Saturday, December 18, 2010

Three illegal anniversaries

  • Myrta Baptiste, age 26, had abortion of her 10 week pregnancy performed by Orlando Zaldivar at Woman's Care Clinic in Florida on December 18, 1982. But something went wrong. Myrta arrived at the hospital in critical condition due to delay of transfer by the clinic staff. She bled to death from 2 uterine perforations. Zaldivar could not be reached for 7 hours while hospital staff were struggling to save his patient's life. Since Zaldivar's license was inactive at the time he performed Myrta's abortion, the CDC classified her death as being due to illegal abortion rather than legal abortion. The other deaths at that facility -- Ruth Montero, Shirley Payne, and Maura Morales -- were counted as legal abortion deaths.

  • On December 18, 1923, 40-year-old Sophia Hartozinski died at Chicago's County Hospital due to a criminal abortion performed there that day. The coroner identified a midwife, Mary Roback, as having been responsible for Sophia's death.

  • On December 18, 1871, Mrs. Amanda McCoy died at the home of Dr. Fahlbusch, a German woman practicing as a midwife and described as "of good reputation." She was cleared of any suspicion in Amanda's death. The Coroner's Jury concluded that Amanda had undergone her fatal abortion before coming into the city.

    I have no information on overall maternal mortality, or abortion mortality, in the 19th century. I imagine it can't be too much different from maternal and abortion mortality at the very beginning of the 20th Century.

    Note, please, that with overall public health issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. See Abortion Deaths in the 19th Century for more examples.

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

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

    To email this post to a friend, use the icon below.
  • No comments: