Saturday, January 31, 2009

1972: Doctor ignores warnings, uses antiquated method, kills teen

Fifteen-year-old Gwendolyn Drummer was a student at Harry Ellis High in Richmond, California, when she was admitted to Doctor’s Hospital of Pinole for a safe and legal abortion, to be performed January 28, 1972. Her doctor chose the saline abortion method.

These abortions are performed by replacing amniotic fluid with a strong salt solution. In the decades after WWII, saline was being abandoned in countires where abortion was legal, in favor of safer methods. But as laws loosened up in the US, American docors adopted the method. A British study published in 1966 found that the saline would enter the mother's bloodstream and cause brain damage. Swedish researchers noticed an unacceptably high rate of complications and deaths. Sweden and the Soviet Union followed Japan in abandoning saline abortion as too dangerous by the late 1960s.

Gwendolyn's doctor injected the saline into her utuerus. It got into Gwendolyn's blood stream, just as British, Japanese, Soviet, and Swedish doctors had repeatedly warned it could do. Gwendolyn suffered organ damage. She developed pneumonia, and died on January 31.

Hear Gwendolyn's story in a minute:

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Marked in passing -- a prelude to Roe

As I was walking to work this morning, and acquaintance spotted me and handed me a copy of a clipping from the New York Times -- an obituary for Constance E. Cook.

Constance E. Cook is the unsung heroine of abortionists nationwide. She lay the groundwork for the semi-licensed and quasi-licensed and apparently-licensed and woefully unsupervised quackery that passes for professionalism in abortion practice today. She drafted New York's law, passed in 1970, legalizing abortion on demand.

I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So Constance E. Cook's little brainchild made New York the first abortion free-for-all in the United States.

The fallout was almost immediate. Even before the law went into effect, abortionists were setting up shop openly. One woman who was injured before the law went into effect was surprised when her suit was thrown out of court. She hadn't realized abortion hadn't become legal until July 1.

New York abortionists were ready. Health officials were not.

The fallout wasn't pretty. With far more abortionists than officials to supervise them, the most egregious practices went unremarked. Saline abortions, which can be deadly to mothers even when performed in a hospital under careful monitoring, were being performed on an outpatient basis. Other abortionists, such as erstwhile criminal abortionist Jesse Ketchum, were doing hysterotomy abortions -- major abdominal surgery -- in their offices. Not surprisingly, women paid with their lives.

Despite this dismal beginning, enthusiasm for legalization continued unabated in many circles. Bernard Nathanson had his staff at CRASH (Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health) compile their statistics on complications recorded in patient charts. Never mind that the charts were known to be incomplete and inaccurate; what mattered was "proving" that freestanding clinics could do "safe" abortions. Abortion enthusiasts used Nathanson's tainted numbers to convince the Supreme Court that the picture was rosy. The dead women, of course, were not deemed worthy of mention.

New York's chaotic, grim years of legalized pre-Roe abortion paved the way for the current regime of unsupervised, marginally regulated abortion mills and the carnage they produce. In a way, all the infertility, and the post-abortion trauma, all the orphaned children and grieving families of women killed by legalized abortion in the United States, have their beginning in Constance E. Cook's misplaced faith in abortionists. For some reason, she thought that taking away the risk of prison would make them better doctors.

Time has proved her dead wrong.

So as abortion enthusiasts mark Constance Cook's passing, I'd like to remember some of the women who went into early graves thanks to the supposedly safe, legal abortions she made so readily available beginning July 1, 1970:

And the women who have gone to their deaths since then, thinking that their abortions, being legal, were perfectly safe.

Now, some of you will argue that far more women would have died under the old, horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad "back alley butcher" abortions. You're failing to take into account the impact of legalized abortion on maternal mortality: Diddly/Squat.

What changed was the doctors were no longer in danger of prison for injuring or killing their abortion patients. We can look to Jesse Ketchum, as mentioned above, to see what a dubious improvement that was. Who did abortions didn't change. The nature of abortion didn't change. What changed is that women's deaths were no longer treated like intolerable tragedies. They became something to shrug off with a muttered comment that all surgery has risks.

Imagine what would have happened if, instead of enshrining abortion as a good, a right, something to embrace, people like Constance Cook and other abortion supporters had done what Mary Calderone had been pushing for at the Planned Parenthood conference in 1955 -- finding out why women were seeking abortions and finding ways to address their concerns as a public health problem, rather than as an excuse to simply abort them. Imagine if instead of enshrining abortion, Constance Cook and others like her had pushed for such data collection, and for public policy that would instead enshrine confidential help. Real help, not the pseudo-help of a dead baby.

The self-proclaimed champions of women could have aimed for more of this:

And they didn't.

Instead of taking the existing trend of fewer and fewer abortion deaths every year and improving it by working to eliminate abortion, Constance Cook choose to go for an illusory "solution" to the abortion mortality problem: re-classify the women's deaths as just the ordinary risks of surgery, rather than as evidence that the woman had been wronged.

So, on January 20, 2009, Constance E. Cook died. And she is best remembered for something she did in 1970. Something that divided the country. Something that immeasurably cheapened not only unborn babies' lives, but their mothers' lives as well.

So let us mark a bit belatedly one other death:

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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There's just no pleasing some people

Instead of thanking God and Captain Sully that they're alive, a bunch of Flight 1549 passengers are bitching that they want free first-class upgrades for life in addition to the very nice $5,000 compensation, year of free upgrades, etc. that the airline has already bestowed upon them.

They survived the first successful ditching of a commercial jet in 45 farking years! And that isn't freaking good enough for them. They want somebody to wipe their asses with gold leaf.

Captain Sully made me proud to be an American. These people are an embarrassment. Gimme, gimme, gimme. No wonder people think we're assholes.

HT to my daughter for suggesting the Eagles' song. "You say you haven't been the same since you had your little crash but you might feel better if we gave you some cash."

PS. I can't blame anybody who found the entire experience traumatic. I'm sure it was terrifying. Especially since there was no way they could have realized that they'd all survive. But they DID. Which they never would have, had the airline not been so supportive of Sullenberger in his endeavors to become the best pilot he could be, and in his efforts to improve aviation safety.

Yeah, many of the passengers will likely have PTSD symptoms. They might be afraid of flying, have nightmares or flashbacks, have the jitters, be jumpy. But they're alive. And they're forgetting who they owe that to.

Baby Shanice's mom suing clinic

Lest you have any doubts that the Born Alive Infants Protection Act has accomplished exactly diddly-squat, consider the lawsuit filed by Shanice's mother, Sycloria Williams. According to all reports, Sycloria was shocked and astonished to give birth to a live child during an abortion. Rather than provide the baby with medical care, staff put the living baby in a biohazard bag and threw her on the roof to prevent the police from finding the body.

An anonymous tipster helped police locate the child's body, and an autopsy showed that she had indeed been born alive and had drawn breath. But no murder charges were filed because the cause of death was listed as "extreme prematurity" -- ignoring the fact that Shanice was suffocated in a plastic bag. Even if she would only have lived a few hours, those were her hours of her life, not anybody else's to take away. To excuse suffocating Shanice in a plastic bag is akin to giving somebody the okay to walk into a cancer ward and start shooting the terminal patients.

And barring a murder charge, surely Shanice's appalling murder should have been prosecuted under the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which required that Shanice be given the same care a baby would have been given had he been born alive due to illness or accident and not an induced abortion. In no hospital that I have ever heard of is it considered the standard of care to put a premature infant in a plastic bag and toss her on the roof of the building.

In closing, I'd like to note that everything done to Shanice would meet with our new President's enthusiastic approval. He believes that it is wrong to provide care to a baby who survives an abortion:

Two other January deaths

I have two deaths at the Cemetery of Choice that I don't have specific dates for, but I was able to determine that they died some time in January.

At the very beginning of 1880, Mary McCarty, wife of C.H. McCarty of New Haven, was the "unsuspecting and unfortunate victim of the criminal or culpably stupid operation" that ended her life. She was approximately 30 years old. Dr. Banks was arrested on Pine Island.

On either January 21 or January 26 of 1926, Mrs. Victoria Smith died in Chicago from a botched abortion, evidently performed at Jefferson Park Hospital. On January 26, the coroner pushed for the arrest of Peter Krakowski as the principal and Mary Sprochi as an accessory. Krakowski's profession is not given, though he might have been some sort of medical professional, since the abortion was performed at a hospital. On February 15, Krakowski was indicted for felony murder.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

A woman and her vacuum technician

From Jivin' J:

A new bill has been introduced in South Dakota is aimed at Planned Parenthood’s practice of flying in abortionists. The bill would “require that a doctor performing an abortion in the state be available for a two-hour period on the day before the scheduled abortion for consultation with the patient in the same city where the abortion will be performed.

In other words, South Dakota is insisting that abortion supporters actually put into practice the whole "doctor" part of abortion supposedly being a decision "between a woman and her doctor".

Though, frankly, I don't like this approach. After all, the circuit rider isn't the woman's doctor. The circuit rider is some abortionist who has been brought in to simply vacuum out whichever wombs he or she is presented with, no questions asked, and never see the woman again.

