Friday, December 12, 2008

Abortion deaths in 1972

The Centers for Disease Control deigned to count the following abortion deaths in their most recent Abortion Surveillance Summary, for 2004:



Today I'll look at deaths in 1972. The CDC counts 65 -- 24 legal, 29 illegal, and 2 unknown.

Some of you may be thinking, "Wait a minute! Roe vs. Wade didn't legalize abortion until 1973! How can all those women be dying from legal abortions? The answer is that some states legalized abortions prior to Roe, particularly New York and California. California allowed abortion virtually on-demand, but only in hospitals. New York allowed abortion totally on-demand and not only in hospitals but in freestanding clinics and in doctors' offices.

As for the illegal abortions, they were probably performed by doctors as well, just in states that continued to frown on that sort of thing. Also, "illegal" deaths can be like Myrta Baptiste -- cases in which the woman thought the abortion was legal and safe, but after she died the CDC discovered that her doctor's license wasn't currently valid and so counted it as illegal. So any criminal abortionists who had lost their licenses in other states could have gone to New York and blended right in with the carpet-bagging criminal abortionists who hadn't lost their licenses.

I know of 16 abortion deaths in 1972, which means the CDC has at least 49 other deaths I don't know about:

  • Twila Coulter travelled from Colorado to California for the safe, legal abortion that took her life. Her saline abortion triggered clotting problems that caused a fatal brain bleed.

  • Gwendolyn Drummer was admitted to a California hospital for her abortion; saline got into her blood stream and killed her.

  • Natalie Meyers was brought to San Vicente Hospital in Los Angeles by her mother; she developed infection and went into shock.

  • "Christi Roe" underwent a saline abortion that allowed amniotic fluid to get into her bloodstream, causing fatal clotting problems.

  • "Cindy" Roe was undergoing a vacuum abortion when air got into her bloodstream, blocking the blood flow in her lungs and killing her.

  • "Colleen" Roe travelled from Michigan to New York for the safe, legal abortion that took her life. She went into respiratory arrest during the abortion.

  • "Connie" Roe went into cardiac arrest during her abortion. She left a young child motherless.

  • "Danielle" Roe travelled from Massachusetts to New York for her safe, legal abortion. Minutes after the abortion was killed she died from air and foreign matter in her bloodstream.

  • "Dawn" Roe suffered a fatal reaction to her abortion anesthesia.

  • "Julie" Roe was only 14 when she underwent her fatal abortion; her doctor had punched holes in her uterus and bowels.

  • "Nancy" Roe developed fatal clotting problems from a saline abortion.

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

  • "Roxanne" Roe travelled to New York from Michigan for a safe, legal abortion. Her doctor overdosed her on anesthetic and she died before the abortion could even be performed.

  • "Sara" Roe died of an infection from retained tissue from her legal abortion.

  • "Wendy" Roe was injected with too much saline for her abortion. She went into convulsions and started bleeding uncontrollably due to an inability to get her blood to clot. She left two children motherless.

  • Kathryn Strong died a year to the day before Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision to allow all women to have access to similar abortions. Her uterus was punctured and she bled to death, leaving a young child without a mother.

    For more abortion deaths broken down by year, see this post. Or you can place them in the context of other abortion deaths in the 1970s, and the years surrounding the 1970s:



    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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

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  • 11 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    554 women died of complications of pregnancy in the United States in 1972. Safe and legal!

    GrannyGrump said...

    You're posting a lot, today, anon. Do you really think chanting "Safe and legal" will bring Laura Smith back from the dead? What advantage was it to her to die from one of your beloved legal abortions? Tell me that, so I can pass your enlightenment along to her grieving mother.

    SoMG said...

    You must be desperate for stuff to post.

    What are you hoping to prove with lists of victims' reported names? They prove nothing except that the person posting them needs to go back to eighth-grade science class. You need NUMBERS, my son, numbers. (Unless you are deliberately targetting your web site for stupid readers the way Jill Stanek does.)

    I'm sure you can find more interesting stuff about abortion than this.

    GrannyGrump said...

    SoMG, every day I check the searches that bring people to my blogs. People have come after doing searches like "How many women died from abortion in 1978?" or "abortion deaths 1970s" or "women who died from abortions since 2000". I started the series of posts in response to those questions.

    And though they're here as a response to searches, I do think that they demonstrate that the CDC's data collection deteriorated over time. If you look at the 1970s they found way more abortion deaths than I did, but by the 1980s more and more deaths were escaping their notice. You can make of that what you will.

    SoMG said...

    GG, almost all epidemiological data collection has improved since the emergence of the internet. A lot.

    GrannyGrump said...

    SoMG, what does this have to do with the way the CDC changed their abortion mortality collection methods in the late 1970s, pray tell?

    SoMG said...

    GG, and what does that have to do with whether data collection is "slipshod" today, pray tell?

    GrannyGrump said...

    SoMG, you and other abortion supporters keep arguing that abortion is a good thing for many reasons, one of which is that it's ever so much safer than childbirth.

