A chronic asthma patient, 27-year-old Sheila Hebert went to Delta Women's Clinic in Baton Rouge for a safe and legal abortion on June 6, 1984. Shortly after the abortion, Sheila complained of chest pains and difficulty breathing. She lost consciousness, and staff injected her with adrenaline, but were unable to revive her. She was taken to a nearby hospital where she died.
A common claim among abortion advocates is that although legal abortion deaths like Nicey's and Sheila's are indeed sad, they're only a pale shadow of the carnage that would ensue were legal protection restored to unborn children. This claim is demonstrably false.
There are two approaches Big Abortion takes when trying to scare people into supporting legal abortion as a means of protecting women's lives:
- Outright lying. They will trot out the long-disproven claim that 5,000 to 10,000 women were dying every year from abortion before legalization.
- Lying by omission. They will use numbers that are accurate, but will totally remove them from context in order to draw a conclusion that is deliberately deceptive.
On June 6, 1907, homemaker Julia Williamson, age 29, died at her Chicago home from complications of an abortion performed there that day. A midwife named Emily Redemski was held by the coroner's jury, but acquitted by a judge for reasons not given in the source document. Given the Chicago machine's tolerant attitude toward even the most quactastic abortionists, it's no surprise that Julia's killer was not brought to justice.
Note, please, that with ordinary 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. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.