The requirement should be that when the whole "woman and her doctor" choice is made, it's actually her doctor -- her ob/gyn, her family doctor, her PCP, whatever. Somebody who knows, and presumable actually cares about, this woman.

The circuit rider should only be allowed to carry out the abortion if a doctor who knows and has a doctor/patient relationship with the woman has actually had a consultation with her and is able to state, clearly and in writing, why abortion is, in his clinical opinion, the best course of action for this patient. What other options were rejected and why.

After all, what other surgery is done based 100% on a self-referral, with no prior medical consultation? If abortion really is, as its supporters insist, just a perfectly ordinary and necessary medical procedure, then treat it like one and start requiring a referral and a reason other than "Patient thinks this procedure will improve her condition."

Applauding a child's death

Father Frank Pavone introduces a portion of a recording of a National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar in which Dr. Martin Haskell, who popularized what is known as "Partial Birth Abortion", introduces his favored technique to his fellow abortionists. As you hear the sound of the vacuum machine sucking out the baby's brain, killing the child, listen to what follows immediately: applause. Keep in mind that the applauding crowd is watching a VIDEO of Haskell doing this. They're seeing the baby, still moving, being partially delivered. They're applauding after Haskell sticks a tube into the base of the child's skull and vacuums out the brain. They are applauding as they watch a child be put to death -- if I recall correctly, for the unpardonable crime of having Down syndrome.

1883: Abortion by midwife proves fatal; saloon keeper and housekeeper also arrested

On January 29, 1883, a widow named Adeline Savroch died on the scene from a criminal abortion. Midwife Bertha Twachaus was held without bail for murder in Adeline's death. A saloon keeper named Julius Grosse, and his housekeeper, Celia Arlep, were held as accessories.

The most likely scenario is that the saloon keeper and the housekeeper arranged the abortion for Adeline, and perhaps helped Twachaus to try to cover up the real cause of death.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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1936: Tipster alerts authorities to fatal abortion

Rose Lipner, age 32, mother of 2, died at Riverdale Hospital on January 29, 1936. Dr. Maxwell C. Katz, who lived at Riverdale (maternity) Hospital, which he operated, signed a death certificate indicating that Rose had been operated on for a tumor.

After the funeral, an anonymous caller notified police that the death was suspicious, and Rose was exhumed for an autopsy. The medical examiner determined that Rose had died from an abortion. Katz was arraigned for second-degree manslaughter. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't an easy thing to hide abortion deaths back when complicity in the cover-up could land you in prison as an accessory.

Rose's abortion was typical in that it was performed by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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1857: Twin takes sis on fatal abortion journey

Olive Ash worked for a farmer, Mr. Beckwith, in Vermont, in the summer and fall of 1857. She was about 20 years old, and she lived with the family during her employment. In the autumn of that year, Olive returned to her family home in Sutton.

On December 28, 1857, Olive and her twin sister, Olivia, left their home and went by rail to the home of their cousin, Levi M. Aldrich, in Bradford, ostensibly to visit his widowed mother. During the visit, Olive seemed to her family to be in normal health.

The sisters remained at Aldrich's home about two weeks, then said that they were going to meet some friends at the Fairlee depot for an excursion into New York or Massachusetts. Instead, when they arrived at Fairlee depot they took a wagon to the home and office of Dr. William Howard, about six miles north of the depot and three miles south of Bradford.

On Friday, January 29, 1858, Olive's mother got a telegram telling her to come to Howard's home. She quickly complied, and was there when her daughter died at about 6 in the evening. Dr. Howard got a coffin for Olive, and the twins' mother took her daughter's body by train to Sutton.

On February 3, Olive's body was exhumed for an autopsy, which was performed by Dr. Frost and witnessed by Dr. Bliss, Dr. Carpenter, and others unnamed. Frost found evidence of recent pregnancy as well as signs of instrumentation and damage to the cervix. Dr. Frost believed that Olive had hemorrhaged due to the damage to her cervix. He removed and preserved her uterus. Another physician examined the uterus and concluded that the placenta had been retained for some time after the abortion, and that this retained placenta would also cause hemorrhage.

In the trial of Dr. Howard, Olivia testified that she knew her sister was pregnant and had accompanied her on the journey knowing that Olive was planning to get an abortion. Olivia said that Daniel Beckwith, the grown son of the farmer Olive had worked for, met them at their cousin's house, and he gave them the information on where to go and who to see for the abortion.

From Olivia's testimony, the sisters arrived at Dr. Howard's house and informed him that Olive was about six months pregnant. He spoke to the sisters and indicated that he wanted to consult with Daniel Beckwith before deciding if he was going to proceed with an abortion. The sisters remained at Dr. Howard's house for a few days until Olive got a letter from Beckwith, and she read part of it to Dr. Howard. He then agreed to perform the abortion for a sum of $100.

Dr. Howard told the sisters that the process would take three or four weeks. He gave Olive a concoction to drink two or three times. On the Friday the week after the sisters' arrival, Dr. Howard performed some sort of procedure on Olive as she lay on the bed in the room the twins shared. Olivia was permitted to remain with her sister during this procedure. She said that Dr. Howard used two or three of the three or four instruments he had at hand. Olive was in pain during the procedure, which took two or more hours, and resulted in a gush of fluid.

The following day, Dr. Howard performed another, similar, procedure on Olive, who clutched her sister's hand and reported great pain. Olive bled profusely. After this second operation, Olive kept to her bed.

That night, Dr. Howard performed yet another procedure, very painful for Olive to endure. This time he used instruments then reached in with his hand and pulled out a fetus, which Olivia reported as being about two-thirds the size of a newborn. Dr. Howard removed the fetus from the room, and Olivia never saw it again.

Olive bled after this, but not profusely. Afterward her behavior struck Olivia as violent and irrational. A girl named Margaret Kelley, who lived at Dr. Howard's house, also testified that Olivia had laundered her sister's bloody clothing while at the doctor's house. Bloody clothing were introduced into evidence, including two chemises and a small quilt or pad. The witness, Mrs. Wilson, who produced the evidence indicated that she'd found these things hidden in the rafters of the house when she was cleaning in the fall of 1858.

Mrs. Wilson also said that about two weeks after Dr. Howard's arrest, she saw one of Dr. Howard's dogs come out from underneath the office privvy with something in its mouth. She made the dog drop what it was carrying and discovered it to be a fetus of about four or five months, in a state of decomposition. While she was looking at the fetus, another of the doctor's dogs snatched the fetus up and ran off with it. The dogs, she testified, had been digging at the privvy for some time before retrieving the fetus. Mrs. Wilson's description of the fetus she'd seen the dogs with was similar in size to the fetus Olivia had described taken from her sister. Olivia had also testified to having seen a number of fetuses of various sizes preserved in containers in Dr. Howard's premises.

The defense presented a witness named Susan Squires, who was staying at Dr. Howards from January 23 until after Olive's death. She said that the Thursday before Olive's death, she had spoken with Olive while Olivia was eating lunch. Susan said that Olive told her that she didn't expect to live, that she'd taken poisons before coming to Dr. Howard, that Dr. Howard was not to blame in her death but had done everything in his power to help her. Susan said that Olive seemed rational at the time, but that by Friday morning Olive seemed to have lost her reason.

On cross examination, Susan indicated that she had stayed at Dr. Howard's off and on for two years, to do sewing and to receive medications. She indicated that on Thursday afternoon, at about 4:00 Friday morning Olive managed to kick the footboard off the bed, prompting Olivia to summon Susan and a Mrs. Green into the room. Olive complained of being tired and continued to thrash and kick for a short time before settling down.

Mrs. Green was brought as a witness. She said that she had gone to Dr. Howard's on Tuesday afternoon and remained there a week visiting the doctor's wife. She first saw Olive on Wednesday morning, when Olivia had summoned her to help attend to Olive, who was trembling, delierious, and bleeding from the nose. Mrs. Green also went to Olive during the episode when she'd kicked the footboard off the bed. She'd helped the others restrain Olive. Mrs. Green testified that Olive never revived enough to speak after that.

Dr. Howard's witnessed attempted to show that Howard was treating Olive for a miscarriage. Dr. Howard was nevertheless convicted.

See Olive's memorial at Find a Grave.

Olive's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

1974: Another Black mother enjoys the dubious benefits of "choice"

On January 28, 1974, after twelve days on life support, 38-year-old Evangeline McKenna was pronounced dead in Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles.

She had checked in for a safe, legal abortion two weeks earlier, and had opted to have a tubal ligation at the same time. Two days later, she had a seizure, stopped breathing, and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors told the family that Evanegline was brain dead, but they held out hope and asked that she be put on life support, where she remained until her death twelve days later.

Evangeline's death, in addition to being a tragedy for her family and loved ones, also highlights the disproportionate damage that legal abortion causes among Blacks in the United States. Though black women are only 13% of the female population in the US, and though they are more likely than white women to oppose abortion, they account for a full 35% of legal abortions reported. Black women, like Evangeline, also account for fully 50% of reported legal abortion deaths.

Evangeline's story in a minute:

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Amazing athletes!

Check out what went down when the paralympic athletes went to South Korea!

Michael Ramirez cartoon nails it!

Check it out...

