The topic was the Chicago Tribune's "Bring Out Your Dead" report on slipshod abortion statistics in Illinois.
1. I'm verily astonished that Illinois is collecting abortion stats at all. I had thought the Ragsdale case had stricken down abortion reporting. But when I Google, I get a Ragsdale case I'd never heard of that settled out of court.
2. Reporter Megan Twohey evidently spoke with Stanley Henshaw, erstwhile Centers for Disease Control Abortion Surveillance Branch employee, now with the Alan Guttmacher Institute. Yeah, he was really neutral on abortion during his CDC tenure, right? He and Lisa Koonin (whose specific job was, among other things, to notice abortion deaths) attended the 1992 National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar in Dallas. The two of the just ignored the death Robert Crist had a pity party about. Poor Dr. Bob was being sued and picked on in the popular press in two states, the prolifers had gotten hold of it and were blabbing about it. Latachie Veal's death couldn't have been more obvious if she had crawled to Atlanta and expired on the floor of Lisa Koonin's office with her aftercare instructions still clutched in her hand. The CDC counted zero abortion deaths in Latachie's race and age range the year she died. Nice work, Stanley! Way to show you care about accurate data on abortion mortality!
For more about the unholy alliance between the federal government and the Alan Guttmacher Institute, read The "Koop Report" on Abortion.
3. While we're on the topic of Stanley Henshaw, Twohey noted that Henshaw "has explored abortion reporting problems and 'lax enforcement. across the country." Yeah, we've already established that our boy Stanley is part of the reporting problem. At least when it comes to things that give abortionists bad publicity. He's probably really ticked off that they're not getting more data that can be used for marketing.
4. Still on Stanley:
Today, Henshaw theorizes it is the shoddiest operators who are not reporting the abortions they perform. Either they refuse to comply or are so off the radar they are unaware of the requirement.
"I think it's only a problem with the worst providers," said Henshaw, who has recommended audits of state abortion reports, a process that would involve verifying who all the providers are.
Let's give Stanley the "Paging Captain Obvious" award. Though a lot of the supposedly non-shoddy abortionists are a bit lax in the reporting department. I don't feel like looking up examples now, but I can if anybody's interested.
5. Reporting complications. As if. I've seen a dead patient charted as "pink, responsive, alert". And complication reports are based on clinic records. Thus, this dead patient wouldn't have been reported as a complication at all. And even if an abortion facility intended to be honest, they can't chart complications that they don't hear about because the patient didn't show symptoms until after she left, and she went to the ER or her family doctor or she died.
6. Will more regs fix this? Again, as if. The responsibility for overseeing these places should be on the people who want them to be there in the community -- abortion advocacy groups. They should be civilly liable if they refer a woman to some shoddy joint that injures or kills her. They have no business giving referrals without first checking the place out. And they should also be civilly responsible for failing to report a shoddy place to the state. For crying out loud, people don't even buy a new toilet seat any more without checking online first for reviews. These are women's bodies and lives we're talking about -- the things abortion supporters claim to care about the most. You'd think they'd care as much about these women as average people do about toilet seats.
7. Will prochoicers care? I doubt it. Most of them won't read it, because they don't want to know. And those who do read it?
They'll have forgotten it by the time they turn the page. Though if it does get their attention at all, they're likely to shrug it off with an "All surgery has risks." Yeah, but all surgery doesn't have organizations that purport to be there to protect patients but who instead cover up patient injuries and deaths, and rally to support the doctors who injured or killed them. How about showing a little skepticism about the organizations that told you that these things just don't happen, that abortion facilities are run by trustworthy professionals and that they report complications, etc.
8. I'm still trying to get information on the two new deaths this story alerted me to: Mrs. Stevenson and the teenage Planned Parenthood victim who died in 2008. Time for somebody to do a couple of docket searches and get the details. I can't afford to at the moment. If anybody learns anything, please let me know.
Well, in summary, that's it. Thanks, guys, for a great show. I'm looking forward to the next one.