Monday, December 08, 2008

Abortion deaths in 1978

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 1978. The CDC counts 16 -- 9 legal and 7 illegal. I have the sneaking suspicion that the vast majority of the "illegal" deaths are 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.

I know of 6 abortion deaths in 1978:

  • Marina DeChapell simply stopped breathing during her abortion in an ill-equipped Miami clinic run by a former criminal abortionist.

  • Sherry Emry was found dead in her bed by her friends; the CDC initially counted her as an abortion death, then changed their minds the following year and reclassified her, and all other similar deaths, in a separate category of ectopic pregnancy deaths -- even though it was clearly because of the abortion that her condition was not detected and treated in time to save her life.

  • Minnie Lathan died after her abortionist poked holes in her uterus.

  • "Penny" Roe is possibly one of the deaths the CDC counted as an illegal abortion death, since she did herself in attempting a "natural" abortion with pennyroyal.

  • Gloria Small was a high-risk patient who bled to death after an outpatient abortion, leaving six children motherless.

  • Elizabeth Tsuji packed a nightgown and bid her family goodbye, never telling them she was checking into a hospital for the abortion that took her life.

    The Centers for Disease Control have at least ten other abortion deaths for 1978 that I don't know about.

    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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