Enough with "And then you can kill the baby"

I've seen a lot of snarkily-titled Pro Life News posts lately, reporting on -- and sneering at -- desperate prolife efforts to spare as many women and children as possible from the horrors of abortion. The posts will mention the legislation proposed/debated/voted on/passed, then add in parentheses, "And then you can kill the baby" -- implying that the people supporting the laws just want a formality in place before the baby dies. These words are for those people adding their snarky, backbiting jabs at fellow prolifers:

Get real!

We live in a society where abortion is normative, enshrined in law, and entrenched in the courts. Any direct assault on abortion is doomed to failure until we turn around the idea that abortion is some sort of palliative measure that merely postpones birth until a woman is ready for it.

These laws work. They have been shown again and again to reduce the abortion rates in states where they are passed. They save lives, and spare women much anguish and heartbreak, not to mention the scars abortion leaves on their hearts and souls.

Yes, for all practical purposes, they can still kill their babies. But many of them don't. And this makes a difference.

Oskar Schindler, Corrie ten Boom, and others who saved Jews from the Nazi death camps didn't save everybody. They couldn't. Should they therefore not have tried?

Quit trying to discourage people who are actually managing to do some good. Save the snarkiness for the hypocrisy of the abortion lobby, that purports to care about women's lives, then sets up legal defense funds for abortionists who kill their patients.

Stop shooting your own troops.

Until you, personally, are able to have 100% success stopping all abortions, stop with the air of smug superiority toward those who are having 10%, 20%, 30% success in stopping abortions.

They're accomplishing far more than all your sniping at them will ever do.

ADDENDUM: Imagine if some Germans (or Dutch or Poles) were able to successfully convince Nazis to spare Jews 10%, 20%, or 30% of the time? Should those Germans (or Dutch or Poles) have not bothered approaching the Nazis to get them to spare some Jews, on the grounds that 70%, 80%, 90% of the time it wouldn't work?

What's your cut off point for success? Is it based on how many lives you save? Or is it better to save zero Jews because a particular approach, however successful, might leave a Nazi thinking it's okay for him to kill the other Jews?

1987: Rushed abortion leaves woman in fatal coma

On January 27, 1987, 37-year-old Belinda Byrd breathed her last in a Los Angeles hospital. On January 24, she had been one of 74 women processed through safe and legal abortions at Inglewood Women's Hospital in Los Angeles, California. Her abortion, one of 24 rushed through in the last two hours of the day, was performed by Steven Pine.

Belinda was left unattended for three hours after the abortion, and was found unresponsive. Staff at Inglewood delayed an additional two hours before transferring her to a hospital with appropriate emergency services. She remained comatose until her death.

Belinda's mother wrote to a Los Angeles district attorney:
I am the mother of Belinda Byrd, victim of abortionists at [Inglewood]. I am also the grandmother of her three young children who are left behind and motherless.

I cry every day when I think how horrible her death was. She was slashed by them and then she bled to death ... and nobody cares. I know that other young black women are now dead after abortion at that address. ... Where is [the abortionist] now? Has he been stopped? Has anything happened to him because of what he did to my Belinda? Has he served jail time for any of these cruel deaths? People tell me nothing has happened, that nothing ever happens to white abortionists who leave young black women dead. I'm hurting real bad and want some justice for Belinda and all other women who go like sheep to slaughter.

In the wake of the series of abortion deaths at Inglewood, the authorities inspected the place. Among other things, they caught an abortionist writing post-operative examination notes without even examining the patients. When the state closed Inglewood for numerous violations, the facility simply re-opened as Inglewood Women's Clinic; as a clinic rather than a hospital they were no longer subject to the same intense scrutiny and were able to remain in business.

Other women known to have died after abortions at the Inglewood facility include Kathy Murphy, Cora Lewis, Lynette Wallace, and Elizabeth Tsuji.

Belinda's story in a minute:

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Monday, January 26, 2009

We need to get past the idea that it's that simple

Angele sent me this excellent article by Barbara Hollingsworth. But I have a bone to pick with something she says:

For 36 years, [March for Life participants have] been in a quixotic quest to convince Congress, the Supreme Court, and every administration since Richard Nixon's to protect the civil rights of unborn children even their own mothers don't want.

Hollingsworth's article, first of all, starts with Angele, and focuses on her story. And Angele didn't have an abortion because she didn't want her baby. She wanted her baby very much. But she faced a lot of pressure from other people who insisted that in her very trying circumstance, abortion was the only answer. Under the relentless onslaught of loved ones and experts pressing her to do what they saw as the responsible, reasonable, rational thing, Angele finally buckled. It's a gross oversimplification -- to the point of misrepresenting what Angele went through -- to say that Angele chose abortion. The choice was to capitulate to the combined wishes of those around her, and their choice was abortion. Angele's choice was more of an unchoice.

