Saturday, August 30, 2008

The predictable abortion advocacy response

Planned Parenthood Action Center sent me an email with the snarky title, "Truly stunning: a woman who doesn't trust other women"

Well, sometimes some women don't deserve to be trusted.

Andrea Yates and Susan Smith are living proof that just having two X chromosomes doesn't mean you can be trusted. They were trusted with children, and that trust proved to be tragically misplaced.

Others choose to kill children before birth. And Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards is fine with that.

Well, like Governor Sarah Palin, I hold that this is one choice women ought not to simply be "trusted" with.

Regardless of your genetic makeup, killing another human being just because you think your life would be easier that way not a valid choice, and the very act of making that choice is proof that you can not be trusted.

At least not with a child.

Which is why we need to restore legal protection to the unborn.

Some women can't be trusted.

You need look no further from the nation's appalling abortion rate for proof of that.

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain's pick: A Pro-Life Feminist. Go Sarah!

I'm jazzed! I heard about the choice when I was driving home from work. I don't have time to make my own comments, so I'll just pass along the Feminists For Life press release.

("Madam Vice President" -- I like the sound of that!)

FFL Member Nominated for Vice President of the United States

Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, has been selected by Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain as his running mate.

According to The Anchorage Daily News published August 6, 2006, "Palin said last month that no woman should have to choose between her career, education and her child." The article went onto say that "she's a member of a pro-woman but anti-abortion group called Feminists for Life." "I believe in the strength and the power of women, and the potential of every human life,' she said."

Feminists for Life's policy is that all memberships are confidential. However, since Governor Palin has been public about her membership, we can confirm that Palin became a member in 2006.

Earlier this week Feminists for Life reacted to the inclusion of woman-centered solutions in the Democratic Party platform, and the inclusion of FFL's trademarked message, "Women deserve better® than abortion,©" in the Republican Party platform.

FFL President Serrin Foster said "It is unprecedented to see the platforms of both major U.S. political parties incorporate key pieces of FFL's unique message."

"Of course there is a certain excitement about the recent movement toward FFL's woman-centered solutions and message by the parties, and now the selection of a pro-life feminist as the Vice Presidential nominee. But as a nonpartisan organization, we cannot endorse any candidates," Foster said.

“FFL members represent a broad political as well as religious spectrum, and we remain both nonpartisan and nonsectarian. There are many issues outside Feminists for Life’s mission. Feminists for Life is dedicated to systematically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion—primarily lack of practical resources and support—through holistic, woman-centered solutions. We recognize that abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women and that too often women have settled for less. Women deserve better than abortion,” said Foster.

As each party takes steps to acknowledge and meet the needs of women, Feminists for Life is prepared to work with our elected leaders on behalf of girls and women who deserve far better than abortion. FFL has a long track record of working with both sides of the political aisle on major legislation such as the Violence Against Women Act, Child Support Enforcement Act, and much more. Many members of Congress have already stepped forward to cosponsor the FFL-inspired bill with bipartisan support, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pregnant and Parenting Student Services Act.

"We invite all parties, all public servants, and all people to join us on the bridge of woman-centered solutions," Foster said.

And I have to add a collection of links.

I'm so jazzed! Why does this have to come down the pike when I'm about to go spend a three day weekend with no internet!?

  • McCain/Palen For Life

  • Jill Stanek: McCain picks Palin!

  • Dawn Patrol: Obama, Face Down - Quotes an email from Jill Stanek: "Palin chose life for her baby with Down syndrome. Obama relegated these babies to death despite testimony that at least one aborted-alive Down's baby had been abandoned to die in a hospital soiled-utility room."

  • Neocon Express: OK! I'm on board!

  • My Domestic Church: I Support Sarah Palin!

  • MommyLife: (The pot calling the kettle black.)

  • Wisconsin Right to Life Praises Palin

  • Issues Statement Supporting Palin Pick

  • Constitutionally Right: Obama’s Campaign Attacks Sarah Palin For Inexperience

  • Right Wing News: The Hillary Clinton Forum: We're Voting McCain/Palin Now

  • Stop the ACLU: More On the Wisdom of Choosing Palin

  • Stop the ACLU again: Fred on Sarah

  • The Anchoress: Palin brings GOP Flavor in ‘08

  • Viewpoint Journal: Governor Palin Could Be A ‘Heartbeat Away’

  • Susan B. Anthony List: It is true!! Sarah Palin for Vice President!

  • Christian News WireShe's Perfect

    I'll try to get myself and my Mac to a McDonald's tomorrow to blog some more.


    Just some more excellent links (from Vital Signs Blog:

  • Dennis Prager :: Columnist
    Dobson: "I would pull that lever" for John McCain - Sarah Palin

  • The Corner at NRO: The hostess with the moosest -- Governor Palin has run a state and a town and a commercial fishing operation, whereas .... Senator Obama ain't run nothin' but his mouth. .... Post-partisan? She took on her own party's corrupt political culture directly while Obama was sucking up to Wright and Ayers and being just another get-along Chicago machine pol .... Likewise, on abortion, we're often told it's easy to be against it in principle but what if you were a woman facing a difficult birth or a handicapped child? Been there, done that.

  • Weekly Standard: What Palin Does - 4. Revs up the base AND excites independents, which no one else in the party, or perhaps in the world, could have accomplished.

  • The Corner at NRO: McCain-Palin? - From a purely tactical aspect, Palin would knock the legs out from under Obama's monopoly hold on "change."

  • USA Today: Friends: VP choice has 'very strong' values -- Actually this piece isn't just what her friends say. It's what her critics say and a look at specifics, such as the allegations of overstepping her bounds to call for her ex-brother-in-law's head on a pike.

  • The Corner at NRO: Palin Pros & Cons - Today, I go from from an ambivalent McCain supporter driven more by fear of Obama to someone who can feel good about the prospects of a McCain administration. Amen to that!

  • Wall Street Journal: Profile of Alaska's Sarah Palin: Governor, Reformer, Mother -- Adds a lot of info, not just another "Hip, hip -- HOORAY!"

  • Power Line Blog: Talk about an outsider!

    Not to mention, as Craig Ferguson points out, she's got a "naughty librarian" vibe to her:

    Hate to disappoint you, Craig, but she's married.
  • Sad anniversaries

    On August 29, 1925, Katarzyna Tobiasz, age 31 or 32, died at Chicago's St. Mary's Hospital from an abortion performed on her there that day. A woman whose name is spelled once as Barbara Kolur and elsewhere as Barbara Kar was held by the coroner on August 31 for Katarzyna's death. Kolur/Kar's profession is given as nurse or midwife. On July 5, 1927, she was indicted by a grand jury for felony murder in Katarzyna's death.

