Sunday, January 31, 2010

1972: Antiquated abortion method kills teen

Fifteen-year-old Gwendolyn Drummer was a student at Harry Ellis High in Richmond, California, when she was admitted to Doctor’s Hospital of Pinole for a safe and legal abortion, to be performed January 28, 1972. Her doctor chose the saline abortion method.

These abortions are performed by replacing amniotic fluid with a strong salt solution. In the decades after WWII, saline was being abandoned in countires where abortion was legal, in favor of safer methods. But as laws loosened up in the US, American docors adopted the method. A British study published in 1966 found that the saline would enter the mother's bloodstream and cause brain damage. Swedish researchers noticed an unacceptably high rate of complications and deaths. Sweden and the Soviet Union followed Japan in abandoning saline abortion as too dangerous by the late 1960s.

Gwendolyn's doctor injected the saline into her utuerus. It got into Gwendolyn's blood stream, just as British, Japanese, Soviet, and Swedish doctors had repeatedly warned it could do. Gwendolyn suffered organ damage. She developed pneumonia, and died on January 31.

Hear Gwendolyn's story in a minute:

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

When the POC really is just tissue

I had a fascinating conversation this evening. The gentleman in question argued that since there are so many early miscarriages, prolifers would want to try to save those babies if if was medically possible, right? I pointed out yes, preventing miscarriages is worthy and ought to be pursued.

But then we hit a snag when I had a hard time explaining that not every early miscarriage of a pregnancy is an early miscarriage of a human embryo. Nobody, I pointed out, is collecting the miscarried entities to see what they are. They might not be viable human embryos that could possibly be saved. In fact, it's probable that what is being expelled is either a hydatidiform mole or a blighted ovum -- neither of which is a new human being. This conversation led me to bring up this old article:

Two common prochoice euphamisms for the fetus destroyed by abortion -- "products of conception" and "pregnancy tissue" -- realy do accurately apply in those unusual circumstances when there is no fetus present in a pregnancy. The two conditions in which a woman shows all the symptoms of pregnancy but is not sheltering a new human being are gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) and blighted ovum.

In GTD, the conception results in what is called a "hydatidiform mole." This is a cluster of tissue with an appearance somewhat similar to a bunch of grapes. Researchers aren't 100 percent in agreement as to what causes hydatidiform moles, but the current theory is that they are caused by double genetic input from the male. There are three basic ways hydatidiform moles are believed to form:
  • A sperm fertilizes an ova with no genetic material in it, so the sperm reproduces its chromosomes, making a mole that has two identical sets of haploid chromosomes from the male.
  • Two sperm fertilize an ova with no genetic material in it, producing a diploid mole with two different sets of chromosomes from the male.
  • Two sperm fertilize an apparently normal ova, causing a mole with three sets of chromosomes in stead of two. This produces a "partial mole," with molar tissue and a fetus with lethal abnormalities.

As an aside, it is the formation of molar pregnancies that makes geneticists, such as Jerome Lejeune, believe that plans to enable two homosexual men to have biological children by replacing the genetic material in an ova with the genetic material from their sperm are doomed to failure.

Hydatidiform moles usually are expelled naturally by the mother's body before twenty weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes they will cause potentially life-threatening symptoms and need to be removed by suction. Also, sometimes the abnormal cells can invade the uterus, causing hemorrhage. They can also become cancerous.

In blighted ovum, a placenta and amniotic sac form, but there is no fetus in the sac. Some researchers seem to believe that a blighted ova is caused by the same abnormal conception process that causes hydatidiform moles. Others say that they are two different kinds of abnormalities.

A blighted ova tends to be expelled naturally by the mothers body in the very early weeks of pregnancy. I've not seen any indication that they become invasive or cancerous, like hydatidiform moles.

For a while there was a trend among abortion defenders to claim that the existence of hydatidiform moles proves that life can not begin at conception. After all, they argue, here's a hydatiform mole, with its own genetic makeup, and it's not a person. So since conception sometimes produces this blob of tissue that is obviously not a person, life can't begin at conception. We could use the same logic (if you can call it logic) to disprove the prochoice claim that life begins at birth. Some babies are stillborn. So sometimes at birth you don't get a live person; you get a little corpse. Does this prove that babies aren't alive? Hardly.

More to the point, you can ask an abortion advocate when his life began, and when he says, "At birth," you can point to the existence of six billion other people on the planet and say that his life can't have begun at birth if birth can produce six billion currently living entities that are not him. An entity's existence begins when that entity comes into existence, and at conception we have either a blighted ovum, a hydatidiform mole, or a new human being.

(And let's not squabble about twins. Conjoined twins Abby and Britty Hensel have just one body, but are two people, so I see no reason one body can't be two people before birth as well -- or why we can't recognize twinning as a form of asexual reproduction, which human beings are capable of doing only at a very early age.)

Actually, the existence of hydatidiform moles underscores the prolife position. One need only compare a fetus with a molar pregnancy of the same gestation age to see very clearly the difference between "pregnancy tissue" and a viable embryonic human being. In fact, even in a partial mole, there is a clear difference between the doomed fetus, which is recognizably a fetus, and the molar tissue, as in this illustration:

For those of you with a strong stomach, here are a removed mole and an aborted fetus, for your comparison:

You can see that the mole really is just a blob of tissue, but that no matter how throughly shredded the embryo is, you can still see recognizable human body parts, such as arms, legs, hands, feet, and face. And even more to the point, if you leave the hydatidiform mole to itself, it will never develop into an organism, because it never was an organism to begin with. It will not differentiate into organs and organ systems. It has no capacity to do so. An embryo does.

Nowhere is the difference between a hydatidiform mole and a viable fetus more vividly demonstrated than in those rare pregnancies in which a woman has a twin pregnancy -- one hydatidiform mole and one normal fetus. So far, there seem to only have been about 30 of these cases reported. The mole is much larger than the fetus, and of course has no organs, limbs, or behaviors. Sadly, although some doctors have tried to manage these pregnancies in ways that save the fetus, they tend to miscarry before the fetus is old enough to live outside the womb. Some do carry to viability, and are not associated with a high number of birth defects.

Now, if prolifers really just had their knickers in a twist about what was being done to women's bodies, we'd object just as much to the destruction of hydatidiform moles as we do to the destruction of fetuses. We'd be just as outraged if a woman took chemicals to expel a blighted ovum as if she was taking them to cause the death of an embryo. But we're not. We're simply not interested. It's a medical matter, between a woman and her doctor, to decide how best to deal with a molar pregnancy or a blighted ovum, just as it's a medical matter, between a woman and her doctor, to decide how to deal with a fetus or embryo who has died but has not been naturally expelled.

