Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kitchen-table surgery

As I've said before, tales of kitchen-table abortions in the "bad old days" need to be placed in the context of their times, when kitchen-table surgery was the norm:

  • House Calls and Home Care: "One account of kitchen table surgery performed by Drs. Eustace and Mary Sloop around 1917 seems incredible by today’s standards. A 13-year-old girl in the mountains of Avery County urgently needed kidney surgery that winter. Impassable frozen creeks delayed the doctors for days, but they finally reached the girl’s home by horseback. They placed the girl on a sterile sheet on the kitchen table and had her mother administer ether. Curious neighbors and relatives pressed in close to watch and kept trying to touch the surgical instruments. A chicken strutted in, flew up in the air and landed on the girl’s stomach. The doctors feared the worst, but amazingly, the girl lived. Six weeks later, she walked down the mountain to visit her doctors."

  • The Dust Bowl Years: "Another dust-caused ailment of the period was ruptured appendixes. Country doctors who encountered a rash of them, were unable to perform even kitchen-table surgery while the dust blew, but without sophisticated help developed their own, drastic, simple procedures for coping. Rather than operating to remove the infected organs, they simply inserted drains so that the pus could run out. Their survival rates were phenomenally high in the pre-antibiotic era when a ruptured appendix ordinarily was a death warrant. Medical journals published later, when the doctors had time to write up their findings, describe the new procedures developed out of desperation. "

    I'd welcome other examples.

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  • 1986: Abortion turns fatal in Dallas

    The survivors of Dorothy Brant filed suit against Dr. Robert Prince in her death.

    The suit said that Prince failed to perform a proper pre-operative evaluation before performing an abortion on 22-year-old Dorothy at Dallas Medical Ladies Clinic on May 27, 1986. Dorothy hemorrhaged during the procedure. In the lawsuit, her family said that Prince was negligent in his administration of drugs, anesthesia, and in his administration of a blood transfusion. Dorothy was transferred to a hospital, where she died four days later of pulmonary fibrosis.

    1983: Abortion by hero doc proves fatal


    Maureen Lynne Tyke, a 21-year-old Pennsylvania resident, was in Florida visiting relatives when she went to Aware Woman Clinic in Melbourne for a safe and legal abortion. The abortion was performed by Dr. John Bayard Britton on May 27, 1983. The clinic records indicate that Britton noted that Maureen had a complete double uterus and cervix. Nobody noted anything else unusual.

    About 24 hours after her abortion, Maureen developed nausea, vomiting, and chills. She felt extremely ill. The next day, she was admitted to the hospital. She had fever and chills, and was extremely weak. Her blood pressure was very low and her skin had turned an unhealthy blue-gray from lack of oxygen to her tissues. Her autopsy later noted that she was "in extreme septic shock."

    Doctors at the hospital performed a complete hysterectomy on Maureen to try to remove what seemed to be the source of the infection. But their efforts were in vain. The raging infection and heart failure Maureen suffered took their toll on her body. Maureen died early on the morning of May 31.

    The autopsy found that Maureen had "florid myocarditis, probably of viral etiology [a serious viral infection of the heart]." The medical examiner added, "The intensity of this myocarditis should indicate that the young woman was very ill and there should have been some signs or symptoms of serious illness at the time she was being prepared for the abortion."

    However, as the autopsy had noted, nobody at the clinic had noticed that Maureen was very ill and in no condition for elective surgery.

    Britton, by the way, has been held up as an especial hero by abortion supporters since he was shot dead outside an abortion mill in 1994, eleven years after he performed the ultimately fatal abortion on Maureen. The dead woman is never mentioned, beneath the notice of the self-appointed champions of "women's rights".

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    Rare ectopic survivor

    Usually when an ectopic pregnancy results in a live birth, it's because the embryo lodged somewhere in the abdomen. But in Australia, Durga Thangarajah was born at term after she had emplanted in her mother's ovary -- a situation that doctors say is unheard-of. Or was until now.

    Like most of the other cases on record, doctors were surprised to find the baby outside the uterus when performing what they expected to be a routine c-section.

    Again, ectopic pregnancies are dangerous, and any choice to try to allow them to resolve on their own (by miscarriage or possible live birth) needs to be done under a doctor's very close supervision.

    1929: Mystery abortion kills Chicago woman

    On May 30, 1929, 19-year-old Amelia Stumbras died from complications of a criminal abortion. Though the coroner pushed for prosecution, the guilty party was never identified or apprehended.

    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    1988: NAF member kills teen in third-trimester abortion

    Denise Montoya was fifteen years old when her parents brought her to Women's Pavillion in Houston for an abortion on May 13, 1988. Denise was 25 weeks pregnant. The abortion was performed by Douglas Karpen, an osteopath. Denise suffered severe bleeding, and was admitted to Ben Taub hospital. Her condition deteriorated, and she died on May 29, 1988.

    Her parents filed suit against Karpen and the clinic, saying that they had faied to adequately explain the risks of the procedure, and had not provided consent forms, or had the parents sign any informed consent document, prior to the fatal abortion.

    According to their 1991 Annual Report, Women's Pavillion was a National Abortion Federation member, and they remain a member to this day.



    I myself heard a tape of Karpen at a National Abortion Federation meeting complaining that prolifers were interfering with his late-abortion business by helping women who changed their minds get the laminaria removed so they could continue their pregnancies. Instead of suggesting that he improve his counseling techniques so that he wouldn't be initiating abortions on women who were uncertain, his fellows suggested that he have his patients sign papers promising to continue the abortions even if they changed their minds.


    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Courtney's cojones

    Love Rejected Abort Pressure

    In "Bumping Into Geniuses," ... Danny Goldberg ... reveals how he and a group of [Courtney] Love's inner circle -worried about her heroin use during pregnancy - plotted an intervention.

    During a meeting with a doctor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's chemical dependency program, the doctor "tried to give clinical advice, suggesting to Courtney that it was not a great idea to have a baby while dealing with addiction," writes Goldberg. That didn't sit well with Love, who exploded.

    " 'You're not telling me to have a [bleep]-ing abortion, are you?' asked Courtney, her voice rising with her trademark hostile whine. 'I mean I'm pro-choice, but that doesn't mean that anyone has the right to tell me to have a [bleep]ing abortion.'

    "[He] suggested that it might not be safe for the baby, and Courtney, who was only six weeks pregnant, went into a confrontational mode. 'Is that a medical fact, or is that just your opinion? I want to see it in a medical book.' She was interested in medical facts, not a sermon. [He] sheepishly acknowledged that at this early stage of pregnancy a woman could discontinue heroin use with no physical or psychological damage to the fetus. Courtney looked triumphant as she towered over the doctor seated at his desk."


    I never thought I'd be holding Courtney Love up as a role model, but there you have it.

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    Looking for life in all the wrong places

    NASA Spacecraft Makes Historic Landing on Mars

    A NASA spacecraft plunged into the atmosphere of Mars and successfully landed in the Red Planet's northern polar region on Sunday, where it will begin 90 days of digging in the permafrost to look for evidence of the building blocks of life.


    We're spending how much money, investing how much emotional and intellectual effort, into a search for the most elementary sign of life on a planet it takes months to get to.

    And we can't even see life when it's right under our noses.