    In 1927, fifteen-year-old Florence Kruse became pregnant as a result of statutory rape by Corwyn Lynch. Somebody arranged for an abortion, which was performed on August 29. Florence died that day. Dr. James Aldrich was arrested on murder by abortion charges that day for the girl's death. However, the coroner's jury was unable to confirm that Aldrich had performed the abortion, and he was released. Florence's father, Louis C. Kruse, was booked as an accessory. However, on September 17, both men were cleared by the coroner, and on September 19 they were released. The coroner did, however, recommend that Corwyn Lynch be charged with murder. There is no record that Lynch was charged.

    How common was it before legalization for somebody with medical training, or even a physician, to be involved in an abortion?
    It was rare. Most abortions were performed without any sort of medical oversight at all.
    It was seen fairly frequently. About 20% of abortions had a doctor or nurse involved in some role.
    It happened about half the time.
    It was the rule, rather than the exception. Almost all illegal abortions were performed by doctors, and many of the rest by nurses, midwives, or other people with medical training.

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

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    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    Sad news -- with a correction

    Two-headed baby boy Kiron dies at home

    A pair of dicephalic twins was born in Bangladesh. Their parents, who could not afford medical care, took them home. They developed respiratory problems and a fever, and died.

    To reiterate -- There were two children. If you doubt it, consider the Hensel twins:

    Did the boys die because of lack of medical care? I can't say. After all, conjoined twins rarely survive to birth, and frequently die soon afterward, due to malformations in their internal organs. Boys also have a higher risk of death than girls -- as do all male children.

    I would like to have known about the boys, and to have seen a fund set up to provide their medical care. I certainly would have readily contributed.

    Of course, the death of a child is always sad, the deaths of two children doubly sad. But considering how rare it is for such children to survive to birth, this is more a happy story that ended too soon. Whether it could have been lived out longer we will likely never know.

    1943: Abortion sepsis or ingrown toenail?

    Naomi Congdon, age 21, was the wife of Donald Congdon, a sailor from Denver, stationed in Norman, Oklahoma. She died in an Oklahoma hospital on August 28, 1943.

    The string of events that led to her death begaon on July 27, 1943, when Dr. Andrew Young examined Naomi and noted that she was pregnant, and also that she had an ingrown toenail that was infected. The infection, he said, was "minor".

    Naomi told her husband that she wanted to "do something" about the pregnancy. She even admitted to him that she had ingested turpentine to try to cause an abortion, but had vomited it back up. Donald objected to the idea of an abortion.

    On August 16, Donald found a note from his wife, telling him that she was at the home of Mrs. Lena Griffin Smith, a 63-year-old maternity nurse in Oklahoma City. Donald went there and found his wife in great pain. He contacted doctors at the naval base, who instructed him to have Naomi brought to the base hospital. Donald called an ambulance and rode with his wife to the hospital.

    After Naomi was hospitalized, Smith called Donald and asked if she was going to face further questioning. Donald said he didn't think so, since Naomi hadn't died from the abortion.

    Police raided Smith's practice at her residence, finding one woman in bed recuperating from an abortion, and another just arriving for "treatment" she had already paid for. Smith confessed that she had been operating an abortion business for about 15 years. She had an accomplice, Mrs. Pearl Green, who was also a nurse. Smith herself had attended medical school for two years.

    On August 19, a Navy doctor examined Naomi and found she had a fever of 103 from an infection that appeared to have started in her uterus. He administered sulfa drugs and blood transfusions. But despite the efforts of the Navy doctors, Naomi died of septicemia on August 28.

    Smith was charged with first-degree manslaughter. Her defense claimed that Naomi had already been feverish when she'd come for care, and that the fatal infection had originated in the ingrown toenail. Dr. R. S. Love testified that at the autopsy he conducted he could not determine absolutely if the septicemia had come from the foot infection or an abortion, but in cross-examination the prosecution wondered how a woman in otherwise good health could have died on August 28 from an ingrown toenail that had been observed as a "minor" infection a month earlier. The defense also noted that Naomi's landlady had found turpentine, ergot, and douche powders in Naomi's room, indicating that Naomi herself had initiated the abortion and thus allowed the toenail infection to take hold and become fatal. However, Donald noted in his testimony that on August 15, the day prior to the visit to Smith, Naomi had been in apparent good health and had even gone on a trip to Turner Falls for the day with some friends.

    The jury found Smith guilty, and recommended a 10-year sentence.

    Smith also faced manslaughter charges regarding the death of an infant born in an Oklahoma City hospital after Smith had attempted to perform an abortion on the child's mother.

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

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    1926: Who was Minnie Miller?

    On August 28, 1926, 44-year-old Margaret Muscia died from a criminal abortion performed that day in Chicago. Mrs. Minnie Miller, alias Molinaro, was arrested on July 10 for Margaret's death. Minnie's profession is not given. On November 15, she was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury.

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

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    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Just tissue, or what?

    Is the fetus a "blob of tissue"? Big Blue Wave does an excellent job addressing this question, along with the standard ad hominem attacks. I would add that there are circumstances in which the "products of conception" really are just tissue; nobody objects at all to the removal and disposal of said tissue.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    You're doing it wrong!

    Real headline: "Md. Teacher Charged With Giving Students Cocaine"

    Everybody knows you want to feed the little buggers Quaaludes! Or blow them some shotguns. As I teacher, I can vouch for this. They're hyper enough without adding cocaine to the mix.

    New video: Laura Smith's parents speak out

    Laura Hope Smith's parents, Tom and Eileen Smith, tell their story:

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    Bed and Sofa

    I stumbled across this clip from a 1927 silent Soviet film, Tretya meshchanskaya, entitled Bed and Sofa in English. The clip is called, for some reason, "The Abortion", though Liudmila leaves before her turn comes up.

    Notice the way the men made the choice.

    Notice the impersonal "Take a number" clinic.

    Notice the dreary waiting room, and the cross-section of aborters populating it.

    Most of all, notice the nurse's reaction when she looks out the window and realizes what it was that prompted Liudmila's departure.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Let the fiesta begin!

    As I watch the electoral process unfolding, I am think of these sage words from writer P.J. O'Rourke:

    The American political system is like a gigantic Mexican Christmas fiesta. Each political party is a huge pinata - a paper mache donkey, for example. The donkey is filled with full employment, low interest rates, affordable housing, comprehensive medical benefits, a balanced budget, and other goodies. The American voter is blindfolded and given a stick. The voter then swings the stick wildly in every direction, trying to hit a political candidate on the head and knock some sense into the silly bastard.

    I'm tempted to add to that, or elaborate on it, or give examples. But why bother? It captures the system in a nutshell.

    The moment a candidate comes along that actually has something new to say -- Alan Keyes springs to mind -- I get excited. I think that maybe, just maybe, we might have some intelligent discourse. O'Rourke captured this well, too:

    In the American political system, you're only allowed to have real ideas if it's absolutely guaranteed that you can't win an election.