Angele isn't alone in having made the unchoice of abortion. Ashli McCall very much wanted her baby. But a debilitating illness, and doctors too careless or lazy to provide her with the real options she wanted, crushed her. She capitulated to the illness, to the staggering and cruel indifference of the professionals around her. Again, it's a gross oversimplification -- to the point of misrepresenting reality -- to say that Ashli chose abortion. Ashli made an unchoice.

David Reardon has looked extensively into the degree to which abortion is an un-choice, made not because the woman doesn't want her baby, but because pressures -- from circumstances, from loved ones, from doctors -- crushed their spirits until they cracked, and in doing so they capitulated to what society is built to channel them into. They were ground up in a machinery of death, just so much grist for the abortion mills.

I'll concede that there are some babies put to death in abortion facilities because their mothers don't want them. There are plenty of hardcore, militant, radical abortion advocates who are very in-your-face about the fact that the children they're aborting are seen as loathsome intruders. But I'll go out on a limb and postulate that these women who are aborting because of animosity toward the baby are in the minority.

And until we grasp that, there will be no way out of the quagmire. Prolifers will keep dismissing aborting women as selfish bitches who hate babies. Prochoicers will keep dismissing aborting women's anguish as simple buyers' remorse, on a par with wishing you'd not bought that big-screen TV on credit.

It seems that there's a huge area of common ground in the idea of limiting abortions to those women who really want them, who really don't want their babies.

Let's start there -- and see the abortion rate fall.

TV station helps mother fight for unborn baby's life

Mother fights to save her unborn baby’s life

A woman whose insurance wouldn't pay for an "experimental" procedure to save her unborn baby got help from her local TV news. Good job, KGET-TV 17!

1956: Roommates seek abortions; one dies

Lois Brown was tried in the Superior Court of Santa Barbara County of second degree murder and abortion in the January 26, 1956 death of Lucy Sanchez.

Statements by Lucy before her death were corroborated by the testimony of her friends. Lucy's sister testified that three or four months before her death, Lucy had told her that she was pregnant and planning an abortion. A man named Ira Gin testified that about two months prior to the abortion, Lucy had told him she was pregnant and planning to go to Tijuana for an abortion. Some time in November or December of 1955, Gin had brought Lois Brown to the cafe where Lucy worked and introduced them, telling Lucy, "This is the lady you want to see." Brown had told Lucy, "I know a lady who can help you." They made an appointment to meet in front of the post office at 6:00 the following day. Brown also gave Lucy her phone number.

Lucy and her roommate, Clara Thornton, were both pregnant. They went to Brown, who said that her name was Vi, on January 18, 1956.

Clara testified that she and Lucy met Brown on the street and got into a car with her. Brown asked "how far along I was and I told her that I was three months along. She said I didn't have anything to worry about. Lois said that Lucy was a bit further ahead of me [six months pregnant] and it was a little more dangerous for her to go through with it, but said she would be all right, if Lucy would be in the care of Vi and present to tie the baby's navel cord and watch her from hemorrhaging."

Then, Clara testified, Lucy got out of the car and went back home, while Brown drove Lucy to her practice. Clara, who had been in good health, paid $100. Brown used a syringe to inject Clara with a solution which looked and smelled like Lifebouy soap. Clara said that Brown told her that she needed money "and she wished she could take us both. She said she was doing it to us for $100 and she usually did it for $200 in Los Angeles." A syringe was entered into evidence, not as the actual syringe used in the abortion, but identified by Clara as similar to the one used by Brown.

Brown then took Clara to the cafe where Lucy worked and "told Lucy that I was going to be all right and told her that she would see her later and see if she could get any money to go through with hers."

Clara and Lucy went home, accompanied by their friend Beatrice Duran. Clara had "kind of a watery discharge," and the next morning "I started getting bad pains and then I started flowing blood, and then I was in terrible pain and then I went to the bathroom and passed a clot or something after quite a while, and the pain was relieved a little bit then." Brown came by at about 11:00. Clara was still cramping, and passed what she took for another clot. Brown examined it and "called Beatrice and Lucy to look at it and told them that it was the afterbirth and that I was going to be all right."

Brown massaged showed Clara's friends how to massage her abdomen, telling them to do it periodically, "so everything that was left in there would come out." Brown then pressured Lucy to come up with the money to have an abortion as well, even suggesting that she ask Ira Gin for a loan. She left, taking Lucy with her. Gin testified that Lucy and Brown had come to his home, and Lucy had asked to borrow money. Gin said he'd refused but had told Brown that she could trust Lucy to pay her because Lucy was honest.

