to-do, or a modest fundraising project for a small church or club) will provide safe drinking water to a village. Or, if you're rich, or if you're part of a church or club or civic organization looking to make a difference, you can donate $10,000 to underwrite the cost of a tray of surgical instruments to provide cataract operations and restore sight.

    These are just a few things that I think would be a far more fruitful use of money than to send it to NARAL to underwrite their PR campaigns. (And don't take my word for it that these "family planning funds" are doing harm to poor people. Read Betsy Hartmann's excellent book, Reproductive Rights and Wrongs. Hartmann is adamantly prochoice so you can't dismiss her research as so much antichoice agitprop.)
  • Betty Ladel, Illegal Abortion Death

    Sylvia Redman, who had a license to practice naturopathy, signed a written confession on October 20, 1954 regarding the death of Betty Ladel. Redman said that Betty came to her on October 8, saying that she thought she was pregnant. Her period was about a week late. Redman said Betty asked her "if I could help her get rid of the baby. I told her the danger of everything and she said she was not afraid. I told her I would rather her to go somewhere else and have the baby stopped in twenty four hours, because my work is slow. I do it by shooting a little air up into the womb. (uterus) By going through the cervix into the uterus, where the embryo is carried. She told me she wanted me to do it."

    Redman said that she used a speculum and syringe to shoot some air into Betty's uterus, though she wasn't really sure if Betty was pregnant. She told Betty to return every other day. Each time Betty returned, Redman shot a little more air into her utuers, asking her if she felt anything. Sometimes Betty responded in the affirmative, sometimes not.

    On October 19, Betty again went to Redman, who took uer upstairs, "laid her on a table used for females," and inserted a canula into Betty's uterus. She pushed five syringes full of air into Betty's uterus and asked Betty if she could feel it. Betty said that she could, a little. "And she looked up at me and said I feel choky, and then she passed out."

    Redman said, "I used artificial respiration. I picked her up in my arms and laid her on the floor. And I slung water at her to try to revive her, and then I had a lady downstairs to call an ambulance. The ambulance came and got her and took her to Harris Hospital. After this happened I called a friend and asked her what to do and she said throw all that stuff away. So I went upstairs to get the instruments that I had used, and I had just come downstairs when Mr. Howerton and Mr. Armstrong and another detective walked in. I told them I'd be with them in a minute and I kinda hid the instruments that I had used on Betty Ladel behind me, and I stepped into the back and put the instruments in a garbage can. Then I came back out to talk to Mr. Howerton and I admitted to him what I had done and he asked me what I had used on Betty Ladel, and I took him out (to) the garbage can and showed him exactly where I had hidden them and what I had used. He asked me if I had performed an abortion on her and I told him no, but I wasn't telling him the truth. And I gave these instruments to Mr. Howerton and Mr. Armstrong and the other detective. After she had told me that she felt choky, and after I laid her on the floor, I noticed she was bleeding from the vagina."

    An autopsy verified that Betty had indeed been pregnant, and blamed her death on the introduction of air into her uterus to produce abortion. The six or seven week old embryo was entact and undamaged. Betty's blood vessels had air in them, and she had died from an air embolism.

    The testimony of the authorities who investigated the case supports the confession. The police indicated that upon questioning, Redman showed them the table she'd used and retrieved the instruments from a garbage can.

    Redman was convicted of murder by attempted abortion, and was sentenced to confinement in the penitentiary for four years.

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

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    Safe legal anniversary: One of Hachamovitch's many deaths

    19-year-old Christina Goesswein, ("Patient A" in medical board documents) was almost 23 weeks pregnant when she went to the office of Dr. Braz Bortot to get an abortion. Dr. Bortot referred her to Dr. Moshe Hachamovitch in Bronx, New York.

    Christina went to the office of Dr. Hachamovitch on October 17, 1990, and the first part of the three-day abortion procedure was started that day. She was sent home and told to return the following day to have her cervix dilated even further for the abortion, which would take place on the 19th.

