Thursday, November 14, 2019

News to Me: The Death of Roselle Owens

I was searching for the newest case of Planned Parenthood badness to show a skeptical friend who dismissed example after example after example because the incidents had taken place too long ago to have any reflection on what sort of organization Planned Parenthood is today -- as if at some point in the recent past they bottomed out, went into some sort of rehab, and found a sponsor.

What I stumbled across wasn't recent. It was just tragic. Needless and tragic.

A smiling Black teenage girl with long, straightened hair, wearing a low-cut white sweather and holding up a bottle of sparking cider.
Roselle proudly celebrating non-alcoholic
just two months before her fatal abortion.
Roselle Owens was a vibrant 17-year-old high school student, thinking ahead to college, when she discovered that she was pregnant in 2009.

She made the mistake of entrusting herself to Planned Parenthood of New York City. She went to the Margaret Sanger Center for an abortion on the morning of April 11. Dr. Gerald Zupnick, who has a history of malpractice, performed the abortion under general anesthesia. The anesthesia was contracted out to employees of Somnia, also called Outpatient Anesthesia Services.

Zupnick noted in the operative report that the abortion was "uneventful," completing the procedure at 9:20 a.m. Shortly thereafter, staff found that Roselle's breathing was labored and her blood oxygen levels had fallen. A lawsuit filed by Roselle's half-brother on behalf of himself, Roselle's father, and her twin brother asserted that neither Somnia employees, Zupnick, or Planned Parenthood's other staff properly monitored Roselle. The ambulance was not summoned for her until 9:43 a.m., over 20 minutes after the abortion was completed. EMS services transported Roselle to St. Vincent's Medical Center at 10:05 a.m.

Staff at the hospital were able to stabilize Roselle, but the damage had already been done. Roselle remained on a ventilator at St. Vincent's until her death on September 8. She died when she should have been just getting settled into her new college life.

Both Zupnick and Planned Parenthood settled off-the-books, thus ending the paper trail.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Life and Death in Abortion Land: William Waddill and the Case of Baby W

Most people presented with a breathing newborn -- even a tiny, premature newborn -- would not hesitate to seek care for the baby. It seems to go without saying that a medical facility would be the safest place for a vulnerable baby. Thus, people tend to be shocked into disbelief at the idea that a newborn could be left to die or outright killed. But the world of abortion is not the world that most people live in. The 1977 case of Dr. William Baxter Waddill and "Baby W" illustrates how the abortion facility culture -- what I call Abortion Land -- views babies very differently from the way the rest of us do.

Mary W., a high school student, was examined by an ob/gyn on February 22, 1977, and found to be 28 weeks pregnant. This ob/gyn counseled that Mary's pregnancy was too advanced for an abortion, and advised Mary to consider an adoption plan. Somehow, Mary learned that Waddill would be willing to do an abortion, which he initiated by saline injection on March 2 at Westminster Community Hospital in California.

Mary's baby, a 2 lb, 8 oz infant girl, was expelled that evening and discovered by a nurse who was attending Mary.

The nurse clamped the cord and was about to put the baby in a bucket for transport to the pathology lab, when she noticed that the baby was moving and crying. In a normal hospital, the nurse would have, without hesitation, have taken the baby straight to the nursey for care. But this nurse was not working in a normal hospital setting. She was on an abortion ward. She was working in Abortion Land. Live babies weren't to be expected. They constituted a dismaying surprise. Thus, the nurse was uncertain about how to proceed. Another nurse suggested that regardless of any signs of life, the baby should just go into the bucket and off to the pathology lab per routine. Yet another nurse testified that she had seen the infant move but said nothing about this to avoid distressing Mary. Thus a third Abortion Land nurse, presented with a crying baby, was left uncertain about how to proceed. The first nurse summoned the nursing supervisor, who quite likely supervised the entire ob/gyn department and thus was not a resident of Abortion Land, like the three other nurses. The supervising nurse noted that the baby was pink and making sucking motions. She did whatever any normal person would do. She sent the baby to the nursery and summoned the mother's attending physician -- in this case, Waddill.

