Thursday, March 31, 2011

"It looked like a baby"

This is a post addressing hypocrisy, so it's not going to be very sympathetic.

This is the latest post on a share-every-intimate-detail-of-my-abortion blog. She was 14 weeks. She researched it. She knew all the developmental milestones her baby had passed -- but was really pissed off that her doctor left the ultrasound machine on so that she could see for herself the "potential life" she was about to kill.

And in the midst of her going on about how she respects prolifers' right to believe anything they want:

I will not force my beliefs upon any other individual, and I would ask and expect that other individuals would do the same.

Um, lady, that's exactly what you did to your 14-week baby. You forced your beliefs on him or her.

And you know it. That's why seeing the ultrasound hurt. It made you face that this wasn't some hypothetical fetus you were going to have dismembered alive with forceps because of your life preferences. It was this particular fetus, your child that your breasts were making milk for, that you had signed a death warrant for. Because you didn't want to change your plans.

It's a good sign that this hurts. It means you still have a conscience. It's just a shame that you didn't engage it when your child's life was at stake.

You deliberately and knowingly had somebody like this:

grabbed -- alive and unanesthetized -- with something like this:

to turn him or her into something like this:

Yeah, he or she didn't look much like a baby anymore.

As you repeatedly assert, that was your choice. But never forget that your choice was inflicted on somebody else. So get off your high horse with the bullshit about not imposing your beliefs. That's what you did to your baby. You imposed your beliefs on another individual. Own up.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weekly sidebar changes at Cemetery of Choice

The new Cemetery of Choice wikipage allows me to select a page tag to feature in the sidebar. This week's links are all teens killed by abortions.

Each woman's story has (or will eventually have) a Tag Cloud at the bottom. You can suggest tags that you think should be featured in the sidebar.

Anniversary: Another death in Chicago

On March 29, 1924, 30-year-old Etta Marcus died at Chicago's Francis Willard Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day.
The coroner concluded that Dr. William J. Wick had performed the fatal abortion at his office.
However, on April 10, Wick was acquitted.
Etta's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was attributed to a physician.
Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.
external image Illegals.png
For more on pre-legalization abortion, seeThe Bad Old Days of Abortion

Monday, March 28, 2011

Today's anniversaries

  • On March 28, 1942, 19-year-old Cleo Florence Moore died at New Rochelle Hospital in New York from peritonitis from an illegal abortion. Upon admission, Cleo told authorities that she had taken some pills to induce the abortion, but before her death she changed her story and said that Dr. Frank F. Marino had performed the fatal abortion.

    According to Cleo's roommate, Alice Petersen, Cleo met a man through her work, and discovered that she was pregnant in January. On March 5, Cleo visited Marino to arrange an abortion, which he performed at his home office on March 9. By March 11, Cleo was ill and summoned Marino, who sent her to the hospital with instructions not to inform anyone that he had operated on her. Alice also said that Dr. Marino's wife told her to protect her husband, lest "you and Miss Moore...go to prison."

    Marino testified that he had examined Cleo on March 5, refused the requested abortion, and did not hear from Cleo again until the 11th, when he was summoned to her home and sent her to the hospital without reporting the abortion. Marino, who had been a member of the County Board of Supervisors, the New Rochelle Board of Education, and the New Rochelle Zoning Board of Appeals, was also a golfing buddy of the prosecutor of the case. Marino was acquitted.

    Cleo's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

  • On March 25, 1975, 18-year-old Sharon Floyd went to Associated Concern in Chicago for a safe and legal abortion. Three days later, she died of pelvic infection and blood poisoning.

    On July 1, 1975, public health officials closed Associated Concern, which was one of the abortion mills featured in the Chicago Sun-Times "Abortion Profiteers" series.
  • Sunday, March 27, 2011

    For reference: Women shoved off to die after abortions

    I'm doing a multi part series of posts on the "pregnancy as a disease for which abortion is the treatment" paradigm. As part of that, I'm referring to evidence that once the womb is empty, the abortion practitioners often totally lose interest in their patients.

    Thus, this list of women clearly in distress and need of treatment after their abortions, but just sent home -- or sometimes literally shoved out the door -- to die:
    1. Leigh Ann Alford, 34, died after being prematurely discharged from a National Abortion Federation member clinic in 2003
    2. Lisa Bardsley, 26, was sent to her motel room, hemorrhaging from internal lacerations that killed her in 1995
    3. Pamela Colson, 31, was sent home to bleed to death in 1994
    4. Betty Damato, 26, died of infection after being sent home with a trash bag as aftercare in 1980
    5. Mary Ann Dancy, 32, was sent home to death in 1990
    6. Barbaralee Davis, 18, was sent home to bleed to death in 1977
    7. Kathleen Gilbert, 29, bled to death from punctured uterus in 1985
    8. Shary Graham, 34, was sent home to bleed to death from a cervical laceration in 1982
    9. Sharon Hamptlon, 27, was sent home to bleed to death in 1996
    10. Gracealynn "Tammy" Harris, 19, died of abortion complications after being shoved out the door in a wheelchair in 1997
    11. Sandra Milton, 23, bled to death in front of her three children in 1990
    12. Sylvia Moore, 18, shoved bleeding out the door to die in 1986
    13. Erica Richardson, 16,was carried unconscious out to her aunt's car to die after an abortion in 1989
    14. Amanda Roe, 19, died after being sent home from New York to Indiana after a punctured uterus and incomplete abortion in 1970
    15. Anita Roe, 23, was injected with saline, sent home to die in 1971
    16. Becky Roe, 18, sent home to die of sepsis in 1971
    17. Ellen Roe #2, 18, was sent home to die from incomplete abortion in 1983
    18. Jennifer Suddeth, 17, bled to death in 1982 after repeated calls for help were ignored
    19. Latachie Veal, 17, was sent home to bleed to death in 1991

    Abortion versus Cosmetic Surgery

    In my previous post, I looked at the "pregnancy as disease" model championed by abortionists such as Warren Hern. I concluded that it is the distress at the pregnant state, rather than the pregnancy itself, that is the disease.

    In looking at the pregnancy itself as the disease, abortion is, logically, a fast cure. As long as the physician is taking a purely biological, narrow, limited view of his patient, an effective abortion that successfully kills the fetus and ends the pregnant state will be, by definition, a success. He need think no further about his patient and her well-being.

    But if we look beyond mere biology and see the woman as a person, does accomplishing the death of the fetus and the termination of the pregnant state necessarily accomplish the goal of easing her distress?

