On July 22, 1974, twenty-two-year-old Carole Wingo died of a Demerol over dose during a safe and legal abortion at Mercy General Hospital in Detroit.
Despite the name, Mercy was not a general hospital. It was an abortion hospital. It was also a hospital in big trouble even before Carole's death. The Michigan Public Department of Health had cited Mercy for 43 violations of nursing standards and 12 violations of physical plant standards in October of 1973, and had withheld their license. Among the violations were that the operating room lacked a cardiac monitor, a resuscitator, and a defibrillator.
Carole's mother filed suit against the facility and doctors David Northcross, Chuk Nwokedi, and Robert Wolf.
Abortion champions will claim that as unfortunate as Carole's death is, their efforts have prevented even more deaths by achieving legalization. As you can see from the graph below, abortion deaths were falling dramatically well before legalization. This steep fall had been in place for decades. To argue that legalization lowered abortion mortality simply isn't supported by the data.