Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Illegal Abortion Deaths, 1887 - 1982

Deadly Secrets in Florida, 1983

On January 4, 1983, Albert Payne got a phone call from a family friend, Debbie Manning, who worked at the emergency room at a Miami hospital. Debbie gave Albert some shocking news: His 33-year-old wife, Shirley Yvonne Payne, mother of their three children ages 3 to 12, was dead. She had bled to death from an abortion.

"No way my wife is pregnant," Albert had responded. He called the day care center. Shirley had never showed up to pick up the children.

Shirley had undergone what she expected to be a safe and legal abortion at Woman's Care Center in Miami. She was 16-18 weeks pregnant. Shirley suffered a perforated uterus. Dr. Hipolito Barreiro made a frantic call to another doctor he knew, Nsibide Ipke, who had a practice 10 blocks from the clinic, wanting Ipke to come over and fill out clinic forms. "You've got to come sign. I'm not licensed."

Ipke, who said that he'd believed Barreiro to be licensed, went to the clinic to see what was going on and found Barreiro trying to attend to Shirley before calling an ambulance. When paramedics arrived on the scene, they reportedly found Shirley with an IV in her arm, lying on a couch, bleeding heavily.

Shirley arrived at the hospital in critical condition due to delay of transfer. An emergency hysterectomy was performed to try to save Shirley's life, but she bled to death in surgery. She was the second patient from that clinic to die in less than three weeks, and the fourth to die in less than four years.

Ruth Montero, Myrta Baptiste, Maura Morales, and Shirley Payne all died from abortions at the clinic, owned by Hipolito Barreiro. Trained in Argentina and West Africa, but not licensed in U.S. Barreiro evidently perpetrated Shirley's fatal abortion without documenting this fact on her clinic records.


After Shirley's death, authorities lame ted that they were powerless to oversee abortion facilities in Florida. "We have no authority to look into sanitary conditions or whether a clinic's location is near a hospital," a licensing and certification official told a reporter for Florida Today. A clinic could only be investigated in the event of a complaint or a patient death, the official said, and that the only permissible grounds for state action would be if the abortion had been done by somebody other than a licensed physician.

While authorities told reporters that greater state oversight could protect women from unsavory abortion clinics, the clinic owners indicated that such a law would be a form of anti-abortion harassment. The Florida Abortion Council, an organization of abortion clinic owners, had gotten a US district court to strike down a 1980 Florida law that would have allowed state oversight.

While asserting that state oversight wasn't needed, FLAC representative Patricia Baird Windle said that FLAC had denied membership to Women's Care Clinic because of patient deaths in August of 1979 and 1981.



Chicago Deaths, 1924 and 1921

On January 4, 1924, 28-year-old Elizabeth Strobl died in Chicago's Columbus Hospital from complications of an illegal abortion performed that day. Mrs. Anna Wenzig, whose profession is not given, was arrested January 15 for Elizabeth's death.

On January 4, 1921, 21-year-old Jennie Chubb died in her Chicago home from complications of an abortion performed that day. The coroner identified Veronica Rypcznski as the person responsible for Jennie's death. Veronica's profession is not mentioned in the source.


Third Time was Fatal, 1887

Bertie Hammaremiller, age 19, had lived with her mother on Langdon Street in Chicago. She already had one child to 19-year-old Fred C. Dethloff. On January 4, 1887 Bertie died from a botched abortion. Dethloff, who admitted that this was the third time he'd helped Bertie to abort two other pregnancies with medications in the three years they'd been together, was put on trial for his life. I have been unable to determine the outcome of the case.

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