    She came back on the 18th and had more laminaria inserted then returned home. That evening, her boyfriend called the doctor’s office because Christina was having cramping. He was told to give her pain medicine.

    Christina's boyfriend called again several hours later because he felt that she was running a fever, but Christina told Dr. Hachamovitch’s employee who was taking call that evening that she was okay.

    Early in the morning of the 19th, the boyfriend called the employee again because Christina was experiencing heavy bleeding, cramping and vomiting. Christina stated that she felt that she was in labor. The employee instructed Christina to go to the doctor’s office where she and the doctor would meet her.

    They all met at the office some time between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. After arriving at the office, Christina lost control of her bowels. Hachamovitch then delivered her 24-week fetus in one piece.

    Because Christina was not recovering as she should have, Dr. Hachamovitch decided to admit her to an area hospital, but before this could be done, Christina quit breathing and her heart stopped.

    Somebody called 911 at about 4:20 a.m., and Dr. Hachamovitch began CPR. Christina was taken to a Bronx hospital where she was pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m. on October 19, due to an amniotic fluid embolism.

    Hachamovitch's license was suspended over his false documentation regarding administration of oxygen, and Christina's blood loss.

    In its documents, the medical board notes that Hachamovitch failed to record "identity of the individual who performed and interpreted a sonogram of Patient A;" "failed to record the size and type of laminaria;" "failed to properly address the possibility that Patient A might require emergency medical care near her home in the course of the two days between the insertion of laminaria on October 17 and the scheduled performance of an abortion on October 19;" "made no effort to provide for more local and immediate medical care for Patient A at or about 3:05 a.m. on October 19, when he learned that Patient A was experiencing heavy bleeding, vomiting and severe cramps."

    The board faulted Hachamovitch for doing an abortion "in the face of heavy bleeding, severe cramps and vomiting and involuntary bowel movements." "Respondent failed to arrange for Patient A to be taken to a hospital before performing any procedure on her so that her condition could be properly managed;" "performed the abortion and D&E without proper monitoring and resuscitative equipment;" "failed to adequately prepare the patient for foreseeable complications;" "failed to have a licensed physician or certified nurse anesthetist present during the surgery'" "inappropriately sedated Patient A."

    "Once Patient A went into cardiopulmonary arrest Respondent failed to properly attempt her resuscitation." The board also found fault with Hachamovitch because he did not "describe adequately the procedure used to terminate the pregnancy;" "failed to perform and/or record the findings of a gross examination of Patient A's uterine contents immediately post-abortion;" "intentionally represented in his record for patient A that she received continuous oxygen by mask despite knowing that this was untrue;" "intentionally represented in his record that Patient A had no bleeding at all despite knowing that this was untrue."

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Researching criminal abortionists

    I've been tidying up my pages over at RealChoice, particularly the page on Abortionists of the 20th Century. As I added the link for Anna Johnson to my entry about Eva Shaver, I was reminded that she'd also been implicated in the death of a woman in 1914. So I hopped over to the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database to track down more information.

    I found a few details on the woman who died in 1914. Her name was Lillie Giovenco, she was 18 years old, and she lingered for nearly a month before dying. Two other doctors -- Leopold Pijan and John Fernow -- were also fingered by the coroner in Lillie's death.

    The name of Leopold Pijan is familiar to me because it's similar to the name of a man identified as a "scrub nurse" and convicted of the 1955 abortion death of Jacqueline Smith in New York: Leobaldo Pejuan.

    Now, Leopold and Leopoldo aren't exactly your everyday names. Ditto for Pejuan and Pijan.

    The spelling of names on the Homicide in Chicago database can also be off, because the database took information from handwritten records. Illegibility of the original handwriting could easily lead to misspellings. I've seen names spelled different ways on a single page of the database.

