With that said, here's the chart. Legal abortion deaths are orange, illegal abortion deaths are purple. The top line is the total of both legal and illegal.
I'm not sure why abortion mortality went up from 1956 to 1961. What I do know is that there were no changes in abortion law to account for the plunge after 1961. This is actually the resumption of a trend that had been in place prior to 1950. The slight upturn from 1968-1970 coincides with the slight loosening of abortion laws in several states, but it seems unlikely that there is a connection; the trend went back down again and resumed its old fall with the legalization of abortion on demand in California and New York in 1970.
Here are the abortion deaths I know of during the 1960s. I didn't choose these particular stories to make a particular point; if I find out about an abortion death, I write it up.
Here is the breakdown of who performed these fatal abortions:
Of the abortions performed by doctors, 4 of them (40%) were the safe, legal kind, performed in hospitals. That's 30% of the total deaths I've gotten information about for the 1960s.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
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