    The anguish many women experience after abortion would indicate that this can not be presumed. A physician who sees his patient not simply as a uterus to be emptied, but as a human being, is interested in her full well-being. He wants whatever treatment he provides to have a satisfactory long-term outcome for his patient. He wants to alleviate her distress, not increase it. And in abortion, the risk of increasing the distress is very real. And it is, after all, the distress, not the pregnant state itself, that is really the presenting problem in a prospective abortion patient.

    I would like to step aside from abortion for a moment to look at another type of elective surgery intended to alleviate distress: cosmetic surgery.

    If the surgeon looks upon his patient purely as a body, then a surgery that increases breast size or changes the shape of the patient's nose is by definition successful, regardless of whether or not the patient is relieved of whatever distress led her to the surgeon's office in the first place. A responsible cosmetic surgeon will see his patient as a human being, whose entire well-being he will address. And even a cursory online search will find that competent and caring cosmetic surgeons do see their patients as complex human beings, not simply as breasts or noses or chins. They are very concerned about the long-term well-being of their patients. Even a brief Google search is enough to produce ample evidence of this concern:

  • Proper screening key to plastic surgery success: This article looks at the documented long-term increased incidence of suicide in women who have undergone breast augmentation. While not presuming causality, it does question whether women are being adequately screened, whether the breast augmentation contributes toward the life distress that leads to suicide, and how much additional research is needed so that cosmetic surgeons can identify high-risk patients and steer them toward appropriate care.

  • Plastic surgery: Beauty or beast? This article looks at current research in the long-term prognosis of cosmetic surgery patients, and calls for more research and better screening for patients.

  • Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery: This is another article that questions the long-term impact of cosmetic surgery on body image and self image, with a focus on teenagers. The article notes that because self-image is particularly malleable in teens, extra care must be taken to ensure that treatment given to teens does not contribute to a negative self-image.

    Finally, a more self-serving piece that is nevertheless very relevant:

  • Careful screening may help to identify, avoid difficult patients: This is more of a "how to avoid being pestered and/or sued by unhappy patients" piece, but it also underscores the importance of pre-surgery screening, and of being aware that the patient is a complex human being, not a collection of body parts to be modified.

    I have seen only one person working in abortion practice -- Charlotte Taft -- that showed any real concern about the long-term impact on the woman's life. In routine abortion practice, it is simply assumed that the pregnancy itself is the entire problem, that ending the pregnancy eliminates the problem, and that any woman who suffers ill effects after her abortion is just a whiny, complaining nutcase who doesn't appreciate how fortunate she is to have had easy access to a quick abortion.

    The woman on the abortion table, far from being treated as a valuable and complex human being, is treated like a uterus to be emptied and forgotten. After the abortion she is callously dismissed, sometimes to the point of being shoved out the door to die.

    What evidence can anybody present that abortion practitioners actually see each patient as an individual, whose long-term well being is their primary concern?
  • Is pregnancy a disease?

    Life Report recently did a brief discussion of the "pregnancy as a disease" model championed by, among others, abortionist Warren Hern.

    Hern and his fellows hold that pregnancy is a sexually transmitted disease, the "cure" for which is abortion.

    But pregnancy hardly fits a disease model. A disease, by its very nature, is dis-ease. Nobody is happy to be diseased. Nobody calls their friends and family to express delight at a diagnosis of cancer or diabetes. Even lesser, self-limiting diseases, such as chickenpox or the flu, don't elicit the joy that pregnancy often does. Even the schoolchild glad for the respite from school or the worker happy to have some time off the job doesn't delight in the pox or flue per se; he or she is only pleased at the enforced time of rest, and not directly with the disease.

    So it's not the pregnancy itself that women are seeking "treatment" for at abortion facilities. It is their distress at the pregnant state.

    Many people are distressed enough to seek medical treatment for things that are, of themselves, perfectly normal. This is what keeps cosmetic surgeons driving Porches. There was nothing inherently wrong, say, with Michael Jackson's nose. The problem was that he was upset about his nose. Had the doctor treated this distress -- with a referral to a competent psychiatrist -- rather than treating the nose itself as if it was a disease, Jackson's life no doubt would have gone down a much less tragic path.

    So clearly pregnancy -- a state that leads many women to rejoice -- is not itself the "disease."

    Let's look, then, at the distress that leads women to climb on the abortion table. Is it a disease that is best treated by abortion? Is it, like Michael Jackson's distress about his nose, a sign that there is a psychological problem? Or is it something else entirely? I'll be looking at this in successive blog posts. Give me your thoughts, pro or con the "pregnancy as a disease" model.

    1929: The death of a poster child

    According to the National Organization for Women web site, Clara Bell Duvall was a 32-year-old married mother of five, aged 6 months to 12 years. She and her family were living with her parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania due to financial problems. NOW says that Clara attempted a self-induced abortion with a knitting needle. Though she was seriously ill and severe pain, NOW says, Clara's doctor delayed hospitalizing her for several weeks. Her death, at a Catholic hospital on March 27, 1929, was attributed to pneumonia.

    I'd welcome any verifying information on Mrs. Duvall's death. After all, NOW also claims that Becky Bell died from complications of an illegal abortion, when in fact she died of pneumonia concurrent with a miscarriage. (There was no evidence that Becky's pregnancy had been tampered with in any way.) But if people who think abortion is a good idea want to blame Clara's death on abortion, I'll let them claim her as somebody their ideology killed.

    Clara Duvall seems to be the woman described in the chapter, "Marilyn," in The Worst of Times by Patricia G. Miller. Marilyn was Clara's daughter. There are differences in Marilyn's story and in the story NOW relates, but so many other details match that it is unlikely that they're describing different women.

    Marilyn gives her mother's name as Claudia, and her age as 34. The difference in ages may be attributed to people taking the years of the woman's birth and death and calculating her age without taking the months into account. Marilyn also said that her mother sang with the Pittsburgh light opera company, so it is possible that Marilyn might be using a false name for her mother to preserve the family's privacy.

    Clara/Claudia's association with the opera company may also explain the elegant portrait on NOW's site -- a portrait that a poverty-stricken and desperate woman would have been unlikely to afford.

    The following facts match:
    • Five children, from an infant to a 12-year-old
    • Living in Pittsburgh
    • Died in March of 1929
    • Death originally attributed to pneumonia
    • The woman used a knitting needle
    • Was at home for several days before being hospitalized
    • Died in a hospital
    • Cared for until her death by her usual doctor who seemed at a loss as to how to care for his moribund patient

    Marilyn said that her brother Gerald was the oldest, twelve years old when Clara died. Eileen was ten. Rose was eight, Marilyn was six, and Constance was 18 months. Marilyn describes poignantly the difference between her life before her mother's death and her life after losing her mother. The loss was truly shattering for the entire family.

