Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sorry, Tlaloc, this guy screwed up. As did the jury.

Benjamin Munson was tried for manslaughter in the abortion death of 28-year-old Linda Padfield in 1973. Munson had performed the safe and legal abortion on Linda on June 15 at his South Dakota abortion facility. He discharged her, and she later was hospitalized. She finally died of massive infection on June 18.

A pathologist found the remains of a five-month fetus in Linda's uterus, missing a leg, arm, part of its skull and part of its torso. The retained fetus caused the massive infection that had killed Linda.

Munson sued to enjoin prosecution, but the case went to court nevertheless.

The prosecution focused on the fact that infection will inevitably result from that much retained tissue. The Attorney General commented, "You take a three-inch leg off something, you have to know that there's more in there than just the leg."

The defense, however, argued that infection is an accepted risk of abortion, and that the state couldn't prove that Munson meant to harm Linda. The jury bought it, and Munson was aquitted. He later became a member of the National Abortion Federation (NAF). In 1985, he sent a teenage patient, Yvonne Mesteth, home with retained tissue. She, like Linda Padfield, died of infection. Again Munson was prosecuted for manslaughter, and again he beat the rap.

For the benefit of those readers who happen to be Tlaloc, here's one where I think the jury had their heads right up their asses -- just like the Tiller jury. As the prosecutor said, "You take a three-inch leg off something, you have to know that there's more in there than just the leg." Munson left more of the fetus in Linda's body than he took out. And it wasn't like this was a tiny first-trimester fetus that gets pureed in the process of being removed, where it might be tough to tell if a part you can't find in the petri dish is still in the uterus, or was shredded beyond recognition while being removed. Given the condition and age of Linda's fetus, this was a D&E abortion, where you reach in and grab parts and pull them off. If you've pulled off one arm and one leg, logic tells you there's still another arm and another leg in there. If you only get a chunk of skull and torso, logic tells you there's got to be more of the skull and torso still in there. Munson had to have known he was leaving more fetus in there than he was taking out. And he had to have known he'd taken off enough of the fetus that it was quite dead and going to rot, with the attendant risk to Linda of infection and hemorrhage.

What reason could Munson have had for leaving the bulk of the mutilated fetus in Linda's uterus? It does say in every text and article about performing abortions that you're supposed to make sure you get the entire fetus, along with all of the placenta, out of the uterus, because of the risk of potentially fatal infection and hemorrhage, so this isn't like Tiller where there's really no book that specifically says, "Three days in a motel room with a rotting fetus in your uterus isn't recommended for women suffering X complication of pregnancy." The books were all on the prosecutor's side here. The medical journals were all on the prosecutor's side here. But evidently Munson got a jury of people disposed to forgive reckless endangerment. Maybe they were habitual drunk drivers themselves and figured it'd be bad karma to slap somebody else for being reckless with somebody else's life. Maybe they were all, like Tlaloc, inclined to figure that whatever an abortionist does, since he's an abortionist he must have had a very good reason for doing it. Whatever the case, their failure to hold Munson accountable for what he did to Linda Padfield left him free to kill Yvonne Mesteth. Nice work, jurors.

On another tack, Munson is the third former criminal abortionist I've learned of who had a clean record -- no patient deaths -- as a criminal abortionist, only to go on to kill two patients in his legal practice. The others are Milan Vuitch (Georgianna English and Wilma Harris) and Jesse Ketchum (Margaret Smith and Carole Schaner).

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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33 comments:

Tlaloc said...

The doctor certainly screwed up the medical procedure, but that doesn't automatically mean he was criminally negligent. The jury finding supports this. You disagree with their finding.

Once again I have to ask why anyone should take your opinion, as a heavily biased partisan, over that of the twelve (I assume) people who actually heard the case?

What makes you so special?


"For the benefit of those readers who happen to be Tlaloc, here's one where I think the jury had their heads right up their asses -- just like the Tiller jury."

Did you leave out a word in there or are you saying I'm multiple people?