    Obama gets treated as if he's saying something new, but is he? An Obama speech sounds like one of the spiels you get at the Holiday Inn for free right before the speaker tries to sell you his Motivational CD Series for a mere $89.99. Zaphod Beeblebrox had more substance, and less of an ego.

    An election gives the public a Punch-and-Judy show, a chance to watch grownups smack at each other. It's trite and childish, but at least it engages our attention for a while. When the election is over, it's back to business as usual. Whatever that is. Who can tell? Bills get debated, laws get passed, resolutions are made. And what changes? Who can tell?

    The areas where the government has the most control over our lives are the areas of regulation and spending, and even if the media did bother to give us decent coverage of that process, we'd all fall asleep. As O'Rourke said:

    Government is so tedious that sometimes you wonder if the government isn't being boring on purpose. Maybe they're trying to put us to sleep so we won't notice what they're doing. Every aspect of our existence is affected by government, so naturally we want to keep an eye on the thing. Yet whenever we regular citizens try to read a book on government or watch one of those TV public affairs programs about government or listen to anything anybody who's in the government is saying, we feel like high-school students who've fallen two weeks behind in their algebra class. .... This could be intentional. Our government could be attempting to establish a Dictatorship of Boredom in this country. The last person left awake gets to spend all
    the tax money.

    Do I sound cynical? I always do, when it comes to politics. And in an election year, everything is politics.

    I think, sometimes, that what passes for politics in the United States is actually an elaborate charade designed to draw our attention away from what's really happening where the real power is. And when we had Bill Clinton in the White House (the closest thing to Zaphod Beeblebrox to be found among one-headed, two-armed earthlings until Obama's appearance, a la Harold Saxon from Doctor Who), I start to think that P. J. O'Rourke has just a faint idea what's really going on. Douglas Adams (author of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) has it right. The job of President isn't to wield power, but to draw our attention away from it. Maybe the person we need in the White House isn't a leader or a politician. Maybe we need a blabbermouth. We need somebody who will spend the State of the Union Address saying, "You should see what wrangling goes on behind the scenes here!" And then tell us.

    P.J. O'Rourke quotes from Parliament of Whores

    It's 3 AM and You Have a Speech You Gave in 2002

    I would love to be a fly on the wall when Obama's people tear into Hillary for this little gem!

    HT: Dakota Voice

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    Born Alive

    Since there's so much coverage lately of Obama's reluctance to have any pediatrician second-guess an abortionist's attempt to kill a baby, I've updated the Dreaded Complication page, and added a few other cases of live births triggered by abortion attempts.

    Like many aspects of abortion advocacy, Obama's claim that the abortionist can be trusted to admit that he screwed up, and to just send a viable baby to the NICU, doesn't begin to pass the logic test. As abortion advocate David Grimes of the CDC once said, "It's like turning yourself in to the IRS for an audit." Nobody's going to want to say to the mother, "Oh! Remember that dead fetus I promised you? Well, we've got a live, injured baby, and you're gonna be dealing with maybe a quarter million dollar medical bill for the neonatal intensive care unit. Would you promise not to sue if I refunded your abortion fee?"

    That ain't gonna happen. They're gonna say, as did William Baxter Waddill (pictured), "This baby can't live or it will be a big mess."

    I don't recall a single case of a baby surviving an abortion in which the abortionist was the one who sought medical care for the child. If the baby was born at a freestanding facility, he was pretty much doomed. If he was born during an abortion being performed at a hospital, a nurse might bring him to the NICU. His best chance of survival was if his mother was sent home still pregnant, with the expectation that she'd either expel a dead fetus or return later to finish the job; his mom might go to a hospital unaffiliated with the abortionist, and then the child would get the same care he'd get if he'd have been born prematurely for any other cause besides abortion.

    Feel free to prove me wrong. Give me one case in which it was the abortionist who noticed that the expelled "fetus" wasn't dead yet and sought medical care for him.

    What if McCain was friends with Eric Rudolph?

    Shock & Blog points out the the MSM are ignoring the Obama/Ayers link, but that if McCain's political career had been launched from the home of an abortion clinic bomber, the networks and papers would be all over it.

    Why does this guy get a walk?

    1980: A trash bag is not aftercare

    On August 23, 1980, 26-year-old Betty Jane Zellers Damato went to Dr. James Franklin in Denver, Colorado, for a safe, legal abortion. According to Betty's family, Franklin did not remove all of the fetus. He instead gave Betty a trash bag, and instructions to collect whatever she expelled in the bag and bring it to him.

    Two days later, Betty was dead from infection.

    Franklin told a grand jury that he did not perform the fatal abortion. He claimed that he had examined Betty, found a dead fetus, and sent her to the hospital. A jury convicted him of manslaughter in Betty's death on October 19, 1981, and he was sentenced to prison for three years.

    Other abortionists have also faced charges in the death of legal abortion patients:

  • Dr. Robert Sherman was charged with murder in the 1975 abortion death of Rita McDowell.

  • Frank Robinson was charged with murder in the 1982 abortion death of Jennifer Suddeth.

  • David Benjamin was indicted for murder in the 1993 abortion death of Guadalupe Negron.

  • Bruce Steir (rhymes with "fear") was charged with murder in the 1996 abortion death of Sharon Hamplton (Pictured, with her son, Curtis).

  • John Biskind was charged with homicide in the 1998 abortion death of Lou Ann Herron.

  • Dr. Rapin Osathanondh was indicted on manslaughter charges in the 2007 abortion death of Laura Hope Smith (Pictured).

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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  • Sunday, August 24, 2008

    Search: Second-trimester abortions

  • 13 weeks: Laura Hope Smith (pictured), Brenda Banks, Suzanne Logan.

  • 14 weeks: Teresa (scroll down), K.B., "Alice" Roe, Sharon Davis, Carole Schaner, "Becky" Roe, Tanya Williamson, "Amy" Roe, Edrica Goode (pictured).

  • 15 weeks: Amanda, "Gloria" Roe, Teresa Causey, Gloria Small, Venus Ortiz.

  • 16 weeks: Patricia (scroll down), Claudia, "Nancy" Roe, "Wendy" Roe, "Lori" Roe, Shelli (scroll down). And Sidney Laughlin did at least one of them in his house, tossing the fetus in the trash.

  • 17 weeks: Julie, Christine Mora, Sheila Watley, "Donna" Roe, Sara Niebel, Diana.

  • 18 weeks: "Gail" Roe, Kevine, "Molly" Roe, "Sara" Roe, Robert Tamis' unnamed patient, "Kimberly" Roe, Shirley Payne, Tammy Harris.

  • 19 weeks: Joann, Diana Lopez (pictured, with her children), "Eleanor" Roe, Mary Ives, Alerte Desanges.

  • 20 weeks: Shari Graham, Francine, Megan (scroll down), Gail Wright, "Malorie" Roe, Mary Bradley, Guadalupe Negron, "Brenda" Roe, "Barbara" Roe, "Vicki" Roe, "Christi" Roe, Lisa Bardsley, Sharon Hamplton (pictured, with son, Curtis), "Colleen" Roe, Angela.

  • 21 weeks: Deanna Bell.

  • 22 weeks: Brandy, "Erica" Roe, Thelma, Mary Pena, Germaine Newman, "Anita" Roe, Latachie Veal.

  • 23 weeks: Christella Forte, Brittany, Lynn McNair, Allegra Roseberry.

  • 24 weeks: Christina Goesswein, "Pamela" Roe.

    Then there was Margot, who thought she was in the first trimester, was informed that she was 14 weeks pregnant, but who turned out to be 20 weeks pregnant. Brenda (scroll down) thought she was in the first trimester but turned out to be 14 weeks pregnant. Rosa Rodriguez thought she was in the early 2nd trimester but turned out to be over 30 weeks. Bianca (scroll down) thought she was about 12 weeks pregnant, but turned out to be around 18 weeks. Hattie thought she was 16 weeks but turned out to be 20. Nadine Bourne thought she was 14 - 16 weeks pregnant when her abortion caused the birth of a live, disabled baby. Tanisha thought she was 16 weeks but turned out to be in the third trimester. Jean thought she was in the first trimester but turned out to be 19 weeks pregnant. Janet Foster turned out to be 19 weeks pregnant, not 12 weeks. The same was true of Eurice Agbagaa.

    There are these borderline abortions performed at Midtown Hospital.

    Lou Ann Herron was said to be 23 weeks pregnant but was probably over 24 weeks. Her abortionist, John Biskind, had estimated another woman as around 23 weeks only to attempt to abort a near-term infant.

    Why are they done?

    And British abortionist/inventor David Sopher was quite adept at them.

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  • Nancy Pelosi: Roe trumps all

    Nancy Pelosi “Meet the Press” transcript

    Staggeringly, amazingly, unbelievably, Tom Browkaw asked Nancy Pelosi how she, as Speaker, would advise Obama about when human life begins. Pelosi, who calls herself "an ardent, practicing Catholic" (in which case I'm Mrs. Craig Ferguson), says:

    I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition.

    Bullshit. You can study Catholic teaching for about ten minutes and find out what church doctors have said: You shall not kill.

    Which Browkaw, again astonishingly, held her feet to the fire on:

    So after her waffling, she concludes that it doesn't really matter when human life begins, because "The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose."

    In other words, if she wants it dead, kill it. Don't bother yourself with trivial questions such as "Is this a human being we're pulling to bits?"

    She pulls out this old fallback for "Christians" who want to justify abortion: "But it is, it is also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions."

    Well, yeah, Nancy. "I have set before you life and death. Therefore choose life." Does this chick really believe that God gave us free will for the express purpose of patting us on the head and calling us good little servants when we choose evil? Or maybe -- this takes a bit of sophistication, Nancy -- did He give us free will so that we could CHOOSE good rather than be constrained to it? Think about when you give your kids a chance to choose. "Fine!" you tell your teenage son. "Go to bed whenever!" Are you just as pleased if the kid stays up until 5 a.m. playing "Grand Theft Auto" as you are if the kid does his homework, reads a story to his sister, and is snoozing under the covers at 10:30? Granting the capacity to make a choice doesn't mean that any choice made is equally valid.

    According to Nancy Pelosi, God gave humans free will for the express purpose of allowing the females among us the opportunity to choose abortions!

    Then she wriggled off into Contraceptive Land, as if encouraging people to think of sex without reproduction as an entitlement will somehow make them less likely to see abortion as a natural response to pregnancy.

    This woman spat out every lame justification she could think of for her support of abortion without ever answering the question. Because, to her, it doesn't matter. If somebody wants it dead, kill it. Don't bother yourself with trivialities like life or death.

    Which makes me kind of glad Ms. Pelosi doesn't hunt. I can't see her making very sure her target is a deer and not a fellow hunter with the "When it doubt, kill" attitude she espouses.


    Here is a segment from "The most remarkable abortion story ever told" -- a tribute to the Jane abortion syndicate in Chicago. "Jane" was a group of laywomen who set up an abortion ring. In this segment, there is much rejoicing. Why?

    Because they screwed up an induction abortion and ended up doing a D&E (The author calls it a "D&C" because the terminology for D&E hadn't been coined yet.) extemporaneously, without their "doctor" present:

    Four counselors were working at the apartment one Thursday, breaking water bags and inserting Leunbach paste for long-term miscarriages. [Primitive induction abortions - ed.] The fourth and last patient for the day was a 19-year-old black woman, about 14 weeks pregnant fully counseled and prepared for a labor and miscarriage.

    .... We dilated the patient and reached in with a forceps to break the membrane. Two other counselors were talking to the patient and watching.

    There was the usual gush of water slightly pink with blood—and in the teeth of the forceps the arm of a 14-week fetus.

    The counselor who was doing the abortion looked silently at the forceps and its contents for a full ten seconds. The other counselors were silent... watching.

    Finally the woman asked, “Is anything wrong.”

    “Not at all,” the counselor replied. “In fact, I think we’ll do you direct and get the whole thing over with today.”

    Suddenly the room was charged with energy again. One counselor began talking animatedly to the woman, explaining a D&C, while the other stood ready to help. The patient remained calm and confident.

    “Okay—this is one of those times when there is no choice but to... so go.

    . . . Remember... be cool... we’ve seen it done a thousand times.. . reach in again with the forceps. .. gently explore the wall of the uterus ... feel for loose material . . . twist ever so gently to make sure it’s loose . . . pull slowly through the cervix.

    ...Another arm and hand...a big piece of placenta . . a leg . . . an endless length of tiny intestine . . . a large bone that comes with a stronger tug—a shoulder . . .

    . . . The woman winces as a hip bone is pulled through the cervix . . . the other leg . . . the ribs . . . a two inch length of backbone.

    . . . Now with each tug, there’s a small gush of blood. Only the head is left. Forget that for now and get the placenta off the wall so the bleeding will stop— switch to a curette and scrape the placenta down towards the opening.

    Now . . . back to the forceps—in and out, in and out—pulling the loose placenta out. The bleeding stops almost entirely.

    Now feel with the forceps, find the head, crush it and pull. Harder. The patient moans softly as a piece of skull is pulled out, then the next piece, and finally the last piece.


    “There. All done.”


    Suddenly the room is in bedlam. One counselor is jumping around and yelling, “We can do it ourselves! From now on, we can do it ourselves!”

    What a thing to be proud of. Put that on your resume: I can take apart a baby. And dance a jig with my friends afterward to celebrate.

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    "It's easy to be given choices when you're not the one that has to walk them out."

    Based on Angele's experience watching her baby drown in an abortion clinic toilet.

    That first line nails it.

    "It's easy to be given choices when you're not the one that has to walk them out."

    Frontline: Abortion Clinic

    "I wake up. Someone is crying. Someone is bleeding. It's me. It's me."

    There's more.

    And more.

    And more.

    And still...

    "It's easy to be given choices when you're not the one that has to walk them out."

    Who needs Dr. Cornelsen?

    Back in 1977, William Baxter Waddill got himself into a peck of trouble in California. A baby had been born alive during a saline abortion. As required by law, Waddill had called in a pediatrician -- in this case, Dr. Ronald Cornelsen -- to assess the baby. Waddill told Cornelsen, "If we all tell the same story, there will be no trouble. ... So long as we stand together, no one anywhere can make any accusations anywhere. ... Do not get squirrely. Just tell them exactly as we've discussed. Just say you went in, there was no heartbeat and you left."

    The baby was well into viability -- over 30 weeks gestational age, in fact -- and much to Waddill's consternation she wouldn't stop breathing. In front of witnesses, Waddill strangled the little girl. He beat the murder rap because an obscure legal definition of "death" resulted in a hung jury.

    The Born Alive Infants Protection act would remove any ambiguity in the law. A doctor who strangled a baby born alive as a result of an abortion would be legally culpable in that child's death.

    Well, a recording has surfaced that makes it clear why Obama voted against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. He wanted to keep those pesky Dr. Cornelsens out of the room so that abortionists could deal with their screw-ups in privacy. Hear it for yourself here (MP3) or here (wav):

    I suspect and my impression is, is that the Medical Society suspects as well that doctors feel that they would be under that obligation, that they would already be making these determinations and that, essentially, adding a -- an additional doctor who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion.

    (See the entire post and more context to Obama's comments at Jill Stanek's blog.)

    Obama, on the advice of his abortionist friends at the Medical Society, clearly doesn't want witnesses like Dr. Cornelsen being involved in the neglect (or strangulation) deaths of babies who survive abortions. The Dreaded Complication is something that abortionists want to keep "in the family" as it were -- away from the prying eyes of pediatricians who might be tempted to say, as Dr. Cornelsen said to Waddill, that the baby belongs in the NICU, unmolested. And the last thing an abortionist wants is a pediatrician in court -- as Waddill had Cornelsen -- providing expert testimony that the child could have survived.

    1955: Mystery abortion victim is actually heiress

    On August 24, 1955, the body of a young woman identified as Shirley Silver was brought the morgue in Philadelphia from the North Philadelphia apartment of bartender Milton Schwarts and his beautician wife, Rosalie. The young woman, they said, had suddenly taken ill and collapsed while sitting on a sofa in their living room. But when machinations were begun the next day to try to remove the young woman's body without an autopsy, her real identity was revealed, and a scandal rocked the city.

    The dead woman was Doris Jean Silver Ostreicher, a 22-year-old heiress. Doris had made front page news when she eloped in a "fairy tale romance" with Earl Ostreicher, a 29-year-old motorcycle cop from Miami Beach, in late June of 1955. Ostreicher was the son of a Chicago fuel dealer. He held that he'd not known that his beautiful red-haired bride was wealthy. She'd told him, he said, that her father was a butcher, not vice president of the Food Fair chain of grocery stores.

    But fairy tale romances don't always lead to fairy tale marriages. Within a few weeks, Doris evidently was disillusioned, and had separated from her husband, returning to her family's Philadelphia home.

    On August 23 and 24, Doris' mother, Gertrude Silver, had taken her daughter to an obstetrician, Dr. Jacob Hoffman. Mrs. Silver had been "very unhappy" about the possibility that her daughter was pregnant. Hoffman himself was not certain that Doris was pregnant, since at that time a 6-week pregnancy was difficult to definitively diagnose.

    Hoffman didn't indicate that Mrs. Silver was seeking an abortion for Doris, but seek one she did, taking her to the Schwartz's apartment on August 24. Somebody had used some sort of instrument, augmented with some "vegetable compound" to try to induce an abortion. Within an hour, Doris reported feeling unwell, along with chest pains. She collapsed and died. Her pregnancy, along with the attempt to abort the baby, was confirmed at autopsy. She had died from collapsed lungs and overwhelming shock.

    When police searched the Schwartz apartment, they found abortion instruments there, including syringes, medications, dry mustard, absorbent cotton, mineral oil, and olive oil, along with a metal tube that was believed to be the fatal instrument in Doris' abortion.

    Rosalie Schwartz had tried to claim that she and her husband had known the Silver family for at least ten years, but Doris' father, Herman, indicated that he'd never seen or heard of either of the Schwartzes.

    The Schwartzes pleaded no contest for their role in the young woman's death. Rosalie got a sentence of indeterminate length, while Milton was sentenced to 3-10 years. Both were paroled after 11 months, based on a "pathetic" letter from their grown son asking that his parents be freed in time for Christmas.

    Doris' mother, who was hospitalized for "bereavement shock" in the early days after her daughter's death, was charged as an accessory. She was fined and given a suspended sentence for her role in her daughter's death. The judge said that he considered the memory of how her daughter had died "substantial punishment."

  • How common was it before legalization for a woman to resort to somebody like the Schwartzes, with no medical training, for an abortion?
    Well over 70% of the time.
    Roughly half of the time.
    About 1/3 of the time.
    Less than 10% of the time.

    Doris was not the only wealthy woman to die at the hands of an abortionist. Florence Nimick Schnoor, wealthy grand-niece of Andrew Carnegie, arranged a "brutal and inept" illegal abortion for herself in 1942; the perpetrator was never caught. Jane Ward, heiress of the Drake Bakeries fortune, managed to find a physician who fatally bungled her abortion in 1947. Did fear of discovery lead some wealthy women to "slum it" when seeking abortionists? Was there an aspect of deliberately courting danger as a way of self-punishment? Was it sheer crummy luck that led them to quackery, like when Barbara Lofrumento's parents chose a Princeton graduate and got a butcher? Perhaps each dynamic could play a different role in different women's deaths.

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

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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  • Saturday, August 23, 2008

    Another ringing endorsement

    HT: Big Blue Wave

    What To Expect When You're Aborting. (As catchy as "What To Expect When You're Expecting"?)

    As did BBW, I'll highlight what particularly struck me:

    They give you walk-in pregnancy tests. $18 bones ($12.99 at your local drugstore. Not sure what the mark up is about. It’s not a blood test.

    Hey, typical retail markup is 100%. Assuming PP buys them at the drugstore they're giving you a discount! Right? I mean, it's not like they get a discount for bulk pregnancy tests!