Beatrice Duran testified in corroboration of what Clara had said, adding that Brown told Clara to go to a doctor and tell the doctor she had a cold so she could get a penicillin shot. Brown then drove Beatrice to work.

Evidently Clara dallied about following this advice, not going to Dr. Randall until January 30. He testified that he figured she had been pregnant and had undergone an abortion about ten days earlier. Clara described the abortion to Randall, who found it consistent with what he saw when he examined her.

In the mean time, Brown had evidently come to some agreement with Lucy Sanchez. Brown came to the young women's home on January 26 and left with Lucy at about 3 p.m. Clara had repaid Lucy the $100 she'd lent her, money Lucy evidently was going to use to pay Brown. Lucy had been in good health when she'd left her home.

At about 7:30 that evening, Brown went to the cafe where Clara worked, asking her to come to take Lucy home. Brown also wanted to know if anybody would disturb them at the house. Clara said that Brown told her "they had gotten through about 5 o'clock and that she started flowing pretty heavily at the time and she started getting dizzy, then went out into a coma, and she was moaning pretty bad and she was afraid that somebody in the neighborhood would hear her and that she'd stay over at our house with her overnight and take care of her."

Clara went to Brown's practice with her. Brown's mother was there as well. Lucy was lying on a couch, with her raincoat and some newspapers under her, and covered with a blanket and a bedspread. There was blood on the bedspread, newspapers, raincoat, and on Lucy. Clara also saw Lucy's clothing there. Brown was acting nervous and excited. Clara helped Brown carry Lucy down to the car, and accompanied by Brown's mother they drove Lucy to a hospital. Brown instructed Clara to tell staff there that Lucy had been in this condition at home, and that Clara had called Brown for help.

As Clara sat outside the emergency room with Brown and Brown's mother, Brown told clara "she knew she shouldn't have done it, and took out her wallet, took out $30 and gave it to me and said those $30 were to help me in case Lucy needed anything."

But Lucy was beyond needing any help. A doctor came out and informed the three women that Lucy had been dead on arrival.

Clara said that Brown then told her "that she didn't know what to do whether to tell the truth or deny it." She asked Clara "whether she should run away or stick it out and then she took out her wallet again from her purse and told me, 'Here's the rest of Lucy's money so you can use it for the funeral.'"

Though Clara said that the doctor in the emergency room had told her that Lucy had been dead on arrival, a doctor testified that Lucy had spoke to him before her death and told him she'd gone to "a residence south of the city" for the abortion, but also that Lucy didn't describe the instruments used. Other doctors who had treated Lucy conjectured as to what instruments would have been used.

The doctor who performed the autopsy said that Lucy had bled to death from large blood vessels in the uterus, and that the membranes had been forcibly separated, likely "by some blunt object which produced dilation of the cervix." The uterine membranes were a dark brown color with a granular appearance, which the physician testified could have been caused by the introduction of chemicals.

Brown testified in her trial that she had been introduced to Lucy, who had asked her for help arranging for an abortion. But, she insisted, she had only told Lucy that she would look for somebody to "help her", perhaps to arrange for her to go to Tijuana. Brown said that she had actually gone to Tijuana to research abortion options for Lucy. Brown also testified that it had been Lucy who had quoted $100 as the amount she could budget for an abortion. Brown also said that she'd told Lucy that she herself would not be able to accompany her to Tijuana.

Brown's attorney tried to use quotes from medical textbooks to counter the autopsy surgeon's testimony as to whether or not Lucy's injuries were indeed consistent with an induced abortion.

The defense also asked that instead of a reporter's notes of her statement being read, a recording be played that would show the jury that she had been questioned improperly. Brown complained that the Deputy District Attorney "would ask me three or four questions at a time, sort of shouting and yelling at me without letting me answer at least one of them before he got all the other ones in." When the judge ruled against this, the defense argued that this would cause the jury to believe there had been no impropriety in questioning. But when in rebuttal the prosecutors later wanted to enter the recording as evidence, the defense had countered that this would subject the jury to the same evidence twice and thus give it excessive weight. Thus, in the appeal, Brown's defense argued that the jury had been unduly prejudiced against the defendant both because the recording they'd wanted played hadn't been played, and because the prosecution, in offering to play it, had then made the jury wonder why the defense hadn't wanted it to be played. So they'd appealed both because they'd not been allowed to play the recording, and because the prosecution had offered to play it.

The defense also protested the admission into evidence of the syringe that was only similar to the one allegedly used on Clara, but the court ruled that there was nothing improper in the admission of the syringe, since it was clearly and accurately identified as only a similar syringe for purposes of illustration. The defense had even, during the trial, elicited a bit of testimony from Clara about how the syringe in evidence had differed from the syringe used on her.