"The books were all on the prosecutor's side here. The medical journals were all on the prosecutor's side here"

And you can demonstrate those books and journals predate 1973? Given that D&E was first used in the 70s I somehow doubt it was quite the well known procedure you claim here.


"Maybe they were all, like Tlaloc, inclined to figure that whatever an abortionist does, since he's an abortionist he must have had a very good reason for doing it."

I'm inclined to trust the findings of juries. That you find this so objectionable says a lot about your regard for objectivity and your inability to recognize your personal potential for error.

Lilliput said...

The man is dead Christina and Tlaloc - whats the point of this discussion. I don't understand. I don't for one second believe that Tiller wanted to murder women - their babies yes - but not the women. Women who died in his care did so from his negligence and ignorance- that is different to intent to murder.

I want to know what brought these women to Tiller? Why did Sarah want an abortion and how did she hear of Tiller - these are the important points and the knowledge may help us with reducing the abortion rate.

Tiller's climic is now closed but I bet you that there are already women looking for someone who would do what Tiller used to do.

Its like arresting and incarterating a pavement drug dealer - a new one or maybe even two will take his place so its not going to help. Also he is just meeting a demand - reducing the demand is the only way to combat the drug and abortion problem.

Tlaloc said...

"The man is dead Christina and Tlaloc - whats the point of this discussion."

Personally I think the demonizing of Tiller is very important object lesson for prolifers to absorb. His resultant murder makes the point more, not less, critical.

Naaman said...

Lilliput, I agree that there are certainly women who are looking for someone who will provide the same "service" as the late Dr. Tiller. That is one of the many reasons why shooting abortionists is not a winning strategy -- there is always another one to take their place.

(Shooting abortionists is also profoundly immoral, which is more important than any practical objection.)

However, your larger point doesn't follow from either of the examples that you gave....

1) Tiller's practice was not closed by a change in the laws. Rather, it was closed by an assassin's bullet. All of the societal, legal, and moral conditions which allowed Dr. Tiller to perform late-term abortions still exist. Therefore, it is only logical that "his" patients will seek other abortionists.

2) Abortionists are not the same as small-time drug dealers. Performing abortions requires medical skills (the lack of which are exemplified by Christina's gruesome stories) and specialized equipment. Many doctors won't perform abortions for moral reasons, so the pool of "potential" abortionists is pretty small. Arresting them would make a big difference. On the other hand, nearly anyone can sell drugs, so the pool of "potential" drug dealers is much larger. Also, abortions are not addictive, while most drugs are. Therefore, the demand for drugs is more more inelastic than the demand for abortions.

I want to specifically answer your conclusion:
... reducing the demand is the only way to combat the drug and abortion problem.

Reducing the demand for abortion is certainly one part of a comprehensive strategy to eliminate abortion. Reducing the supply of abortion -- through legal means -- is another part of that strategy. A moral crisis like abortion doesn't have only one answer. We can -- and must -- attack the problem from several different angles.

However, even if we're going to limit our discussion to reducing the demand for abortion, there are still several different ways to achieve that goal. Preventing unplanned pregnancies is one method. Meeting the needs of pregnant women (hello, CPCs!) is another method. Finally, making abortion less attractive is also an excellent method of reducing the demand for abortion.

The last point cannot be overlooked. People are less likely to do things that carry legal, social, or other penalties. One of the main reasons that I stayed clear of drugs when I was younger was that I didn't want to risk the stigma of being a druggie. I didn't want to run the risk of being arrested. I didn't want to jeopardize my brain cells.

Now, I knew people who could have gotten drugs for me. Several people actually offered! But I declined. The combination of social stigma, legal risk, and health concerns kept me away from drugs.

We must attack abortion in the same way. The problem is enormous. The solution must be comprehensive.

SegaMon said...

Tlaloc: "And you can demonstrate those books and journals predate 1973? Given that D&E was first used in the 70s I somehow doubt it was quite the well known procedure you claim here."

While the actual D&E method might not have been specifically mentioned in textbooks at the time, it would certainly make sense that textbooks of the time made mention that ANY dead tissue within the uterus increases the risk of infection.

