Linda was a 19-year-old Indiana University sophomore and an outstanding student when she traveled from Indiana to New York for a legal abortion in 1970. She was 12 weeks pregnant. The doctor performed the abortion on September 3. He was unable to remove any of the fetus or placenta. For some reason, he did not suspect a problem. He discharged Linda and she returned home.
Upon her return, she suffered from pain, nausea, and vomiting, so she sought care from a physician in her community. She was admitted to the Indiana University Medical Center's William G. Coleman hospital with a perforated uterus.
Her doctor performed a lapartotomy, and found that the fetus was still inside Linda's perforated uterus. The abortion was completed and the hole in her uterus was repaired. After the surgery, she had a series of complications beginning with difficulty breathing. On September 10, doctors performed a hysterectomy. She continued to be treated in the hospital, but despite all their efforts she died on September 22.
Dr. Paul Jarrett was one of the doctors who tried to save her life. His full story is here.
A few months into my residency, I came face to face with the issue of abortion for the first time. An 18-year-old Indiana University coed came into Coleman Hospital with lower abdominal pain. She related to me that she had been to New York City earlier that day to have a legal abortion performed at a clinic there. She had gotten on a plane at 8am at Indianapolis International Airport and flown to New York. She was taken to a legitimate clinic by a cab driver. She had believed she was two and a half months pregnant, but after the doctor had unsuccessfully attempted to abort the pregnancy, he told her she wasn't really pregnant after all and sent her home. She returned to Indiana on the 4pm flight as planned.
When she returned home in terrible pain, she realized she was in trouble and for the first time, told her mother what had happened to her. Her mother contacted her own gynecologist, who in turn referred the patient to Coleman Hospital to be evaluated by the resident on call--me.
Even though I was still wet behind the ears, I know that this pale, frightened little girl was still 10 weeks pregnant and her blood count was only half of what it should be. The private, attending doctor came in and took the patient to surgery immediately that night, where he repaired the hole that had been torn in the back of her uterus, which had caused her massive internal hemorrhage.
Over the course of the next few days, infection set in which did not respond to antibiotics, and we made the painful decision to perform a hysterectomy. Tragically, the shock from the infection severely damaged her lungs and her course was steadily downhill. As I helplessly watched, she slipped into unconsciousness and a few days later she died.The 1970 liberalization of abortion had made New York an abortion mecca until the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling that abortionists could legally set up shop in any state of the union. In addition to "Amanda," these are the women I know of who had the dubious benefit of dying from the newfangled safe-and-legal kind of abortion in pre-Roe New York:
- Pearl Schwier, July, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
- Carmen Rodriguez, July, 1970, salt solution intended to kill the fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
- Barbara Riley, July, 1970, sickle-cell crisis triggered by abortion recommended by doctor due to her sickle cell disease
- Maria Ortega, October, 1970, fetus shoved through her uterus into her pelvic cavity then left there
- "Kimberly" Roe, December, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
- "Amy" Roe, January, 1971, massive pulmonary embolism
- "Andrea" Roe, January, 1971, overwhelming infection
- "Sandra" Roe, April, 1971, committed suicide due to post-abortion remorse
- "Anita" Roe, May, 1971, bled to death in her home during process of outpatient saline abortion
- Margaret Smith, June, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
- "Annie" Roe, June, 1971, cardiac arrest during anesthesia
- "Audrey" Roe, July, 1971, cardiac arrest during abortion
- "Vicki" Roe, August, 1971, post-abortion infection
- "April" Roe, August, 1971, injected with saline for outpatient abortion, went into shock and died
- "Barbara" Roe, September, 1971, cardiac arrest after saline injection for abortion
- "Tammy" Roe, October, 1971, massive post-abortion infection
- Carole Schaner, October, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
- "Beth" Roe, December, 1971, saline injection meant to kill fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
- "Roseann" Roe, February, 1971, vomiting with seizures causing pneumonia after saline abortion
- "Connie" Roe, March, 1972, cardiac arrest during abortion
- "Julie" Roe, April, 1972, holes torn in her uterus and bowel
- "Robin" Roe, May, 1972, lingering abortion complications
- "Roxanne" Roe, May, 1972, given overdose of abortion sedatives
- "Danielle" Roe, May, 1972, air in her bloodstream