It's the killing of a new human being that we object to, not the removal of unwanted tissue from the uterus.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just news to me: California abortion death last year

On July 28, 2009, 30-year-old Ying Chen, who did not speak English, went to Andrew Rutland's abortion facility in San Gabriel, California, for a safe, legal abortion. She arrived at about 11 a.m. A Chinese translator was present at the facility, though medical board documents do not indicate if Rutland provided the translator or if Ying brought the translator.

Ying was 16 or 17 weeks pregnant by examination. Rutland didn't document when Ying's last period was, nor did he document her height and weight. He didn't include an ultrasound report in her chart. Her chart did, however, include two signed consent forms -- for a first-trimester abortion.

Because of how advanced Ying's pregnancy was, Rutland was going to insert laminaria, which are sticks of dried seaweed, in Ying's cervix to dilate it for the procedure, which Rutland planned to perform about six hours later, when the laminaria had sufficiently dilated the cervix. Ying asked for pain medication for this procedure.

Rutland injected Ying with Demerol, which he was not authorized the dispense in an unauthorized setting. He had brought the drug from his Anaheim office. Rutland didn't document the administration of Demerol in Ying's chart.

He positioned Ying for the laminaria insertion procedure, and injected her cervix with four injections of lidocaine, which he had also brought from his Anaheim office. Within minutes of the injection, Rutland told the board, Ying's arms and legs contracted, but she was alert and responsive, with good blood pressure. Rutland started an IV.

About ten minutes later, Ying was having some trouble speaking and breathing. Rutland told an acupuncturist who worked at the same office to call 911. Ying went into complete cardio-respiratory arrest. Clinic staff reportedly performed CPR, but when paramedics arrived, they reported that nobody was providing her with care. The medics took Ying to the hospital, where she died six days later of lidocaine toxicity.

In his statement to the medical board, Rutland said that he wasn't aware that the clinic even had a crash cart, which was kept at the back of the facility. The crash cart in question was stocked with expired medications. Rutland didn't use his own crash cart, which he'd brought from his Anaheim clinic, because he'd left it in his car.

Nobody at the facility was certified in CPR.

The California medical board found that Rutland has been operating in a facility that wasn't adequate equipped for emergencies, which "casts doubt on his professional judgment." The clinic, which Rutland owned, lacked an appropriate municipal license. Rutland didn't carry malpractice insurance, and had lied to the DEA about his medical license having been previously suspended. The board also found that Rutland "administered Lidocaine without knowing the safe dosage range or maximum safe dose" and that his "response to the medical crisis was inappropriate in that he failed to recognize Lidocaine toxicity in a timely manner, did not give the patient an oxygen mask, and delayed in calling the paramedics." They also noted that Rutland failed to report both Ying's hospitalization and her death to the medical board, as required by law.

Dr. Rultand acknowledged that the incident was terribly unfortunate, but asserted that everything he did was within the standard of care. Dr. Rutland denied operating a medical clinic on the premises, despite a sign on the door that said "Rutland MD Medical Clinic." Dr. Rutland denied owning the medical clinic where the incident occurred. Dr. Rutland argued that the nature of the procedures he performed did not require him to have malpractice insurance and did not require that the clinic be equipped for serious emergencies. Dr. Rutland claimed he administered, not dispensed the Demerol, and that doing so was not in violation of DEA regulations.

Although Administrative Judge James Ahler said that Rutland "presents a risk of danger and there is a likelihood of injury to the public" if he were allowed to continue to practice, the medical board failed to revoke or even suspend his license. Instead, in their January 7 hearing, they just banned him from performing any more abortions, performing other surgeries, or delivering any more babies. They will decide at another time whether or not to take further action.

California Deputy Attorney General Douglas Lee said that in his care of Ying Chen, Rutland "committed repeated negligent acts", and said that he had a history of dishonesty and corruption, including lying to patients and to authorities.

Rutland argued that banning him from performing abortions was uncalled for on the grounds that he wasn't actively performing an abortion on Ying when she suffered the fatal mistake. His lawyer, Peter Osinoff, asked the judge to give weight to the 100 abortions Rutland had performed without incident over a two year period.

This was not Rutland's first run-in with the medical board. He had surrendered his license in October of 2002 after allegations of negligence, misconduct, and incompetence in his treatment of pregnant women, gynecological patients, and newborns. Two babies died, one in January of 1997 and one in July of 1999. The board investigated reports that Rutland performed unnecessary hysterectomies, lied to patients, and had sex with patients in his office.

One of the infants who died, Jillian Broussard, suffered spinal cord injuries while Rutland was using forceps to deliver her. She lived six days. Her death ultimately led the medical board to revoke Rutland's license in 2003. Jillian's parents, who were present at the recent medical board hearing, lamented the reinstatement of Rutland's license in 2007, and the board's failure to revoke his license in the wake of Ying Chen's death.

"I think his victims and the public needed to get full peace of mind today, and they didn't," Kathy Broussard told the Orange County Register. "He still has a practice in Anaheim. He's still allowed to do gynecological exams and consultations. It's appalling." Scott Broussard told the paper, “There’s the making of a mistake, but then there’s the way that it was made and the reaction by him afterward. He was not a man of honor or integrity… The responsibility for this death is on the medical board, to be shared with Dr. Rutland. They’re supposed to protect the public and they have failed.”

Prolifers in California had been complaining since early March of 2009 to the Medical board about Rutland, who was running an abortion clinic in southern California without another physician supervising him, in violation of his board probation. This facility was at the same location as the illegal abortion mill operated by Bertha Bugarin, who had been convicted of performing unlicensed abortions there. Rutland was also reported by prolifers to be operating at another abortion facility in Chula Vista.


  • Judge: Doctor Who Killed Woman in Botched Abortion Must Stop Doing Them
  • “This woman's death could have been avoided”
  • Medical board documents (perform search for Andrew Rutland, click on resulting links)
  • Doctor's license in jeopardy after death of abortion patient in San Gabriel
  • Abortion doc banned from doing abortions after death of patient, retains license to practice medicine
  • California abortionist accused of gross negligence in woman’s death
  • Mother of four bleeds to death Monday after artery is severed during abortion

    Here's the coverage:

  • Queens clinic A1 Medicine probed after Alexandra Nunez is fatally injured while undergoing abortion
  • Alexandra Nuñez Dies After Artery Inadvertently Severed During Abortion in Queens, NY Medical Facility
  • Death at NYC abortion clinic investigated
  • Alexandra Nuñez Dies After Artery Inadvertently Severed During Abortion in Queens, NY Medical Facility
  • Death at NYC abortion clinic investigated
  • Details Emerge on Hispanic New York Woman Killed in Botched Legal Abortion
  • ‘Nothing Happened Here’ – Except Fatally Botched Abortion

    Police and health officials are investigating the death of 37-year-old Alexandra Nunez after an abortion performed at A1 Medicine in Jackson Heights, Queens on Monday. Operation Rescue describes the facility as "located in a run-down building in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood," and was operated by Salomon Epstein.