    So I'm wondering if the Dr. Leopold Pijan from Chicago, having lost his license for the death of Lillie Giovenco, went to New York and got work as a scrub nurse that allowed him to continue to ply his abortion trade. If he was a young man when Lillie died, it's not unreasonable for him to still be in practice as an abortionist forty years later.

    Does anybody know? This is the second time I've asked, but it never hurts to ask again.

    Recent searches

    Christin Gilbert (pictured) is the 19-year-old girl with Down Syndrome that died after a safe, legal, "medically necessary" third trimester abortion at George "Teflon" Tiller's Wichita late-abortion mill.

    Somebody wanted to know the size of a 20-week fetus. "The crown-to-rump length 5.6 to 6.4 inches (14 to 16cm)."

    Colby Weaver is the researcher at Find-a-Grave that led me to the deaths of Katherine Cross and Elise Stone.

    Somebody else wanted information on anesthesia deaths. The ones I know related to abortion are here.

    Vivian Tran died in 2003 after an RU-486 abortion at a Planned Parenthood in California.

    Somebody wanted information on stem cell success in spinal cord injury. I blogged recently about success in Russia, Ecuador, and Portugal. I also understand that there's success in China.

    Laura Hope Smith died last month after a safe and legal abortion in Massachusetts.

    Somebody wanted abortion in the 1940s. I have these deaths.

    Rosie Jimenez is the woman who saved ten bucks by going to an illegal abortionist instead of to Planned Parenthood in 1977. The abortion lobby uses her to try to restore federal funding for elective abortions, despite the fact that the CDC's own study, "The Effect of Restricting Public Funds for Legal Abortion," found "no evidence of a statistically significant increase in the number of complications from illegal abortions." In fact, they found that while there was no change in the illegal abortion complications, there was a significant decrease in publicly funded hospitalizations for legal abortion complications in cities where funding was restricted, compared to cities in areas where state or local government picked up the tab for elective abortions. In other words, cutting funds for elective abortions actually had a measurable positive impact on abortion complication rates for Medicaid-eligible women. But why let facts get in the way?

    Guadalupe Negron died in 1993 after an abortion in a seedy New York City abortion mill.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    More on last month's Massachusetts abortion death

    More information about the death of Laura Smith is available from National Catholic Register.

    HT: Threshing Grain

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    Legalization as a panacea

    Department of awful statistics (HT: JJ)

    Prochoicer Megan McArdle looks at the recent lame claims that abortion's legal status has no impact whatsoever on its frequency, just on its safety:

    I can't see the Lancet study, which is gated. But the summary does not back up this claim. The study says that abortions are generally high in the developing world, where it is usually illegal, and low in the developed world, where it is usually legal. It also tells you that abortion is relatively unsafe in the developing world.

    But it seems mad to extrapolate this to a blanket statement such as "Law does not influence a woman's decision to have an abortion." For one thing, we know of cases where the law absolutely and indisputably did exert such an influence, such as Communist Romania, where abortion bans caused the birth rate to soar. For another, societies where abortion is illegal are probably different from societies where abortion is legal in other ways, such as attitudes towards birth control. Also, enforcement of laws varies even when the laws don't (abortion was technically illegal in Germany for most of the post-war period). And finally, since the variation is almost entirely among developed countries where access to birth control may be spotty for economic, political or social reasons, this would not necessarily tell us much about developed nations. As I understand it, most abortions in America are obtained by women who have had more than one abortion, which seems to indicate that for at least some segment of the population abortion is a substitute for birth control, rather than birth.

    Similarly, saying that "making abortion illegal doesn't reduce its incidence, but only makes it more dangerous" is nonsense on stilts when the comparison is largely between developed countries with legal abortion, and developing countries with illegal abortion. Having an abortion in Burundi would be more dangerous than having one in America even if their government legalized the procedure, made it free, and awarded a medal and a complimentary fruit basket to every woman who had one. I am pretty sure that abortion, like almost every other activity, gets more dangerous when it is legally prohibited. But from what I can make out, this study doesn't do a good job of demonstrating that truism.

