Tuesday, April 05, 2016

An Illegal Chicago Death and a Post-Abortion Suicide

1927: A Typical Chicago Abortion

On the morning of April 5, 1927, Arhne Reynolds died at the Chicago office of Dr. Louis Ginsburg from an abortion performed on her there that day. Ginsburg was arrested on April 18, and indicted for felony murder on May 15. Arhne's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

2001: Suicide after Abortion by "Hero" Doctor

On April 5, 2001, Donetta Robben‘s 22-year-old niece "Haley Mason," didn't show up for work. Her friend Rosa drove over to check on her, and her car wasn't there. Rosa called the girl‘s father, Edwin. Had she gone home to visit her family? Edwin later said he just knew that his daughter was dead. He called the Omaha police, and he called his daughter's landlord. They went to the apartment. They found her body. 

The story of how Haley died begins when she fell in love with Todd. She found out she was pregnant and told him. He wanted her to get an abortion. Haley was a student at the University of Nebraska. She worked two jobs to meet her expenses. Unmarried, without much money, and with a disapproving boyfriend, Haley saw abortion as her only option. She made her appointment at the Bellevue, Nebraska practice of Dr. Leroy Carhart. It was late October of 2000.

Carhart's abortion clinic in Nebraska
Carhart walked into the room, clad in a dirty coat and glasses so smeared that Haley‘s friend, who had accompanied her, wondered how he could even see through the lenses. While performing the abortion, Carhart spouted profanities. He told Haley and her friend that he was tired. He‘d been speaking in California the day before, and had just flown into Omaha that morning.

After the abortion, Haley felt violated, as if she‘d been raped. She also experienced continued spotting into January. She'd not been given a follow-up appointment, and didn't know if the bleeding was normal or not. She didn't want to go to another doctor, because she‘d have to tell him about the abortion, and that was just too painful to talk about. The bleeding was a constant reminder of the death of Haley‘s unborn baby.

Haley told few people about the abortion, and didn't tell anybody of her struggle to cope with the emotional pain. She kept telling herself that she‘d done the best thing. But she started punishing herself, and pushed away anybody who tried to love her. She didn't feel that she deserved their love. Haley longed for a knight in shining armor to rescue her from the prison of her grief, but she no longer felt comfortable with men. She had to get drunk to be able to endure sex. And even then, it reminded her of the abortion. Todd came by at early hours, looking for sex. Haley submitted, but her heart wasn't in it. She no longer felt loved. She felt used.

The drinking got worse. Hot baths and quick jogs provided temporary relief from the anguish, but it always returned. Finally, Haley could stand it no more. First, plenty of numbing alcohol. Then, she went into her living room and grabbed a photo of her late mother and maternal grandfather. Next, a bottle of vodka. A bottle of aspirin. An old prescription bottle of Benadryl. Haley washed the drugs down with the vodka, leaving the three bottles next to the photograph.

She went into the bedroom. She put her rosary around her neck. She set an empty holy water bottle on her dresser. She opened her journal to the day of the abortion. She lay down, head on her pillow, looking for the rest she couldn't find any more in living.

Abortion is associated with an increase in all forms of violent death: accident, homicide, and suicide.

Other post-abortion suicides include:
  • Carol Cunningham, age 21, who shut herself in her garage, ran her car, and died from the exhaust fumes on August 22, 1986
  • Arlin della Cruz, age 19, who hanged herself in the woods near her house on October 15, 1992
  • Laura Grunas, age 30, who shot her baby's father and then herself on August 4, 2006
  • "Sandra Roe," age 18, who killed herself using an unidentified means on April 18, 1971
  • Sandra Kaiser, age 15, who threw herself off an overpass into traffic on November 19, 1984
  • Stacy Zallie, age 20, who committed suicide on October 1, 2002

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