    The abortion was performed at 3:30 p.m. on January 25, 2010. Alexandra began bleeding heavily and was transported by ambulance to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where she died. The source of the fatal bleeding was traced to a severed artery.

    Alexandra was a single mom from New Jersey. She had told her family that she was going to a doctor's office in Newark for a procedure to remove a cyst. Her 19-year-old daughter, Daisy Davila, told the New York Daily News, "I'm upset because I never got a chance to say goodbye. She didn't want anyone to go with her. I made dinner and lunch ,,, hoping she would come back."

    An employee at A1 insisted that all had gone well at their facility. "The patient was transferred to the hospital, she didn't die at the clinic. Nothing happened here."

    Nothing happened. Except that a woman was fatally injured. It's like the thank you note that Steve Lichtenberg sent for the referral after Deanna Bell's death: "Uneventful D&E". A dead patient. "Uneventful." "Nothing happened."

    A1 was an ambulatory surgical facility doing abortions and plastic surgery.

    Alexandra's family indicated that she opposed abortion, which is likely the reason for her secrecy.
  • Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    No, it's not that simple

    Angele sent me this excellent article by Barbara Hollingsworth. But I have a bone to pick with something she says:

    For 36 years, [March for Life participants have] been in a quixotic quest to convince Congress, the Supreme Court, and every administration since Richard Nixon's to protect the civil rights of unborn children even their own mothers don't want.

    Hollingsworth's article, first of all, starts with Angele, and focuses on her story. And Angele didn't have an abortion because she didn't want her baby. She wanted her baby very much. But she faced a lot of pressure from other people who insisted that in her very trying circumstance, abortion was the only answer. Under the relentless onslaught of loved ones and experts pressing her to do what they saw as the responsible, reasonable, rational thing, Angele finally buckled. It's a gross oversimplification -- to the point of misrepresenting what Angele went through -- to say that Angele chose abortion. The choice was to capitulate to the combined wishes of those around her, and their choice was abortion. Angele's choice was more of an unchoice.

    Angele isn't alone in having made the unchoice of abortion. Ashli McCall very much wanted her baby. But a debilitating illness, and doctors too careless or lazy to provide her with the real options she wanted, crushed her. She capitulated to the illness, to the staggering and cruel indifference of the professionals around her. Again, it's a gross oversimplification -- to the point of misrepresenting reality -- to say that Ashli chose abortion. Ashli made an unchoice.

    David Reardon has looked extensively into the degree to which abortion is an un-choice, made not because the woman doesn't want her baby, but because pressures -- from circumstances, from loved ones, from doctors -- crushed their spirits until they cracked, and in doing so they capitulated to what society is built to channel them into. They were ground up in a machinery of death, just so much grist for the abortion mills.

    I'll concede that there are some babies put to death in abortion facilities because their mothers don't want them. There are plenty of hardcore, militant, radical abortion advocates who are very in-your-face about the fact that the children they're aborting are seen as loathsome intruders. But I'll go out on a limb and postulate that these women who are aborting because of animosity toward the baby are in the minority.

    And until we grasp that, there will be no way out of the quagmire. Prolifers will keep dismissing aborting women as selfish bitches who hate babies. Prochoicers will keep dismissing aborting women's anguish as simple buyers' remorse, on a par with wishing you'd not bought that big-screen TV on credit.

    It seems that there's a huge area of common ground in the idea of limiting abortions to those women who really want them, who really don't want their babies.

    Let's start there -- and see the abortion rate fall.

    Fatal abortion in 1990

    Ingar Lee Whittington Weber died January 26, 1990, in a Louisiana hospital. She had been treated for acute kidney failure after a safe and legal abortion performed at Delta Women's Clinic in Baton Rouge on January 20.

    Ingar's family sued the clinic and its doctors, Richardson P. Glidden and Thomas Booker. They faulted the doctors with failing to diagnose Ingar's kidney problems, or her deteriorating physical condition, before, during, or after the abortion.

    Delta had also been sued following the death of another abortion patient. This woman was most likely 27-year-old Sheila Hebert, who died after an abortion on June 6, 1984.

    Delta was sued for an abortion performed in 1984 which left the patient with a uterine laceration and a retained fetal leg. She had to be hospitalizcd. Delta was sued after an abortion in 1974 that so badly damaged the patient's uterus that she needed a hysterectomy. Another patient reported that after surgery at Delta in 1998, she had to have a colostomy.

    Delta shut down in 2001 after an electrical problem caused a fire which gutted the facility, but later reopened in another building.

    Ingar's story in a minute:

    1956: Roommates seek abortions, one dies

    Lois Brown was tried in the Superior Court of Santa Barbara County of second degree murder and abortion in the January 26, 1956 death of Lucy Sanchez.

    Statements by Lucy before her death were corroborated by the testimony of her friends. Lucy's sister testified that three or four months before her death, Lucy had told her that she was pregnant and planning an abortion. A man named Ira Gin testified that about two months prior to the abortion, Lucy had told him she was pregnant and planning to go to Tijuana for an abortion. Some time in November or December of 1955, Gin had brought Lois Brown to the cafe where Lucy worked and introduced them, telling Lucy, "This is the lady you want to see." Brown had told Lucy, "I know a lady who can help you." They made an appointment to meet in front of the post office at 6:00 the following day. Brown also gave Lucy her phone number.

    Lucy and her roommate, Clara Thornton, were both pregnant. They went to Brown, who said that her name was Vi, on January 18, 1956.

    Clara testified that she and Lucy met Brown on the street and got into a car with her. Brown asked "how far along I was and I told her that I was three months along. She said I didn't have anything to worry about. Lois said that Lucy was a bit further ahead of me [six months pregnant] and it was a little more dangerous for her to go through with it, but said she would be all right, if Lucy would be in the care of Vi and present to tie the baby's navel cord and watch her from hemorrhaging."