    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    1915: Abortionist shoots dead patient to try to cover up crime


    Dr. Eva Shaver was involved in one of the most spectacular and bizarre abortion cases of the century. A young Chicago woman, Anna Johnson, was found dead with a bullet hole in her head on May 26, 1915, in Shaver's home. Shaver told police that she had hired Johnson as a maid, and that the girl had committed suicide. But investigators concluded that Anna had died after Shaver had botched an abortion on her. They tore up the floorboards in the house, searching for the remains of aborted babies.

    Anna's "sweetheart", Marshall Hostetler, told the coroner that he had known Anna for a year, since they'd met at a dance hall. They'd planned to marry. When she discovered that she was pregnant, Hostetler had purchased abortifactient pills for her from Shaver's son, Clarence. The fetus survived this chemical assault, so Hostetler arranged for Shaver to perform a surgical abortion.

    Hostetler reportedly "sobbed" and "collapsed" at the inquest into Anna's death. New coverage painted him has having been misled by Dr. Shaver and her son, though he had gone into hiding upon the girl's death at one point been a suspect.

    Shaver was tried for Johnson's death and the abortion death of another patient, Lillie Giovenco, in 1914.

    Interestingly enough, Anna Johnson's death sparked a crackdown on midwife-abortionists rather than physician-abortionists, even though the corner's records showed both professions to be responsible for a roughly equal number of deaths in Chicago during that era.

    1950: Fatal abortion

    On May 26, 1950, Annis Whitlow Brown performed an abortion on Joy M. Joy, the unmarried mother of a six-year-old daughter. Brown botched the job, causing hemorrhage and failing to properly treat the patient. Joy died quickly from blood loss. I have not determined what Brown's profession was.

    Friday, May 23, 2008

    1985: Another victim of deadly National Abortion Federation member

    Documents indicate that Josefina Garcia, age 37, mother of 2, died after abortion at a Family Planning Associates Medical Group (FPA) facility. Josefina's survivors filed suit against FPA owner Edward Campbell Allred, and 5 other doctors: Kenneth Wright, Leslie S. Orleans, Earl Baxter, Soon Sohn, and Thomas Grubbs.



    The family said that staff failed to determine that Josefina had an extopic pregnancy before proceeding with a routine abortion procedure by D&C on May 23, 1985. After her abortion, Josefina was left unattended in a recovery room, where she hemorrhaged. She died the day of her abortion. Her death certificate notes "acute bronchopneumonia due to anoxic encephalopathy following cardiopulmonary arrest due to ruptured tubal gestation with hemorrhage" as the cause of Josefina’s death. Mention is made elsewhere on the death certificate of "status post uterine suction curettage."

    Though in theory women who choose abortion should be less likely to die from ectopic pregnancy than women who intend to carry to term, they are actually more likely to die because sloppy practices lead them to believe that they had normal uterine pregnancies that were termianted. Thus, they ignore symptoms that would ordinarly lead them to seek prompt, life-saving medical care.

    Because the abortion is noted only as a suction curettage, and is mentioned in a supplementary box rather than in the cause of death box on the death certificate, a data run on California death certificates did not identify Josefina as an abortion death.

    Josefina is one of many women to die at this NAF facility after the National Abortion Federation was founded. Others known to have died after abortion at Allred's facilities include:


    1929: Sentenced to the electric chair, freed to kill again

    On May 10, 1929, 24-year-old Elizabeth Palumbo submitted to an abortion, evidently performed by Dr. Amante (or Amenti) Rongetti. She was taken to West End Hospital afterward, and she died there on May 23.

    I was amazed to see Rongetti tied up in this case, because only the previous year he had been sentenced to die in the electric chair for the abortion death of Loretta Enders. Rongetti's attorney evidently had been successful in his bid for a new trial. Elizabeth Palumbo and her family no doubt would have been better off had this bid failed.

    Elizabeth's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

    1982: Abortion causes fatal pulmonary embolism

    In May of 1982, 29-year-old Rhonda Ruggiero underwent an abortion. She suddenly died of an abortion-related pulmonary embolism on May 23.

    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    2000: Yet another death at NAF's flagship chain of mills

    On May 22, 2000, Kimberly K. Neil died from complications of an abortion performed at Family Planning Associates Medical Group by abortionist Kenneth Wright on May 5. Kimberly's family sued on the grounds that FPA staff failed to properly monitor Kimberly, and failed to treat her properly when she stopped breathing during the abortion.

    Other FPA abortion deaths I know of are: Denise Holmes, Laniece Dorsey, Josephina Garcia, Deanna Bell, Tami Suematsu, Joyce Ortenzio, Mary Pena, Patricia Chacon, Christina Mora, Deanna Bell, Chanelle Bryant and Susan Levy.

    In spite of the carnage, FPA remains a member in good standing of the National Abortion Federation.



    Tragedy strikes Steven Curtis Chapman family

    MARIA SUE CHAPMAN, DAUGHTER OF STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN, DIES IN ACCIDENT AT FAMILY HOME

    Daughter of Gospel Star Steven Curtis Chapman Hit, Killed by Car

    Five year old Maria, the youngest of three children Chapman and his wife adopted from China, was accidentally run over in the driveway by her teenage brother. Prayers, prayers, prayers.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    1970: Two lives abruptly ended

    I could learn almost nothing about Sharon L. Margrove, but on May 21, 1970, she died following a legal abortion in Los Angeles County, California. She was 25 years old. Evidently her family never sued.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Obituaries and priorities

    "In my gut, I am completely aghast at what goes on at that place. But I staunchly oppose anything that would correct this situation in law."
    Prochoice activist Janis Compton-Carr

    I've noticed a major irony in the stands of prochoice organizations and the attitudes of high-profile advocates for abortion. And it's really bobbed to the surface, where it's easy to see, in the current round of abortion advocates eulogizing yet another killer abortionist. This fellow, Harvey Karman (pictured), wasn't a doctor, killed a woman doing an abortion on her in a motel room with a nutcracker, nearly killed roughly a dozen minority women on Mother's Day of 1972, and left rape victims in Bangladesh with infections and hemorrhage from pieces of plastic springs and balsa wood stuck through the walls of their wombs. Yet the prochoicers' words in obituaries and blogs were all filled with adoration for this fellow, and all that he supposedly did for women.

    This isn't a new way of thinking. It's part and parcel of devoting your life to "safe, legal abortion". You start losing sight of the women that you're supposedly there to help. The cause becomes everything, and if it must be paid for with women's lives, so be it.

    Follow this.

    They're 100% against any kind of governmental oversight of abortion because it might jeopardize the future of "choice". When 60 Minutes was investigating an abortion mill where one woman had been allowed to die and another left incapacitated, reporters asked pro-choice Maryland State Senator Mary Boergers why nothing was being done to address dangerous abortion clinics. Boergers said, "There's only so much of a willingness to try to push a group like the pro-choice movement to do what I think is the responsible thing to do because they then treat you as if you're the enemy."

    Barbara Radford, then-president of the National Abortion Federation, defended the head-in-the-sand attitude the organization took toward safety issues by saying, "We want to make sure that women have choices when it comes to abortion services, and if you regulate it too strictly, you then deny women access to the service."

