Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Anniversary: Discount abortion leaves woman dead

As 1978 got started, 26-year-old Sherry Emry's friends were worried about her. She had been in a lot of pain since New Years Eve. She slept fitfully that night, with chills and sweating. New Years Day had found her quite ill, very pale and unable to rise from bed. Her friends had wanted her to seek medical help, but she had consulted with the instruction sheet she'd been given after her abortion on December 28, 1977. The instruction sheet said that her pain was normal. She told her friends she probably just had the flu. She told them she just needed rest, and went to bed.

So on January 2, her worried friends went to her home to check on her. They found her dead in her bed.

Sherry's friends called the police, who searched the apartment for clues in her death, and sent her body to the coroner's office for an autopsy.

The coroner found that Sherry had bled to death from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. He faulted Water Tower Reproductive Center in Chicago with throwing away the tissues from Sherry's abortion without ordering a pathology report, which might have told them that there had been no fetus in the specimen. This would have been a clear red flag for ectopic pregnancy, and would have let Sherry know that her life was in danger. When the CDC, which still investigated abortion deaths in the 1970s, investigated, they found that, "At this clinic the physicians did not routinely examine the products of conception except through the wall of the transparent suction tubing as tissue was aspirated.... The tissue was neither weighed nor examined.... The aspirated material from all patients was collected together in a single bottle." "Autopsy revealed 4,000 ml of blood in the peritoneal cavity and a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.... fetal size was consistent with a 10 weeks gestation."

This supports the theory that either abortionist/clinic owner Arnold Bickham (pictured) or his staff simply failed to even notice the lack of sufficient tissue. However, the receipt that the police found in Sherry's apartment indicated that Water Tower had given Sherry a $50 refund on her abortion. The police believed that Sherry's abortionist had realized that there hadn't been enough tissue in the specimen, and had simply concluded that she hadn't been pregnant, rather than go to the trouble of diagnosing the underlying reason for the scant tissue.

Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually more likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners like those at Water Tower.

When Sherry's family filed suit, Water Tower's owner, Arnold Bickham, refused to turn over her medical records, first saying that they were privileged, then by claiming that they were his personal property and that Sherry's family had no right to them. Bickham was held in contempt of court for his refusal to cooperate with the courts in the matter.

Sherry wasn't the only woman to die over the holidays after abortion in a Bickham facility. Sylvia Moore, age 18, died after Bickham shoved her out the door of his clinic New Years Eve of 1986.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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