Further, you ignored entirely the point that when one leg has been removed that there should be another one. This point doesn't need a textbook or a genius to figure out.

The point of this post, guys, is not to put an already dead man behind bars. The point of this post is to illustrate how a jury is not always as impartial as we would like. The jury may very well have been full of pro-choice individuals who did not want to see one less doctor available to perform abortions.

Further, many people might trust this abortion doctor (and not convict him) purely because of his profession and knowledge.

To add insult to injury, sympathy could have played a role: "This man spent eight or more of his life to become a doctor and convicting him now would have him loose all that he gained."

Believe in our not, Tlaloc, the legal system in the USA is not perfect. It has holes. Judges and lawyers know very much about these holes whenever they arise. These holes are very much exploited whenever they can be.

---

I'm just thinking what kind of thing that Tlaloc would want a textbook to say about a D&E abortion: "If there is one leg out, then there is still one leg in!" lol

Tlaloc said...

"Further, you ignored entirely the point that when one leg has been removed that there should be another one."

I suppose that depends on if the fetus was fully formed or not. There certainly are babies born missing limbs. It also assumes that in the process it was possible to identify the extracted tissue so as to know what part of the fetus it was.



"The point of this post is to illustrate how a jury is not always as impartial as we would like."

The problem being that the post in no way demonstrates that there was anything wrong with the jury's verdict. Assumptions and suppositions simply do not weigh against hard evidence heard by a court.



"Believe in our not, Tlaloc, the legal system in the USA is not perfect."

Of course it is not perfect. That said, the impartiality of prolifers with regards to abortion doctors is vastly more imperfect. Guess which I trust more? Go on, guess.



"I'm just thinking what kind of thing that Tlaloc would want a textbook to say about a D&E abortion: "If there is one leg out, then there is still one leg in!" lol"

As above you are making assumptions here that are not supported by the evidence. Do you understand now why I find your arguments so specious?

Kathy said...

Tlaloc -- you did go to school, right?

I suppose that depends on if the fetus was fully formed or not. There certainly are babies born missing limbs. It also assumes that in the process it was possible to identify the extracted tissue so as to know what part of the fetus it was.

Yes, babies sometimes are born missing limbs, but this is rare. The fetus was at 5 months gestation -- and babies have survived being born at that stage, although you may not consider them to be a human being until they've completely weaned off of oxygen. The average length of the baby at this stage is 8-10" with a weight of 1 lb. The length is about the same as a small cat or a large kitten. It's basically fully formed. You cannot be serious that if you dismembered a baby the size of a cat that you could get out perhaps half of it and think you got the whole thing. That's simply ridiculous! It makes me think you are either very stupid or are just trying to get a rise out of us. The way these mid-term abortions were done was by grabbing a fetal body part and pulling until it detached, reaching into the uterus, grabbing another fetal body part until it came off, and repeating that until the entire dismembered fetus has been removed. And the placenta. Since the rate of major fetal deformity such as you are feebly attempting to promote as possible is so low, it would be idiotic of the doctor to say, "Hmm, I've only got one leg and one arm, and not quite all the torso and head, so I think it must have been a deformed fetus." While it possible -- just barely -- that such a thing might have happened, the overwhelming likelihood is that he didn't get all the body parts. Besides, in training for such an abortion, it would certainly be standard (as it is in abortions done earlier in term, where the fetus is sucked out in many tiny pieces -- so it only stands to reason that it would be even more obvious as well as easier when the baby is the size of a small cat, as opposed to just larger than a half-dollar coin) to reassemble the body parts to make sure you didn't miss any. Or would you care to cite some source that says that's not standard or necessary?

SegaMon said...

Tlaloc, you obviously ignored my point.

"Assumptions and suppositions simply do not weigh against hard evidence heard by a court."

lol, it's an assumption that there are almost always two arms and two legs on a fetus. An assumption like this is CERTAINLY not permissible in court! :)

I wanted to mention more; however, what I wanted to say was well said by Kathy.

SegaMon said...

Tlaloc, you may want to take a crash-course in biology and review over the basics of human development.

Lilliput said...

