Saturday, December 13, 2008

Abortion deaths in 1971

The CDC doesn't publish abortion mortality data prior to 1972, but I did find this excellent chart from Physicians for Life. They got their data from the National Center for Health Statistics. I've assessed elsewhere how accurate the data are, looking at an intensive study in Minnesota and another in California, and though they're not 100% complete, they're not radically off, and the trends (falling except for the 1950s) are accurate.

With that said, here's the chart:

The NCHS noted 90 induced abortion deaths for 1971 -- 15 legal, 75 illegal. (Spontaneous abortions are miscarriages.)

I have been able to document 23 deaths from abortions in 1971:

  • Cassandra Bleavins suffered numerous uterine lacerations and cervical lacerations; she bled to death.

  • Margaret Davis died of sickle-cell crisis triggered by her abortion.

  • Janet Forster was sent home with a mangled fetus rotting in her uterus; she died of sepsis.

  • Doris Grant bled to death despite an emergency hysterectomy.

  • Betty Hines died from abortion-triggered sickle cell crisis.

  • "Amy" Roe suffered a massive fatal embolism, leaving two children motherless.

  • "Annie" Roe went into cardiac arrest and died, leaving three children without a mother.

  • "Andrea" Roe died of a septic abortion, leaving six children motherless.

  • "Anita" Roe was injected with saline to kill the fetus, then sent home with the expectation that she'd deliver the dead baby unattended; she was found unresponsive, and bled to death.

  • "April" Roe went into shock during her saline abortion.

  • "Audrey" Roe went into cardiac arrest during her abortion, leaving four children without a mother.

  • "Barbara" Roe went into convulsions and died during a saline abortion, leaving five children motherless.

  • "Becky" Roe was sent home to Arkansas after her safe, legal abortion in New York -- even though she had a fever. She went septic and died.

  • "Beth" Roe traveled from Massachusetts to New York for her safe, legal abortion. But the saline meant to kill only the baby was injected into her bloodstream somehow and killed her as well.

  • "Mary" Roe bled to death slowly from an undiagnosed nick in her uterine artery after a safe, legal hospital abortion in California.

  • "Monica" Roe, a mother of five, died a horrifying death: Her abortion had caused a bowel obstruction that went undiagnosed, allowing stomach fluids to back up into her lungs and begin digesting them as she lay dying of sepsis.

  • "Roseanne" Roe had seizures and vomiting during her saline abortion, causing her to inhale vomit. This caused fatal pneumonia.

  • "Sandra" Roe wasn't told after her abortion that a pathology report showed that she had not actually been pregnant. Crushed by grief and remorse over her belief that she had killed a child, she took her own life.

  • "Tammy" Roe travelled from Ohio to New York for the safe, legal abortion that killed her.

  • "Vickie" Roe went septic and died after her abortion.

  • LaSandra Russ went into cardiac arrest and died almost immediately after her abortion in a California hospital.

  • Carole Schaner was allowed to bleed to death from multiple internal lacerations by erstwhile criminal abortionist Jesse Ketchum while he was out on bail pending trial for having done the same thing to Margaret Smith.

  • Margaret Smith travelled from Michigan to New York to have Ketchum do her abortion, because she'd been exposed to rubella and feared that her baby might have birth defects.

    UPDATE: Anon asked what happened after 1971. The answer is: Nothing, really. The numbers continued in the same downward trend, with the only visible impact from legalization being a replacement of illegal deaths by legal deaths:

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

    For more abortion deaths broken down by year, see this post.

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    Anonymous said...

    Pregnancy-related deaths in 1971: 640

    GrannyGrump said...

    Abortion increases your risk of placenta previa, preterm labor, and other causes of maternal mortality. Under what twisted logic does doing something that increases your risk of complications DECREASE your rusk of death?

    SoMG said...

    GG: Placenta previa--not certain. Some studies say abortion increases your risk; others say no.

    Preterm labor--nope. That's a myth.

    You wrote: "Under what twisted logic does doing something that increases your risk of complications DECREASE your rusk of death?"

    If it also decreases other, bigger risks. Having a lung tumor removed increases your risk of dying from a surgical error, but it decreases your risk of death even so.

    I bet you could have figured this out for yourself. Why pretend to be dumber than you are? I assure you it's not necessary. You are already impressive in this department without any pretending or exaggerating.

    GrannyGrump said...

    Can you come up with just ONE proposal for reducing maternal mortality other than just more abortions? Again, SOME WOMEN LIKE LIVE BABIES. Hard as that seems to be for you to believe.

    SoMG said...

    I thought this board was for discussing abortion. Now you wanna talk about other methods for reducing maternal mortality? OK. How about having the government pay for all obstetric and pre-natal care?

    GrannyGrump said...

    I'm not the one who keeps bringing up childbirth deaths.

    And I seriously doubt that having the government pay for all obstetric and prenatal care would do squat. Public pay patients have a higher rate of complications for abortions even after you adjust for other variables; I'd imagine the same is true for other medical attention.

    I'd go for something like McCain was proposing as far as health care -- tax credits (which, like EIC, might actually be more than the person paid in if they were poor) that the person could use to shop for their medical coverage.

    Then, specific to maternal mortality, any organization that got any government funds would be required to offer referral for an initial prenatal visit for any pregnant patient they provided medical or social services to, regardless of the woman's plans or lack of plans for the pregnancy.

    The checkup would get the woman into the health care system, ensure that she had a basic health screening and got things like her prenatal vitamins. Even if she elects to abort, the screening will have done no harm and may have noted health problems that the abortion facility needed to be aware of.

    I'd also like to see a reporting system that looks at preventability factors. You have to find out exactly how things go wrong to learn how to prevent recurrences.

    GrannyGrump said...

    Oh -- and lest the abortion lobby pitch a hissy fit at the idea of "mandatory prenatal care that forces the idea of continuing to term", call it an "initial obstetric health assessment". Abortion does, after all, fall under obstetrics even if it's not always done by obstetricians.

    Anonymous said...

    I think I must be the only dummy here but I'm just not getting it. The first line for 1940 - there are 1679 - abortions (about as i have no calculator) and 1407 deaths and in 1971 there are 99 abortions and 90 deaths - thats almost 90-95 % death rate - am I correct in my thinking?

    I don't know anything about abortion death rates in the noughties but they have to be substantially decreased otherwise we would have millions of women dying?

    Am I undertsanding correctly?

    GrannyGrump said...

    You're confused, anon. Each column is the number of deaths for that type of abortion. The chart doesn't include the total number of abortions; it's just a toll of the dead.

    Anonymous said...

    OK so the deaths have been falling radically - do we have numbers for 1971 to today?