Wednesday, January 14, 2009

1986: Obsolete abortion technique leaves teen screaming, convulsing, dying

Christella Marie Forte, age 16, screamed, convulsed, and went into cardiac arrest 27 hours after instillation of saline for a safe, legal abortion at New Centre Hospital on January 14, 1986. She died without ever expelling the 23-week fetus.

The concentrated salt solution that had been injected into Christella's uterus to kill the fetus got into her bloodstream, poisoning her and causing cardiac arrest.

Strangely, her death certificate lists her manner of death as "natural," rather than "accidental."

A medical journal article that appears to be about Cristella's death says that she was an obese Black girl experiencing her first pregnancy. The article gives the gestational age as 21.5 weeks. Nothing seemed to have gone wrong with the injection, until 26 hours afterward when she "complained of severe abdominal cramps with projectile expulsion of amniotic fluid. Generalized convulsions and shaking followed and the patient went into shock. Death occurred within 2 hours."

"At autopsy, microscopic examination of lungs revealed pulmonary edema with marked vascular congestion..... Positive test results ... confirmed a diagnosis of amniotic fluid embolism. There was marked congestion of the blood vessels of the kidneys, liver, brain, and spleen."

What is particularly disgusting about Christella's death is how utterly needless it was: saline abortions had been discredited as far too dangerous for over a decade. The documents surrounding her death do not explain why her abortionist chose an outdated, high-risk procedure for his young patient.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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