Friday, February 01, 2013

40 Years, 40 Faces of Choice (1993 - 2002)

1993: The Partial Birth Abortion Baby

Martin Haskell of Ohio presented a paper and a video at the 1992 National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar in Dallas, introducing his preferred late abortion technique to his fellow abortionists. Haskell also gave the procedure a catchier name: "Dilation and Extraction," or "D&X." It caught on. After all, it fit the progression: D&C, D&E, D&X. What Haskell hadn't counted on was the pro lifers. A reporter for Life Advocate was tapping into the NAF network. The reporter, Jenny Westberg, got hold of Haskell's presentation paper. Jenny, who was also a cartoonist, produced what may be the most politically powerful line drawings in history. The D&X cat was out of the bag. The National Right to Life Committee ran with the pictures in 1993, dubbing Haskell's procedure "partial birth abortion." The battle lines were and would remain so for over a decade and a half.

1994: Steven Chase Brigham

In 1994, abortionist/entrepreneur Steven Chase Brigham lost his New York license due to "gross negligence" that nearly cost several women their lives. Though the language was lofty, the board was pretty much identifying Brigham as a psychopath. "Respondent repeatedly exaggerated his medical training, experience and skill." He "has demonstrated that he lacks appropriate judgment and insight as to his own limitations. he routinely displayed a tendency to inflate and embellish the truth." The Board's committee concluded that Brigham was "under trained, has demonstrated grievous deviations from accepted standards of care and diligence, has shown submarginal abilities and has evidenced not the slightest recognition of any of his deficiencies." Brigham's career as an abortionist began with an unfinished Planned Parenthood training program. He joined the National Abortion Federation, and Michael Burnhill, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and a moderator at National Abortion Federation events, testified in Brigham's behalf. Brigham remains an active abortionist and keeps squeaking out of trouble, though NAF has distanced themselves from him for reasons they won't clarify other than to say that he's not a good doctor, which clearly isn't an impediment for other abortionists who want to have NAF membership.

1995: John Biskind

Though Biskind's face wouldn't emerge until 1998, his deadly hand showed itself in 1995. It was in that year that the unfortunate Lisa Bardsley went to Biskind at his abortion practice in Phoenix, Arizona. She was at least 20 weeks pregnant. An hour after the abortion was completed, Lisa was discharged from the clinic. With a friend who had accompanied her, Lisa headed home to northern Arizona. But she never made it home. She bled to death. Biskind went on to get into further trouble for delivering a live, nearly term infant during an abortion performed on a teenager, and for the abortion death of Lou Ann Herron., a woman he abandoned to bleed to death in his clinic as she lay in a puddle of blood, begging for help. So egregious was his treatment of Lou Ann that he was convicted of manslaughter.

1996: Carolina Guitierrez

Though Carolina Gutierrez's abortion took place in 1995, her face didn't surface until 1996. It took her that long to die. She had come to the United States at the age of 13 as a refugee from Nicaragua. She had two children from a previous marriage, and though her husband was ready to welcome the new baby, Carolina chose abortion. A friend drove her to one of Miami's many fly-by-night abortion mills. Over the next two days, she became increasingly ill, but the clinic wouldn't return her calls. On December 21st, she could hardly breathe, so her family called 911. She arrived at the emergency room already in septic shock. Carolina underwent an emergency hysterectomy at the hospital to try to halt the spread of infection from her perforated uterus. Carolina was put into the intensive care unit, where she battled for her life against the raging sepsis. She was on a respirator, with her fingers and feet going black with gangrene. Carolina's 21st birthday came and went as she lay in the ICU. Doctors fought to help the young woman to gain enough strength to undergo amputation of her gangrenous limbs. But despite the hysterectomy, the amputations, and all their other efforts, Carolina died on February 5, 1996. And rather than blame the Florida Abortion Council, an organization of abortion clinic owners who had successfully fought state efforts to close down seedy abortion clinics, prochoicers blamed "lack of access" purportedly called by prolifers for Carolina's horrific death.

1997: Earl McLeod

On December 20, 1997, a 27-year-old woman went to Potomac Family Planning for a safe, legal abortion, to be performed by Dr. Earl McLeod. She was 6 weeks pregnant. She had no significant medical or surgical history, but had undergone a prior abortion performed by McLeod in 1995, under general anesthesia, with no complications. She was still heavily sedated when taken to recovery, but she was not monitored even though her pulse was alarmingly rapid. When the recovery room nurse eventually noticed that the woman was still unresponsive, time was wasted as the nurse went back and forth to the anesthesiologist to request orders for medications, which he gave without examining the woman, since he was busy assisting with other abortions. Eventually the nurse was unable to detect a pulse or blood pressure. This got the anesthesiologist's attention, and he began to perform CPR, using a pediatric-sized bag-valve mask that was too small to provide oxygen to an adult patient. McLeod finished two more abortions then joined in the amateurish and ineffectual efforts to revive his patient. Finally, after around 40 minutes of delay, somebody called 911. The patient was rushed to the hospital but despite aggressive efforts was pronounced dead. The appalled paramedics reported McLeod to the medical board, and he was given a slap on the wrist and still permitted to practice.

1998: Sarah Brown

In 1993, a 15-year-old girl was brought by her parents for a late term abortion to be performed by George Tiller. Tiller's preferred abortion method was to inject potassium chloride into the baby's heart to make sure it would be born dead, then keep the mother in a motel room for several days while he made changes of laminaria (sterile seaweed sticks that swell as they absorb moisture) to dilate her cervix. He'd then induce labor and have the mother deliver the dead baby into the toilet. But this baby didn't die as scheduled. The teenage patient was taken to a hospital, where she gave birth and then returned home with her family. The baby was left unattended to die, but when she was still alive the next day, a nurse took pity on her and brought her to the NICU. She was found to have two punctures in her head from where Tiller had injected the potassium chloride into her brain instead of into her heart. The gravely injured baby was adopted, in spite of a prognosis that she wouldn't survive more than a few weeks. Her family named her Sarah Brown. Her injuries had left her blind, mentally disabled, and paralyzed, and the fact that her family refused to be silenced about how she'd been injured provoked Tiller supporters to make death threats. The family eventually had to relocate. Local prolife groups and churches helped to raise money for Sarah's expensive medical care after she was taken off their insurance for having exceeded lifetime limits. When she died of kidney failure in 1998, at the age of five, the family had to hold two funeral services to accommodate all of the mourners.

1999: Stacy Zallie

Stacy Zallie underwent a safe, legal abortion at the age of 19, in 1999 at the hands of notorious abortionist Steven Chase Brigham. She didn't tell her family about the abortion, but did mention that she was troubled. She sought psychiatric care, but still kept the abortion a secret. In October of 2000, about a year after her abortion and mere days before she was to serve as a bridesmaid in her brother's wedding, Stacy took her own life. Stacy was the daughter of George J. Zallie, owner of eight ShopRite stores near Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and his wife, Linda. After learning of the abortion and Stacy's unbearable anguish afterward, her parents started the Stacy Zallie Foundation to provide post-abortion care so that nobody else's daughter suffers the fate their daughter did. The Zallie family takes no stand on abortion, seeking to keep their focus on providing desperately-needed aftercare to suffering women, regardless of politics, creed, or religion.

2000: LeRoy Carhart

In 2000, the US Supreme Court took up and ruled on Stenberg v. Carhart, LeRoy Carhart's challenge of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. The Court found that the ban was unconstitutional if it did not make allowances for the mother's broadly defined "health" and if it was not crystal clear that it banned only stopping in the middle of delivery to kill the baby, rather than accidentally pulling out a baby while attempting to dismember it. Despite having failed to stop the practice of D&X abortions, the ban, and Carhart's predictable challenge of it, achieved the goal of raising public awareness of what goes on inside abortion facilities that do late abortions. As for Carhart, challenging the PBA ban made him a hero for the abortion-rights movement, in spite of the fact that he ran a seedy abortion mill in a run-down building that used to house a garage. Carhart's tireless championing of post-viability abortions makes him a perennial favorite with the abortion lobby, even though it was him that medics found performing CPR on Tiller patient Christin Gilbert so clumsily that they thought he was a bystander, not a doctor. Not surprisingly, Christin died.

2001: John Baxter Hamilton

In 2001, abortionist John Baxter Hamilton took a break from killing fetuses to kill his wife, Susan, first attempting to strangle her but then finally bludgeoning her to death in the bathroom of their upscale Oklahoma home on Valentine's Day. Susan, age 55, had worked as a physician's assistant at her husband's abortion facility, Oklahoma Women's Clinic. One of Susan's friends testified that the two of them had shared stories of the abuse they'd endured at the hands of their husbands over the previous five years, and that Susan had begun to believe that Dr. Hamilton was having an affair with a topless waitress. The couple had fought two months before the murder and had begun to discuss divorce just two days before the murder.

2002: Diana Lopez

Diana Lopez, age 25, was 19 weeks pregnant when she went to a Planned Parenthood for a safe and legal abortion on February 28, 2002. Before the day was over, Diana had bled to death. The taxpayers of California paid for the fatal abortion, courtesy of Medi-Cal. Diana‘s autopsy noted that she had hemorrhaged from a perforation of her cervix. Diana‘s husband, David, filed suit, alleging that the abortionist‘s haste caused severe lacerations that killed his wife. The suit says that Diana‘s abortion was rushed through in ony six minutes, although Planned Parenthood‘s own web site says such a procedure should take 10 to 20 minutes. The family‘s attorney also noted that in 2000, the same Planned Parenthood rushed another woman though a similar 6-minute abortion, lacerating the patient‘s cervix, rupturing her uterus, perforating her sigmoid colon and causing the loss of 2 liters of blood. Planned Parenthood also delayed three hours before transferring the patient to a hospital. Fortunately, this patient survived her ordeal. The medical board took no action against Diana‘s abortionist, Dr. Mark Maltzer, either. However, the California Department of Health Services investigated the facility and cited Planned Parenthood for deficiencies including failure to assess the credentials of Malzer before hiring him, failing to follow their own safety procedures, and failing to keep appropriate records.


Melissa said...

Thanks for these, Christina.

Regarding Sarah Brown--why on earth did her family not sue Dr. Tiller to pay for her medical expenses?

Christina Dunigan said...

That's a good question, Melissa. Though they'd have no grounds for a suit themselves -- having voluntarly taken on the care of an already injured child -- perhaps they could have filed a suit on her behalf.