A Midwife's Work in Chicago, 1908
On September 23, 1908, "Mrs. G.," whom I call "Sophie," was admitted to Cook County Hospital in Chicago. Two weeks earlier, when she was ten weeks pregnant, she had undergone an
abortion at the hands of a midwife. She began suffering from chills,
fever, and abdominal pain about five days later. After two days of these
symptoms, a physician treated her with a curettage to try to remove
retained material, but this left Sophie feeling even worse.
Over the course of the ensuing week Sophie's condition deteriorated.
When she was finally admitted she had a very tender, distended abdomen.
Her pulse was racing at 120, her respiration a rapid 30. Her fever was
101.4. She was speaking incoherently. An internal examination found an
enlarge uterus, a swollen cervix, and a purulent vaginal discharge.
On September 26, her condition was little changed. An additional surgery
was attempted, involving dilating her cervix, curetting the uterus,
then irrigating the uterus and packing it with gauze. The results were catastrophic. Sophie's fever spiked to 108.6, her pulse
160 and her respirations 58. She died on September 27, 19 hours after
Yet Another Fatal Failure at Inglewood Women's Hospital, 1975
On September 13, 1975, 22-year-old Lynette Wallace underwent a safe and legal abortion at Inglewood Women's Hospital in Los Angeles County.
on the morning of September 27, Lynette went to the emergency room
reporting abdominal pain. Staff reported that she became agitated and
"difficult to handle." They put her in restraints, and she was
pronounced dead of cardiopulmonary arrest at 10:53 AM.
autopsy revealed what the abortionist should have detected -- the
pregnancy had not been in Lynette's uterus but in her fallopian tube.
The tube had ruptured, spilling blood and a 10-week fetus into Lynette's
who seek abortion should be less likely to die of ruptured ectopic
pregnancies than women who do not seek abortion. After all, the
abortionist is supposed to perform an examination verifying the size of
the uterus, and is supposed to visually examine the abortion tissue to
be sure that the entire fetus and placenta are present. Also, a
pathology examination is supposed to be done on the uterine contents to
verify the presence of the entire fetal/placental unit. However, women who seek abortion are actually more likely to die of ruptured ectopic pregnancies
than women who do not seek abortion. The pain and nausea associated
with an ectopic pregnancy are often mistaken for ordinary post-abortion
symptoms, and are ignored until the tube ruptures and the woman's life
is in danger.
is one of many deaths currently attributed to Inglewood Women's
Hospital (aka Inglewood Women's Clinic) in Los Angeles County. The others are Yvonne Tanner, Kathy Murphy, Belinda Byrd, Cora Lewis, and Elizabeth Tsuji.