    Marilyn said that her mother had gotten help from a friend for a successful abortion between the births of Marilyn and Constance. Marilyn didn't have any details of the first abortion, and got what she knew about the fatal abortion from her sister Eileen, who had spoken at length with their mother when she was hospitalized -- though it seems odd that a dying woman would be explaining to a 10-year-old girl how she performed a knitting-needle abortion on herself.

    NOW's story differs from Marilyn's in many aspects, however. Aside from the different age and name, the following aspects do not match:
    • NOW has the family living with the woman's parents; Marilyn said that they were living in a large house owned by her mother's parents.
    • NOW indicates that the family were too poor to afford a home of their own. Marilyn said that they lived in a large house, and that her father was an editor of one of Pittsburgh's daily newspapers, and that he did freelance public relations for sports events. Marilyn also said that one of her mother's friends was the wife of a well-known Pittsburgh industrialist. This is not a likely friendship for a destitute woman forced to move her family of seven into her parents' home. Marilyn also said that her mother was laid to rest in a magnificent mahogany casket with a satin lining, hardly the sort of burial a poverty-crushed widower could afford for his dead wife. Marilyn also said that the casket lay in the parlor, not a room that poor people were likely to have. In fact, Marilyn describes how shocking it was, after her mother's death, to go live with poor relatives. Poverty was a new experience for the child. In fact, Marilyn describes a riverboat outing the family took before her mother's death. She described how the girls were dressed in matching navy blue coats with red satin linings, and her brother had a jacket and tie.

    So there are two possibilities:
    1. Clara Bell Duvall and Claudia are two different women, both with five children, both of whom lived in homes owned by their parents, who both performed knitting-needle abortions in the same city in the same month, and who both died in hospitals and both had their deaths wrongly attributed to pneumonia.
    2. Clara and Claudia are the same woman, and but NOW turned her from a prosperous matron and opera singer into a wretched slum mother in order to make her situation seem more desperate.

    All I could find of Clara's story in Pittsburgh papers is a death notice verifying that she died at Mercy Hospital on March 27, 1929. Her husband was Grafton Duvall, her parents Joseph H. and Sadie E. Bell, nee Cain. It also verifies that services were held at the family home.

    If what NOW and Marilyn describe is accurate, then Clara/Claudia's abortion was unusual in that it was self-induced, rather than performed by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions.

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

    To email this post to a friend, use the icon below.

    1940: Former hospital chief performs fatal abortion

    On March 27, 1940, Mrs. Mary Ann Maria Page of Alton, Illinois, died from a botched criminal abortion. She was 20 years old.

    The Coroner's jury identified the perpetrator as 69-year-old Dr. C.E. Trovillion, also of Alton, former managing officer of Illinois state hospitals.

    Mary Ann's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a doctor.

    Illegal by Doctors Illegal by Paramedical Illegal by Amateurs Self Induced

    During the 1940s, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744 in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

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

    In a bizarre coincidence, another woman named Mary Ann Page died from complications of an abortion in 1977.

    “Former Hospital Chief Accused of Abortion”, The Oklahoman, April 1, 1940

    1926: Fatal effort by Chicago midwife

    On March 27, 1926, 24-year-old Louise Maday died at Chicago's West End Hospital from complications of an abortion performed that day.
    Midwife Amelia Becker was held by the coroner on April 27.
    external image Illegals.png
    Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.
    For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    1986: Safe, legal abortion leads to sepsis, death

    Gail Wright was 29 years old when she underwent a legal abortion. She was 20 weeks pregnant.

    After her abortion, she developed sepsis.

    She died of adult respiratory distress syndrome on March 26, 1986, leaving behind a husband.

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Life Report: Is pregnancy analogous to rape?

    I'll add the podcast later, but just summarize now my response to Life Report's latest topic:

    “Are Fetuses Like Little Rapists?“
    Pro-abortion-choice philosopher Eileen McDanagh argues that the unborn are like rapists, because they implant themselves into uteruses without the mother’s consent, and she should be allowed to repel them they same way women should repel a rapist.

    So evidently Ted (our OC) didn't come up with this one on his own.

    First, we have to look at the differences between pregnancy and rape:

    1. In pregnancy, the fetus does nothing of its own volition, or even under its own power, to end up in the mother's body. It is her act of volition that produces the situation. There are no evil zygotes out wandering the streets, ready to leap into the wombs of unsuspecting woman. So to make Ms. McDanagh's parallel work, we'd have to redefine rape to mean something that could accidentally happen to the male while he's unconscious and unable to move. Say, he fell and hit his head in the shower, also injuring his spinal cord in such a way as to cause an erection.

    2. In pregnancy, it is the woman's act of volition that causes the embryo to be in her uterus. She's not overtly putting it there, but she's doing something else that she knows might cause the embryo to end up there. She's weighed her options and considers the benefit she'd get from whatever she's doing to be worth taking a chance on ending up with the embryo inside her. So to make rape parallel, the woman would have to be doing something in the presence of the unconscious, incapacitated male that she knows may cause her to fall and land on his penis in such a way that it will enter her vagina. So it can't even be a situation in which a naked woman is trying to render aid to the unconscious naked male. She would have to be cavorting about naked for her own purposes.

    3. In pregnancy, the embryo is the woman's own child. So the unconscious, incapacitated male would have to be the woman's son.

    4. During pregnancy, the woman is free to go about her business. During a rape, she's pinned by the rapist and under his control. So to make rape parallel to pregnancy (since you can't make pregnancy parallel to rape), the male would have to be so small that the woman could still go about her business. He'd have to be either a very small child or a very small person with dwarfism.

    So in order to draw a parallel between pregnancy and rape, the woman would have be be cavorting naked around her naked small son in such a way as to fall and land on his erect penis. Then she blames him and demands that he be put to death.

    You can see the ridiculousness of trying to draw a parallel between pregnancy and rape.

    We can also add some other factors in:

    1. We don't usually execute rapists. And even when we do, it's only after due process, a trial, and years of appeals. If we gave the fetus due process, he'd be in about the 4th grade until we got around to executing him for the crime of having been in his mother's womb .

    2. We hold children (and even seriously compromised adults) to a different legal standard than adults. We would never execute -- or indeed even file charges against -- a child so young, or an adult so handicapped, that he was unable to move about independently, deliberately grasp and manipulate objects, and use language.