    Then, Clara testified, Lucy got out of the car and went back home, while Brown drove Lucy to her practice. Clara, who had been in good health, paid $100. Brown used a syringe to inject Clara with a solution which looked and smelled like Lifebouy soap. Clara said that Brown told her that she needed money "and she wished she could take us both. She said she was doing it to us for $100 and she usually did it for $200 in Los Angeles." A syringe was entered into evidence, not as the actual syringe used in the abortion, but identified by Clara as similar to the one used by Brown.

    Brown then took Clara to the cafe where Lucy worked and "told Lucy that I was going to be all right and told her that she would see her later and see if she could get any money to go through with hers."

    Clara and Lucy went home, accompanied by their friend Beatrice Duran. Clara had "kind of a watery discharge," and the next morning "I started getting bad pains and then I started flowing blood, and then I was in terrible pain and then I went to the bathroom and passed a clot or something after quite a while, and the pain was relieved a little bit then." Brown came by at about 11:00. Clara was still cramping, and passed what she took for another clot. Brown examined it and "called Beatrice and Lucy to look at it and told them that it was the afterbirth and that I was going to be all right."

    Brown massaged showed Clara's friends how to massage her abdomen, telling them to do it periodically, "so everything that was left in there would come out." Brown then pressured Lucy to come up with the money to have an abortion as well, even suggesting that she ask Ira Gin for a loan. She left, taking Lucy with her. Gin testified that Lucy and Brown had come to his home, and Lucy had asked to borrow money. Gin said he'd refused but had told Brown that she could trust Lucy to pay her because Lucy was honest.

    Beatrice Duran testified in corroboration of what Clara had said, adding that Brown told Clara to go to a doctor and tell the doctor she had a cold so she could get a penicillin shot. Brown then drove Beatrice to work.

    Evidently Clara dallied about following this advice, not going to Dr. Randall until January 30. He testified that he figured she had been pregnant and had undergone an abortion about ten days earlier. Clara described the abortion to Randall, who found it consistent with what he saw when he examined her.

    In the mean time, Brown had evidently come to some agreement with Lucy Sanchez. Brown came to the young women's home on January 26 and left with Lucy at about 3 p.m. Clara had repaid Lucy the $100 she'd lent her, money Lucy evidently was going to use to pay Brown. Lucy had been in good health when she'd left her home.

    At about 7:30 that evening, Brown went to the cafe where Clara worked, asking her to come to take Lucy home. Brown also wanted to know if anybody would disturb them at the house. Clara said that Brown told her "they had gotten through about 5 o'clock and that she started flowing pretty heavily at the time and she started getting dizzy, then went out into a coma, and she was moaning pretty bad and she was afraid that somebody in the neighborhood would hear her and that she'd stay over at our house with her overnight and take care of her."

    Clara went to Brown's practice with her. Brown's mother was there as well. Lucy was lying on a couch, with her raincoat and some newspapers under her, and covered with a blanket and a bedspread. There was blood on the bedspread, newspapers, raincoat, and on Lucy. Clara also saw Lucy's clothing there. Brown was acting nervous and excited. Clara helped Brown carry Lucy down to the car, and accompanied by Brown's mother they drove Lucy to a hospital. Brown instructed Clara to tell staff there that Lucy had been in this condition at home, and that Clara had called Brown for help.

    As Clara sat outside the emergency room with Brown and Brown's mother, Brown told clara "she knew she shouldn't have done it, and took out her wallet, took out $30 and gave it to me and said those $30 were to help me in case Lucy needed anything."

    But Lucy was beyond needing any help. A doctor came out and informed the three women that Lucy had been dead on arrival.

    Clara said that Brown then told her "that she didn't know what to do whether to tell the truth or deny it." She asked Clara "whether she should run away or stick it out and then she took out her wallet again from her purse and told me, 'Here's the rest of Lucy's money so you can use it for the funeral.'"

    Though Clara said that the doctor in the emergency room had told her that Lucy had been dead on arrival, a doctor testified that Lucy had spoke to him before her death and told him she'd gone to "a residence south of the city" for the abortion, but also that Lucy didn't describe the instruments used. Other doctors who had treated Lucy conjectured as to what instruments would have been used.

    The doctor who performed the autopsy said that Lucy had bled to death from large blood vessels in the uterus, and that the membranes had been forcibly separated, likely "by some blunt object which produced dilation of the cervix." The uterine membranes were a dark brown color with a granular appearance, which the physician testified could have been caused by the introduction of chemicals.

    Brown testified in her trial that she had been introduced to Lucy, who had asked her for help arranging for an abortion. But, she insisted, she had only told Lucy that she would look for somebody to "help her", perhaps to arrange for her to go to Tijuana. Brown said that she had actually gone to Tijuana to research abortion options for Lucy. Brown also testified that it had been Lucy who had quoted $100 as the amount she could budget for an abortion. Brown also said that she'd told Lucy that she herself would not be able to accompany her to Tijuana.

    Brown's attorney tried to use quotes from medical textbooks to counter the autopsy surgeon's testimony as to whether or not Lucy's injuries were indeed consistent with an induced abortion.

    The defense also asked that instead of a reporter's notes of her statement being read, a recording be played that would show the jury that she had been questioned improperly. Brown complained that the Deputy District Attorney "would ask me three or four questions at a time, sort of shouting and yelling at me without letting me answer at least one of them before he got all the other ones in." When the judge ruled against this, the defense argued that this would cause the jury to believe there had been no impropriety in questioning. But when in rebuttal the prosecutors later wanted to enter the recording as evidence, the defense had countered that this would subject the jury to the same evidence twice and thus give it excessive weight. Thus, in the appeal, Brown's defense argued that the jury had been unduly prejudiced against the defendant both because the recording they'd wanted played hadn't been played, and because the prosecution, in offering to play it, had then made the jury wonder why the defense hadn't wanted it to be played. So they'd appealed both because they'd not been allowed to play the recording, and because the prosecution had offered to play it.

    The defense also protested the admission into evidence of the syringe that was only similar to the one allegedly used on Clara, but the court ruled that there was nothing improper in the admission of the syringe, since it was clearly and accurately identified as only a similar syringe for purposes of illustration. The defense had even, during the trial, elicited a bit of testimony from Clara about how the syringe in evidence had differed from the syringe used on her.

