Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pre and Post Legalization Deaths: Any Improvement?

On November 20, 1925, 29-year-old Anna Kick died in Chicago's Washington Park Hospital from an abortion performed that day at an undisclosed location. The coroner determined that a midwife was responsible for Anna's death, but did not determine the midwife's name.

That very same day, 23-year-old Helen Bain, a homemaker, died in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day. Dr. George Slater was arrested on November 21 for Helen's death. Slater was indicted by a grand jury for homicide on May 1, 1926. Helen's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by 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.

During the first two thirds of the 20th century, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality, including mortality from abortion. Most researches attribute this plunge to improvements in public health and hygiene, the development of blood transfusion techniques, and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

external image MaternalMortality.gif

Of course, legalizing abortion didn't get rid of the problem of women dying from botched abortions. On November 20 of 2009, a Nepalese refugee named Karnamaya Mongar was killed by a massive overdose of drugs administered by the unsupervised and untrained staff of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Pennsylvania authorities, including the medical board and the health department, had been alerted to Gosnell's filthy and dangerous mill, but elected to look the other way due to their pro-choice commitment to abortion access as a greater good.

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