    Prochoice groups are fond of accusing prolifers of putting the needs of the unborn -- specifically, existing fetuses -- ahead of the needs of living, breathing, born women. But here they are, these prochoice groups, sacrificing the real safety of the 4,000 living, breathing, born women walking into abortion clinics today, to protect the possible preferences of women who haven't even been conceived yet.

    This is the ultimate placing of a higher value of the lives of the unborn over the lives of the born. These organizations point fingers at prolifers, who place the lives of existing fetuses before the preferences of their mothers. Then these same organizations place the hypothetical choices of non-existent women ahead of the safety and lives of women undergoing abortions in the here and now.

    We can't pretend that there aren't horrible things happening to women in abortion mills across the country. Just on this site, which barely scratches the surface, I've summarized cases including:

    • Scott Barrett, whose habit of using overdoses of local anesthetic to facilitate abortions killed Stacy Ruckman
    • Inglewood, that had five-minute abortions down to an art form, with often fatal results
    • Eastern Women's Center, that let three abortion patients die and couldn't even find its medical director
    • Her Medical Clinic, where at least four women died


    The collective response of the prochoice movement is at best a big yawn. Not a peep was heard when an illegally-operating Tennessee abortion mill misadministered RU-486 to Brenda Vise, with fatal results. Silence greeted the death of Leigh Ann Alford at the hands of a legally-operating quack. It's been prolifers, not prochoicers, demanding a full-scale investigation in the third-trimester abortion death of Christin Gilbert. And the recent cluster of RU-486 deaths in the Los Angeles area has even the FDA and the CDC taking notice, without any complaints by prochoice groups about off-label administration of dangerous abortion drugs. (In fact, it was two high-profile prochoice organizations, the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood, whose members administered the fatal doses; this may explain the deafening silence.)

    Another response is to concede that malpractice exists, and to admit that it isn't right, but to nonetheless lament and even block state action to address it. This is the response from Ms. Compton-Carr that I quoted above. Recently, staff at an Alabama clinic nearly killed a woman by ignoring her dangerously high blood pressure, giving her RU-486, and sending her home -- though she was eight months pregnant. The president of the Birmingham chapter of NOW called the clinic's closure "unfortunate".

    In some cases, the prochoice movement actually moves in to actively defend an abortionist whose practice leaves much to be desired, as they did with Bruce Steir after the death of Sharon Hamplton.

    The pattern is clear: Organizations that are supposed to protect women's interests instead pursue an agenda of protecting "choice" at all costs -- even the cost of women's lives.

    When are we going to see prochoice organizations start to put the needs of real, living, breathing women ahead of their politics?

    1974: Hero doc's teen patient dead from safe, legal abortion

    Milan Vuitch was a hero among abortion advocates. He had deliberately been arrested performing criminal abortions so that he could challenge the Washington, DC abortion law, and he succeeded in changing the way the law was enforced, effectively nulifying it.

    On June 15, 1974, seventeen-year-old Wilma Harris of West Virginia went to Vuitch's Laurel Clinic for an abortion. Five days later, she was dead.

    During interrogatories, Vuitch said that anesthesiologist Strahil Nacev described Wilma as "so quiet" during the abortion. Although he had begun a vacuum abortion, Vuitch said that the fetus had been too big to pass through the suction tube. He said he used instruments to remove
    the remaining fetal parts.

    Although the abortion was done at around 2:00 PM, Vuitch didn't trasfer Wilma to a properly equipped hospital until after midnight. Wilma's family sued, claiming that Vuitch and his staff had allowed Wilma to lapse into a coma and lie unattended for 12 hours before transferring her to the hospital. The suit also claimed that Vuitch and his staff falsified records to cover
    their tracks.

    The family won a judgment on December 23, 1976, but the settlement was sealed by court order.

    Georgianna English also died after an abortion by Milan Vuitch.

    Vuitch isn't the only aborionist who kept his nose clean as a criminal abortionist, only to kill two patients after legalization. Jesse Ketchum managed to kill Margaret Smith and Carole Schaner in a four-month period after New York put out a welcome mat for carpetbagging abortionists in 1970. Benjamin Munson of South Dakota killed Linda Padfield and Yvonne Mesteth.

    1987: Legal, yes. Safe? Hardly.

    Brenda Benton's survivors sued Chicago's notorious Biogenetics abortion mill after her death, claiming that Dusan Zivkovic and/or V. Perez had performed an abortion on her on March 13, 1987. She was placed under general anesthesia for the abortion. After she was discharged, Brenda developed fever, chills, and back pain. The suit says that 35-year-old Brenda returned to Biogenetics to report the se symptoms on March 27, and that Zivkovic examined Brenda and performed a D&C before transferring her to Martha Washington Hospital. There, Brenda's survivors say, Zivkovic called in other doctors for a consult. They then transferred Brenda to Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's hospital on April 6. She died there on April 20.

    Her death was due to infection and "overwhelming septicemia." Brenda's family said that Zivkovic failed to failed to determine that Brenda had had an adverse reaction to drugs he'd given her, and failed to detect and respond to her medical emergency. An expert opinion on the case attributes Brenda's death to inappropriate follow-up, and septicemia leading to fatal complications. Brenda's death certificate attributed death to hepatic necrosis due to toxicity reaction to abortion anesthesia.

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    1985: Mystery abortion kills woman

    The autopsy report for 22-year-old Joan Camp attributed her death to "complications apparently as a result of a recent termination of pregnancy." Joan had been found unconscious in the morning on May 18, 1985. She was rushed to Memorial Hospital in San Leandro, California, where doctors tried to save her life. Their efforts were futile. Joan died the next morning, May 19, 1985, from clots in her lungs.

    Had the CDC counted Joan's death -- something no outside researcher can confirm -- they would have classified her death as "unknown" abortion, because the coroner could not find out where the abortion was done. The CDC does not count an abortion death as a legal abortion death unless they can verify that the person who performed the abortion was a licensed physician, or another legally qualified medical professional in states that allow non-physician abortions.

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Even abortionists get queasy

    A British Abortionist Argues for a 16 Week Time Limit

    Some will rely on religious convictions to guide their decisions. But, although I was brought up a Roman Catholic, any religious beliefs I ever had have left me.

    Instead, in urging MPs to reduce dramatically the time limit, I look to more than 30 years’ experience in abortion services for the NHS and private clinics, to my time as medical director of one of Britain’s largest abortion services....


    So this isn't some nutcase right-to-lifer speaking. It's somebody who thinks highly enough of abortion as a practice to have devoted 30 years of his life to actually bloodying his hands with it.

    […]When it comes to abortion, a lot of the debate is somewhat euphemistic; the pro-lobby prefer to talk about “terminations” of “foetuses”.


    Even that is too straightforward for the United States, where it's all about "terminating" or even "interrupting" "pregnancies". ("Interrupting". As if you just hit the "Pause" button and can resume it at any time.)

    But if an IVF clinic shows you the first scan of your baby in the womb, you won’t find them using the word foetus to describe it. We are killing babies far older than that, and if we are going to have an honest debate then we have got to be straight about that.


    This isn't the first time an abortion has referred to abortion as killing a baby. Anybody want to contribute some quotes on that?

    The Conservative MP Nadine Dorries is campaigning to reduce the limit to 20 weeks. In the full knowledge of what is involved in late abortions, and the widespread distaste for them among the medical profession, I would go further, and support an amendment proposing 16 weeks.

    I am not alone. Within the NHS, the majority of doctors are refusing to carry out late abortions. Three quarters of late procedures are now carried out by private clinics. At Eastbourne Hospital, where I worked for 19 years, the medical staff eventually decided we would perform no abortions on social grounds after 14 weeks.


    There are a lot of developmental milestones where it would make some sort of sense to draw the line. The beating heart at 18 days. Brain waves at 42 days. All organ systems in place at 8 weeks. All structures in place at 12 weeks. But there are really no developmental milestones between 12 weeks and whenever the lungs become mature enough to support the baby outside the womb, somewhere after about 20 weeks. There is no logical reason to draw the line anywhere between 12 and 20 weeks. The only real difference is size.

    Size does matter, it seems, to the point where if you're a few grams heavier suddenly it's no longer an inalienable right for your mom to kill you.

    Most people do not realise just how distressing late abortions can be.


    Distressing to whom? The mother? The doctor? The nurses?

    The procedure remains the last taboo. While heart and brain surgery are regularly shown on television, the reality of a late abortion has never been seen on British screens.


    But they've come close:


    There are two main types of procedure; the medical type, which kills the baby via medication, meaning that the woman miscarries a stillborn.


    She delivers it. She doesn't miscarry it. A miscarriage is when the baby dies of natural causes or accidental injury. This is an abortion, the deliberate killing -- something that even this seasoned abortionist can't quite bring himself to say.

    Alternatively the surgical procedure uses instruments to remove parts of the dismembered body from the uterus, limb by limb. It is hard to describe how it feels to pull out parts of a baby, to see arms, and bits of leg, and finally the head.


    Warren Hern said "the sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current."

    Given the nature of this experience, it greatly concerns me how lightly some of these decisions are made.

    For every woman who comes late to the clinic because she did not realise she was pregnant, there will be another who feels it is simply their right to have an abortion whenever they like, and feels no need to explain herself at all.


    I've heard this before -- abortion staff getting sometimes downright angry that some women act as if the world owes it to them to dismantle their babies on request. Again, does anybody have some quotes they'd like to contribute?

    Recently, one woman came to me at the age of 42. After years of IVF treatment, she had finally conceived for the first time. Yet, when she found out she was carrying twins she wanted to have one aborted.

    For me, that is the ultimate illustration of a throwaway society.


    Yeah, she wouldn't want to be seen buying mayonnaise at Costco, would she?

    When even the abortionists are getting queasy about it, ought we not as a society to be questioning abortion?

    Late Addition:

    What all MPs should read before voting on the time limit

    This a prochoice columnist's commentary on a letter she got from a queasy abortion nurse:

    EVERY so often a letter arrives in a columnist's mailbag that throws a hand grenade right into the middle of a long-held view. That happened to me last week following my article in which I urged caution before lowering the time limit on abortion from 24 to 20 weeks. The letter came from a Registered General Nurse who works on a gynaecological ward that regularly deals with late terminations.


    So this time it's a nurse who supports abortion enough to actually participate. We're not getting this from wiggy right-to-lifers.

    She apologised for the "unpleasant and upsetting aspects" of her letter but felt her points needed to be said. I agree, and felt it also warranted a wider audience. Apparently, at 20 weeks, tablets can be given to kill the foetus prior to expulsion. But at 24 weeks it is sufficiently strong to survive the treatment and many are born with signs of life. "It is all too easy for people to picture a clump of cells or mush. People don't want to picture perfectly-formed miniature babies and I don't blame them, I was once the same," says Kay. "But having cut the umbilical cord on one who survived, then had to watch him gasp for breath for ten minutes on the side of a sink before he died, that sight will haunt me for ever."


    Ah, but surely this abortion was performed for some dramatic, compelling reason, right? Life of the mother? Oh, that's not likely, is it, since this nurse was working at a hospital, a place where a mother whose life is in danger would be quickly taken to the OR for a c-section and the baby would be whisked off to the NICU. So, something horrible must have been wrong with the baby, right? He must have had anencephaly, right? Or no kidneys, maybe? Or at least something, well, icky, like Down Syndrome or at least a cleft palate or extra fingers or something, something wrong with him, right?

    The reason given for that particular termination was that the mother's current boyfriend had a toddler son who might get jealous of a new baby. It took them 21 weeks to come to that conclusion.


    Note to my US readers: Doe vs Bolton, the companion decision to Roe vs Wade, would classify this as a compelling "health" justification for a late abortion. Yes, "family" concerns are also "health" reasons, according to SCOTUS.

    Kay adds: "I know of two nurses who went off work with stress as a result of their experience with late terminations. I suffered horrendous nightmares and guilt for months. The guilt comes from the fact that you as a nurse cut the umbilical cord and, as dramatic as it sounds, we felt like murderers."


    I'd certainly hope that standing around watching a baby die when he could have been brought to the NICU would make you feel like a murderer. It means you still have a heart, a conscience, some semblance of humanity still clinging to you, that you haven't entirely sold out to Moloch.

    Kay doesn't believe in hounding or criminalising women who have to make this extremely tough decision owing to severe disability. Her misgivings are reserved solely for those who use termination as a form of contraception. Women who, up until last week, I hoped were few and far between. But, according to Kay, these terminations far outstrip those carried out because of fetal abnormality or genuine emotional distress. She says: "There are girls who come back five or six times demanding terminations and they get them. How can someone coming for their fifth termination be allowed to keep saying it is due to emotional distress? I should imagine in ten years' time the emotional distress of being allowed to have five terminations is going to take its toll. What is going on?"


    Indeed.

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    Another one bites the dust

    Harvey Karman, 84; invented device for safer, easier abortions

    Clearly Elaine Woo, who wrote the obituary, had a thing for Harvey.

    She mentioned the bit of a muck-up with the 1972 Mother's Day fiasco in Philadelphia, when Karman did experimental abortions on a busload of women from Chicago, leaving the bulk of them with dangerous complications. She mentioned briefly that Karman "was part of a humanitarian mission to terminate the pregnancies of 1,500 Bangladesh women and girls who had been raped by Pakistani soldiers", but she failed to mention that as he would later do with the busload of minority women in Philadelphia, he had used the Bangladeshi rape victims as ginuea pigs for his "super coils" -- in this case supplementing them with balsa wood -- and again, leaving his victims with scars and complications.

    And though Woo mentions that Karman was arrested and jailed for his criminal abortion practice in California, she fails to mention Joyce Johnson. Karman killed her in 1955, trying to do an abortion on her with a nutcracker.

    Women maimed, women used as ginuea pigs, and at least one woman dead. (Many of the women in Bangladesh were lost to follow-up; God alone knows what became of them.) These little trivialities are barely worth a mention in a breathless retrospective of Karman's sorry life. He had an unbridled enthusiasm for abortion. And in the end, to people like Ms. Woo for whom abortion has become an end in itself, the women don't matter. Abortion does. Just as it mattered more than anything else in the world to Harvey Karman.

    Woo found others who adored Harvey Karman:

    "Harvey Karman did more for safe abortion around the world than practically any other person in the world," said Dr. Malcolm Potts, Bixby professor of Population, Family Planning and Maternal Health at UC Berkeley, who accompanied Karman to Bangladesh 35 years ago.


    Potts evidently overlooked the women who ended up with pieces of plastic springs and balsa wood perforating their wombs. Or didn't consider them important.