    A lawyer testified that he'd been meeting with Brown about a business matter shortly before noon on the 19th, and that Brown had returned "between 1:30 and 2:00," contrary to Beatrice Duran's testimony that Brown had been attending to Clara from about 11 a.m. to about 12:30. Brown's lawyer argued that "It is certainly more probably that an attorney at law would be speaking the truth than Mrs. Duran, Clara's girl friend." But both Beatrice and the lawyer had been speaking from memory, and Brown herself had testified that she'd visited Clara and Lucy's home at about noon on the 19th, and that she had driven Beatrice Duran to work at about 1:00 or 1:30. The judge instructed the jury to weigh for themselves how irreconcilable the time issue was. I'd add personally that if Brown really had been consulting with an attorney at the time, he'd have the appointment on his books -- otherwise how could he bill his client for his time?

    The jury had found no trouble reconciling the testimony, and found Brown guilty of both abortions -- Lucy's and Clara's -- and of the murder of Lucy. Brown appealed on the grounds that she couldn't be convicted of two crimes -- murder and abortion -- for the same act. The court agreed with her, letting the murder conviction stand and throwing out the abortion conviction.

    A dissenting judge opined, "The act of committing an abortion and the act of killing a person while attempting to do this are not merely the same act made punishable in different ways. Not only are these two offenses separate and distinct in a legal sense and each dependent upon evidence not required in the other, but as a practical matter it cannot be said that the two charges involve but one act. The act of committing an abortion may be done without causing the death of the party operated upon. The act which causes the death of the same person is usually another act, careless or otherwise, which, while it may be committed in connection with the first and about the same time, involves a further and additional element." In other words, he argued, the abortion was one crime; performing it so carelessly as to kill Lucy Sanchez was another.

    Brown appeared to be a professional lay abortionist; I have been unable to determine if she had any medical training.

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

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    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    A new sibling would have been better than a dead mother

    "Andrea" was 26 years old when she underwent a safe, legal abortion at a New York City abortion facility on January 12, 1971.

    After her abortion, Andrea contracted an infection. Her system was unable to fight the infection, and she died on January 20, 1971, leaving behind six children.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    Anniversary: New year's abortion turns fatal

    The survivors of 21-year-old Linda Fondren sued after her death. Linda had a safe and legal abortion performed by Mohammad Pourtabib at Pre-Birth in Chicago on New Years Day, 1974. She suffered bleeding, but Pourtabib did not provide follow-up care.

    Linda was taken by ambulance to Michael Reese Hospital, in shock and needing emergency care. They would not admit her, but instead sent her to Cook County Hospital, where doctors performed an emergency hysterectomy.

    Linda remained hospitalized at Cook County. On January 16, doctors tried to drain fluids from Linda's chest and inadvertently punctured her spleen.

    Linda died on January 20 from "hemoperitoneum with splenic rupture following hysterectomy and earlier dilatation and curettage." She left behind a small child.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    A back-alley anniversary

    Mary Ackerly of White Plains, New York, was the uneducated daughter of a poor family. So it was only natural that she would be won by the charms of Harry Nelson, "a person of considerable wealth and influence" who lived near Sing Sing.

    When she was "in an advanced state of pregnancy, Mary was taken to New York, where board was provided for her in a house of ill fame", according to her deathbed statement. There, Nelson brought Dr. Shove to her room at night. Then "one of them blew out the light while the other proceeded against her will, to perform the operation", which led to the expulsion of a dead baby a day or two later.

    Mary sickened, and died on January 20, 1846.

    Shove was described as "a rather small man," in his early 30s, who had "heretofore stood high in the estimation of his acquaintances." He was from Ossinging, which is near Sing Sing.

    Mary's mother and a girl who lived at her house with her both testified. Evidence was presented that Shove was at the brothel at the time of the abortion. He in turn implicated Nelson.

    Shove was indicted for Mary's death.

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

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    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Some good news for Haitian orphans

    Orphaned Haitian Children to Be Allowed Into U.S.

    International adoption eligible Haitian children will be permitted to enter the US "on a case-by-case basis". Also, Haitians legally in the US will be allowed to remain for an additional 18 months.

    Small things, yes, but very important to those whose lives are touched.

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Haiti relief efforts

    Doctors Without Borders has a very clear logistical plan.

    World Vision describes their work on the ground.

    Mercy Ships is sending a supplied ship from Texas tomorrow.

    The Salvation Army can take $10 donations if you text "Haiti" to 52000.

    Save the Children also has workers on the ground, setting up mobile clinics and bringing medical supplies.

    International Medical Corps is providing emergency surgery including amputations. They have converted part of the hotel where they're staying into a makeshift clinic.

    Catholic Relief Services is trucking supplies in from the Dominican Republic. Their people on the ground are working to get a damaged hospital back into operation.

    More information about relief agencies and what they're doing to help Haiti is available at the Huffington Post.

    Urge emergency visas for Haitian orphans

    Contact your Senator and urge him or her to take whatever action is necessary to approve emergency visas for orphans in Haiti that are already in the process of being adopted into American families. This would get those children quickly to safety and leave less pressure on caregivers trying to attend to the newly orphaned.

    Many families waiting to get their adoptive children from Haiti have expressed willingness to take a second child.

    If anybody knows anything about the international adoption process -- perhaps there is an organization of attorneys that handle this sort of thing, that would do emergency fee waivers (as a tax write off!) to help expedite the adoption process to get other orphans into safe families who cannot afford adoption fees but would willingly provide safe homes to these kids.

    Standing for women. Never apologize.

    We will not apologize for celebrating the lives of the vulnerable: of unborn children, disabled newborns, incapacitated adults. We will stand in solidarity with this mom and others like her. These mothers should not feel as if they have to justify their children's existence.

    We will stand in solidarity with parents like these, who recognize that even a dying child has worth and dignity:

    We will never treat them like abortion supporters do -- as if they need to apologize for their children's very existence.

    We will stand in solidarity with women like Ashli, who deserve real medical care, not abandonment to the anguish of a dead child:

    We will never concede that what these women and families endured is an acceptable price to pay for "choice". We will never join the abortion movement in abandoning demoralized women to the mercies of abortionists who stand to profit from their fear and despair.

    We will continue to be there, to fight for women like this young mother:

    We will never join the abortion movement in accepting the abandonment of fragile infants to a lonely death. We will never waver in our determinate to provide them with the care they deserve.

    We will never buy into the lie that legal abortion supposedly saves women's lives. We will not give in to those who hold women hostage to rhetoric, to those who insist that we must allow them to kill babies with medical instruments, lest they kill mothers with coathangers. Those who threaten to kill women if abortion is criminalized are killing them anyway, even as they've been given free rein to kill the children.

    We will never embrace buying anything at the cost of mothers' tears and children's lives.

    We're not going away. We won't capitulate to the idea that we have a right to reject people, sight unseen, based on the circumstances of their conception, around their health, around problems their mothers face. And we won't stop until every child is welcomed, and ever mother given the support and love she deserves.