    Cross-country comparisons--what statisticians call latitudinal studies--are fraught with difficulty because of all the differences in law, enforcement, data collection, social norms, political culture, health care systems, and so forth. That's why it's important to also look at longitudinal studies--studies that examine the same place over time. And all the reputable studies I'm aware of, which to be sure are not an exhaustive list, show pretty much the expected result: if you legalize abortion, you get more of it.

    Well said.

    I also have to say that I think that the safety impact of legalization on the individual woman is gonna be pretty spotty. Yeah, it may make it possible for Susie to go to a nice, clean clinic run by Charlotte Taft. But it may also land Margaret and Carole at a fly-by-night run by Jesse Ketchum, or Wilma and Jeannie at a mill run by Milan Vuitch, or Linda and Yvonne at Benjamin Munson's office. All three of these guys had clean records as criminal abortionists, then got sloppy once legalization banished the fear of going to prison.

    So on a case-by-case basis, I'd say that some women would end up with access to abortions that are actually safer than had their abortions been illegal. But others, such as Carole and Margaret, end up with abortions that are actually less safe because their abortionists take chances they'd never have dared had there been the specter of prosecution hanging over their heads.

    What we do know for sure is that legalization drives the numbers up, meaning more women are exposed to the risks. Carl Tyler of the Centers for Disease Control and an avid abortion advocate, testified before Congress in the early 1970s, asking for nationwide legalization of abortion-on-demand as a public health measure that he was sure would "eliminate child abuse in a single generation." When quizzed about the expected impact on women, Tyler postulated that the safety of the procedure would increase somewhat for the individual patient, but the number of women exposed to the risk would skyrocket. He estimated that 200 additional women would lose their lives each year. But, Tyler asserted, the total elimination of child abuse was worth the cost in women's lives.

    So what actually did happen with legalization? We can see that the abortion mortality trends didn't change much, as evidenced in this chart from the National Center for Health Statistics:

    How accurate were their numbers? Pretty good, judging by studies done in California, Minnesota, and Tennessee, in which researchers turned over every rock they could think of to uncover maternal deaths from illegal abortions. Up until Willard Cates and David Grimes left the abortion surveillance area of the Centers for Disease Control in the mid-1970's, public health officials beat the bushes for data on abortion mortality. They contacted public health officials, hospitals, police, funeral directors, ob/gyns, and family doctors, asking if they knew of any suspicious deaths. People who didn't respond got a follow-up letter.

    But when Cates and Grimes left (I last noticed them in 1976, but all my Abortion Surveillance Summaries are back home in the states so I'm going from memory here.), what happened? The numbers fell, got erratic, then leveled off:

    Let's look at the actual numbers, shall we? You can click below to enlarge this chart from the Centers for Disease Control 2003 Abortion Surveillance Report, the most recent one I could find:

    The numbers for illegal abortions were falling, as the numbers for legal abortions were climbing, leaving the total death toll on the same slow, steady downward trend it had been on since 1960 -- seven years before the first states started legalizing abortions for social reasons.

    It's hard to credit legalization with a downward trend that had been in place -- except for a brief and inexplicable leveling-off in the 1950s -- for the previous thirty years and more. And the biggest drop after Roe doesn't come until 1976 -- when the CDC changed its data collection technique from an active one (sending out letters and follow-up letters in addition to collecting data sent in to the National Center for Health Statistics) to a passive one (making due with what the NCHS spit their way).

    Crediting legalization with the fall in abortion deaths makes no sense, since absolutely nothing changed in the overall trends with legalization. One might with more statistical credibility attribute the fall to my birth in 1961, which at least coincides with the actual mortality drop.

    As for what to do about women in developing nations, I'd say that the best thing we could do for them is what we did for ourselves: build an infrastructure that supplies sanitation, clean water, and healthful foods. It's inexcusable to pretend that changing the legal status of abortion will provide these women with basic good health, sanitary medical facilities, and they so desperately need.