    Dr. Philip Darney, chief of gynecology and obstetrics at San Francisco General Hospital, admitted that the "super coils" were "a bad idea" but added "I don't think that offsets the importance" of Karman's other contributions. He doesn't say whether or not Joyce Johnson was among Harvey's important contributions.

    Carol Downer, who co-founded radical "women's health clinics" in Southern California in the 1970s, admitted that "Harvey engaged in some very irresponsible experimentation on women's bodies," but admired Karman as "a real change agent" in promoting cheap, readily available, casual abortions. "I would never take away from the importance of a lot of the work he did," she said.

    And Vicki Saporta, head of the National Abortion Federation, gushed that Karman was "responsible for saving the lives of countless women throughout the world through this innovative technology." Joyce Johnson remains invisible, a ghost, just like the women NAF members have killed themselves.

    I should pray for Harvey karman, make myself say, "May God have mercy on his soul." But thinking of Joyce Johnson, of the rape victims and the women on the bus, it's a difficult thing.

    Maybe we need to split the difference between abortion advocates, who stand ready to worship Harvey for all his tireless efforts to promote abortion in spite of the costs, and those like me, who can do little but look on in disgust and loathing for the very same reason.



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    Aw-inspiring

    Slide show of assorted zoo babies

    Anniversaries a year apart

    On May 18, 1924, Miss Mary Whitney died in St. Mary's Hospital in Chicago of complications of an abortion performed April 2, 1924 at the Chicago office of Dr. Lou E. Davis. Mary's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

    On May 18, 1925, Della Davis, a 25-year-old Black woman, died in Chicago from an illegal abortion performed that day. As far as I can determine, the person responsible for her death was never caught.


    Saturday, May 17, 2008

    Different. Excellent.

    Challenged Athletes Foundation

    Any of these guys could kick my butt any day of the week.

    Rudy Garcia-Tolson: born with multiple birth defects – Pterygium Syndrome, a clubfoot, webbed fingers on both hands, and a cleft lip and palate. His legs would not straighten; he had to crawl or use a wheelchair. Then at age 5, after 15 operations, Rudy took charge -- he told his parents he wanted to amputate those troublesome legs. Losing his crippled legs was a turning point. Rudy has become a competitive swimmer.

    Sarah Reinertsen: born with proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), Sarah wore a stiff, cumbersome leg brace until she age seven, when her leg was amputated. She's now a world-class athlete. She completed the freaking Iron Man Triathlon! (Could you do that, oh "able bodied" readers?) I learned about her when she was featured in this commercial for the Lincoln MKZ:


    Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah: born in Ghana with a deformed right leg, he refused to become a beggar. He biked around the country to abolish the perception that people with disabilities had nothing to offer:



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    1972: Journey to "safe" abortion kills teen

    "Danielle", age 18, had traveled from Massachusetts to New York for a safe and legal abortion. On May 17, 1972, the abortion was performed. Minutes after the abortion was completed, Danielle was dead. She'd developed arterial and veous air emboli -- air in her bloodstream.

    1904: Unusual abortion death

    On May 17, 1904, Miss Margaret McCarthy died in Chicago's Mary Thompson Hospital from an illegal abortion performed some days earlier at an unknown location. Mrs. Gertrude Plenz was arrested on May 21 for the death, and Benjamin Frederick, a boiler inspector, arrested for complicity.

    Both Plenz and Frederick were held by Coroner's Jury. Plenz is listed as an unskilled laborer.

    Margaret's abortion was unusual in that it was performed by an amateur, rather than by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    One that got away

    Miracle Child Once Scheduled For Abortion At Tiller’s Will Go To Abortion Clinic Today To Save Lives

    Donna Joy Vance had been diagnosed in-utero with abnormalities supposedly incompatable with life. Her mom's doctors recommended an abortion.


    Donna Joy: 2 days old


    At the top of this photo you can see part of Donna's brain protruding through the back of her skull.


    Donna at age 10.

    Never forget that when a doctor gives a prognosis, he's doing the same thing the weather man is doing: trying to predict the future. Would you stake your child's life on somebody's prediction?

    Though I think Donna's mom is a bit confused. Like many people, she assumes that all late abortions are PBAs or "partial birth abortions". If Donna's mom had gone to Tiller, he would have performed an induction abortion -- injecting the baby with chemicals to kill her, then inducing labor.

    HT: Catholic Fire

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Another ringing endorsement

    Amber blogs about her abortion

    The counselor sat me down in a chair and was very straightforward the whole time. I’m sure everything she asked was required, because she did it with no emotion whatsoever.
    “Now you understand that taking these pills will cause an abortion and this is the decision you’ve decided to make?”
    She had such a monotone voice, no sympathy, not even in her face.


    Considering what this counselor knows Amber is in for, she probably can't afford to have any feelings whatsoever. If she connected on any level with these patients she'd probably slit her wrists at the end of the work day.

    When my name was called again, I was led to a room in the back of the hallway known as the “Recovery Room”. It’s a little weird for a recovery room. There aren’t any beds; instead they have these really comfortable leather recliners. I mean, they are comfortable, and they recline to about the length of a twin-sized bed. These are probably the only good things about this room. In the far corner, there were 4 of these recliners with women lying on them. Curtains were drawn around each one, and I could only see their feet hanging out. They were all shaking, crying, and moaning. I wanted to walk up to one and hold her hand and ask her how she was feeling, and if there was anything I could do. It was so awful to sit there and hear all of it.


    So much for the assertions I've often encountered about how giddy with joy women are after their abortions. Not to mention the alleged warmth of abortion staff. These women were left alone to deal with their anguish, with nobody there to give a damn about them but poor Amber, who wanted to reach out but didn't know how.

    So, not knowing what to do, Amber left those women to their individual agonies, took her "abortion to go kit", went home, and followed the instructions.

    It felt like someone was stabbing me in the stomach over and over again. And at that moment, I really did want someone to do that.


    And, as we'll see later, Amber didn't get a full dose into her system. Imagine how much she'd have been hurting had she managed to get the full dose.

    When I stood up I felt dizzy. I grabbed the door to balance myself, and my vision began to blur and go black around the tips of my eyes. I began to freak out, thinking something was seriously wrong and that I would have to go to the hospital and tell my parents and everything was just all down hill from there. I got to my room, and literally fell on my bed. I had broken out into a cold sweat, but by 5 minutes, the dizziness and sweat had subsided, and I passed out again.


    So much for the idea that abortion is quick and painless.

    He explained that since I had thrown up some of the medication, it most likely caused the procedure to not work as it should have. At this point, I was pretty much freaking out. I KNEW what the next step was, and that was surgery. ACTUAL surgery. The vacuum surgery. I asked him what the sound I heard coming from the ultra-sound was, and he said it was the heartbeat. I began to cry.
    He went on to explain that although the child was still living, there was an extreme possibility of deformity, and that surgery was my best option. My appointment was set up for the following Monday.


    I'm not sure if Amber was crying because she had to undergo surgery, because the heartbeat made her baby real to her and that was hard to cope with, because all of this was scary and dragging on what must have seemed forever, or for any mix of those reasons and then some. I don't think Amber really knows. She seems pretty much overwhelmed. And I haven't read any sign that she got any help at all sorting out her emotions aside from what she Googled on her own.