Naaman,

There is a huge call to legalise drugs because its illegality causes more trouble then the side effects of the actual drug taking. If you arrest all teh drug takers - people simply do more desperate things to get their drugs.

Same with abortion - if you reduce the availability of specialised abortion doctors - you will open a market for doctors and laymen who don't know what they are doing to perform abortions - and then we will have more women for Christine to post about.

Maybe we should be building a state of the art abortion facility and trying to do research on the women coming in for late term abortions so we can understand where they are coming from?

Tlaloc said...

"Tlaloc -- you did go to school, right?"

Certainly, up through and including a bachelors in physics.



"Yes, babies sometimes are born missing limbs, but this is rare. The fetus was at 5 months gestation -- and babies have survived being born at that stage, although you may not consider them to be a human being until they've completely weaned off of oxygen. The average length of the baby at this stage is 8-10" with a weight of 1 lb. The length is about the same as a small cat or a large kitten. It's basically fully formed."

You're talking about a health pregnancy, Kathy. Now do you know that this was a healthy pregnancy? Again you seem to be assuming facts not in evidence.



"Since the rate of major fetal deformity such as you are feebly attempting to promote as possible is so low, it would be idiotic of the doctor to say, "Hmm, I've only got one leg and one arm, and not quite all the torso and head, so I think it must have been a deformed fetus." While it possible -- just barely -- that such a thing might have happened, the overwhelming likelihood is that he didn't get all the body parts."

*shrug*
You want to claim it's idiocy to imagine such a thing and then admit it's within the realm of possibility. What do you want me to say? Either you know the thing was not (because of evidence) or you don't and you have to allow for the possibility of rare occurrences.



"Besides, in training for such an abortion, it would certainly be standard (as it is in abortions done earlier in term, where the fetus is sucked out in many tiny pieces -- so it only stands to reason that it would be even more obvious as well as easier when the baby is the size of a small cat, as opposed to just larger than a half-dollar coin) to reassemble the body parts to make sure you didn't miss any."

This sounds an awful lot like another assumption. Can you show that this was standard procedure back in the early 1970s when D&E was a new technique?



"Or would you care to cite some source that says that's not standard or necessary?"

I'm not the one putting forth the positive proposition, you are. You guys are claiming something is certain, I pointed out that there's at least a couple ways the evidence leads to another conclusion.

Tlaloc said...

"lol, it's an assumption that there are almost always two arms and two legs on a fetus."

It is an assumption (and a false one) that there are ALWAYS two legs and wtwo arms. Your argument seems to rest upon that assumption (unless you can show that the aborting doctor had good reason to know in this case that there could not be an abnormality). Did ultrasounds exist in 1973? Was one done? Was it done correctly?

You guys really need to take a step back and examine your assumptions, they are seriously tripping you up.



"I wanted to mention more; however, what I wanted to say was well said by Kathy."

Then please be sure to read my response to her where I point out the errors in her argument.

SegaMon said...

If it was only mentioned that a victim ran away on foot from the crime scene, then it would be assumed that the victim has two normal legs to use. This is certainly a permissible assumption even though there is a slight possibility that the victim could have a prosthetic limb, or even might have been using crutches. If a rare case of using a prosthetic limb or using crutches was the case, then it should be mentioned. Otherwise, two normal legs would be assumed.

It is obviously the same as babies normally having two legs and two arms. It would have to be mentioned OTHERWISE to show that the fetus had only one arm or only one leg with evidence to prove it.

I have never stated that there were ALWAYS two arms and ALWAYS two legs. Reread my statement. I used the adjective "almost."

Tlaloc: "Did ultrasounds exist in 1973? Was one done? Was it done correctly?"

A Google search is all that you need! Look at the following:

Barry B. Goldberg, MD: "Although diagnostic ultrasonography (US) was developing in the late 1940s and
early 1950s, it was not until the 1960s, with the availability of commercial equipment, that its usefulness in obstetrics began to be realized fully by radiologists and obstetricians around the world." (radiology.rsnajnls.org/cgi/reprint/215/3/622.pdf)

Further, if ultrasound was used then it should have been done properly. If it wasn't done properly then the a medical office would be responsible to medical negligence (faulty diagnoses upon faulty tests).