    I point out that due to slipshod data collection by the people who are claiming that abortion is ever so safe, we don't actually know how many women die, so we can not know how safe it is or isn't.

    I can sit here and say that there has been one pedestrian fatality in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in the past 50 years based on my own information -- I know offhand that a teenage girl was hit and killed just up the street from me a few years back -- and I would be engaging in roughly as accurate a count of Johnstown pedestrian fatalities as the CDC is engaging in of US abortion fatalities. If I wanted to know how safe it is to cross the street in Johnstown, I'd have to get off my butt and check police reports, ambulance run sheets, emergency room admissions, etc. and find out about deaths that didn't happen just up the street that I happened to notice on WJAC-TV. THEY DON'T F***ING LOOK. All they do is take what gets reported to them through a system about as efficient as reading animal entrails.

    So you come up with some comment about the internet making it easier than ever to collect demographic information.

    It's as if I said, "Cops were hindered in their search for the man killing Washington state co-eds in the late 1970s by a lack of sophisticated computer databases," and you replied, "But the internet makes apprehension of criminals a snap!" There was no internet when Ted Bundy was on the prowl, so its development did squat to help cops apprehend him. There was no internet in the late 1970s when the CDC started getting sloppy with collecting abortion mortality data. And, more to the point, THEY DON'T COLLECT MORTALITY DATA WITH THE INTERNET ANYWAY! If they did, they'd know about the deaths I blog, which they don't.

    We could have some system that magically and accurately red-flagged every abortion death and immediately notified the President, the Surgeon General, and NBC Nightly News, and that wouldn't change how the CDC does its thing, which is in a sloppy, dulsatory manner. Can you not grasp this?

    GrannyGrump said...

    SoMG, you and other abortion supporters keep arguing that abortion is a good thing for many reasons, one of which is that it's ever so much safer than childbirth.

    I point out that due to slipshod data collection by the people who are claiming that abortion is ever so safe, we don't actually know how many women die, so we can not know how safe it is or isn't.

    I can sit here and say that there has been one pedestrian fatality in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in the past 50 years based on my own information -- I know offhand that a teenage girl was hit and killed just up the street from me a few years back -- and I would be engaging in roughly as accurate a count of Johnstown pedestrian fatalities as the CDC is engaging in of US abortion fatalities. If I wanted to know how safe it is to cross the street in Johnstown, I'd have to get off my butt and check police reports, ambulance run sheets, emergency room admissions, etc. and find out about deaths that didn't happen just up the street that I happened to notice on WJAC-TV. THEY DON'T F***ING LOOK. All they do is take what gets reported to them through a system about as efficient as reading animal entrails.

    So you come up with some comment about the internet making it easier than ever to collect demographic information.

    It's as if I said, "Cops were hindered in their search for the man killing Washington state co-eds in the late 1970s by a lack of sophisticated computer databases," and you replied, "But the internet makes apprehension of criminals a snap!" There was no internet when Ted Bundy was on the prowl, so its development did squat to help cops apprehend him. There was no internet in the late 1970s when the CDC started getting sloppy with collecting abortion mortality data. And, more to the point, THEY DON'T COLLECT MORTALITY DATA WITH THE INTERNET ANYWAY! If they did, they'd know about the deaths I blog, which they don't.

    We could have some system that magically and accurately red-flagged every abortion death and immediately notified the President, the Surgeon General, and NBC Nightly News, and that wouldn't change how the CDC does its thing, which is in a sloppy, dulsatory manner. Can you not grasp this?

    SoMG said...

    GG, you are wrong about CDC. There are criticisms to be made about them but sloppiness is not one of them. Not generally, and particularly not about abortion statistics. I have studied abortion professionally and I know.

    GrannyGrump said...

    Okay, let's compare your study with mine on abortion mortality statistics and the CDC.

    How many vital records offices did you contact to find out how they identified abortion deaths and relayed this information to the CDC? I called 53 -- all 50 states, DC, New York City, and the Virgin Islands.

    How many people did you talk to at the CDC about where they get their numbers from? I talked to Lisa Koonin, Koonin's assistant (whose name escapes me at the moment -- Meryl something), and Clarice Green, the graduate fellow whose job was to actually gather the data on the death certificates Lisa Koonin provided.

    I studied all the CDC's abortion surveillance reports and their supplemental reports. I got special data runs from them. Did you?

    How many state death certificate database runs did you get? Which ICD codes did you look for? How far back did those database runs go? What reports did you get from the CDC to compare the database runs to?

    I spent six months doing nothing but research where the CDC gets their abortion mortality numbers from. How much time did YOU spend on this?

    Do tell us about your professional study of abortion, and how YOU went and did the legwork to find out exactly how the CDC gets its numbers on abortion deaths.

    And then explain to me how an abortion death can be discussed at an event attended by two CDC abortion surveillance staffers -- including the woman whose job it was to get the ball rolling on abortion death investigations -- without that death being counted by a department that supposedly counts not aggregate deaths but individual deaths?