On January 28, 1974, after twelve days on life support, 38-year-old Evangeline McKenna was pronounced dead in Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles.
She had checked in for a safe, legal abortion two weeks earlier, and had opted to have a tubal ligation at the same time. Two days later, she had a seizure, stopped breathing, and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors told the family that Evanegline was brain dead, but they held out hope and asked that she be put on life support, where she remained until her death twelve days later.
Evangeline's death, in addition to being a tragedy for her family and loved ones, also highlights the disproportionate damage that legal abortion causes among Blacks in the United States. Though black women are only 13% of the female population in the US, and though they are more likely than white women to oppose abortion, they account for a full 35% of legal abortions reported. Black women, like Evangeline, also account for fully 50% of reported legal abortion deaths.
Evangeline's story in a minute: