Oriane Shevin, age 34, died of infection following off-label use of RU-486 for a safe and legal abortion in California in 2005. Oriane got the drugs at the Eve Surgical Center. She took the mifeprestone on June 9 and vaginally inserted the misoprostol on June 10. The coroner‘s office was not able to determine if a physician saw or examined her at the abortion facility. Both known quack Christopher Dotson, M.D. and hero late-term abortionist Josepha Seletz, M.D. were associated with the facility. Oriane sickened three days after taking the drugs. She was suffering from severe pain and heavy bleeding, and was rushed by ambulance to Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, where she died on June 14 from severe metabolic acidosis and sepsis. Eve Surgical Center was a member of the National Abortion Federation.
On June 9, 1917, 26-year-old homemaker Emma Melvin died at Chicago's
St. Mary's Hospital from infection caused by a criminal abortion
perpetrated by Dr. M. Meinhardt, who was never tried in Emma's death. Information about Emma's death is too scanty to do any sort of preventability study.
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.