    Ms. M's entire argument falls crashing to the ground. It's as if Stephen Hawking's mother was dancing naked around him while he was asleep, fell onto his erect penis, and demanded that he be taken out and shot for raping her.

    I'm looking forward to when Life Report has their piece up on YouTube so I can see how they responded.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Life Report #112: Responding to Severe Fetal Deformity

    It's a follow-up to the aborting dad viral video I blogged about on March 8, in which a father whose baby with sirenomelia was being aborted while he scolded two prolifers standing outside with signs.

    Liz felt that the guys had come off too harsh against the prolife women in that video. She felt that the efforts to be compassionate toward the dad, they were too hard on the women. Liz stressed that they're very glad that the women were there being diligent, and that they're not trying to attack them, but to equip them so that they can be more effective.

    Josh then segued into the issue of responding to cases of severely affected unborn children -- cases such as anencephaly and some of the more severe trisomies, or sirenomelia.

    Kyle noted that, as Josh said, these cases are so emotionally charged that it's important to first make the emotional connection. The man in the video was very emotionally devastated. His wanted child was doomed, no matter what he and his wife did. It's very important in talking to these people that we don't fear getting emotionally connected. We can very much sympathize with their anguish, without agreeing with the decision to abort the baby.

    Step one, Kyle said, is to put the fact of the impending abortion aside. Connect with the person as you would with anybody else who has just gotten that devastating news. Reach out in love before doing anything else.

    Josh credits Justice for All with the approach he takes. He then refers you to the story he hopes you can use to connect with people.

    A woman found out at 18 weeks that her baby had Trisomy 18, a fatal condition. The medical staff virtually demanded that the couple abort. Josh notes how common this attitude is among medical providers, and I've seen (and blogged about) this myself. And roughly 90% of parents go along with this. Josh and Kyle both held that even prochoicers would likely disagree with the bully-the-parents-into-abortion approach, rather than just give them the information and let them decide. I'd like to think Josh and Kyle are right.

    The woman, Josh tells us, was told to speak to a priest. Not her own priest, but a priest recommended by the medical staff who were pushing for the abortion. He then read from the mother's description of the meeting with the priest:

    He sat us down and told us how hard it would be to continue a pregnancy like ours. He said, 'You know you're going to get bigger and bigger each day. It is going to be very hard to do this.' He also said that these babies are very sick. There'll be a lot of suffering. I couldn't believe my ears. I was expecting the priest to give us encouragement, support, and resources on how to do this. Instead, he told us we should pray for a miscarriage. He told us we should pray for a miscarriage and he told me how to bury my baby.

    Josh added that as the father of a baby that miscarried at ten weeks he was appalled. He then returned to the woman's story:

    We left his office without any resources, alone and helpless. This was truly the darkest day.

    Fortunately for the parents, the obstetrician was more supportive, but the parents had to train the staff on how to deliver and care for a baby with Trisomy 18. The hospital had never delivered one before, because all the other parents had opted to abort. (Which is hardly a wonder, considering the pressure on them to do so.)

    The baby, Grace, was delivered alive via c-section. Her heart condition was not as bad as the doctors had anticipated. Her parents learned to care for her and love her until she died on her 2-month birthday. And the mother told of how much she treasured her two months with her little girl.

    So Josh encourages us to share stories like that, and then suggests questions to ask the person.

    1. "Isn't it better to treat the unborn as a patient, since she is a human being?" And if the person responds that she's not a human being you can talk about that.

    2. "If a child has a fatal deformity, is dismemberment really the most humane treatment we can give?" Josh thinks one of the women in the video was trying to ask this. "We give hospice care to the elderly when they're dying. Can't we give the same kind of care to the unborn whose death is imminent? Can't we love both the parents and the suffering child who is dying?" And it all leads into the question of "How should we treat disabled people?"

    He then encourages you to compare the sick baby to an equally sick toddler.

    He gives responses to likely prochoice questions:

    Q. Should we force parents to give birth to a deformed child?
    A. Should we force parents to care for a deformed 2-year-old? Or should we kill it? Is it right to kill somebody because she is deformed? Or, Liz adds, because they are going to die.

    Kyle points out that he and Liz have a niece that was born at 27 weeks. She had what was believed to be a fatal blood infection. She lived a little over two days. And the child's parents, while they still suffered, looked on those two days as a time of joy in being with their daughter.

    Kyle then moves on to the idea that the dad in the video, and his wife, likely didn't see their unborn baby as a baby yet, therefore aborting him wasn't killing so much as preventing somebody who would suffer from coming into existence. (I might disagree there. I think they likely saw their baby as a baby, but either because of outside expectations, their own shock and fear, whatever, went into "fight or flight" mode and did both -- fled from the reality of their child by getting rid of him before they'd have to confront him, and fought against their child's condition, unfortunately by killing the child.)

    Q. Shouldn't we have mercy on the child and save him from pain while we can?
    A. How would we handle a toddler?

    Liz brought up the question of what you'd do with a child with leukemia, or children at St. Jude's for whom there is no cure. We don't just put them out of their misery; we see them as children and try to help them as much as we can.

    Josh said that when he gets into a discussion with prochoicers and they stand firm on fetal deformity abortions, he asks, "If I granted you abortion for these cases, would you join me in ending abortion for the other 97% of cases?"

    (Now's the time to add, the 3% of abortions for "fetal indications" aren't even necessarily for known and diagnosed illnesses or disabilities. I've blogged elsewhere about this. But we'll set that aside for now.)

    Kyle says his approach is to start with how exciting it is that medical science is offering us better and better options all the time, to start with compassion and hope. Kyle also noted that it's important to point out that these situations we're talking about are a tiny percentage of all abortions, so that disagreement on "health of the mother" or "fetal deformity" or "rape and incest" abortions doesn't mean disagreement on the vast majority of abortions. And Josh stressed not to use this as "duck and cover" to avoid talking about "hard cases". By all means, talk about them. There are thousands of women every year facing these situations. Go ahead and talk about how best to help them. But also don't let it negate the reality of the vast majority of abortions that do not involve "hard cases".

    Josh pointed out that there's room for common ground when you tell a story like that of Baby Grace, asking prochoicers if there ought not to be resources for these parents. Perhaps the prochoicer will still hold out abortion as a valid option, but will often agree that parents who want to reject abortion ought not to be abandoned and left with no resources.

