On January 8, 1918, 20-year-old homemaker Margaret Balch died in a Chicago home from hemorrhage caused by an abortion perpetrated by a person who was never identified.
Note, please, that with overall public health issues such as doctors not
using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions
and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely
little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and
illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was
probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good.
In fact, due to improvements in addressing these problems, maternal
mortality in general (and abortion mortality with it) fell dramatically
in the 20th Century, decades before Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion
For more information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.
Fast forward to the enlightened age of safe, legal abortion.
Tamiia Russell, age 15, died January 8, 2004 after a second trimester abortion at Woman Care Clinic in Lanthrup Village, near Detroit.
Taisha Glenn, the sister of Tamiia's 24-year-old "boyfriend", Stacy
Glenn, arranged the abortion without notifiying Tamiia's family. Stacy
Glenn, according to Frances Russell, Tamiia's mother, is a reputed drug
dealer who has not been located since Tamiia's death. He paid the $2000
for the abortion. Taisha, took the girl to five different Detroit area
abortion facilities, and was turned away from all five because of how
far advanced Tamiia's pregnancy was. One facility reportedly even offered prenatal care and
vitamins. Finally Taisha found an abortionist willing to proceed --
WomanCare, a Winthorop Village abortion facility run by abortionist Abraham Alberto Hodari.
Despite the fact that the pregnancy was the result of statutory rape,
and despite the fact that he had no permission from Tamiia's parents or
guardian, as required by Michigan law, the clinic agreed to take the
case. Tamiia used an identification card with another woman's picture to
claim that she was 19, but according to Tamiia's cousin, the woman in
the picture ID looked nothing like Tamiia.
Tamiia's presumably safe and legal abortion was begun on January 7, when laminaria was inserted. Laminaria are
sticks of seaweed used to dilate the cervix. Staff then sent Tamiia
home. Once home, Tamiia confessed to her aunt and mother that she was
pregnant and she had begun the abortion. Tamiia's mother said that she
called the clinic, and staff told her that the abortion once be carried
out once the laminaria are inserted. This is not true; laminaria can be
removed and the pregnancy continued, with medical supervision. Based on the false
claim that Tamiia had no choice but to go through
with the abortion, her mother drove her to WomanCare on January 8 for
the actual abortion procedure. Tamiia bled heavily after coming home
froom the abortion -- so heavily that the blood soaked a mattress.
Tamiia's mother called WomanCare, where staff told her that such
bleeding was normal and instructed them not to bring Tamiia to a
hospital. Her family ignored this advice and called an ambulance, which
rushed the girl to Sinai-Grace Hospital, where she was dead on arrival.
Chivon Williams and Regina Johnson.
At the time of Tamiia's death, Womancare was a member of the National Abortion Federation., an organization that promises that all of its members adhere to the highest standards of care.