    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    Anniversary: A "Back Alley" Death

    On January 16, 1937, Dr. Samuel Roth performed a fatal abortion on an unidentified woman in his New York office. On December 23, 1941, Roth was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter for her death.

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

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    Anniversary: The "Blood Money" death

    Former abortion entrepreneur Carol Everett, in Blood Money, tells of how the abortionist in one of her clinics sent a woman home to bleed to death over a pitcher of margaritas. Carol opens her book with the story of the woman she calls "Sheryl Mason." At first believed to be 18 weeks pregnant, Sheryl turned out to be twenty weeks pregnant, according to the abortionist's estimate on examining her. The clinic held the $375 she'd already paid and gave her until that Friday to come up with another $125.

    It was already after 7 p.m. when Sheryl arrived with the extra cash, Carol said. She knew Sheryl would be in recovery for a long time because of her advanced state of pregnancy, so she moved her to the head of the queue to speed up the process. After Sheryl's safe and legal abortion was completed, Carol met the abortionist, Harvey Johnson, in the supply room to verify that all fetal parts were accounted for. As the fetus was verified complete, and Harvey ran the remains down the garbage disposal, they discussed their plans for the evening. Carol had a date; Harvey was going to have margaritas with his girlfriend, Carol recalled.

    Carol proceeded to her office to tend to administrative work. Harvey resumed the evening's abortions.

    Later that evening, Harvey called Carol to the recovery room; Sheryl was bleeding heavily. None of the staff had ever seen that much blood. They were all scared, but did their best to calm the patient and get on top of the situation. An aide massaged the patient's uterus to encourage it to contract and reduce the bleeding:

    Harvey and I stepped outside the recovery room to talk. .... He looked at his watch. "I'm leaving to meet Fredi at Ninfa's," he said. "Ill call back, and I have my beeper on if you need me. Sheryl will be fine. Just be sure to keep massaging her uterus until the bleeding stops. When her vital signs are stable, dismiss her. I'll see you in the morning."

    The staff cleaned Sheryl up as best they could, and brought her boyfriend back to keep her company. Carol finished up her administrative work, checked on Sheryl, and called her boyfriend to cancel their date.

    Sheryl's blood pressure fell. Carol paged Harvey, but when he called back, the answering service rather than the clinic answered the phone. Harvey assumed that the problem had corrected itself -- whatever the problem had been. And Carol sat by Sheryl and the boyfriend, waiting to hear from Harvey.

    Sheryl wanted to leave, to go home and be in her own bed. Carol was uneasy, but decided to let her go home at about 11:00, admonishing her to call if there was any trouble. So it was Carol, an administrator, who ended up making what should have been a medical decision made by a physician -- a physician who had left the hemorrhaging patient in the care of untrained staff because the margaritas were waiting.

    Carol was awakened at 6:00 the next morning by a phone call from Harvey:

    "Her boyfriend called me this morning at about three and told me Sheryl was cramping heavily. I told him to put her in a tub of hot water. He called back a little later to say she was unconscious. I told him to get her to [the hospital] at once, and I would meet them there. When she arrived, I started intravenous fluids and a blood transfusion... but she's gone."

    Stunned, Carol followed Harvey's instructions to just go about the day's business -- but to pull Sheryl's chart and keep it in her office. They went about their normal routine at the clinic, but Carol's thoughts were elsewhere. At first those thoughts were of the woman's children, left orphaned. But then came near panic over what this death would mean for Carol Everett. Would there be bad publicity? Would the clinic end up closed? Could they recover from this blow?

    That night, Carol discussed the situation with Harvey again. He told her that since the boyfriend didn't want the woman's family to know about the abortion, he'd spoken to them and told them that he'd been treating Sheryl for genecolocical problems. They asked him flat out if she'd had an abortion, and he told her no, Carol said. Harvey had done damage control, Carol said. Nobody at the hospital would say anything to anybody about the death; Harvey's private practice and the clinic would be fine as long as they could keep the story from getting any publicity.

    And, Carol said, Harvey and his girlfriend carefully edited the patient chart before providing it to the medical examiner's office.

    The autopsy found that Sheryl had died of hemorrhaging from a cervical tear. At this news, Carol said, "I went numb:"

    We could have saved Sheryl's life! my mind screamed. We only needed to have sutured her cervix. We had everything we needed in the clinic to save Sheryl's life, with one exception -- a doctor willing to take the time to re-examine his patient to determine the cause of the bleeding. But he had a date, and the margaritas were waiting."

    Prolifers tend to believe Carol's story. Scoffers dismiss it. But there's another course besides uncritical acceptance and contemptuous dismissal: Looking into the story and seeing if it's true.

    At Life Dynamics, we knew we couldn't just use the story out of Carol's book when we did our research for Lime 5. We needed a "secular" source -- something more than a prolifer claiming that something had happened. So, as we did with all prolifers' reports of deaths, we started searching for a public record document to verify Carol's story.

    We knew that Carol's abortion facilities were in Dallas. Elsewhere in Blood Money, Carol indicated that as of January of 1982, she was still proud of her clinics, which had recently expanded to doing later abortions. Elsewhere she said that to celebrate the boost in business that accompanied the expansion into later abortions, she bought a new car on March 2, 1982. The next date we can get a clue from is Harvey's marriage, which takes place in February of the following year. The woman Carol called "Sheryl" must have taken place in 1982, then.

    We stared searching all public record sources in the Dallas metroplex area for an abortion death in 1982. And we found it:

    Autopsy Report Case No. 0120-82-0057 on 34-year-old Shary Graham indicates that she was pronounced dead January 16, 1982, at an emergency room in Dallas. She had a 3cm tear in her cervix. "It is our opinion that Shary... died as a result of a laceration of the uterine cervix. By history, she had undergone a termination of pregnancy procedure the day prior to the death. Evidence of bleeding included large amounts of blood on three cloth robes that accompanied the body, and hemorrhage beneath the outer covering of the uterus."

    The address of the facility where Shary had her abortion was the address of one of Carol's clinics.

    Of course, no public record document is going to verify the story of the pitcher of margaritas. But when we consider what excuses other abortionists had for leaving patients with no medical supervision, the pitcher of margaritas is credible:

    • John Biskind left Lou Ann Herron without medical supervision so that he could keep an appointment with a tailor.
    • No reason was given for Abram Zelikman's decision to leave the hemorrhaging Eurice Agbagaa in the care of a receptionist.
    • Tommy Tucker seems to have left Angela Hall with no doctor to care for her because he'd had a fight with the nurse about whether or not to call an ambulance.
    • Nareshkumar Gandalal was reprimanded by the Oklahoma medical board for leaving a patient "in post-operative condition in the treatment room under anesthesia" on June 10, 1989, so that he could take a friend to the airport.