    Here are some of the very needed resources:

  • Be Not Afraid
  • Perinatal Hospice

    A fatal prenatal diagnosis is devastating. There's no getting around that. But bullying parents into an abortion -- where their only memory of their child will be of having him or her put to death in a way the Humane Society won't let shelters euthanize sick dogs -- can't be the most compassionate thing we have to offer.

    Even if the baby is stillborn, the parents can still look back with the knowledge that they gave their baby nothing but love.

  • Life Report #113: Faulty arguments on both sides

    Josh brought up a woman who posted "Fetus cupcakes remind your guests how tasty babies can be", along with a picture of cupcakes with babies in -- I think -- icing fetuses atop. The mom had the baby's ultrasound converted to the icing -- 3-D. Verdict: Creepy and weird.

    Computer animation of fetal development online, with some criticism of the music, especially since the fetus seems to be dancing to the music in question. The YouTube comments drew some comments -- a prolifer commented that a computer animation was proof that life begins at conception. Conclusion: be careful to comment rationally.

    The video called "Planned Parenthood's War on Science" --

    (I'll beef with the music being over-dramatic, more suited to a scene from storming the beaches at Normandy.)

    I've blogged about this before.

    They point out that, quite understandably, Planned Parenthood has tried to force YouTube to take the video down. (I've blogged about that effort.) These are, after all, young people trained by PP to "educate" their peers, and their hostility toward and ignorance of science would be worthy of a Jay Walking segment on Leno. Sadly, considering the cost of such ignorance, it's not funny.

    First prochoice quote: "We are not going to try to use science or evidence. The face of the matter is that this is opinion. We all have our own beliefs are far as when human life begins."

    Point: This is a formal, forensic-style debate. This sort of debates is supposed to be based on evidence and science. What the Planned Parenthood trained young woman does is assert a post-post-modern worldview in which everything is subjective. There is some discussion of how prevalent this "It's all subjective" worldview is. Though I'm not sure people with this worldview would want to be hauled into an emergency room and be treated by a doctor who embraces such a world view and tries to balance their humors rather than stop their hemorrhage, based on his own subjective views.

    Josh points out that the woman then undercuts her own argument by asserting, "It's a matter of reproductive choice: the living, breathing, sentient being that has control over her body is the one that we listen to, not science."

    Strict Behaviorism holds that the woman isn't actually sentient or making choices at all -- that thought an sentence are illusions, and that we merely act out as our environment has conditioned us to. So if she's rejecting scientific evidence about the life of the fetus, she needs to also recognize, then, that there are conflicting opinions as to whether the woman is a sentient being as well.

    Kyle tries to give the woman the benefit of the doubt, that since she'd been bowled over by the science and was unprepared to refute it, she just spat something out and then had to stick with it. But then, Josh said, Planned Parenthood should have responded after the fact with, "Well, she misspoke," and vowed to train their youth better next time.

    "I think we're talking about science as if it's something that's absolutely concrete, as if there's absolute proof that there is, you know, life and there is not life and all this stuff like that. There is, I mean, there's people from this side, from their [prolife] research groups that say the heart beats in 21 days. There's people on our side that have researched this and say the heart doesn't beat until 24 weeks."

    This one elicited much laughter, along with a deep sigh. Josh conceded that most of their prochoice viewers cringed when they heard such abysmal ignorance coming out of somebody who was representing them. He invited anybody with anything even remotely credible indicating that the heart doesn't beat until 24 weeks to send him that evidence. And if the heart doesn't start beating until 24 weeks, what is it that women are seeing and hearing when they're going in for their prenatal ultrasounds well before 24 weeks?

    Kyle figures that the woman in question just felt trapped and just blurted something out.

    "I mean, I have a cold. Say that I have a virus in my body, and you know, that's also something little and living inside me. But if I'm going to try to kill it, I'm not going to be like, 'Oh, no! The virus thing! I just killed a life!'"

    First of all, there's currently controversy about whether viruses are really alive. But even if they are, they're not a human life. Even if you had a tape worm -- a living, whole organism -- we'd not object to you killing it. Josh then pointed out the vast differences between a virus and a human embryo.

    Josh closed out with an invite for any evidence that the embryonic heart starts beating later than about 22 days.

    1979: Antiquated abortion method kills young mother

    Life Dynamics lists 24-year-old Lynn McNair on their "Blackmun Wall" of women killed by legal abortions.
    LDI notes the following:

    • Lynn was 23 weeks pregnant when she was injected with saline by Dr. Edward Rubin at Jewish Memorial Hospital.
    • The first injection of saline failed to kill the fetus, so Lynn was given a second injection.
    • After this second dose, Lynn went into contractions and slipped into a coma.
    • She died March 23, 1979 of a pulmonary embolism of amniotic fluid.
    • She left two children motherless.

    LDI Sources: "Fatal Pulmonary Embolism During Legal Induced Abortion in the United States from 1972-1985, Lawson, Herschel W., MD, Atrash, Hani K., MD, MPH, Franks, Adele L., MD, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 162, No. 4, April 1990, p. 986-990; New York County (NY) Supreme Court Docket No. 4492-81

    1907: Another fatal Chicago abortion

    On March 23, 1907, Mrs. Dora Swan, age 24, died at Englewood Union Hospital in Chicago from the effects of a criminal abortion.

    Mrs. Louise Achtenberg, whose profession is not given, was held responsible by the coroner, but there is no record that charges were filed.

    Dora's abortion was unusual in that it was not performed by a physician.

    Note, please, that with ordinary 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. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.

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

    Sources: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database

    1905: Chicago midwife's fatal work

    On March 23, 1905, Mrs. Ida Pomering died in Chicago from an abortion performed earlier that day.

    A midwife named Apollonia Heinle was held by the coroner's jury for Ida's death.

    Dorothy's abortion was atypical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was not performed by a physician.

    Note, please, that with 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. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.

    Source: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    A day late: World Down Syndrome Day!

    I was off the ball yesterday, so forgive me. But there's so much great stuff out there in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day.

  • Mommy Life has reprinted "A Little Extra:Lessons in Love from an Unexpected Teacher". This is one of the best written pieces I've ever seen about the unexpected joys of parenting a child with Down Syndrome.

  • This mom tells a brief story of blessings denied by well-meaning doctors, contrasting how much better things are for families now.

  • A mom shares her story in a very open video about what a missionary her daughter turned out to be.

  • Praying for Parker has a gorgeous photo montage to the strains of "What a Wonderful World".

    And I'll close out with this beautiful montage:

  • Great stuff on the web today! Don't miss any of it!

  • First, Jill Stanek: Planned Parenthood of IL tries to scrub claim that mandatory child sex abuse reporting would overtax the system. It seems PP complained that if they reported every sexually abused girl brought to them for care, family services would never be able to do anything but investigate these cases. Well, duh. Maybe there wouldn't be so many girls being sexually abused if Planned Parenthood wasn't promoting, excusing, and facilitating it.

  • From United Families International: Myth Buster Monday: Living together before marriage is a good idea and serves as a test of a couple’s compatibility. It turns out that treating a prospective mate like a car you're test driving isn't the first step to a solid marriage. Well, duh. People aren't consumer goods.

  • Voice of Revolution: Don’t Just Talk About the Gospel… Demonstrate It! Have at it, believers!

  • Life Site News: New York City sued over crisis pregnancy center gag law It's a First Amendment suit. Planned Parenthood, after all, isn't required to disclose that they pursue a eugenicist, racist, population-control agenda and provide very little help actually planning parenthood. Abortion centers aren't required to refer women to alternative centers. It's only those whose existence threatens the financial underpinnings of the abortion industry -- already so powerful in New York that over 40% of children conceived there are aborted -- targeted for limits on their free speech.

  • More from Life Site News: Baby Joseph gets tracheotomy, will be able to go home He won't go home right away -- he'll be in the ICU until he is stronger. But the treatment plan is to allow him to go home and live out his life in the loving arms of his family.

  • Jivin' J is great as always: Pro-choice letter to the editor of the week. Evidently the author of the letter in question thinks life begins in kindergarten. At least his life began in kindergarten.
  • Dropped Florida charges expose why the Gosnell case stands out

    I've said before that the Kermit Gosnell case is unique, not in what Gosnell did, but in how authorities and even the press responded. We now have a glaring example in Florida.

    “No Common Sense Involved”: Prosecutors Drop Case Against Abortion Worker

    Belkis Gonzales, by all accounts, delivered a live-born 22-week baby at a Florida abortion mill when the doctor failed to show up and care for the patient. Gonzales cut the baby's cord, stuck her in a biohazard bag to suffocate, and tossed the bag onto the facility roof to hide the body. The baby, Shanice Denise Osbourne, was moving and gasping for breath until she was bagged up to die.

    A distraught employee told prolifers outside, who called the police. It took two tips from employees, and two trips by cops to the clinic, to recover Shanice's body for an autopsy.

    From the Operation Rescue article:

    “We spoke with both the Hialeah police and the prosecutor’s office in this case numerous times. The police indicated to us that they wanted Gonzalez charged with a homicide, but prosecutors dragged their feet every inch of the way,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue.

    The case prompted outrage from the pro-life community. Even the Florida Legislature called for charges against Gonzalez. Nevertheless, it took nearly three years for prosecutors to finally charge Gonzalez and that was only after public pressure was brought to bear. Two more years of what has become known as “defense by delay” followed, knowing that the longer the case drug on, the more likelihood that witnesses would change their testimony or drop from the case. That is exactly what eventually happened.

    “Everyone wants to use common sense. There was no common sense involved in this case. We went strictly on the letter of the law,” Ed Griffith, spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office told Operation Rescue this morning. “The physicians backed away from the position that she was practicing medicine. We had no prosecutable case.”

    Sullenger expressed to Griffith that this action would only make it more likely that Gonzalez would reoffend at the cost of the life or health of additional women and babies. The concerns were shrugged off by Griffith.

    “There is no fundamental difference between what Gonzalez did to Baby Shanice and what Kermit Gosnell did to babies at his ‘house of horrors’ in Philadelphia. The lack of common sense lies with the prosecutor’s office, not with the law,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

    “There’s little doubt that prosecutors did not aggressively pursue this case,” said Sullenger. “When abortion is involved, it can be very difficult to get justice because of a political climate that seeks to protect abortionists at any cost. That is beginning to change, but this case illustrates that there is still a long way to go.”

    Renelique, the abortionist who ignored calls from the clinic, had his Florida medical license revoked over the incident. President Obama made public statements criticizing Rev. O’Neal Dozier who officiated at Shanice’s funeral, held over two years after her untimely death. Shanice’s mother, Sycloria Williams, has since expressed remorse for the attempted abortion and has filed a civil suit against those responsible for her baby’s death.

    “If there is to be any justice for Shanice, now it will have to come through the civil court. We pray that case will continue to move forward and bear a positive result. Abortion workers must be put on notice that they are not above the law, and that eventually their misdeeds will catch up to them in a court of law,” said Sullenger.

    40 Days for Life: Prayers for Abortion Staff

    DAY 14: Prayer request

    40 Days for Life is having a positive impact on clinic staff -- and prospective staff! One person was going to interview for a job, and learned that PP does abortions. That person went to seek work elsewhere!

    One 40 Days for Life location reports that a key abortion center staff person wants out, and another key person may follow if that person leaves. Let's remember all the others who once worked for death and now work for life, and pray that these abortion workers will join them! There is much celebrating in Heaven when a lost sheep returns to the fold, when the Prodigal Son returns home -- pick your parable. And pray!

    1983: Doctor-recommended abortion kills teen

    Barbara Hoppert was a sixteen-year-old high school sophomore when she checked into Loma Linda University Hospital for an abortion.
    Barbara was in the second trimester of her pregnancy. She was having the abortion on the recommendation of her physician, because of a congenital heart condition.
    The abortion was performed on February 22, 1983.
    During the procedure, Barbara's heart stopped. Physicians were unable to revive her, and she was pronounced dead on the operating table.
    The following comment was posted on the RealChoice blog:
    • It's been almost 24 years since I was at the Loma Linda Hospital and was roomed with Barbara Hoppert, but not year goes by when Feb 22nd rolls around and I don't think of her. She died that day during her abortion procedure. I just now put her name into google and found your article on her. It was barely 4 sentences and seemed as cold as her death. She was once alive and had such a sad end and dramatic story. It still brings me to tears today thinking about her last night alive... how she was treated by her own family and the staff at the hospital. We watched Square Pegs that night on tv. And she told me about the boy who had impregnated her... She left early the next morning and I wished her good luck... An hour later a woman came to the room, later I found out that was her "real" mother whom Barbara thought was her sister. She missed seeing Barbara that one last time.... Barbara's story is very tragic. I am so very sad that she was so alone her last night alive. I was her only comfort and I was a complete stranger. Don't know how comforting I was other than I cried with her and listened.... Knowing the pain she was in.... She remains in my prayers. Just thought you should know she was more than just part of your cause.
    Thanks to the woman who came forward to share this memory of Barbara.
    Barbara's was not the only tragic death caused by doctors who recommended (or excused) abortion as a life-saving or health-preserving option for the mother:
    • Allegra Roseberry was pushed into an abortion in order to obtain experimental cancer treatment.
    • Anjelica Duarte sought an abortion on the advice of her physician, and ended up dying under the care of a quack.
    • Christin Gilbert died after an abortion George Tiller holds was justified on grounds of maternal health.
    • Erika Peterson died in 1961 when her doctors obtained her husband's permission to perform a "therapeutic" abortion.
    • "Molly" Roe died in 1975 when her doctors made the dubious decision to perform a saline abortion to improve her chances of surviving a lupus crisis.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    40 Days for Life: 101 Saves and Counting!