    I wanted everything to be over. I was tired of coming to Planned Parenthood, and reliving that first day. I wanted it all to end.
    When it was over, they wheeled me into the recovery room, and I lay just like those 4 women I saw on the first day, with my feet hanging out, and shaking all over.
    I was sore over the next few days, and felt miserable not just about that situation, but about everything else going on in my life too. I sat down and opened up a google webpage, this time I googled “ways to commit suicide.”
    I prayed. I got on my knees and said, “God, take my life, or please show me your will. I do not want to live any longer.” Everyday after that, I began to pray for God to remove me of that pain, and from all the insanity going on in my life at the time.


    Imagine you're the counselor. You know this is what the future holds for your patient. How do you get through your day? Your week? How do you sleep nights?

    What do you tell yourself to keep you getting up in the morning and going in for one day after another of processing women through this ordeal?

    And supposedly the prolifers are the anti-woman monsters -- for thinking women deserve better.

    HT: JJ

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    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    1972: Trip from Michigan for safe abortion proves fatal

    "Roxanne" was 17 years old when she traveled to New York from Michigan to have a first-trimester abortion in a doctor's office. The doctor gave her sedatives and local anesthesia to begin the abortion on May 13, 1972. But before the abortion could be started, Roxanne started to have convulsions and went into cardiac arrest. Roxanne was taken to an area hospital, but she was declared dead on arrival.

    An investigation into the case revealed that the doctor had exceeded the recommended dose of the local anesthesetic.

    Monday, May 12, 2008

    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Another DS book!

    Count Us, by Jason Kingsley and Mitchell Levitz. Two young men with Down syndrome wrote a book for a young adult audidience about what having DS means in their lives.

    Amazon.com has a preview feature so you can see if this book seems right for you or the intended gift recipient.

    A false dichotomy

    Abortion. Let’s talk about it.

    The whole argument seems to be that you have to take sides every time a pregnant woman faces challenges. You have to pick one: mother or baby. One of them has to be sacrificed.

    This is a construct that the abortion lobby created, and it's a crime that the prolife movement ever let themselves get tangled up in it.



    Mothers and babies are not enemies. We need to stop letting the real Enemy frame abortion as if they were.

    Robert's Rules

    Robert Folzenlogen at Nature's Blog: Motherhood and Abortion just about wins the silly award:

    Animal studies have demonstrated that almost half of fertilized eggs fail to implant in the uterus; of those that do implant, some are lost to spontaneous abortion (miscarriage). The "pro-life" contingent, which insists that life begins at fertilization, are either ignorant of these facts or choose to ignore them.


    Buess what? All studies, human and animal show 100% mortality after birth or hatching. 100%! So I guess this means that all killing is okay, since we're all gonna die anyway?

    Robert, not only are you being illogical, you're being unoriginal. The old "So many of them die anyway, it must be okay to kill them" has been around as long as I've been an activist, which is going on 25 years now.

    1994: National Abortion Federation member services leave teen dead

    Fifteen-year-old Sara Neibel went to Midtown Hospital in Atlanta for an abortion at 17 weeks. She was given a clean bill of health and sent home.

    The next day, she reported a severe headache, sore neck, neck stiffness, and trouble seeing. Her parents began the drive to take her to the hospital. On the way there, Sara began screaming and behaving strangely. When they got to the hospital, she refused to get out of the car. She was disoriented and stuporous upon admission.

    Sara went into respiratory arrest, and was admitted to the ICU. She was pronounced dead May 11, 1994. The cause of death was determined to be Group B Streptococci Meningitis caused by infected amniotic fluid in her bloodstream. The autopsy performed on Sara found dead tissue and a fetal bone fragment in her infected uterus.

    Midtown Hospital was a member of the National Abortion Federation. Discuss NAF here.



    1992: Antiquated abortion technique leaves young woman dead

    "Melissa" was 27 years old and five months pregnant when she checked into Lutheran Medical Center of Brooklin for a safe, legal abortion on May 1, 1992. For some reason, her doctor chose the dangerous and antiquated saline abortion procedure. She died of complications on May 11.

    1981: Doc's failure to diagnose leaves student dead

    A lawsuit filed by the father of Barbara Dillon, a 22-year-old college student, alleged that Barbara underwent an abortion performed by Dr. Mark Silver at Long Island Gynecological Group April 18, 1981.

    Barbara's father said that the pathology report identified placental tissue, but no fetal parts. This meant that something had gone wrong, and that Barbara needed medical care, but nobody contacted her to tell her this.

    Barbara suffered pain and bleeding from May 5. She went to the emergency room and was treated with antibiotics and advised to see her family doctor. She was in severe pain later that day, so her roommates called the emergency room again. They were told to give the antibiotics more time.

    Barbara's pain did not abate. On May 10, her roommates got a neighbor to take Barbara to the university health center. Barbara was unconscious upon arrival, with no respiration, blood pressure, or pulse, and was rushed to the emergency room. There were delays finding a doctor from the clinic who would aid the emergency room physician in addressing Barbara's symptoms. She went into irreversible shock and died on May 11. It turned out that Barbara had an ectopic pregnancy which the clinic had failed to detect. Barbara's father also sued Silver over his daughter's death.

    Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually more likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners.

    Meet the woman who is not a woman

    The abortion lobby supposedly is there to support women, regardless of whether they choose life or death for their unborn babies. But they're perfectly willing to throw this woman, and others like her, under the bus, to tell them that they're flat out WRONG for loving their unborn children, and grieving when those children are taken from them in brutal attacks.

    Tracy:

    I carried Zachariah in my womb for almost nine full months. He was killed in my womb, only five days from his delivery date. The first time I ever held him in my arms, he was already dead. ....

    There is no way that I can really tell you about the pain I feel when I visit my son’s grave site in Milwaukee, and at other times, thinking of all that we missed together. But that pain was greater because the man who killed Zachariah got away with murder.

    ....

    I know that some lawmakers and some groups insist that there is no such thing as an unborn victim, and that crimes like this only have a single victim – but that is callous and it is wrong. Please don’t tell me that my son was not a real victim of a real crime.


    As I've said before, opposition to Unborn Victims of Violence laws isn't a matter of taking sides in a turf war between women and unborn babies. It's a matter of taking sides in a turf war between women who love their unborn babies, and women who see them as medical waste to be disposed of.

    Mothers and babies are not, as the abortion lobby would have us believe, natural enemies. It's the rare mother who really, in her heart of hearts, wants her baby dead. But it's those mothers, and those mothers alone, whose interests the abortion lobby fights to preserve.

    Their callous disregard for the pain of women like Tracy more than proves that.

    The abortion lobby says that Tracy is flat out WRONG to see that child in her arms as a baby -- that she's sadly deluded for seeing a dead baby deserving of a funeral. That what she has in her arms is just tissue, suited only for sending to the pathology lab with no more ceremony or emotion than would accompany your tonsils.



    If you can look at this picture wonder why that woman is cradling a pathology specimen, by all means march in lockstep with the abortion lobby. Believe everything they say about their agenda and women's uniform and unbridled enthusiasm for that agenda.

    If you see a grieving mother holding her murdered baby, start asking questions. And never take anything the abortion lobby says at face value again.

    Oh yeah, they're fighting for women, all right. Just not women like Tracy.

