Carole Schaner was 37 years old when she traveled from Ohio to Buffalo, New York, for a safe and legal abortion. to be performed by Dr. Jesse Ketchum. She had been referred by a local abortion advocacy organization, West Shore Center. Carole was divorced and caring for her four children.
Ketchum was a former criminal abortionist from Ypsilanti, Michigan who
had relocated to New York specifically to open an abortion practice in a more congenial atmosphere, no doubt weary of repeated arrests on his home turf.
Things seemed to be going okay for Ketchum in Buffalo. Even though he
had allowed another abortion patient, Margaret Smith,
to bleed to death in his office from a hysterotomy abortion four
months earlier, he was still free to practice.
Ketchum likewise performed a vaginal hysterotomy on Carole on October 20, 1971. She was 14 weeks pregnant. A hysterotomy is similar to a C-section, except that the intention is to deliver a dead fetus rather than a living baby.
After the abortion, Carole went into shock, and was taken to a hospital.
Despite all efforts, Carole died
before doctors could even fully assess the extent of her injuries, leaving her children motherless.
The autopsy found that Carole's cervix and uterus had been cut open, and
an artery outside her uterus had been cut. It also noted sutures that
had evidently been put in by Ketchum in an attempt to repair the damage.
The sutures, however, completely closed Carole's cervix, allowing her
to continue bleeding from the injured uterus and artery.
Another former criminal abortionist, Milan Vuitch, also had kept his
nose clean as a criminal abortionist, then went on to kill two legal
abortion patients. Wilma Harris and Georgianna English both died under Vuitch's care. Benjamin Munson,
likewise, had a clean record in his criminal abortionist then went on
to kill two women in his supposedly safer legal practice -- Linda Padfield and Yvonne Mesteth. So much for the idea that removing the threat of prison would somehow encourage the doctors who did abortions to exercise greater care.
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.