This source shows, also, that it was not in widespread use. Thus, if ultrasound was not used in this instance, I am wondering why and how a doctor would assume that there was only one leg or only one arm? If only one of the two limbs were removed, then there should be immediate follow up care to ensure that no other tissue remained in the uterus. The chances of the fetus having two limbs is MUCH too large to risk not doing anything else following the abortion.

Maybe this was what the doctor thought: "I only got one limb. The fetus must have only had one limb. Send the patient home, there is nothing left in the uterus." This claim could not be made unless there were ways to quantify it such as through ultrasound or even X-ray at a local clinic or hospital since the baby is definitely dead already.

Refer to www.hps.cam.ac.uk/visibleembryos/s7_1.html where is shows that X-rays were done to map the fetus since 1897 (before they knew of the harm it causes on living fetuses).

Any imaging may not even have been done. In the clinician's best judgement, not being able to remove part of the torso and two limbs should have been reason for follow-up care. Evidently, the patient died of sepsis related to retained necrotic tissue in the uterus. Follow up care was most certainly not done.

And don't ask me "was follow up care the standard of care in 1973?" Of course it was!

What I have been talking about is not even about abortion; it's about proper medical care (which this doctor obviously did not provide to Linda Padfield yet was absolved by the court system).

GrannyGrump said...

Lil, I've not seen any evidence that legalizing improved the quality of abortion practice. If you look at the mortality trends over the 20th Century, you can see that legalization made zero impact on the trends.

I do have anecdotal evidence of doctors getting even sloppier after legalization -- three doctors who kept their noses clean before legalization who each went on to kill two patients once the risk of serious jail time was taken off the table.

Abortion just isn't the sort of thing that's ever going to attract the cream of the crop. Doctors spend a lot of time in med school because they want to heal, and they want challenges. Destroying one fetus after the other is the antithesis of healing, and it's stultifying. What doctor in his right mind wants to spend his life doing that? It's like becoming a PhD in engineering and then spending your life disassembling the same IKEA bookcases day in and day out.

GrannyGrump said...

You don't need an ultrasound to look at one arm, one leg, a piece of skull, and a chunk of torso, and figure that there's a lot of fetus still in there.

If he'd have pulled out the entire torso, whether or not the fetus had the standard number of arms and legs would have been pretty obvious.

To assert that not having ultrasound is any kind of excuse for leaving the majority of the fetus in the mother, then not having GPS is a valid excuse for driving the wrong way up a clearly-marked one-way street in broad daylight.

Some things you only need to be awake for. You don't need the fanciest gadgets.

Tlaloc said...

"It is obviously the same as babies normally having two legs and two arms. It would have to be mentioned OTHERWISE to show that the fetus had only one arm or only one leg with evidence to prove it."

That's just not how it works. If you want to establish something positively, as you do in this case, then you need to be able to discount any other real possibilities (we can leave aside "what if we're all just brains in jars" kind of things). Especially in a case like this where you want people to believe that the jury reached the wrong verdict.



"I have never stated that there were ALWAYS two arms and ALWAYS two legs. Reread my statement. I used the adjective "almost.""

I know you didn't, but your argument requires that it be "always" and not "almost." "Almost" leaves a huge hole in the chain of your logic.



"Thus, if ultrasound was not used in this instance, I am wondering why and how a doctor would assume that there was only one leg or only one arm?"

I don't know, maybe through external examinations of the mother. Or maybe an assumption based on a fetal diagnosis. Or maybe the doctor expected a complete fetus but the process of the D&E mangled the fetus so badly that they were unable to identify the parts to know they didn;t have it all. Or any of a thousand other possibilities that you apparently can't discount but want to pretend couldn;t happen.

Once again- I'm willing to trust the jury unless some significant evidence comes to light suggesting they were wrong (including of course the verdict being overturned on appeal). The thing is you guys want to use sloppy assumptions as evidence.

I'm not inclined to play along.



