On April 17, 1940, Mrs. Josephine Williams and her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Adele H. Sassen, were sentenced to prison for an illegal abortion resulting in the death of a Long Beach woman. The abortion had been performed on April 16, 1939, and the woman died three days later.
During the 1940s,
while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal
mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744
in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the
development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of
antibiotics. Learn more here.
Mary Paredez, an immigrant, was 26 years old when she underwent an abortion at San Jose Hospital
on April 19, 1977. During the procedure, Mary's uterus was perforated.
She began to hemorrhage. Less than seven hours later, she was dead. The
autopsy found 2500 cc of blood in Mary's abdomen.
As you can see from the graph below, abortion deaths were falling
dramatically before legalization. This steep fall had been in place for
decades. To argue that legalization lowered abortion mortality simply
isn't supported by the data.