    Carol places the responsibility for the death of the woman she calls Sheryl not only on abortionist Harvey Johnson's shoulders, but squarely on her own. Carol herself began laying the groundwork for what would happen to "Sheryl" with a business decision to do later abortions because of their higher profit margin.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    An old anniversary

    On January 16, 1901, Jennie Mallard died at Alexian Brothers Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed there that day. Mrs. Margaret Simmons, whose profession was listed as "nurse or midwife", was arrested and held in the death.

    Read more about abortion deaths at the beginning of the 20th Century.

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

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    Anniversary: Safe, legal abortion leaves kids motherless

    On January 16, 1987, 38-year-old Pamela Wainwright died at Shallowford Community Hospital in Dunwoody, Georgia. She left her husband to raise two children, including one with Down syndrome.

    Pamela had been admitted to Shallowford on January 15, for an abortion and tubal ligation. She was 11 weeks pregnant. She was taken to the operating room for her surgery the next day. The abortion and tubal ligation were to be performed by Dr. Wendell Phillips.

    Phillips placed a needle into Pamela's abdomen to pump in carbon dioxide. He did not ensure proper placement of the needle. Instead of pumping carbon dioxide into her abdomen, he pumped it into her bloodstream.

    Pamela died almost immediately from cardiac arrest, due to vapor lock in her heart.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    Question for prochoicers

    There are cases, such as this recent one, in which a woman doesn't realize she's pregnant until she's giving birth.

    The Discovery Health web site lists reasons that women don't realize they're pregnant. A lot of them sound like the reasons women undergo late abortions:

    10. Fetus is small, inactive, and/or carried toward the back of the womb.
    Believe it or not, sometimes babies just don't make a lot of commotion in utero. In addition, some women's babies rest naturally toward the back of the womb, so that motion and kicking aren't easily detected from outside the mother's body. Many women believe that fetal movements are just irregular or strong digestive activity!

    9. Recent previous childbirth.
    Many women continue to believe that they cannot get pregnant right after giving birth, or while they are breastfeeding. Additionally, menstrual cycles can be irregular, and women can continue to bleed vaginally for several weeks after childbirth. ....

    8. Dieting.
    Women who are very active and watch their weight religiously may crank up their fitness routine and/or begin dieting when they notice a weight gain. Because of this, they may not gain weight as their pregnancy progresses.

    7. Stress.
    Stressful jobs, family, and personal lives contribute to irregular periods, and may cause women not to pay attention to their menstrual cycle, or to chalk up missing periods to stress.

    6. Fetus is mistaken for a tumor or cyst.
    In some cases, particularly when a woman has a history of endometriosis, fibroid cysts, or other tumors of the reproductive system, a fetus can be mistaken for a new or recurring tumor.

    5. Obesity.
    Carrying a lot of excess weight can perfectly disguise the "baby bump." Depending on how a woman's body deposits fat, she may have looked "a little bit pregnant" in the past, and neither she nor others notice the extra bulk of a fetus.

    4. Inaccurate use of birth control.
    Many women are certain they could not be pregnant because they use birth control. ....

    3. Breakthrough bleeding.
    Some women continue to have period-like bleeding throughout their pregnancy; it may be lighter or irregular, or even coincide with a woman's usual "time of the month." These pseudo-periods can be enough to convince a woman that she's not pregnant.

    2. Negative home pregnancy test.
    Home pregnancy tests aren't fool-proof. ....

    1. History of irregular cycles and/or infertility.
    Not being able to get pregnant in the past, a history of missing or irregular periods, and/or being close to menopause can all fool a woman into thinking she couldn't be pregnant. ....

    Isn't it unfair that these women don't get the chance to choose abortion? Do we, as a society, owe it to them to give them a chance to back out? If you figure that the typical modern woman finds out she's pregnant about three weeks into the pregnancy, and most states allow on-demand abortion up to about 24 weeks, that means that the typical modern woman gets about 21 weeks to decide if she wants to allow the new human to be born, or to have it put to death via abortion. Ought not women who don't realize they're pregnant until they're very late in pregnancy, or actually giving birth, to have at least a few weeks to decide if they want to parent or not? Why should their sexual activity be "punished with a baby" just because they didn't realize they were pregnant until it was legally past the date to opt out? Ought they not be allowed to request that the newborn be strangled if they don't want to parent it?

    (HT: Big Blue Wave

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    Buster Keaton Quizzes

    And now for something completely different!

    I've been doing quizzes on the magnificent (and, in the case of the Columbia shorts, sometimes not so magnificent) films of Buster Keaton.

    Give 'em a go if you've seen the movies:

  • The Bell Boy
  • The Butcher Boy
  • The Cameraman
  • Coney Island
  • The Cook
  • The General
  • The Hayseed
  • His Wedding Night
  • The Love Nest
  • Mooching Through Georgia
  • Moonshine
  • My Wife's Relations
  • Neighbors
  • Oh, Doctor!
  • Our Hospitality
  • Out West
  • The Railrodder
  • The Rough House
  • She's Oil Mine
  • Sherlock Jr.
  • Steamboat Bill Jr.
  • The Taming of the Snood

    And, on related notes:
  • A Roscoe Arbuckle film, A Reckless Romeo
  • An Al St. John film, Bridge Wives
  • A Harold Lloyd film, Number, Please?
  • Anniversary: Woman dies after abortionist leaves her hemorrhaging in receptionist's care

    Eurice Agbagaa, a 26-year-old immigrant from Ghana, died in a New York hospital early in the morning of January 15, 1989. She had been in a coma since January 7.

    Eurice had gone to Abram Zelikman for a safe, legal abortion that day. Zelikman estimated the pregnancy as 11 to 12 1/2 weeks. He performed the abortion at about 1pm, then sent Eurice to the recovery room.

    Over the next 2 1/2 hours, Eurice bled so heavily that the receptionist, Yolanda Penalzer, became alarmed and asked Zelikman to do something. Zelikman told her that the bleeding was normal and that she should put an ice bag on the patient. He then left the facility, leaving Yolanda to care for the patients in recovery.

    Yolanda continued to be concerned about Eurice's bleeding, and tried repeatedly to reach Zelikman at his home, but couldn't contact him. Finally she called an ambulance.