    I peed into a dixie up. Dixie cups, the HEIGHT of medical technology).

    Who wants to bet they bill them as "specimen containers" at $8 a pop when they get tax reimbursement for the pregnancy tests?

    I asked to meet with a “Options Counselor”.

    The O.C. was doctor, but one of these doctor’s whose speciality is apperantly aborting, not communication.

    She spoke with a doctor before the abortion? That is astonishing. But getting an "Options Counselor" whose "speciality is apperantly aborting, not communication"?

    What a surprise. I think I'm gonna have a heart attack and die from that surprise.

    In the waiting room I decided I would just get the [abortion] pill asap. So when I asked what she believed the pros and cons were to doing the pill she busted:

    “ do the surgical. Then you don’t have to do it alone.” Which is nice that they believe in the buddy system but didn’t do much to help me weigh my options.

    After some pushing, she finally explained blurted out that I could hemorrhage and I would be alone. She said that they generally always recommend the surgery.

    Um, are there some RU-486 deaths PP isn't telling us about? Because the dead RU-486 patients we know about died from sepsis, not hemorrhage.

    Made me feel helpless and uninformed.

    Par for the course at Planned Parenthood.

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    1974: "Wall-to-wall blood"

    Twenty-five-year-old Dorothy Muzorewa, a nurse, had recently immigrated to the Chicago area from Zimbabwe. A journalist's notes after her death tell the following story:

    Dorothy went to Women's Aid Clinic for a safe and legal abortion on June 15, 1974. The fetus didn't die, however, and Dorothy returned to the clinic on August 21 to report her symptoms. Staff told her to return the following day.

    On August 22, Dorothy again returned to Women's Aid, bleeding and in pain. David Turow examined Dorothy, diagnosed an infection, and sent her home with prescriptions for tetracycline to control the infection and ergonovine to control the bleeding.

    Dorothy's husband said that he awoke at around 6:00 on the morning of August 23 to find his wife bleeding profusely. Dorothy assured him that she was just menstruating, so he left for school. When he returned home, he was alarmed by Dorothy's bleeding and called an ambulance.

    Dorothy was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival shortly after noon. Only after her death did her husband, a theology student, learn of the pregancy and abortion.

    A witness in Dorothy's apartment described the bedroom as "wall to wall blood." He found the fetus in a waste basket and put it in the refrigerator for safekeeping.

    The coroner ruled Dorothy's death from hemorrhage accidental.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    1870: Mystery abortion leaves teen bride dead

    Mrs. Lafavor, the 15-year-old wife of Frank Lafavor, was "the victim of ... inhuman outrage". Her father, Samuel Shearer, was "a worthy and respectable farmer of this vicinity." Frank had married his young bride over the objections of her family in March of 1870.

    The couple had settled as tenants on the farm of Thomas McIntyre.

    On August 15, Frank went with McIntyre to Rushford with two loads of wheat, leaving Mrs. Lafavor feeling unwell. She left the home herself at about 7 a.m. "The neighbors became alarmed at her absence from home and made search for her in every direction without success" until about midnight, "when she was discovered dragging herself around the corner of her dwelling more dead than alive."

    The neighbors took her to the McIntyre house and summoned medical aid. Two doctors came to her aid, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Case. The found her to be in critical condition, examined her, and and asked her if she had undergone an abortion. She admitted that she had taken some sort of abortifacient that day, but refused to say who she had gotten it from.

    "Everything possible was done to restore her, but after suffering intensely for a whole week and died on Tuesday morning last [August 23] at about eight o'clock."

    The neighborhood had been agog since the events first started unfolding. The day after Mrs. Lafavor's death, the coroner and coroner's jury arrived at the McIntyre home to perform the inquest. Dr. Thomas and Dr. Case came to perform the autopsy.

    Mrs. Lafavor's mother testified that her daughter was raised up in bed five minutes before her death to make her dying declaration, but all she was able to say ws, "Tommy gave it to me! Tommy gave it to me!"

    Thus the young bride's landlord, Thomas McIntyre, was charged with her death.

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

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    1927: Abortion proves fatal; doctor indicted

    On August 23, 1927, 27-year-old Shellane Franklin, a Black woman, died at the scene of the crime from an abortion performed on her that day. Dr. Gordon Jackson, a white physician, was held by the coroner on October 28. On December 15, he was indicted for felony murder.

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

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    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    1880: Canadian woman dies at hands of Chicago abortionist

    On August 20, 1880, Miss M.A.M. Faulkner, a white woman formerly of Ottawa, Canada, died at the Chicago office of Dr. Thomas J. Cream during the commission of an illegal abortion.

    Cream, a white physician, and Mrs. Mackey, a Black nurse, were arrested in the death.

  • How common was it for a woman to obtain an illegal abortion at the hands of a doctor?
    It was rare, less than 10%.
    It was unusual, around 30%
    About half of women were able to arrange for a physician-abortionist.
    It was common, around 90%.

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

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  • Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    1937: Fatal self-induced abortion

    Mrs. Ruth Haught, a 30-year-old widow, died at University Hospital in Hobart, Oklahoma, on August 19, 1937, of blood poisoning from an apparent self-induced abortion.

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

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    1988: Safe, legal abortion kills asthmatic teen

    Tami Suematsu, age 19, underwent a safe and legal abortion performed by Vern Wagner at Riverside Family Planning Center August 19, 1988. Tami went into bronchial spasm and asthma-related respiratory failure then cardiac arrest. She was transported to a hospital, but died shortly after arrival.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    Saturday, August 16, 2008

    1989: Prestigious women's hospital lets teen die in botched abortion

    Marla Anne Cardamone, age 18, became pregnant while on Tegretol and Elavil for depression. Marla lived with her parents, including her quadriplegic father who she helped to care for. She had a young son that lived with them as well.

    Marla's mother, Deborah Cardamone, commented:

    Originally, she had planned to put her baby up for adoption, since she already had a toddler to take care of, but a medical-social worker at the hospital strongly urged Marla to have an abortion.

    The social worker argued that Marla had damaged her baby because of medication she had taken. Statistics gave a 92% chance that the baby was fine, but Marla had a sonogram to be sure. After the sonogram, that social worker kept pressuring Marla to have an abortion. Finally, Marla gave in.

    Marla was admitted to Magee Women's Hospital for the abortion August 15, 1989.

    Although the urea induction technique was contraindicated due to Marla's medical history, Michael W. Weinberger injected urea into Marla's uterus.

    Either an error during this injection or some other mishap caused generalized necrosis of Marla's uterine wall. The laminaria were also inserted by Weinberger in a manner resulting in septicemia, and massive cortical necrosis of the kidneys.

    Marla became ill during the night, with nausea, vomiting, urinary incontinence, and dried blood on her teeth. Her pulse and temperature were severely elevated.

