Twenty-six-year-old Moris Helen Herron went to Bakersfield, California abortionist William D. Stanley for a tubal ligation in October of 1983. When Stanley examined Helen, he informed her that she was pregnant and asked if she wanted him to perform a safe, legal abortion when he did the tubal ligation.
consented, and on October 23, Stanley operated on her. After Helen went
home, she suffered weakness, vomiting, and severe pain. She called
Stanley, who instructed her to take a laxative.
developed a high fever, and died on November 3. An autopsy found feces
and feculent fluid in Helen's abdominal cavity from a hole in her
intestines. Helen's mother, Inez Herron, sued Stanley on behalf of her
two surviving children, and Stanley settled out of court for $200,000.
a local pro-life group wrote to Stanley to chastise him for his
treatment of Helen, he wrote back, saying, "Elective abortion refers to
termination of a live viable pregnancy upon the request of the mother. I
have never performed this service or even offered it." He claimed that
he was merely performing a D&C on Helen after a miscarriage.