On January 8, 1918, 20-year-old homemaker Margaret Marie Balch, nee Farnsworth, died in a Chicago home from an abortion perpetrated by a person who was never identified.
With overall public health issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, abortion, like any invasion of the body by outside instruments, was far more likely to cause death than it is today. In fact, due to improvements in addressing these problems, maternal mortality in general (and abortion mortality with it) fell dramatically in the 20th Century, decades before Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion across America.
And as you can see, even after legalization, women continue to die from abortions.
Twenty-five-year-old Rita G. Goncalves took ill after her safe and legal abortion in late 1983. At some point after her abortion, she was taken to Roger Williams General Hospital in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. There, she died on January 8, 1984, from abortion complications. So little information is available about her death that I can not conclude whether this was a case of malpractice or just an example of, as abortion advocates love to point out when confronted with safe, legal abortion deaths, "All surgery has risks."
The same can not be said about the January 8, 2004 death of 15-year-old Tamiia Russell (pictured), who was pregnant as a result of sexual exploitation by Stacy Glenn, a man nearly ten years her senior. Glenn's sister, Taish, hauled Tamiia around Detroit to one abortion facility after the other, looking for somebody willing to perform an abortion very late in the pregnancy. Tamiia's pregnancy was so far advanced, in fact, that one abortion facility offered her prenatal vitamins. Finally, National Abortion Federation member clinic Woman Care, run by Medical Students for Choice hero Abraham Alberto Hodari, agreed to abort Tamiia's six-month pregnancy, taking the proffered ID of an older teen, who looked nothing like Tamiia, to circumvent Michigan's parental consent law. Laminaria were inserted to dilate Tamiia's cervix, and she was sent home. Only then did her mother learn of the abortion-in-progress. She called Woman Care, wanting to have the laminaria removed and her unborn grandchild saved. Woman Care lied, telling her that Tamiia would die if the abortion was not completed. Tamiia's reluctant mother took her in for the procedure and took her bleeding daughter home. Woman Care dismissed calls reporting excessive bleeding, and instructed Tamiia's family not to take her to a hospital. They ignored these instructions and called an ambulance, but Tamiaa was dead on arrival from hemorrhage.