Did legalizing abortion stop women from dying at the hands of quack abortionists? Read about these women, who died on this date, and decide.
In June of 1916, Rosie Kawera of Chicago asked a friend to go with her to visit Mrs. Wilhelmina Benn, a licensed midwife. Rosie was
twenty-nine years old, mother of
an eleven-month-old baby, and two months pregnant. She
borrowed $10 from her brother and went to Mrs. Benn's. While her friend
waited in the kitchen, Kawera went into the bedroom, where Mrs. Benn
inserted what Kawera called "a little pipe." Mrs. Benn told Kawera to
keep it in overnight and to phone whenever she got "sick." Rosie died on
On June 7, 1930, 27-year-old Grace Iorio underwent an illegal abortion in the Chicago home of midwife
Stepina Pazkiewicz. On June 14, Grace died at her home.
Barbaralee Davis called a local women's group for a safe and legal abortion referral. They sent her to a member of the newly founded National Abortion Federation, Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Illinois. After
the abortion, performed June 14, 1977 by Hope Medical Director Hector
Zavalos, Barbaralee's sister helped her, pale and bleeding, to the car.
Barbaralee slept in the back seat the whole way home, approximately a
two-hour trip. Her sister helped her to bed. When
Barbaralee's sister checked on her several hours later, she was
unresponsive. She was rushed to the Pickneyville hospital, where an
emergency hysterectomy was attempted to save her life. Barbaralee died
during the surgery, leaving one child motherless. The
autopsy found the face and spinal column of Barbaralee's baby embedded
in a hole in her uterus. Barbaralee had bled to death.
Rosario Bermeo, age 30, died following a safe and legal abortionperformed by Dr. Joseph B. Shapse at Prospect Hospital in New York June 14, 1983. Shapse
contended he had no responsibility for actions of the certified nurse
anesthetist, and no responsibility to monitor and evaluate Rosario's
condition during and immediately after the abortion. Therefore, he said,
he was not to blame for her death from respiratory and cardiac arrest.
Angela Hall, a 27-year-old mother of five, called to arrange a safe, legal abortion at Thomas Tucker's office in Alabama.
One of Tucker's employees, Joy Davis, screened Angela and felt that she
had risk factors that made abortion in an office setting unsafe. Joy
got on the phone with Tucker and indicated that she felt that Angela
should be referred to a hospital. Tucker told Davis that "we need the
money" and ordered her to prep Angela, who was in the second trimester
of pregnancy. Angela
underwent the abortion on June 11, 1991, and started having difficulty
breathing. Her blood pressure fell, setting off an alarm on a piece of
monitoring equipment. Tucker told Davis to turn the alarm off because
other patients could hear it. Angela was sent to a recovery room where
she bled so heavily that Davis became alarmed and called an ambulance.
Tucker swore at Davis when he learned of this, and he had her cancel the
ambulance because they'd already sent a patient to the hospital that
day. Angela continued to hemorrhage, and Davis continued to plead with
Tucker to take action. Finally Tucker cursed at Davis, telling her to
call the ambulance, and he left the building, leaving the untrained
woman to cope alone with the critically injured patient. Angela was taken to the hospital, where she suffered respiratory failure, clotting, and sepsis.
She died just before midnight June 14. It
is interesting to note that in the publicity surrounding the lawsuit
filed by Angela's family, Ron Fitzsimmons of the National Coalition of
Abortion Providers, among other prochoice groups, balked at efforts to
close Tucker down, on the grounds that he was Alabama's only
abortionist, and that even he was better than no abortionist at all.
Oriane Shevin, age 34, died of infection following off-label use of RU-486 for a safe and abortion in California in 2005. Oriane got the drugs at the Eve Surgical Center. She took the
mifeprestone on June 9 and vaginally inserted the misoprostol on June
10. Both Christopher Dotson, M.D. and Josepha Seletz, M.D. are associated with the facility. Oriane was an attorney with two young children, ages 3 and 4. She had
sickened three days after taking the drugs, suffering from
severe pain and havy bleeding, and was rushed by ambulance to
Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, where she died on June 14 from
severe metabolic acidosis and sepsis. Dotson has a spotted history. At the time of Oriane‘s abortion, Dotson
had not yet completed eight years medical board probation for gross
negligence and incompetence in causing the death of a patient. He had also worked at San Vicente Hospital, a notorious abortion mill that was bought out by Family Planning Associates Medical Group. San Vicente was where Sara Lint, Natalie Meyers, Joyce Ortenzio,Laniece Dorsey, and Mary Pena underwent their fatal abortions. Despite his appalling record, Dotson, through his Eve Surgical Center, is a member of the National Abortion Federation.