Once the baby was in the nursery, she was no longer in Abortion Land, so the nurses there responded to her as they would to any baby. One nurse cleared the infant's throat, placed her in an isolette, and charted a heartrate of 88. A neonatal ICU nurse began providing respiratory assistance on the little girl, and asked for help performing an intubation, which is routine NICU care.

Waddill arrived and chased everybody away. Several witnesses heard Waddill instruct staff "not to do a goddam thing for the baby." An ER doctor -- who evidently had noticed that something was up and had popped in to see for himself what was going on -- saw Waddill squeeze the umbilical cord, whereupon the "child jerked its body and gasped for air."

Waddill evidently had prepared for the birth of a living baby -- though not, one would guess, one that had been removed from Abortion Land and transported to the NICU. A tape was entered into evidence of a call from Waddill to a pediatrician, Dr. Ronald Cornelsen. In this call, Waddill told Dr. Cornelsen to come to the hospital, because the law required a pediatrician to assist when a newborn was in distress. Waddill said, "If we all tell the same story, there will be no trouble. ... So long as we stand together, no one anywhere can make any accusations anywhere. ... Do not get squirrely. Just tell them exactly as we've discussed. Just say you went in, there was no heartbeat and you left."

Dr. Cornelsen testified that when he arrived at the hospital the infant, a baby of about 31 weeks gestation, was breathing and had a heart rate of 60-70. There were bruises on her neck. Dr. Cornelson said that Waddill told him, "Sorry to get you in this mess. We had a baby that came out live from a saline abortion, and it can't live!" Dr. Cornelsen testified that he saw Waddill press on the infant's neck, saying, "I can't find the goddam trachea," and "This baby won't stop breathing." Dr. Cornelsen testified, "I said, 'Why not just leave the baby alone?' He said, 'This baby can't live or it will be a big mess.'" Waddill requested potssium choloride, for an injection to stop the baby's heart, but Dr. Cornelsen wouldn't let the nurse get it. Dr. Cornelsen said Waddill also asked for a bucket to drown the baby in.

Waddill later claimed that he hadn't strangled the baby, that she had died of natural causes before he even arrived at the hospital to deal with the delivery. He asserted that all of his actions were done in the best interests of the mother and the baby. However, having died in the nursery rather than in the abortion ward meant that rather than going into the medical waste incinerator, Mary's baby was afforded an autopsy, which backed what the witnesses said.

A pathologist examined the baby's lungs and concluded that she'd been alive for at least 30 minutes. Though saline causes capillaries to break down and thus gives the aborted baby a mottled, bruised look, the neck trauma was "consistent with manual pressure, and inconsistent with saline." The pathologist also testified that only the infant's placenta and small bowel seemed to have been "significantly affected by the saline," meaning that Mary's baby had not suffered fatal injury from exposure to the saline in-utero. Had the nurses in the NICU been allowed to proceed, Mary's baby would almost certainly have lived. The autopsy found the cause of the baby's death to have been "manual strangulation." Her gestational age was determined to have been 29 to 31 weeks at autopsy, consistent with the observations of Dr. Cornelson.

All told, over 13 weeks of testimony, the witnesses described three unsuccessful attempts by Waddill to strangle Mary's baby, and the fourth, successful, attempt. But during deliberations, the jury asked for clarification of a procedural point. A few phone calls to clarify the point led to the discovery by the attorneys and judge that there was a definition of "death" in the California health and safety code that the jury had not been informed of. Because the testimony hadn't directly addressed this particular definition of "death," the jurors became hopelessly deadlocked over whether Waddill's actions, though clearly causing what laymen would consider the "death" of the baby, had caused what the law would call the "death" of the baby. The judge had to delcare a mistrial. A second jury was also deadlocked, and the charges against Waddill were eventually dismissed.

