I check daily to see which posts people are seeing in my blog and what searches brought them there. So I was reminded today that I still have been utterly unable to find verification for the four abortion deaths I found at the National Organization for Women web site. I tried asking NOW and didn't get an answer.
They listed a collection illegal abortion deaths, one of which I know from original source documents was a miscarriage death, not an induced abortion. I have the othera listed in my Cemetery of Choice, but I really hate having some of them there when I can't verify the stories as being from any more reliable source than one I know is wrong on 1 out of 7.
The four I can't find any verification on are:
Vivian Campbell, Pittsburgh area, May 6, 1950, mother of the late Pittsburgh police chief Gwendolyn J. "Gwen" Elliott. Everything I've found says that Gwen found out her mother had really died from an illegal abortion when she got her death certificate years later. One story says that the death certificate said "spontaneous abortion" (which is a miscarriage), the other story says the death certificate read "abortion (?)" -- which could be an induced abortion or a miscarriage. Going just by the sources I can find, then, Vivian is a definite unconfirmed, most likely actually being a miscarriage death mistakenly blamed on a criminal abortion by a shocked adult child who didn't realize that "abortion" is the medical term for a miscarriage.
Clara Bell Duvall, Pittsburgh, March 27, 1929. In this one, the woman's daughter states that as an adult her older sister, who spent time with their mother in the hospital prior to her death, told her that her mother had successfully sought several other abortions, but that this one had done her in. But I can't find anything in the Pittsburgh papers other than an obituary: no investigation, no arrests. Supposedly her husband was an industrialist, but I googled him and can't find anything. Would her high profile husband have hushed the abortion up? Or would the high status have made the story too juicy for the press to resist? I'd put Clara in the "probable abortion death" category.
Ruth Irene Friedl, Denver, August 21, 1929. NOW's site said that pregnancy was life-threatening for Ruth, but they don't specify why, nor do they say why she was denied an abortion. NOW says that Ruth drank an herbal abortifacient and died. No clue as to where the story came from.
Pauline Roberson Shirley, Arizona, hemorrhage, August 22, 1940. Again, no further information available about sources.
It really ticks me off that I get prochoicers accusing me of just making things up, when I cite my sources, but they just take these stories at face value from abortion advocacy sources without so much as a single cite of a single source document. I'll take four of my deaths at random (by clicking on the Memorial graphic at the bottom of my RealChoice pages) to give you a comparison:
Sharonda Rowe: District of Columbia Certificate of Death, File # 81-6576
Betty Damato: Rocky Mountain News 12/4/81
Luz Rodriguez: "Clinic head faces complaints," Arizona Republic July 15, 1998; "History of trouble at clinics," Arizona Republic, January 17, 1999
Ruth Montero: Miami Herald 1-5-83; Obstetrics & Gynecology September 1986; CDC Abortion Surveillance 1982; Florida Today 6-1-83
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:
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