"And don't ask me "was follow up care the standard of care in 1973?" Of course it was!"

Your record so far is not one where you have the credibility to say "trust me!"

Tlaloc said...

"You don't need an ultrasound to look at one arm, one leg, a piece of skull, and a chunk of torso, and figure that there's a lot of fetus still in there."

This assumes, as I've pointed out repeatedly, that the fetal remains were intact enough to identify individual parts.



"To assert that not having ultrasound is any kind of excuse for leaving the majority of the fetus in the mother,"

That's not what I said. What I said is there's also the possibility that the doctor had reason to expect the fetus to be malformed. I asked about ultrasound to find out if there might have been one doen, but even if there was there was still the possibility of it being done wrong, or interpreted wrong.

See this is the process of actually figuring out what may have happened. You have to consider more than just your pet theory. You have to consider all the possibilities and eliminate them one by one, if you can.

Lilliput said...

"Lil, I've not seen any evidence that legalizing improved the quality of abortion practice. If you look at the mortality trends over the 20th Century, you can see that legalization made zero impact on the trends."

Christina are you telling me that the the total number of women killed by abortion has stayed the same throughout the 20th or that the percentage of women killed having abortions have stayed the same?

Also, there is a whole branch of medicine dedicated to palliative care ie dealing with giving people the least painfull most dignified death they can have. There are plenty Doctors who don't have a problem working in hospices where people come to die.

There are even clinics open in Switzerland where people can go and die if they have decided that its time to go?

Like I have been saying, death is a part of life.

GrannyGrump said...

Lil, the absolute numbers have been falling (except for the 1950s, for some odd reason), and since the population has been rising, that means that the mortality RATE has also been falling.

And yeah, death is a part of life but that doesn't mean that we're to seek it out.

SegaMon said...

Tlaloc: "...maybe an assumption based on a fetal diagnosis."

We can base highly important medical decisions on assumptions? I guess it doesn't work in the court system but it certainly works in the medical field! :)

Tlaloc said...

"We can base highly important medical decisions on assumptions? I guess it doesn't work in the court system but it certainly works in the medical field! :)"

You are failing to make the distinction between what should be done and what might have been done.

Lilliput said...

So if mortality rate is falling then the quality of abortions is better then what it used to be - no?

GrannyGrump said...

But it fell the most in the 1940s, when abortion was still a criminal act. If you look at when the first state legalized abortion, at when abortion-on-demand was the law in New York and California, and when Roe came down, you see nothing -- nada, zilch.

This whole idea that legalization was the key to reducing abortion mortality is a myth.

Kathy said...

Lilliput, it also needs to be shown that maternal abortion deaths were reported and counted the same before legalization as afterwards, and I don't think that's the case. Christina has written numerous blog posts and comments on this topic, but even if you wish to discount her in-depth research, you can read this article which appeared in The Journal of Perinatal Education, and cites some interesting studies about maternal mortality, of which abortion is a subset. "A recent article in a major obstetrical journal revealed a 93% underreporting rate of maternal death in Massachusetts. It is very likely that a similar rate of error could be found in the other 49 states... The CDC's most recent guess is that they could be missing as much as 2/3 of the maternal deaths." And this French study showed that all maternal deaths that occurred during or after childbirth "were reported to the national record, but most of the deaths from abortion were identified from the survey." The plain fact is, when a woman gives birth, there is a paper trail identifying her as a mother, and if she dies within a year of giving birth, her death certificate can be linked to her child's birth certificate, so there is a much higher likelihood of her death being identified properly as maternal mortality. Nobody may even know that she had an abortion -- she may have hidden it from her family, or her friends were reluctant to tell, or the doctor who signed off on the death certificate may have simply been unaware. Even with this "paper trail" the above study showed that if the childbirths and maternal deaths are not "linked", then maternal mortality is severely under-reported -- 93% in one US state alone. I can only imagine it to be worse when there is no connection between a child's birth (since the baby was aborted) and a woman's death.

Lilliput said...

Christina, there are no data from 1980 onwards in the post you refer to so we really don't know how safe abortion is the period of the huge surge in abortion numbers ie the last 10 to 15 years.