    DAY 13: 101 lives spared — and counting!


    A tall man and a visibly pregnant woman walked up to the abortion center, only to find the door was locked.

    “It’s closed,” said a 40 Days for Life vigil participant, “but I have information on free pregnancy help.”

    The woman took information on fetal development, but the couple walked around to the back of the building to try another door. It, too, was locked. So they sat on the steps and looked through the brochure they were given.

    Eventually, the building opened, and the couple went in.

    Two hours later, they came out — to get more information. “Can I ask you a personal question?” the volunteer said to the woman. “Were you thinking about getting an abortion?”

    “Yes, I was thinking about it. But now I’m not going to get one,” she answered.

    What changed her mind? “That booklet,” she said. “I didn’t know the baby looked like that and was that size.”


    There are many, many situations where your prayers are still needed.

    40 Days for Life volunteers were able to speak to a woman who had arrived for an RU-486 abortion.

    “She sat in her car quite a while, counting money,” said Betty in Manchester, “but it was obvious she was reluctant to go in.”

    After speaking to her for a while, Betty invited her to visit a pregnancy resource center for an ultrasound. This woman is eight weeks pregnant and she has two children. Her husband is insisting on an abortion that she does not want.

    “She cried all night and begged God to give her a sign,” Betty said. “When she saw pro-lifers praying, she knew that was His reply. Please pray that her husband has a change of heart.”

    DAY 10: “We didn’t give up”


    A young woman got out of a car that had a Christian fish pin on it … determined to keep her abortion appointment at the facility where the 40 Days for Life vigil is taking place.

    A counselor tried to talk to her, but she just offered a crude gesture, hissed at the prayer volunteers and walked in.

    “We didn’t give up,” said Angela, the local 40 Days for life coordinator. “We kept praying.”

    An hour later, she came out to smoke a cigarette and saw members of a Bound 4 Life youth group who were praying at the vigil.

    “What are they doing?” the young woman asked.

    Angela answered, “They are praying for your baby.” The young woman flipped her cigarette towards Angela and went back inside.

    Another hour passed — another hour of constant prayer, particularly for this young women.

    She then came out again and literally ran — weeping — into the arms of the youth group members.

    “Thank you for being here!” she cried.

    “I didn’t do it!”

    Then the full story came out. Her father was pressuring her to abort — even though, she said, he claimed to be a Christian. Her mother said she would not help raise another baby as she already had a 3-year-old at home.

    The young woman feared her father would put her and her child out on the streets for not going through with the abortion.

    “We told her of our resources and how we could help her to find shelter and get back on her feet,” Angela said. “She hugged us again and thanked the group for being there.”


    Two people were praying at the 40 Days for Life vigil when they were politely interrupted by a woman who wanted to give them cookies — cookies that her daughter was selling for her scout group.

    “I know you probably think you can’t make a difference, just standing on a street corner praying about abortion,” she said, “but I’m here to tell you, you can!”

    Ten years ago, the woman had an abortion scheduled. But when she arrived, “two people just like you were praying quietly on the street corner outside. Because of them, I didn’t go through with it. Today I have a beautiful daughter who’s alive because of those people who chose to pray.”

    DAY 6: 35 saved already!


    Prayer volunteers at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Orange County were caught by surprise as the doors of the abortion center flew open and a frightened young woman literally ran out as fast as she could — barefoot!

    A young man came out looking for her. The barefoot runner was his girlfriend, and she was there for an abortion.

    Eventually, she was found nearby, and vigil participants offered to get her something to eat. When they sat down to their meal, the young woman told her story.

    She was six months pregnant and was already on the table at the abortion center. She had an IV and was in the process of being sedated. But she was still alert enough to realize …

    .. she simply couldn’t go through with it.

    “God’s grace poured into her heart,” said one of the 40 Days for Life volunteers. The young woman found the strength and courage to remove the needle from her arm, to quickly get dressed (except for her shoes!) and run out to safety.

    Keep up the great work, 40 Days for Life!

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    1926: Doctor and husband arrested for Chicago woman's death

    On March 20, 1926, 19-year-old Alice Annalora died at the County Hospital in Chicago from complications of an abortion performed that day.
    Dr. Wilford Vine was booked for Alice's death, as was her husband, Joseph Annalora.
    Vine was indicted for felony murder.
    Ultimately, the coroner was unable to determine the legal status of the abortion that killed Alice, so Dr. Vine and Mr. Annalora were released.
    Alice's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.
    external image Illegals.png
    Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.
    For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion.

    1906: Lover performs fatal abortion

    It was spring of 1906. Anna Gosch's boyfriend, Mr. Edwards, admitted that he knew Anna, that they'd had a sexual relationship, and that she had called him to tell him that her period was late. He admitted that he went to Kearney, and got a hotel room with the intent of performing an abortion. While Anna and her boyfriend were in the room, a bellboy came and objected to the presence of a woman in Edwards' room.
    The next day, Edwards said, he took her to her home, and using a speculum he tried to insert a catheter into her uterus, but was unsuccessful. He said that Anna went upstairs and returned with a catheter with a wire in it. He said that he used this on Anna, and then bent the wire and threw it away.
    A witness said that Edwards denied having done the abortion himself. He said that Anna had gone upstairs, then come down and told him that she thought "she had done it." But a speculum and three catheters were in Edwards' valise when he was arrested.
    A physician, Dr. Cameron, was called on Thursday, March 15. He saw her twice a day until the Monday before her death, at 2 or 3:00, consulted with another physician, and concluded that Anna was going to die.
    Dr. Cameron testified,"I asked her what had been done to make her sick, and she said there had been a man had passed an instrument into her with a wire in it, rubber with a wire in it. I asked her when that had been done, and she said Monday; she thought it was Monday night." When asked about who the man was, "She said he was a man who traveled for rubber goods or instruments of some kind, said he was a traveling man."
    Anna Gosch died on Tuesday, March 20, 1906, at 6:10 PM.
    Edwards was convicted of homicide.
    Anna's death is similar to the death of "Daisy" Roe, a systems analyst who died in 1990 after allowing her boyfriend to attempt to perform an abortion on her with a piece of aquarium tubing.
    It was also unusual in that it was performed by an amateur, rather than by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions.
    Note, please, that with 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. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.
    external image Illegals.png
    For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
    Source: 79 Neb. 251, 112 N.W. 611; Supreme Court of Nebraska. EDWARDS v. STATE. No. 14, 988. June 7, 1907.

