On September 12, 1917, 20-year-old Genevieve Popjoy of Momence, Illinois, died at Chicago's Northwest Side Hospital from a criminal abortion perpetrated by an unknown suspect on about August 30.
Brenda Vise, a 38-year-old pharmaceutical representative, died on
September 12, 2001, of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy after what she
believed would be a perfectly safe, legal abortion at Volunteer Women's Clinic in Tennessee. Despite having been shut down by the state, VMC continued to do business
and to advertise in the yellow pages for abortions, including chemical
abortions. On Friday, September 7, VMC staff did a pregnancy test and
did an ultrasound which showed no fetus in the uterus -- a clear sign of a likely ectopic pregnancy. Instead of performing further tests, the staff just told Brenda that the fetus was "too small to be seen" and gave her a dose of Mifeprex for a chemical abortion.
Brenda was then sent home from the facility with a dose Cytotec that she
was to self-administer to complete her abortion. No arrangements were made for a follow-up examination.
Over the ensuing days, Brenda called VMC repeatedly to report problems upon returning home. "Instead of advising Ms.
Vise to immediately proceed to a doctor, the Clinic continually assured
her that all of these were normal symptoms and that she was not to be
When she called on Monday, September 10, indicating her
deteriorating condition, she was told that her symptoms were "to be
expected," and was told to travel to VMC, in Knoxville, for a check-up
at 3:30 p.m. "She was specifically directed not to go to a hospital in
Chattanooga because, according to the Clinic, no hospital in Chattanooga
would have knowledge about the drugs that had been administered." Brenda's boyfriend tried to take her to Knoxville, "but was unable to do
so" and called an ambulance, which rushed Brenda to a Chattanooga
hospital. "Ms. Vise was immediately admitted to the hospital in very critical
condition. Exploratory surgery revealed that Ms. Vise had had an ectopic
(tubal) pregnancy which had ruptured. Such rupture led to massive
infection and a collapse of her vital systems." "On September 12, 2001, the attending physician certified that Ms. Vise
was terminal with no reasonable medical prospect of recovery and was in a
coma and totally unresponsive. Ms. Vise died later that day."