Kathy, you have a point in what you are saying but the reverse is also true for example - a women could have had an abortion in the same year that she dies of undiagnosed cancer or heart problems so u can't really tell what caused her death.

I also think - but i'm not sure - that the majority of abortions are performed on returning customers - so they have obviously not died.

Kathy said...

"I also think - but i'm not sure - that the majority of abortions are performed on returning customers - so they have obviously not died."

Nobody is claiming that the maternal death rate from abortion claims the majority of women, so what we say can be true, even if the majority of women who get abortions are repeat customers. The maternal mortality rate (MMR) in America is officially 15/100,000. Even if the actual MMR were 10x that, and the total deaths were due to abortion, that would still only be 1500 women each year killed by abortion, with 998,500 alive to seek a subsequent abortion (assuming a million abortions per year).

And the last few comments from both Christina and me have been demonstrating that abortion mortality can't be known from just the official numbers, because of how poorly they are counted, and how many deaths are overlooked. But, studies that try to find overlooked deaths have no difficulties in so doing. Sloppy and inefficient government paperwork carries some of the blame; as do doctors who do not know the woman was recently pregnant, or fail to code the death in such a way as to demonstrate that it was a maternal death (e.g., saying the COD was "infection" without noting that it was an infection due to a C-section or an abortion). So, all we can really say about maternal deaths (whether due to abortion or not), is that they are under-reported and under-recognized; and that this is the case even when maternal deaths can be linked to birth certificates, so how much more would this likely be the case when maternal deaths cannot be linked to abortion records?

You did hit on one very valid point that goes beyond abortion -- namely, the difficulty in ascertaining which deaths are due to a condition of pregnancy or its end (whether miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, or live birth), and which are due to other reasons. In trying to tabulate all deaths which may possibly be maternal mortality, some groups use the broadest definition of "pregnancy related mortality" -- the World Health Organization is pushing this one -- and that would include any death of any woman within one year of the end of her pregnancy, whether the death was due to cancer, allergic reaction, car wreck, or something actually related to pregnancy. A stricter definition (and I forget all the different terminologies, if there even is a standard!) would require that the death be due to either direct or indirect obstetric causes. "Direct" would include deaths due to pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes or hypertension, or something like amniotic fluid embolism, or an infection. "Indirect" might be that the pregnancy caused an already present underlying disease to become worse, and eventually cause the woman's death (such as cancer, or a heart problem); I think it might also include things like a woman being killed by her boyfriend for having (or refusing to have) an abortion. The strictest definition requires the death to be due to direct obstetric causes and to take place within 42 days (6 weeks) of the end of pregnancy; although it may be possible for a doctor to hold off a raging infection for several weeks, only to have the woman finally succumb to the disease just past the cut-off point -- so that wouldn't be counted, even though it was definitely a cause of death directly related to the pregnancy or the end thereof.

GrannyGrump said...

Lil, the main point was that it was WAY before legalization that the whole problem of abortion mortality started to be effectively addressed. When abortion on demand was made the law of the land in 1973, was there any change in the mortality trends? No. When New York and California legalized on demand in 1970, was there any change in the mortality trends? No.

If I claim that Miracle Gro makes my plants produce more tomatoes, I'd need to show that there was a change in the production of tomatoes that began with the introduction of Miracle Gro. If I'd been harvesting more tomatoes every year since 1970, and started using Miracle Gro in 2001, and the production continued on the same upward trend it had been on for the previous thirty years, you'd have a hard time convincing anybody that the Miracle Gro was what was responsible for the increase in tomato output after 2001.

Lilliput said...

Well Christina - you could take away the miracle grow if it doesn't make any difference to the growth rate - why would a person pay for something that doesn't make any difference.

But actually I think you guys are missing the point about abortion legalization. If you look at drug use - there are more people being killed by the war on drugs then the drug users themselves. Its the fact that the drugs are illegal that causes gang wars where people get shot at, get coerced into being mules, get trafficed to countyries like Britain to produce the drugs - and then you have the dirty money launderers who make it possible - it becomes a very dirty business. If you've seen the Romanian abortion movie "4 months 3 weeks and 2 days" - you would know - and if you haven't seen it - its highly recommended!