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    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    Moonbat alert! The self-sacrificing fetus!

    Frances Kissling: fetuses might want to die for their mothers

    As a fetus I would have gladly given up my chance to enter the world and become Frances Kissling to have given my mother a better chance at happiness. Far too much is made of a mother's obligations to her children and far too little of what a child's love for her mother means. If fetuses could love, I think they would be as passionate in defense of their mothers as born children become.


    Ms. Kissling, any mother who would accpet such a sacrifice would be undesrving of it, even if it were possible. The only situation in which it would be even remotely right for the mother to allow the child to sacrifice himself for her would be if the child was a grown man stepping between his mom and an aggressor, or pulling her from a burning building, or whatever. What kind of mother would, say, willingly move out of the path of an oncoming car at the feel of her toddler's hands on her legs, letting the toddler get flattened?

    I guess the same kind of mother that would have an abortion and congratulate herself on "allowing" the child to "make the sacrifice".

    Second point, Ms. K -- There's nothing whatsoever noble about YOU CHOOSING THE SACRIFICE OF SOMEBODY ELSE'S LIFE ON YOUR BEHALF. EVER. EVER. EVER. And only a freaking PSYCHOPATH would think so.

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    Fund an abortion for Mother's Day!

    In the "What crass and inappropriate thing will they think of next?" department: Abortion Provider Seeks 'Mother's Day' Gifts for Itself -- Planned Parenthood suggests that a donation in Mom's name is a perfect way to say, "Thanks for not aborting me!"

    Kinda like having a Black History Month fundraiser for the KKK.

    Planned Parenthood should be ashamed of what they do.

    Georgette Forney, co-founder of Silence No More Awareness Campaign, a group of women and men who speak publicly about the suffering abortion has caused in their lives, also found irony in Planned Parenthood using motherhood as a marketing tool.

    Forney told Cybercast News Service that her organization also sent e-mails to thousands of women she called "childless mothers," or those whose only pregnancy was ended by abortion.

    "They are looking at Mother's Day with such a heart of pain," Forney said. "We wanted them to know they are not alone."


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    Down syndrome: Call for photos!

    Call for photos: Down syndrome on Times Square

    Dear Friend:

    Celebrate the Buddy Walk's 14th anniversary by entering the Times Square Video Contest. The video, which showcases individuals with Down syndrome from all over the world, will air on the Panasonic News Corporation Astrovision screen in Times Square on September 28 at 10:30 a.m. The New York City Buddy Walk™ will immediately follow the video at the Great Hill in Central Park.

    Each year, NDSS receives thousands of photo submissions for the Times Square Video Contest. Because the Buddy Walk™ promotes acceptance and inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome, the winning photographs feature children, teens and adults with Down syndrome working, playing and learning with friends and family. Please limit photos to no more than three per individual with Down syndrome. If more than three pictures are received, only the first three will be considered.


    Click here to see last year's video. Be prepared to be blown away!

    And let's not forget my favorite DS sites:

  • Band of Angels -- Buy greeting cards, calendars, and -- a treasure -- the Common Threads coffee table book. It's gorgeous!

  • Beautiful dolls from Downi Creations

  • And here's a great selection of t-shirts from Cafe Press:
    - Down syndrome isn't scary - It's just different.
    - Love does not count chromosomes.
    - The more the merrier
    - God made ME in His image, too
    - My child took me to Holland -- And I never looked back!
    - And then there's this one that you have to see for yourself.

    In closing, read Welcome to Holland
  • Friday, May 09, 2008

    1901: Doc performs fatal back-alley abortion

    On May 9, 1901, Mrs. G.H. Matteson, a homemaker, died from an illegal abortion in Chicago. Mrs. Matteson's husband was arrested, as was Dr. J.B. Butts, who was held by Coroner's Inquest on May 16.

    Mrs. Matteson's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

    Thursday, May 08, 2008

    1981: Second of four women to die at same safe and legal clinic

    Twenty-four-year-old Maura Morales was eight weeks pregnant when she went to Woman's Care Center for an abortion on May 8, 1981.

    When she was in the recovery room, her heart went into spontaneous ventricular fibrillation -- irregular heartbeats not capable of effectively pumping blood.

    Maura was taken to a hospital, but died that day.

    Maura was the fourth woman to die at the same facility. The others were Shirley Payne, Myrta Baptiste, and Ruth Montero.

    1975: Abortionist's ploy costs teen her life

    Sixteen-year-old Rita McDowel was the daughter of Ethel Kennedy's part-time housekeeper. On March 4, 1975, Robert Sherman performed a safe, legal abortion on Rita. When Rita was discharged, her mother was informed that she would probably expel the fetus that night.

    Rita did not expel the fetus. Instead, she developed a fever. Her mother called Sherman's facility on March 5 to seek care for her daughter. She said that Sherman would not speak to her, and that the receptionist told her to bring Rita in two days later.

    In the early morning hours of March 7, Rita awoke screaming, then collapsed in her mother's arms. Doctors at the hospital where Rita was taken removed the fetus, but she died just after midnight on March 8.

    An investigation into Rita's death revealed evidence that Sherman deliberately performed incomplete abortions so that he could charge more for follow-up care. Sherman was charged with murder in Rita's death, and prosecutors presented witnesses and evidence that Sherman re-used disposable medical equipment, failed to perform tests to verify pregnancy, failed to do pathology examinations of abortion tissues, allowed a nurse's aide to perform surgery, and falsified medical records.

    Sherman claimed to develop heart problems during the murder trial. He plea-bargained, getting the murder charge dropped in exchange for a guilty plea on the perjury charges. The prosecutor defended the plea bargain on the grounds that the felony convictions would block Sherman from ver practicing medicine again. Sherman served two years in a federal prison, then set up a legal abortion practice in Boston.

    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    1986: Abortionist's misdiagnosis kills young woman

    Claudia Caventou, age 33, underwent a first-trimester abortion at Mercy Medical Clinic in Los Angeles on May 8, 1986, performed by H. N. Fahmy.

    Claudia's boyfriend was in the waiting room during the procedure. Staff told him that everything was okay, and suggested that he leave and get something to eat. Since he'd heard Claudia screaming earlier, he decided to stay. Several hours later, he heard the doctor come out and tell his staff to call 911. Claudia was taken to a hospital where she underwent emergency surgery for what doctors thought was a perforated uterus. It turned out that Claudia's pregnancy had been in her fallopian tube, which had ruptured during the abortion. Efforts to save Claudia were futile, and she died later that day.

    Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually more likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners.

    1928: Chicago abortion proves fatal

    On May 8, 1928, 27-year-old Margaret Barnts died from a criminal abortion performed by Pauline Zickerman or Nickelman. (The name is given two different ways in the source, perhaps due to illegible handwriting on their original source documents.) The defendant was indicted for felony murder on May 15, 1928. Her profession is not mentioned.

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    An illegal abortion, or really bad fact-checking?

    Patricia Miller's The Worst of TImes



    describes the death of a woman that NOW's site tells as the story of Vivian Campbell:
    Vivian Campbell
    December 12, 1925 - May 6, 1950
    Vivian Campbell was the mother of two children ages five and three. She was newly separated from her husband when she realized she was pregnant. Sending her children to stay with her parents, she sought and obtained an illegal abortion. She sent for her husband, but by the time he arrived at the hospital it was too late. She died in agony of peritonitis.


