Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Illegal" Abortion Deaths 60 Years Apart

There are two deaths from the Cemetery of Choice on this date, 60 years apart, very different but both illegal.

Illegal in 1923
On December 18, 1923, 40-year-old Sophia Hartozinski died at Chicago's County Hospital due to a criminal abortion performed there that day. The coroner identified midwife Mary Roback as having been responsible for Sophia's death.

Illegal in 1982
Myrtha Baptiste, age 26, had a safe and legal abortion of her 10 week pregnancy performed by Orlando Zaldivar at Woman's Care Clinic December 18, 1982.  Myrtha, a mother of two, arrived at the hospital in critical condition due to delay of transfer by the clinic staff. She bled to death from two uterine perforations. Zaldivar could not be reached for seven hours while hospital staff were struggling to save his patient's life.

Because Zaldivar's license was inactive at the time he performed Myrta's abortion, the CDC classified her death as being due to illegal abortion rather than legal abortion. This hides her death from statistics on legal abortion deaths even though Myrtha had no reason at all to suspect that her abortion wasn't legal. The other deaths at that facility -- Ruth Montero, Shirley Payne, and Maura Morales -- were counted as legal abortion deaths.


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