    At 6:30 AM the charge nurse contacted a the first of several doctors to treat Marla, but no were cultures taken.

    By 7 AM Marla was "increasingly disoriented and speaking inappropriately."

    By 7:15, her blood pressure had fallen to 80/40, her pulse had shot up to 144, and she was "unresponsive, grunting loudly, and having seizures."

    At 10 AM, intravenous antibiotics were administered. Marla was dead from septicemia at 12:15 PM.

    The suit filed by Marla's family noted failure to notify them of her deteriorating condition. Marla's parents adopted her child.

    The suit faulted the doctor and hospital with performance of a psychiatrically contraindicated abortion, failure to evacuate the dead fetus, administering an overdose of Pitocin, and failure to consult qualified doctors.

    Marla's mother adds bitterly:

    I had to file a lawsuit to get any answers. Marla had died of septicemia--a massive infection from the abortion. I also learned that the social worker had never seen Marla's sonogram or discussed the results with her. Marla never saw the words on the sonogram report that would have changed everything: No abnormalities detected. My daughter was pressured to have an abortion, and there had been no reason for it, no reason at all.

    I've often wondered why pro-choice women's groups have never expressed any sympathy or concern over Marla's death. Why aren't they demanding justice? Why aren't they concerned that Marla was lied to about the condition of her baby and wasn't shown the sonogram results? Why aren't they concerned that proper treatment was delayed because Marla was misdiagnosed by a resident who was only two months out of medical school? Why are they so quiet?

    I believe it's because pro-choice groups don't want women to read or hear about abortion injuries and deaths. Bad publicity hurts their cause. That's why they prefer that Marla and her baby remain hidden statistics.

    You can read Deborah's story in her own words here.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    1974: Chicago woman dead within hours of abortion

    Dorothy K. Brown, age 37, underwent a safe and legal abortion at Friendship Medical Center in Chicago on August 16, 1974. Within hours, she was dead at a nearby hospital. Her death was attributed to "shock related to hemorrhagic necrosis of uterus."

    Julia Rogers and Evelyn Dudley also died after abortions at Friendship Medical Center.

  • Friendship Medical Center was one of the abortion providers mentioned in the Chicago Sun-Times "The Abortion Profiteers" series. What was different about Friendship Medical Center?
    The investigators hadn't worked there, so they hadn't uncovered problems or deaths. Friendship had instead been featured in a sidebar about "safe, compassionate abortion care".
    Friendship's owner/administrator, "Creepy Kenny" Yellin, was gunned down in a glangland-style slaying in the gutter outside his abortion mill.
    Friendship had been founded by civil-rights activist Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard, as a broad-service medical facility for the minority community.
    Friendship was an upscale facility, catering to career women who wanted lunch-hour abortions.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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  • Friday, August 15, 2008

    PP doc sued for botched contraceptive implant removal

    Woman Awarded $2.78 Million in Malpractice Suit against Planned Parenthood Associated Doctor

    Dana A., age 39, went to a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood in February of 2003 to have her contraceptive implant rods removed by Dr. Joel Lebed. According to her lawsuit, Lebed was "inexperienced" in removing the rods, and made several painful attempts to do the procedure. He "gave up after a lot of pain and tears," said Dana's attorney, and another PP doctor, Janet Wilson, finished the job.

    The removal left Dana debilitated by pain which began in her arm and spread to the entire left side of her body. She was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (RPS), a chronic pain condition. Surgery to attempt to correct the problem turned out to have been unnecessary and only made Dana's condition worse.

    An article in the July, 2006 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, titled "Nerve injury caused by removal of an implantable hormonal contraceptive" warns of the risk of nerve damage:

    Implanon (a brand of contraceptive implant rods) insertion and removal are relatively uncomplicated procedures in the hands of medical professionals familiar with the technique. However, injury to branches of the medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve during Implanon insertion and removal can result in impaired sensibility, severe localized pain, or the formation of painful neuroma that can be quite devastating to the patient.

    In the event that an injury to the nerve is recognized, immediate plastic surgical measures should be undertaken to avoid displeasing sequels of nerve injuries. Therefore, the benefit of this generally well-tolerated, highly effective, and relatively cost-efficient contraception is guaranteed only in the hands of medical professionals familiar with the technique.

    I know of one other lawsuit against Lebed. Colista G., age 38, of Philadelphia, alleged that she had gone to Lebed complaining of minor spotting and a late menses, and told Lebed she suspected pregnancy. Lebed did not conduct a pregnancy test. He conducted a pelvic examination, and told Colista she was not pregnant, but had benign polyps in her uterus. Lebed performed a uterine scraping to remove the polyps. It turned out that Colista had indeed been pregnant, and the procedure Lebed performed killed her fetus. Since benign polyps are not an emergency situation, Lebed was negligent in not ascertaining whether or not she Colista pregnant before proceeding. (Jury Verdict Review)

    Dana fared better in her contraceptive removal than Michelle J., who died at the hands of Tommy Tucker from complications of a Norplant removal.

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    A Glimpse into the Past

    Dr. Mary S. Calderone served as Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Medical Director from 1953 until 1964, when she became the first Executive Director of the newly-launched SIECUS (Sex Information and Education Council of the United States). Calderone played a key role in promoting Planned Parenthood's goals and agenda, through political savvy and public relations skills.

    Dr. Calderone was a lead participant in the 1955 Planned Parenthood conference on abortion. She summarized the conference findings in "Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem," published in the July, 1960 issue of The American Journal of Public Health.

    I heartily recommend reading the proceedings of the entire conference, but copies are a bit hard to come by. But Dr. Calderone's article alone provides an excellent glimpse into abortion as it was practiced in the United States in the decades before Roe vs. Wade, with added reflections from the experiences of the Scandinavian countries, where abortion laws had been "liberalized" already.

    See how much you know about abortion practice in America in the "bad old days".

  • What was the legal status of abortion in America?
    It was completely illegal nationwide.
    It was legal under very limited conditions.
    It was totally illegal in most states, but a few states allowed abortion for the "hard cases" -- rape, incest, the life of the mother, and suspected fetal abnormalities.
    The country was a patchwork. Twelve states banned abortion entirely, most had health exceptions, and two allowed abortions for "mental health" reasons that were interpreted fairly loosely.

  • How many maternal deaths were there a year from complications of abortions in the 1950's?
    5,000 - 10,000
    500 - 1,000
    About 500.
    About 250.

  • The conference found that once a woman concluded that she wanted an abortion, nothing could dissuade her, not laws, not counseling, not the risks of seeking an abortion from a clearly disreputable character. True or false?