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    1986: Failure to do differential diagnosis kills woman

    Magnolia Reed Thomas was a 35-year-old mother of two when she went to Hedd Surgi-Center in Chicago for asafe, legal abortion.
    The abortion was performed by Rudolph Moragne on February 19, 1986.
    Moragne failed to note that the fetus was growing in Magnolia's fallopian tube, rather than in her uterus. After Magnolia was discharged from the clinic, the undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy ruptured, and Magnolia was rushed to the hospital.
    There, doctors did everything they could to save her, but she died from blood loss and shock on February 19, 1986.
    This was Magnolia's third abortion. Multiple abortions are a known risk factor for ectopic pregnancy.
    Another patient, Diane Watson, died of anesthesia compliations after she'd undergone a safe, legal abortion by Moragne at Hedd.
    Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually //more// likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners.

    1867: Adulterous affair leads to abortion death

    This death is one I added to the Cemetery of Choice only this week, during new research.

    Note that I'm not blaming Mrs. Noble for her own death -- just pointing out that sin leading to repentance is a wiser path than sin leading to more sin.

    Mrs. Mary E. Noble, age 38, died at her home in New York's 28th Precinct on March 19, 1867.
    She had been separated from her husband, Ayers Noble of Tarrytown, for about a year. He testified that the split had been due to her being "too intimate with [George Wait] Carson (the seducer). He was notified that she was sick with neuralgia -- which she was prone to -- and that he'd headed to the city to see to her, only to arrive too late. He said he learned of the real cause of her death -- an abortion -- from the coroner.
    Their son, W. D. Noble, had lived with her. He testified that he'd not known about the pregnancy until his mother took ill. His mother had asked him not to tell any relatives she was sick. It's not clear then, who told his father and uncle of Mary's illness. W.D. testified that he first learned of the abortion when he read about it in the newspaper.
    Leander See, who was married to Mary's sister Emma, had received a telegram on Thursday that Mary was ill. He went to her, and she "told him she could not live, and that she had had an abortion produced."
    Police Captain John F. Dickson learned of the death on Sunday, and arrested the guilty parties. He went to 627 Third-avenue with the coroner and found abortion instruments in a bureau drawer there.
    Dr. John McClelland testified that he'd been called to care for Mary in her final sickness. Her pulse had been 130-140. He testified that Mary told him "that a miscarriage had been brought on by an electric physician, and that he had used instruments."
    The coroner's jury concluded that Mary had died from pyemia, "resulting from an abortion produced by the pirsoner, Wm. F.J. Thiers, alias Dr. Dubois. They further hold Amelia Armstrong, alias Madame Dubois, as accessory before the fact." Carson was tracked to New Jersey and arrested as well.
    Carson testified that he'd known Mary for about three years. He had met her when she was still living in Jersey City with son and daughter, since her husband was at that time away in the war. Mary had moved to New York after discovering she was pregnant, to keep the pregnancy a secret. She had, he said, spoken with him prior to the move "about getting rid of the effects of their criminality." Carson had arranged with the doctor, who he knew as Dubois, to make a $10 down payment and pay another $15 after the abortion.
    Carson said that Mary reported that the first abortion attempt Carson made had no effect, so he made two more tries. Carson saw Mary for the last time on February 21, when she was suffering chills. Carson fetched the doctor, who looked in on her for about five minutes.
    Mary had chest pain on the 29th. Carson again went looking for the doctor, but couldn't find him. He left a note indicating that Mrs. Noble needed him. "Dr. Dubois" attended to Mary several more times, but after a while refused any further care. It was at that point that Mary summoned Dr. McClelland, who was given all the facts and who in turn summoned Dr. Wood. Their efforts, of course, were to no avail; Mary died at 2:20 p.m.
    When the police went to arrest Thiers, they found his home "sumptuously and comfortably fitted up." There were four women there who admitted that they were there for abortions.
    "An examination of the premises resulted in the discovery of an immense collection of letters ... in relation to malpractices." Thiers also kept a receipt book indicating his patients, all of which police hoped would prove criminal intent in performing the abortion on Mary.

    external image Illegals.png
    external image Illegals.png

    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 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.
    For more on this era, see Abortion Deaths in the 19th Century.
    For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
    Source: "The Noble Malpractice Case", The New York Times, April 1, 1867; "Another Malpractice Case", The New York Times, March 26, 1867

    1907: Physician implicated in fatal abortion

    On March 19, 1907, Mrs. Bessie Simons, age 30, died at her Chicago home from complications of a criminal abortion performed there that day.

    Dr. C. D. Hughes was arrested in the death.

    Bessie's abortion was typical in that it was performed by a physician.

    Note, please, that with 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. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, seeAbortion Deaths 1900-1909.

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

    Sources: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    1976: Quackery kills Florida woman

    Cycloria Vangates underwent an abortion on March 13, 1976, performed by Dr. Paul Glassman.

    She suffered a cervical laceration. The Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine found that Glassman failed to adequately treat Cycloria's injury. She died on March 17.

    Glassman's license was finally revoked for three years beginning in 1981. He later recovered his license on the condition that he undergo close supervision and not perform any more abortions.

    Glassman moved to Missouri, but his attorney revealed to the Florida Board of Osteopathic medical Examiners that Glassman performed 17 abortions while visiting in Fort Lauderdale, in an effort to prove that the ban against Glassman performing abortions was unnecessary.

    Glassman also faced a 1978 Florida conviction for felony grand larceny involving filing insurance claims for a faked automobile accident.

    Glassman paid out $386,875 to Cycloria's survivors, according to a malpractice liability search.

    Sources: "Lawyer Says Former Miami Osteopath Ignored Ban On Performing Abortions," The Miami Herald, June 16, 1985; State of Florida, Division of Administrative Hearings, Case # 78-1665