Both of today's anniversaries concern safe, legal abortions.
Myria McFadden underwent a second-trimester abortion on December 7, 1987, in Washington, DC, performed by Dr. Hazel Tape.
Myria had trouble breathing after the abortion. She suffered heart and
lung failure and died the following day at Holy cross Hospital in Silver
On December 8, 1994, 23-year-old Magdalena Rodriguez went to Suresh Gandotra's clinic, El Norte Clinica Medica, for what she thought was a safe, legal second-trimester abortion. Gandotra later said, "I knew I screwed up," when he pulled out bowel instead of fetal parts. Gandotra
called a hospital and asked for directions to send Magdalena there by
car. The staff at the hospital insisted that Magdalena should be
transported by ambulance. They began to assemble an expert team for the
expected catastrophic injuries.In
the mean time, Gandotra left Magdalena unattended while he did
abortions on other patients. After a half-hour delay, he finally called
an ambulance. When the ambulance crew
arrived, they found Magdalena in ventricular fibrillation, with no
pulse, bleeding, and lying on the floor. The ambulance crew was not informed
about the hospital that was awaiting this critically injured patient, so
they took Magdalena to another hospital, one that was not prepared to
treat a patient with her specific injuries. When
the surgeon at the hospital opened Magdalena's peritoneum, it was so
distended with blood that the operating room was spattered with the
escaping blood. Magdalena's uterus was ruptured, with a fetal limb
protruding into her abdomen. Her cervix, uterus, bladder, and colon were
lacerated. The mangled and partially dismembered fetus was of
approximately 30 weeks gestation.
As the autopsy describes it, "the body of the baby was not complete
when autopsied. Both arms had been cut off; the heart, lungs, liver, and
other organs had been cut out, the front of the chest and abdomen were
missing, the right femur was fractured, the head was intact except for
an area on the scalp which had been taken off from the back of the
head." Magdalena bled to death during surgery. At the time of Magdalena's fatal abortion, Gandotra was already a convicted felon who had done time for grand theft, Medi-Cal fraud, forgery in the prescribing of drugs, and aiding in the unlicensed practice of medicine.