Mary later sued Waddill, saying that he'd never told her that her baby might been born alive, and that she never would have consented to the abortion had she known this was possible. She said that Waddill "willfully and unlawfully used force and violence upon the person of the baby [W.] ... causing the decedent baby [W.] to die."

Waddill continued to perform abortions in California, and as of 2000 was working for National Abortion Federation member Family Planning Associates Medical Group, a chain where the following women and girls suffered fatal abortions: 

In a society where a jury can't even convict a man who strolls into a NICU and strangles a baby in front of half a dozen witnesses, it truly is astonishing that Gosnell was convicted.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Latachie: Not Even Noticed

The idea that the abortion researchers at the Centers for Disease Control actually care about women's deaths from safe, legal abortion should be blown out of the water by looking at how they dealt with the death of Latachie Veal.

Latachie was 17 years old, and 22 weeks pregnant, when Robert Dale Crist performed an abortion on her at Houston's West Loop Clinic November 2, 1991. According to Latachie's family, she bled heavily at the clinic, and cried out to the staff for help. They told her that her symptoms were normal, and sent her home. Several hours later, Latachie stopped breathing. Her brother-in-law called 911 while her sister did CPR, to no avail. Latachie was dead on arrival at Ben Taub Hospital.

If Latachie's death certificate had been filled out properly, with the notation of the abortion in the proper box, using the proper ICD-9 code, then theoretically the National Center for Health Statistics would spot the abortion code and report it. But most states send only a statistical sample of their death certificate data to the NCHS. So the CDC would be notified of Latachie's death through the NCHS only if the death certificate was properly filled out, and Latachie's death certificate was among those abstracted and sent to the NCHS.

But still, according to abortion defenders, Latachie's death would nevertheless be automatically reported to the Centers for Disease Control. They're not clear on who is supposed to report the death. Was West Loop Clinic supposed to report it? Was Crist supposed to report it? Was Ben Taub Hospital supposed to report it? Was the medical examiner supposed to report it? Was the Texas Department of Health supposed to report it? The CDC says it gets abortion death information from abortionists, abortion facilities, hospitals, and state health departments, but it does not mention that the reporting is not mandatory.

This does not mean that Latachie's death went utterly unnoticed.

Latachie's family filed suit, retaining the flamboyant "Racehorse" Haynes as their attorney. The case was highly publicized, both in Texas and in Missouri, where Crist had performed a fatal abortion on Diane Boyd, a 19-year-old developmentally disabled woman who had been raped in the institution where she'd lived.

The mainstream publicity went beyond the usual newspaper articles, with Crist giving television interviews calling the publicity "media hype" and "a political event." Haynes retorted, "I wish he would have a copy of the 911 tape.... If he would talk to the parents, if he would talk to the sister as she gave her CPR or talk to the brother-in-law as she was breathing her last breath and see then if he thinks it's a media event."

With all this mainstream publicity in two states, prolife organizations picked up the story, and it was reported in prolife newsletters around the nation.

A lot of people very quickly found out about the abortion death of 17-year-old Latachie Veal. But did the CDC?

At the 1992 National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar in Dallas, Crist spoke openly of Latachie's death. (He did not, of course, mention her name; I've concluded that he's discussing Latachie's death, since there's been no evidence of any another 17-year-old abortion patient of his who died in 1991.) Crist blamed the death not on malpractice, but on disseminated intravascular coagulopathy -- a clotting disorder that can be triggered during an abortion.

Present at that Risk Management Seminar, where Crist chattered about Latachie's death, were two -- count 'em -- two-- staffers from the Centers for Disease Control's abortion surveillance activities area: Stanley Henshaw and Lisa Koonin. Henshaw's presence isn't quite as remarkable as Koonin's. It was Lisa Koonin, specifically, whose job it was to "verify" abortion deaths, and obtain copies of death certificates. These she was to pass on to a research fellow, Clarice Green, who would then gather the full information about the case.