    The ambulance crew found Yolanda performing CPR on Eurice, who was in shock. They were able to restore her breathing and transport her to a hospital, where an emergency hysterecomy was done. It was determined that Eurice had actually been at least 19 weeks pregnant. Zelikman had perforated her uterus and severed an abdominal artery.

    Eurice survived the surgery and was put on life support, but remained in a coma until her death in the early morning of January 15.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Here's one where I gotta agree with the ACLU

    Pregnant Woman Fights Court-Ordered Bed Rest

    A Florida woman went to the hospital at 25 weeks to be assessed for premature labor. They ordered bed rest -- COURT ORDERED bed rest in the hospital, away from her children!

    I'm all for providing pregnant women with the care they need. An appropriate response at this point -- when the woman demurred because she had small children to care for -- would have been a referral to a home nursing agency and/or social worker to arrange to provide care for her at home.

    What's really asinine (among other aspects of this story) is that had this woman walked into an abortion clinic, she'd have had every right to deliberately have her unborn child put to death. Had she been seeking to have the child killed, the full force of law, and every court in the state, would have backed her 100%. But because she was not seeking the child's death, she was being detained against her will.

    What the fuck is up with that? How crazy have we become?

    I submit that a lot of it is because there is a contingent of people (like the late Eugene Glick) who assert that "the most fundamental right of women" is a dead baby. For all the talk of defending "women's choices" and "women's reproductive rights" there's never any talk of the right to care to continue a pregnancy. It's all about killing the fetus. And after hearing that shit for decade after decade, people get it into their heads that the mouthpieces of abortion rights organizations are right -- that women really do prefer their babies dead and can't be trusted with them.

    Another one bites the dust: Eugene Glick

    Another man who devoted his life to making sure children never got to draw breath is dead.

    Those who think there's always been a shortage of dead babies and were grateful to Glick for providing them to women will say, "He left the world a better place." I have to agree; any abortionist who dies is leaving the world a better place.

    I'll say this much for Glick -- he seemed to have kept his nose clean. These are all the notes I have on him:

    Prior to retirement, was partner with Damon Stutes. (San Diego Union-Tribune 12-6-94)
    Gene Glick (possibly Eugene Glick) presented "Second Trimester D&E, 14-19 Weeks" at 1992 NAF Risk Management Seminar. (seminar bibliography)
    Testified in behalf of Durante in botched abortion case, lives in Reno, has done over 20,000 abortions. Returned to abortion practice for six months to take over a clinic that “got into trouble.” Author of “Abortion – A Practical Guide for Doctors.”

    So he kept questionable company, pulled the arms and legs off babies for a living, and championed dead babies as the key to women's well being. But at least he wasn't maiming and killing the mothers like his National Abortion Federation buddies were.

    Saturday, January 09, 2010

    Operation Safe X

    Nothing sophisticated here. Just some simple logic applied to some statistics.

    Sometimes people die when they engage in Activity X. Below is a chart showing deaths from Activity X over a multi-decade span.

    During this time, there were three public policy changes, with the stated goal of reducing deaths from Activity X. We'll call it Operation Safe X. At one of the points below, there was limited implementation of Operation Safe X. At a subsequent point, there was a significant increase in implementation of Operation Safe X. And at a third point below, there was widespread nationwide implementation of Operation Safe X. Operation Safe X was declared to be a public health triumph.

    There was another public policy change made during the time period below. Call it Operation Nasty. Proponents of Operation Safe X told us that if Operation Nasty was put into effect, it would cause a significant increase in deaths from Activity X.

    Can you spot the three points in which Operation Safe X was put into limited, widespread, and total implementation?

    Can you spot the point in which Operation Nasty was put into effect?

    Now I'll be a bit more specific. Operation Safe X was legalization of abortion. At one point, states started loosening abortion laws, allowing legal abortions for social reasons and not just for medical reasons. At the next point, based on the purported success of this change in laws, New York and California legalized abortion on demand. And at the third point, Roe vs. Wade established legal abortion nationwide.

    And Operation Nasty? That was the Hyde Amendment, restricting federal funds for elective abortions.

    Limited legalization took place in 1968 -- Point G. New York and California's sweeping abortion law changes were in 1970 -- Point H. And Roe, supposedly ushering in the Golden Age and constituting the most significant public health victory in addressing abortion mortality, was at Point I.

    The Hyde Amendment, which we were told would flood the morgues of America with coathanger-impaled women, went into effect in 1977 - Point J.

    Does it really look to you as if Point I is the point at which the greatest public health improvement in abortion deaths was made? Point H? Point G?

    Or was something else happening that was more significant?

    And does it look like Point J marked some turning point, reversing the supposedly spectacular results of Roe?

    Abortion advocates love to do data massage. They will point out -- quite truthfully -- that abortion deaths fell after legalization. What they omit is that abortion deaths had been falling, and at a much more impressive rate, long before the first states started to decriminalize abortion, long before New York and California made their sweeping changes, long before Roe vs Wade.

    Are they claiming credit for somebody else's success?

    It sure looks that way to me.

    Why would they do such a thing?

    A Tragic Anniversary

    Seventeen-year-old high school student Sharon Davis died on January 9, 1983, in a hospital in Tucumari, New Mexico. She had been fighting for her life against an infection she had developed after a safe, legal abortion performed September 20, 1982 at 14 weeks into her pregnancy. The doctor had punctured her uterus and bowel.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    A Happy Aniversary

    "Addie" underwent an abortion, done by Marvin K. Levin at Family Planning Centers on November 1, 1978. When she returned on December 20 for her follow-up appointment, she told them that she still felt pregnant, but staff insisted that the abortion had been successful. Addie went to a clinic for a pregnancy test on January 9 of 1979, and was informed that she was indeed still pregnant. By then, Addie was 14 weeks pregnant and decided to carry to term after all.

    Cases like Addie's should cause a reassessment of the belief that abortion answers a true need. After all, if Addie's November 1, 1978 assessment that having her baby would ruin her life had been accurate, wouldn't she still have been just as "in need of an abortion" come January 9?

    If abortion is a true need, the need wouldn't change based on a couple of weeks having passed. So what happened to Addie between November 1 and January 9? What happened to all those other women in between the day they got on the abortion table, and they day they found out they'd been given a second chance?

    Had all of them won the lottery? Had all of them married great men with fantastic jobs, who just loved kids? Had all of them undergone sudden religious conversions? Had all of them had some massive life-changing event between the day they'd submitted to abortions and the day they'd decided that they really didn't need abortions after all?

    Or is there something else behind the way so many women, after learning that the abortion didn't kill the baby after all, change their minds?