    In Miller's book, the chapter "Gloria" has a woman telling of her mother's death. The following facts match:
    • The woman's name was Vivian
    • She had two children, the older of which was almost six years old
    • She was separated from her husband
    • She died in May of 1950
    • The children were taken to live with their maternal grandparents prior to their mother's fatal hospitalization
    • She was hospitalized
    • While hospitalized, she died of peritonitis
    • Neither story has any details whatsoever of how the abortion was performed, or by whom, or even who was suspected or what police investigation took place.

    There are some differences:
    • NOW has Vivian dying at age 24; Gloria said her mother was 27
    • NOW said that the estranged husband arrived at the hospital "too late," and gave the impression that Vivian was already dead; Gloria said that her father brought Vivian to the hospital, but it was too late to save her. (This may just be muddling rather than skewed facts.)

    Gloria indicated that she learned "the truth" of how her mother died when she needed a copy of the death certificate years later. The death certificate said "spontaneous abortion". Gloria clearly doesn't understand that this means a miscarriage; she took this as proof that her mother had obtained some sort of illegal abortion. So Gloria's mother may have miscarried, or the death certificate could have been sanitized.

    Did this poor woman devote her entire life to promoting legal abortion based on not understanding a word on a death certificate, the way Becky Bell's parents have been devoting their lives to promoting secret abortions for underage girls because they misunderstood a word on the cover page of an autopsy report?

    But NOW's researchers certainly should have known that a "spontaneous abortion" is a miscarriage, and would have nothing to do with any sort of "back alley abortion".

    This is another case I will have to investigate. Gloria said her family lived in Dusquesne, Pennsylvania at the time of her mother's death. I might have a difficult time tracking down an obituary to see if the Vivian in Gloria's story is Vivian Campbell.

    Does anybody know? This obituary of retired Pittsburgh Police Commander Gwendolyn J. "Gwen" Elliott says that Gwen's mother was Vivian Campbell and died of a "botched abortion" when Gwen was 5, which means that Gwen was probably "Gloria" in Miller's book. Since it's an obituary, there was no fact-checker. And please notice -- NOW and Patricia Miller give no sources for their tales of abortion deaths. Every death in my Cemetery of Choice has sources listed. And every death I blog about, I link to my main article that contains my cite. Let's give a few random examples:

  • Mary Pena: coroner's report Case No. 84-16016, Press-Telegram July 14-22 1985; LA County Coroner Case No. 84-16016; "Abortion held safe, but not for these 2 women," Press-Telegram, July 14-22 1985
  • Kelly Morse: Defend Life, Aug.-Sept., 1998; Dauphin County (PA) Court of Common Pleas, Civil Action # 6070 S96
  • Denise Montoya: Harris County District Court Case No. 89-16747
  • Gloria Aponte: Associated Press 11/22/89
  • Mary Bradley: Alabama Death Certificate #85-10613; Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, Autopsy Report # 27(A)-85-31536; Circuit Court for Monroe County, Alabama Case # CV-85-54

    Compare that to the NOW site, which simply asserts the stories as true -- including Becky Bell's story, which we know to be a lie from just reading her autopsy report. Which is more credible?



    For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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  • 1924: Back alley abortion fatal for Chicago woman

    On May 6, 1924, 24-year-old Madelyn Anderson died at Chicago's Washington Park Hospital from a criminal abortion performed that day. The coroner recommended the arrest of a woman identified as "Dr. Ogdenberg". On May 13, Dr. Louise Achtenberg was arrested for Madelyn's death.Achtenberg was indicted for felony murder on May 15.

    Madelyn's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.



    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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    1945: Mom brings 4-year-old with her for fatal abortion

    Beatrice Fern Fisher, age 36, operated a gas station and grocery store with her husband, Lyle, in Snohomish county, about seventeen miles north of Seattle. The couple had three children, aged 14, 13, and 4. Around 1937, Beatrice had successfully sought an abortion, performed by the same Seattle doctor who had delivered her oldest child. Around March 4 of 1945, Beatrice informed her husband that she was pregnant, and that she intended to return to Seattle for an abortion to be performed by the woman who'd done the first abortion. Her husband wasn't happy with the plan, but left the matter to his wife.

    On March 5, Beatrice took her four-year-old daughter and $100 in cash and drove to Seattle to seek her former physician. On the way to Seattle, Beatrice stopped at the home of her mother-in-law, Ethel Howard. Mrs. Howard was a practical nurse. While at her mother-in-law's house, Beatrice called a "Dr. T" and spoke to him about having an abortion done. This was the first Mrs. Howard learned of the pregnancy.

    At some point that morning, Beatrice called her husband and said that she'd not been able to talk to her doctor, but that the nurse at the doctor's office had referred her to "Dr. T" in Seattle.

    Beatrice, her mother-in-law, and the little girl went to Seattle, to Dr. T's office. They arrived at around noon. Dr. T was not available, but his nurse gave Beatrice a business card from Dr. T. On the back, she wrote the name of Dr. Frank C. Hart, along with the address of his office in the Joshua Green building in Seattle.

    Beatrice and her companions went to Hart's office, where they found a waiting room full of women but no nurse. Later, Hard came into the waiting room and announced, "Five of you women that came in just now leave and those that were here yesterday remain." Mrs. Howard left with the little girl, but Beatrice stayed.

    On the drive home, at about 5:00, Beatrice stopped at her mother-in-law's home. She said she had a severe headache. She was perspiring heavily. Mrs. Howard, following Dr. Hart's instructions, gave her daughter-in-law black tea and put a hot water bottle under her back. That was when she noticed that Beatrice's genitals were bandaged.

    Beatrice stayed in bed for about 45 minutes, then got up for dinner with her in-laws. She left for home at about 8:30, stopping at the gas station to pick up her husband.

    The following morning, Beatrice told her husband that she was returning to Dr. Hart to have "blood clots" removed. She looked tired. She took her daughter with her again, stopping again at her mother-in-law's house. The three went into Seattle, ate lunch, then went to Hart's office. During the trip, Beatrice reported chest and arm pain, and her face was flushed deep red.

    At Hart's office, the women again found a waiting room full of women, but no nurse. Again, Hart made the announcement that those who were there for the first time were to leave, and the rest were to remain. He told Beatrice to proceed into the office. Mrs. Howard told Hart that she was very concerned about Beatrice. Fisher told her, "This is no place for relations and children. Meet her downstairs in the lobby."

    Expecting her daughter-in-law to be ready to leave in about 20 minutes, Mrs. Howard went to do some shopping. On returning to the building, she found a crowd of people gathered in the lobby near the flower shop. Mrs. Howard approached the group and found Beatrice lying dead.

    The autopsy determined that Beatrice had been about two months pregnant. There were clear signs that somebody had performed a curettage. The uterine wall had been gouged in several places. Clots had formed over these gouges. The coroner concluded that one of these clots had formed an embolism that had lodged in Beatrice's lung, causing her death.

    On March 7, Hart was arrested. He showed authorities through his premises and gave instruments into evidence, including sponge-forceps and irrigating curettes. When questioned, Hart said that he kept no patient records and didn't give receipts.

    Hart was convicted of abortion and manslaughter in Beatrice's death.

    Beatrice's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.



    For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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