In spite of all the publicity, in spite of the lawsuit, in spite of the prolifers shouting from the rooftops, in spite of the abortionist discussing the death at an event attended by the very woman whose job it was to notice abortion deaths, the Centers for Disease Control did not notice Latachie's death. Their 1991 Abortion Surveillance Report, published in May of 1995, did not even make any mention of abortion mortality. And when we at Life Dynamics filed a request for information about abortion deaths, we found that the CDC counted zero -- count 'em -- zero -- abortion deaths among women of Latachie's race in the 15 - 19 age range. In other words, they didn't even notice.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the CDC failed to notice this highly-publicized death, discussed openly at an event attended by two of their abortion surveillance staffers, exactly what does it take to get them to notice an abortion death? And how can we even pretend to believe that any serious attempt to accurately count abortion deaths was being made?

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Katrina's death: Medical Board takes pathetic action

Today LiveAction posted a story about an ambulance being called to A Woman's Choice abortion facility in Jacksonville, Florida. The story noted:
There have been previous injuries at this abortion facility; in 2017, another patient had to be taken by ambulance after experiencing seizures they were not equipped to handle. One of the abortionists believed to work there, Deborah Levich, let her medical license lapse in Alabama after claims that she was not checking for viability before committing late-term abortions, falsified medical records, and allowed abortions to take place without a doctor present. Another of the abortionists, Herman Miller, killed a patient after botching an abortion and perforating her uterus.
I followed the link to AbortionDoc's posting of the medical board documents in the case. Clearly, these documents regard the December 6, 1988 death of Katrina P. I already had this write-up based on a 1989 article in the Tampa Bay Times:
Katrina Phalice Poole was conflicted that winter of 1988. She loved her boyfriend, she wanted to have her baby. But the 16-year-old was so young, excelling in English classes at Raines High School in Tampa Bay, Florida. She had told some of her friends about the pregnancy. Some tried to talk her into following her heart and keeping her baby. Others supported her concerns that she was too young.

On December 5, Katrina left school early. Her mother brought her to a Jacksonville doctor's office for her 1:00 abortion appointment and stayed with her through the procedure, then took her straight home. That evening, Katrina kissed her mother goodnight and went to bed. She was dead by morning. During the abortion, the doctor had poked holes in Katrina's uterus and cervix. The bleeding was hidden. Katrina had bled out. 
AbortionDocs thus provided me with not only the name of the doctor and the facility, but details of how Katrina's promising young life was cut so tragically short.

Katrina had a positive pregnancy test on October 31, 1988. On November 4, she went to her family doctor, who confirmed a pregnancy of about 14 or 15 weeks, with a fetal heart rate of 140. No details of the ensuing discussion with the physician are included in the medical board document; it just relays that the doctor referred Katrina to A Woman's Choice, aka A Jacksonville Women's Health Center or Jacksonville Women's Health, because the doctor in question didn't perform second-trimester abortions.

Katrina didn't report to the clinic for a month, which confirms what her friends told reporters about her being conflicted about whether to have her baby or go through with the abortion. On December 5, Katrina entrusted her life to the staff at A Woman's Choice.

Color photo of a small one-story building with a mansard roof. It has one large curtained-off window on each side and a sign between them reading "Jacksonvill Women's Health Center" along with the symbol for female.
A Woman's Choice, aka A Jacksonville Women's Health Center
The clinic records show no evidence that anybody at the clinic took any steps at all to determine how to provide appropriate care for Katrina. There's no evidence of a medical history -- which would have disclosed that Katrina's pregnancy had been estimated at 14 or 15 weeks a full month earlier. Taking a medical history would also have revealed that Katrina had a history of irregular menstrual periods, which would make it even more important to take all possible steps to determine an accurate gestational age. There was no physical examination of any kind noted. There was no ultrasound performed. Dr. Herman Miller simply charged ahead with a routine suction abortion, only suitable for first trimester pregnancies of 12 or fewer weeks.

