Sunday, November 30, 2008

New information from an old source

On a whim, while I was in the State Library waiting for WestLaw to become available, I checked the 1970 New York Times index.

I found an abortion death that year that I hadn't known about:

Pearl Schwier, age 42, was 20 weeks pregnant when she sought a safe, legal abortion at St. Luke's hospital in New York City. She was brought into the operating room on July 6, 1970 for a hysterotomy abortion, which is simply a c-section in which the intention is to allow the baby to die rather than to deliver him or her alive. It was performed under general anesthesia. About 45 minutes into the procedure, Pearl had a reaction to the anesthesia and died.

I also found the names of two women whose deaths I'd known about, along with a some additional information.

"Alice" from the Life Dynamics "Blackmun Wall" is actually Carmen Rodriguez. Her death touched off local protests by a radical Puerto Rican group that blamed hospital staff for performing a risky saline abortion on a patient already known to have heart problems.

"Sheryl" from the "Blackmun Wall" is Barbara Riley. She suffered fatal sickle cell crisis.

I also got additional information on a woman I believe to be Maria Ortega, but I'll have to make another search to verify that this is the same woman.

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