Because abortion is legal - you don't have that side - you have the normal risk associated with going under the knife - that includes crap doctors I'm afraid. When I had my operation the doctor told me that he has to be honest that there is a chance that I could bleed to death - and please could I sign this form to say that I give him permission to take that risk on my behalf.

GrannyGrump said...

Yes, Lil, and why do people credit abortion legalization with the fall in mortality when it didn't make any difference? Look at that chart. Not a blip when abortion was legalized. But y'all give legalization the credit for the fall in mortality. Well how the hell did something that happened in 1973 have such a profound impact on mortality in the 1940s?

Yes, with abortion you have the normal risks of going under the knife, including a quack doctor. BUT THAT WAS THE CASE ALREADY. It was doctors doing abortions. Some of them were quacks. But for some bizarre reason, y'all attribute all the pre-legalization abortion deaths to the legal status of abortion, while dismissing all the post-legalization deaths as just the inherent risks of surgery. If there are inherent risks in any surgery, THAT WAS TRUE BEFORE LEGALIZATION AS WELL. But y'all don't attribute any pre-legalization deaths to "All surgery has risks." You attribute all of them to the legal status of abortion. Which makes as much sense as saying that Sid Vicious only stabbed Nancy Spungeon because heroin was illegal. No, Sid Vicious stabbed Nancy Spungeon because heroin wrecks your brain. And that's true regardless of the legal status of the drug. There are certain things about heroin that hold true regardless of the legal status of the drug.

And I'd like to know how you can take some Romanian abortion movie and use it as some sort of proof of all you assert. IT"S A FREAKING MOVIE! A WORK OF FICTION! Why not just cite a Harry Potter movie?

I'm giving you hard data, along with supporting anecdotes from real life. But you dismiss them and instead call on a work of fiction to prove your point.

Lilliput said...

Christina, the Romanian movie was based on true stories (not even only one) which occurred in communist Romania. The thousands of Romanians that watched that movie speak in a documentary after the film to say how real and true to life it was. Do you know the difference between a movie based on real life events and Harry Potter or is it all the same to you? Just because its a movie - doesn't mean it didn't happen. Have you actually seen it- before you comment?

You made my point beautifully with the Heroin example - yes Heroin wrecks your brain - but that's not whats going to kill you. Its probably the theiving required, the other substances they take when they can't get their fix and of course the AIDS/Hep C/B they get from dirty needles. If you legalise and prescribe them tehir heroin like others get their blood pressure medicine - maybe their brains wouldn't be so wrecked!

GrannyGrump said...

"It's a work of fiction, but a lot of people said it was true to their experiences." Well THAT clinches it! It has to be the absolute and indisputable truth!

How about some real life?

And have you showed me any evidence that the illegality of abortion led to people shooting each other? How many rival abortionists were gunning each other down in the streets the way drug lords do? How many cops got killed in shootouts trying to bring in desperado abortionists?

What killed women before legalization were the same things that kill them now. And it was a problem that was being adequately addressed without taking the draconian step of declaring an entire class of human beings to be disposable, like so much garbage.

Why should the interests of Group A mean that it's open season on Group B -- that all we need is for a member of Group A to want somebody in Group B dead, and it MUST be done. "Make it so," as Picard would say.

What tremendous boon to society is it, that it's worth becoming so heartless, that we can be indifferent to pulling the limbs off a small, living being, simply because somebody much bigger and stronger doesn't want it there?

Lilliput said...

Christina, the story is real - I don't know why you struggle to believe it - or why it cannot be incorporated into the rest of the blog - as like most of the stories written on the blog or also supporting anecdotes. I would have thought you would welcome any info about abortion from anywhere.

Here is an interesting article concerning the Vera Drake abortion movie - they didn't get it all right - but people picked up on it straight away. She also talks about the criminal element to illegal abortions.

Lilliput said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2005/jan/06/health.healthandwellbeing

Maybe I forgot the link !