During the abortion, Miller noted that he had suctioned out far more placental tissue than expected. The medical board noted that Miller failed to take this second opportunity to perform an ultrasound and get a clear idea of what he was doing. Instead he simply kept going, making no notes at all about how he proceeded or any evaluation of the fetal remains other than to estimate that Katrina had actually been 22 weeks pregnant -- far enough along that the baby could potentially have survived if delivered alive. Miller had made no effort to assess the baby's viability.

Photo of a middle-aged Black man with half-frame eyeglasses, wearing a red suit coat, red tie, and white shirt with red trim on the collar.
Dr. Herman Miller Jr.
After completing the abortion, Miller had Katrina remain in recovery for 30 minutes before prescribing Stadal (a synthetic opioid), Phenagen #3 (a drug to prevent nausea and vomiting), Metherzine (a drug to control obstetric bleeding), and "TCN Sumycus" (which I can't find any references for).  He then sent her home. She died some time between 2:00 and 6:30 the following morning. Judging by what the news coverage said, Katrina's family probably went to wake her in the morning and found her dead.

Katrina had already been conflicted about the abortion. Would she even have consented had she known that her baby was at the cusp of viability? A simple ultrasound and a moment of honesty would almost certainly have saved Katrina's life, and perhaps spared the life of her possibly viable unborn baby.

The medical board took disciplinary action against Miller, including limiting his scope to perform second trimester abortions, but let him keep his license in spite of his appalling care of Katrina and the staggering lack of judgement he showed in failing to even examine his patient prior to surgery. I'm not sure how they could trust him to limit himself to first-trimester abortions when he didn't even bother to determine gestational age prior to firing up the suction machine.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Planned Parenthood Head Find Cooperative Tool at Dallas TV Station

Evidently WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas doesn't believe in fact checking. They uncritically passed along a claim that was discredited by its own originator clear back in 1942, six years after he'd pulled the numbers pretty much out of thin air.

In "36-year-old Chinese immigrant now leads Planned Parenthood, warns of Roe being overturned," reporter Jason Whitely puffed up the credibility of his source -- as if she is utterly unimpeachable -- while passing utterly bogus alarmism to the public.
“I am deeply concerned about the future of Roe versus Wade,” said Dr. Leana Wen, 36, the new national president of Planned Parenthood.
Wen is a 36-year-old Chinese immigrant, a former emergency room doctor and the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood in almost a half century. 
She spoke with WFAA on a trip to Dallas this week. 
“We face a real situation where Roe could be overturned and if it is overturned then one in three women over reproductive age, which is 25 million women, could be living in states including Texas where they do not have the right to safe, legal abortion and we know what will happen. Women will die. Thousands of women died every year pre-Roe,” Dr. Wen said. 
She took over from Cecile Richards last November after leaving her position as the Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore. 
“I saw the crisis in women’s health as the biggest public health crisis of our time. We cannot be in this position where we know what works in public health and we’re rolling back the gains that have been hard fought. And that’s why I’m here,” Dr. Wen said.

An elderly white woman with her pale hair coiffed in a neat up-do, her large eyes looking into the camera
Dr. Mary Calderone
Dr. Wen has absolutely no excuse for claiming thousands of pre-Roe deaths. Planned Parenthood's own erstwhile Medical Director Dr. Mary Calderone dismissed that entire idea based on the most up-to-date and intensive research of the late pre-Roe era.  In "Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem," published in the July, 1960 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, Calderone said:

Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure. This applies not just to therapeutic abortions as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physicians. In 1957 there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortions of any kind. In New York City in 1921 there were 144 abortion deaths. In 1951 there were only 15; and, while the abortion death rate was going down so strikingly in that 30-year period, we know what happened to the population and the birth rate. Two corollary factors must be mentioned here: first, chemotherapy and antibiotics have come in, benefiting all surgical procedures as well as abortion. Second, and even more important, the conference estimated that 90 percent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians. Call them what you will, abortionists or anything else, they are still physicians, trained as such; and many of them are in good standing in their communities. They must do a pretty good job if the death rate is as low as it is... abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous.
Planned Parenthood's own Medical Director, after extensive research including a multinational conference hosted by Planned Parenthood, gave no credence to the idea of thousads of women dying from illegal abortions as the 1950s turned into the 1960s. What excuse does the illustrious Dr. Wen have for claiming "thousands" of deaths? Given her credentials it's hard to believe that she's speaking from ignorance. 

And what of the admiring pen of stalwart journalist Jason Whitely? Does he have an excuse for not bothering to check Dr. Wen's almost patently absurd claim before passing it along? Had he merely googled "did thousands of women die from abortions before roe" he would have found something by posted by the Guttmacher Institute (essentially Planned Parenthood's research arm) in 2003: "Lessons from Before Roe: Will Past be Prologue?" Even when trying to get people worked up and alarmed over the presumed bloodbath amongst abortion-minded women, the AGI's  Rachel Benson Gold said:
In 1930, abortion was listed as the official cause of death for almost 2,700 women—nearly one-fifth (18%) of maternal deaths recorded in that year. The death toll had declined to just under 1,700 by 1940, and to just over 300 by 1950 (most likely because of the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s, which permitted more effective treatment of the infections that frequently developed after illegal abortion). By 1965, the number of deaths due to illegal abortion had fallen to just under 200, but illegal abortion still accounted for 17% of all deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth that year.
So our journalistic friend needn't have looked far to have found that Dr. Wen's claim was not exactly reality-based. And seriously, the claim that there were thousands of annual deaths from abortion in the years leading up to Roe has been totally debunked for decades now. But, as Bernard Nathanson said, it's a useful number, so despite the fact that it's a load of dingo's kidneys, it gets bandied about anyway.

An old photograph of a balding, middle-aged white man with round wire-rim spectacles and a neatly trimed moustache, wearing a suit with a stiff collar.
Dr. Frederick Taussig
The original source of the 5,000 - 10,000 deaths claim was a book -- Abortion, Spontaneous and Induced -- published in 1936 by Dr. Frederick Taussig, a proponent of legalization of abortion. Taussig calculated an urban abortion rate based on records of a New York City birth control clinic, and a rural abortion rate based on some numbers given to him by some doctors in Iowa. He took a guess at a mortality rate, multiplied by his strangely generated estimate of how many criminal abortions were taking place, and presto! A myth is born!

Even if Taussig's calculations, by some mathematical miracle, had been correct, they still would have been out of date by the end of WWII. Antibiotics and blood transfusions changed the face of medicine. And not only are the Taussig numbers dated, they were never accurate to begin with. At a conference in 1942, Taussig himself appologized for using "the wildest estimates" to generate the number.

Although it took Taussig six years to reject his own faulty calculations, at least he did admit that he'd been wrong. Other abortion enthusiasts lacked Taussig's compunctions. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, admitted that he and his associates knew that the claims of 5,000 to 10,000 criminal abortion deaths were false. They bandied them about anyway, Nathanson confessed, because they were useful. This, too, is old news -- Nathanson came clean 40 years ago.

WFAA TV8 owes its viewers and its online readers an apology. And Jason Whitely needs to learn to use Google and, of course, to stop blindly trusting Planned Parenthood to be an accurate source of information.

Contact WFAA through their website.

Friday, March 08, 2019

March 8: Safe and Legal in New York

Safe and Legal in New York 1972

New York City Chief Medical Examiner Milton Helpern did not shate the abortion lobby's elation about the new law. Rather, he expressed concern that ill-equipped and poorly-staffed freestanding legal abortion facilities were posing a danger to women. He was right.

