Barbara Riley was 23 years old when, under guidance of doctors, she agreed to undergo a safe and legal abortion. She had a history of sickle cell anemia and three previous term pregnancies -- two live births and a stillborn child.
She was in her first trimester of pregnancy when she underwent the abortion on July 11, 1970 at Harlem Hospital. The abortion had been recommended by hospital staff because Barbara had a history of sickle cell disease. The abortion would probably have been recommended as beneficial to Barbara's health, under New York's old abortion law, and so would have been legal even if the new abortion-on-demand law hadn't been passed earlier in the year.
But instead of improving, Barbara's health deteriorated. Her blood started to break down. Nine days after the abortion, July 20, Barbara died of sickle cell crisis triggered by the abortion.
The other women I've identified as dying from sickle cell crisis triggered by an abortion are Margaret Davis and Betty Hines.
For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:
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