  • What were the conference findings on the psychological impact of abortion on women?
    Neither legal nor illegal abortions were traumatic.
    Both legal and illegal abortions were traumatic.
    Legal abortions were palliative, but illegal abortions were traumatic.
    Because only the most determined women sought illegal abortions, those women suffered no trauma, but legal abortions could cause trauma because the women were less sure of their decisions.

  • Which of the following recommendations were made by conference participants? More than one answer is correct.
    "To to search for ways and means whereby the need for abortion is reduced to the absolute minimum and then to help legalize and facilitate abortion for that requisite minimum."
    To make abortion requests reportable to public health officials in order to gather data on why women were requesting abortions and develop strategies to address those issues.
    To encourage "higher standards of sexual conduct."
    To legalize abortion on demand.
    To foster, through sex education, "a greater sense of responsibility toward pregnancy."
    To promote greater access to contraceptives.
  • Thursday, August 14, 2008

    Just how dead does an organ donor have to be?

    From the New England Journal of Medicine (hardly a bastion of right-to-lifers) The Dead Donor Rule and Organ Transplantation

    The concept of brain death has served us well and has been the ethical and legal justification for thousands of lifesaving donations and transplantations. Even so, there have been persistent questions about whether patients with massive brain injury, apnea, and loss of brain-stem reflexes are really dead. After all, when the injury is entirely intracranial, these patients look very much alive: they are warm and pink; they digest and metabolize food, excrete waste, undergo sexual maturation, and can even reproduce. To a casual observer, they look just like patients who are receiving long-term artificial ventilation and are asleep.

    Translated from jargon to English:

    Calling people "brain dead" so we can take their organs and give them to other people -- who, after all, need them to survive -- has worked really well for organ recipients. However, some people insist that "brain dead" isn't dead. After all, these "brain dead" people are warm and pink; they digest and metabolize food, excrete waste, undergo sexual maturation, and can even reproduce. They certainly don't look dead. They look asleep.

    Well, yeah, because they're not dead.

    The author goes on to concede that "brain dead" patients aren't really dead. Not that he has any problem with gutting them for their organs. After all, somebody else needs them. What he proposes isn't that we stop killing incapacitated people to get organs that livelier people need. He simply proposes that we start being honest about what we're doing.

    It's a start. I've been agitating for it already.

    Prospective donors need to know exactly how "dead" they will be when their organs are taken -- which is not dead. Some people will have a problem with this; others won't. But ought it not to be their choice whether or not they get cut open while they're still warm, pink, and showing all the signs of life except consciousness?

    Prospective recipients need to know exactly how "dead" the donor will be when his or her organs are taken-- which is not dead. Some people will have no problem with this. Others -- myself included -- will, and will voluntarily abstain from getting on any waiting lists for organs. It remains to be seen how much this will reduce the wait for organs.

    Here, for your edification, are some photos of a "brain dead" woman, taken from this PDF flier:

    Maybe I'm naive, but she just doesn't look very dead to me. And I'd bet that if you were to walk into her room and drive a knife into her heart, you'd be charged with murder. Why should it be okay to take her to the OR, strap her to a table, and start taking her organs out?

    free pollsHow does this information impact your feelings about organ donation?
    I would still be willing both to donate and to receive vital organs.
    I would be willing to donate, but not to receive, vital organs.
    I would be willing to receive, but not to donate, vital organs.
    I would not be willing to donate or receive vital organs.

    Please tell us why you voted as you did.

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    Anniversary: A fatal self-induced abortion

    When Kris Humphrey found out she was pregnant, she consulted friends. One of Kris's friends said she'd done more than one self-induced abortion and recommended an abortion technique. The method relied on a tea of pennyroyal extract and black cohosh root.

    On August 5, Kris started the abortion regimen. Over the approximately 10 days Kris was taking the tea, she went about her business, socializing with friends and family. Kris experienced abdominal pain and cramping, which she took as signs that the abortion was going as planned. Neither Kris nor her friend who recommended the tea thought anything was wrong at first.

    The only person who was concerned was her mother, Embee. The two attended a movie together on August 7, and Kris told her mother about the pregnancy and about her herbalist plans. Embee, who'd suffered through an ectopic pregnancy herself, saw something familiar in the way Kris was holding her side from pain. She asked Kris if she was sure that the pregnancy was normal, not ectopic, but her daughter evaded the question.

    Instead, Kris told her mother that the abortion should be complete on the 9th, and that she'd call then. But Kris continued to experience problems and continued to take the abortion concoction.

    By Friday, August 12, Kris had given up on her herbal abortion plan. Embee and a friend offered to make arrangements and pay for her to have the abortion done by a doctor on the 13th. But when one of Kris's many housemates came home at 7:30 on Friday evening, she found Kris pale and feverish, and learned that she'd been vomiting. She continued to suffer chills, cramps, and vomiting for the next six hours.

    Her condition continued to deteriorate. She passed out at around 11 p.m. Her friends continued to try to care for her, placing her in a cold bath at about 2 a.m Saturday to try to address her feverish sweating. But Kris just went into a seizure, so her friends carried her to the kitchen. One of them noticed that she wasn't breathing and started screaming. One friend called for an ambulance while another attempted to revive Kris.

    The ambulance crew arrived at 2:27 a.m transported her to a hospital, where staff tried to stabilize her.

    Her friends told staff about the abortion, and even brought the bottles of pennyroyal and black cohosh. The staff had no idea what effects the herbs might be having on Kris, and called poison experts.

    Kris was in shock and suffering from disseminated intravascular coagulopathy. "She was bleeding from everywhere," said a doctor who treated her.

    Doctors suspected an ectopic pregnancy, but feared doing exploratory surgery because Kris's condition was so fragile. They pumped her with IV fluids and made other attempts to stabilize her. In desperation, the doctors proceeded with surgery, finding an unruptured right tubal pregnancy that was bleeding from the end of the fallopian tube. The doctors removed the pregnancy and "significant quantity of old blood which was malodorous."

    Even though the tube hadn't ruptured, it appeared that the effect of the pennyroyal on Kris's liver had caused the clotting problems that had led to her excessive internal bleeding.

    After surgery, Kris showed no signs of responsiveness. She was declared brain dead on Sunday. Friends and family gathered at the hospital. Half an hour later, at 4:51 p.m., Kris was declared dead.

    Testing on samples of Kris' liver showed signs of damage associated with one of the substances, pulegone, contained in pennyroyal. Not enough was known of the effects of pulegone on the liver to say for sure what effect the damage had on Kris or what role it played in her death.

  • Why didn't Kris have a safe, legal abortion?
    She faced her pregnancy before legal abortion became available.
    She was poor and couldn't afford an safe, legal abortion.
    Kris was afraid her father would learn of the pregnancy and get violent, and her state had a law that required that both parents be notified if an underage girl sought an abortion.
    Kris had already undergone a clinic abortion, found the process painful, and felt like she'd been treated disrespectfully.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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