In early March of 1972, "Colleen took advantage of the new law and traveled from Michigan to New York for a safe and legal abortion. She was 21 years old and 20 weeks pregnant. Colleen had a history of asthma. During the abortion, she went into respiratory arrest. She died March 8.

"Connie" was 31 years old when she, too took advantage of the liberalized law and underwent a safe and legal abortion in New York on March 3, 1972. She went into cardiac arrest during the abortion. Attempts to save her life were futile; she died on March 8, five days after her abortion. She left behind one child.

The 1970 liberalization of abortion 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 "Colleen" and "Connie," 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:

  • "Judy" RoeJuly, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • Carmen RodriguezJuly, 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
  • "Amanda" RoeSeptember, 1970, sent back to her home in Indiana with an untreated hole poked in her uterus
  • Maria OrtegaOctober, 1970, fetus shoved through her uterus into her pelvic cavity then left there
  • "Kimberly" RoeDecember, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Amy" Roe, January, 1971, massive pulmonary embolism
  • "Andrea" RoeJanuary, 1971, overwhelming infection
  • "Roseann" RoeFebruary, 1971, vomiting with seizures causing pneumonia after saline abortion
  • "Sandra" Roe, April, 1971, committed suicide due to post-abortion remorse
  • "Anita" RoeMay, 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" RoeJune, 1971, cardiac arrest during anesthesia
  • "Audrey" RoeJuly, 1971, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Vicki" RoeAugust, 1971, post-abortion infection
  • "April" RoeAugust, 1971, injected with saline for outpatient abortion, went into shock and died
  • "Barbara" RoeSeptember, 1971, cardiac arrest after saline injection for abortion
  • "Tammy" RoeOctober, 1971, massive post-abortion infection
  • Carole SchanerOctober, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Beth" RoeDecember, 1971, saline injection meant to kill fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • "Julie" Roe, April, 1972, holes torn in her uterus and bowel
  • "Robin" RoeMay, 1972, lingering abortion complications
  • "Roxanne" RoeMay, 1972, given overdose of abortion sedatives
  • "Danielle" Roe, May, 1972, air in her bloodstream

March 8: Self-Induced in Montana

SUMMARY: Twenty-two-year-old Mary A. Bellville died in Lewistown, Montana on Friday, March 8, 1889, from complications of an attempted abortion. "Her death aroused increased excitement in Astoria."

A week before her death, Miss Bellville made a deathbed statement that Arthur B. Roosa had helped her to abort another pregnancy the previous June, "furnishing the instrument and instructing her in its use".

Roosa, Miss Bellville said, was the father of both aborted children. He had not helped her with the second, fatal abortion. News coverage attempted to quell rumors that any local physicians, or any party other than Miss Bellville herself, "had any part in this criminal act."

I would appreciate any help in deciphering the jargon in the article that states: "On the other side it can be shown that the girl has been 'unfortunate' on three former occasions, and that some three other men have paid sums of money at her suit as being each the author of these respective troubles." I take this to mean that she had sued three men prior to her involvement with Roosa for "seducing" her and "inducing" her to abort these pregnancies.

Miss Bellville had been blind for four years, though what role this played in her troubles is not in any say spelled out or speculated upon in the news coverage of her death.

March 8: Deliberate Incomplete Abortion Kills Teen

SUMMARY: Rita McDowell, age 16, died March 8, 1975 after an abortion performed by Robert Sherman at Columbia Family Planning Clinic in Washington, DC.

On March 4, 1975, Robert Julius Sherman (pictured, left) performed a safe and legal abortion on Rita, who was in the second trimester of her pregnancy. Rather than admit her to the hospital for the then-standard saline abortion, Sherman performed a vacuum aspiration abortion usually used for first trimester abortions. When Rita was discharged, her mother was informed that she would probably expel the fetus that night. As they left the office, Rita told her mother, "Oh, Mama, I feel like I had one hundred needles in me."

Rita did not expel the fetus. Instead, she developed a fever. Her mother called Sherman's facility on March 5 to seek care for her daughter. She said that Sherman would not speak to her, and that the receptionist told her to bring Rita in two days later.

In the early morning hours of March 7, Rita awoke screaming, then collapsed in her mother's arms. Doctors at the hospital where Rita was taken removed the macerated fetus, but she died from massive infection just after midnight on March 8.

An investigation into Rita's death revealed evidence that Sherman deliberately performed incomplete abortions so that he could charge more for follow-up care. Sherman was charged with murder in Rita's death, and prosecutors presented witnesses and evidence that Sherman re-used disposable medical equipment, failed to perform tests to verify pregnancy, failed to do pathology examinations of abortion tissues, allowed a nurse's aide to perform surgery, and falsified medical records.

Testimony during his trial indicated that Sherman would send patients home with green plastic trash bags to collect fetuses that they expelled at home after their incomplete abortions.

After the trial ended in a hung jury, Sherman pleaded guilty to 25 counts of perjury in exchange for dropping the murder charge in Rita's death.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

The Many Victims of Dr. C. W. Milliken

As of the day before yesterday, this is pretty much all I'd known about Dr. C. W. Milliken:

"On the first of March, 1921, Dr. C.W. Milliken performed an abortion on Iva J. Triplett. Milliken was practicing in Akron, Ohio. Immediately after the abortion, Iva became severely ill. She continued under Milliken's care until she died of septicemia and peritonitis the following week, leaving a widower and children. The Elyria, Ohio Chronicle Telegram described Milliken as a "prominent democratic politician."

In October of 1920, 19-year-old Frances Karies died at Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital from a criminal abortion that had been performed in Akron, Ohio, by Dr. C. W. Milliken. The coroner recommended Milliken's arrest, but there is no record if any legal action was taken against him for Frances's death.

The Lima (Ohio) News notes that Milliken was also charged with performing a fatal abortion on Florence Cobb. He was held on $10,000 bail in each case, Iva's and Florence's.

Charles Waldstein Millikin, sixth son of Thomas and Tamar (Clark) Milliken, was born Apr. 17, 1856 in Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio. An allopath, Milliken was an 1880 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He was licensed in Ohio in 1896 after having served a residency at Harrisburg Hospital and Philadelphia Hospital in Pennsylvania. He practiced in Akron until his death from cerebral hemorrhage and chronic myocarditis on April 13, 1929. He and his wife, Katherine McEbright, who married October 9, 1894, never had any children."

As I often do when the anniversaries of women's deaths approach, I went to a newspaper archive to see if anything new had been uploaded about Iva Triplett, who died on March 6, 1921. I found an article from the Akron Beacon Journal dated March 15, 1921. As I opened it up to resize it and put the newspaper name and date on, I noticed a name I'd not associated with Milliken before: Marie M. Vogt. As I read through the article I found yet another dead woman: Maud Sporn.

This article had enough details for me to piece together a timeline:

c. September 23, 1920, abortion performed on Frances
October 2, 1920, abortion performed on Maud
October 12, Maud dies
October 23, 1920, Frances dies in Chicago

January 18, 1921, abortion performed on Florence

c. April 15, 1921, abortion performed on Louise Marie
March 1, 1921 abortion performed on Iva 
March 4, 1921, Louise Marie dies
March 6, 1921, Florence dies
March 9, 1921 Iva dies 

I'd known that Milliken had died a free man from other research I'd done. I'd wondered how he'd managed to stay free after killing three women in criminal abortions in such a short space of time. 

Today, when putting the finishing touches on my data collection, I did a search for Milliken himself, and found one article after the other lauding his political activism. I had to put Marie's name in before I found the article that, aside from listing her name as Louise Marie rather than Marie M, clarifies how Milliken got away with it all.

He plea bargained before a sympathetic judge.

Never underestimate the advantages of being politically connected.