A lawyer testified that he'd been meeting with Brown about a business matter shortly before noon on the 19th, and that Brown had returned "between 1:30 and 2:00," contrary to Beatrice Duran's testimony that Brown had been attending to Clara from about 11 a.m. to about 12:30. Brown's lawyer argued that "It is certainly more probably that an attorney at law would be speaking the truth than Mrs. Duran, Clara's girl friend." But both Beatrice and the lawyer had been speaking from memory, and Brown herself had testified that she'd visited Clara and Lucy's home at about noon on the 19th, and that she had driven Beatrice Duran to work at about 1:00 or 1:30. The judge instructed the jury to weigh for themselves how irreconcilable the time issue was. I'd add personally that if Brown really had been consulting with an attorney at the time, he'd have the appointment on his books -- otherwise how could he bill his client for his time?

The jury had found no trouble reconciling the testimony, and found Brown guilty of both abortions -- Lucy's and Clara's -- and of the murder of Lucy. Brown appealed on the grounds that she couldn't be convicted of two crimes -- murder and abortion -- for the same act. The court agreed with her, letting the murder conviction stand and throwing out the abortion conviction.

A dissenting judge opined, "The act of committing an abortion and the act of killing a person while attempting to do this are not merely the same act made punishable in different ways. Not only are these two offenses separate and distinct in a legal sense and each dependent upon evidence not required in the other, but as a practical matter it cannot be said that the two charges involve but one act. The act of committing an abortion may be done without causing the death of the party operated upon. The act which causes the death of the same person is usually another act, careless or otherwise, which, while it may be committed in connection with the first and about the same time, involves a further and additional element." In other words, he argued, the abortion was one crime; performing it so carelessly as to kill Lucy Sanchez was another.

Brown appeared to be a professional lay abortionist; I have been unable to determine if she had any medical training.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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Fatal abortion in 1990

Ingar Lee Whittington Weber died January 26, 1990, in a Louisiana hospital. She had been treated for acute kidney failure after a safe and legal abortion performed at Delta Women's Clinic in Baton Rouge on January 20.

Ingar's family sued the clinic and its doctors, Richardson P. Glidden and Thomas Booker. They faulted the doctors with failing to diagnose Ingar's kidney problems, or her deteriorating physical condition, before, during, or after the abortion.

Delta had also been sued following the death of another abortion patient. This woman was most likely 27-year-old Sheila Hebert, who died after an abortion on June 6, 1984.

Delta was sued for an abortion performed in 1984 which left the patient with a uterine laceration and a retained fetal leg. She had to be hospitalizcd. Delta was sued after an abortion in 1974 that so badly damaged the patient's uterus that she needed a hysterectomy. Another patient reported that after surgery at Delta in 1998, she had to have a colostomy.

Delta shut down in 2001 after an electrical problem caused a fire which gutted the facility, but later reopened in another building.

Ingar's story in a minute:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I find three new (to me) criminal abortion deaths

Gertrude Pitkanen (pictured), born in 1878 in Lincoln, Nebraska, completed her nurse's training at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. She moved to Butte in 1907, and was one of the first surgical nurses at St. James Community Hospital, assisting her husband, Dr. Gustavus Pitkanen. Dr. Pitkanen was an abortionist until he was jailed for sedition in 1917, whereupon his wife took up the curette.

Nurse Pitkanen was charged with the abortion deaths of Hilja Johnson, Violet Morse, and Margie Fraser. A woman who was a student nurse at St. James Hospital in Butte remembered Pitkanen's victims. "They died horrible deaths from infection," she told a reporter from the Montana Standard.

These three deaths have been added to the Cemetery of Choice.

"Did I Deserve the Death Penalty?"

Look into the eyes of this woman and ask yourself, "Did she deserve the death penalty?"

Unless you're already opposed to the death penalty on principle, you'd probably ask, "Well, it depends. What was her crime?"

Her name is Rebecca Kiessling. Her "crime" was being conceived through rape.

Do people who were conceived through rape deserve to die for what their fathers did? Feminists For Life of America is asking this question as part of their Question AbortionTM outreach campaign.

I've addressed the issue of abortion for rape before, from the perspective of the pregnant woman or girl. But it behooves us to look at the question from the perspective of the person with the most to lose: the unborn child.

From a purely secular perspective, it seems bizarre to punish the criminal with prison, and his child with death. In fact, killing the relatives of somebody who has harmed us sounds more like organized crime than it sounds like any kind of justice.

From a Christian perspective, we have Biblical admonitions not to put the child to death for the crimes of the father. ("The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin."—Deuteronomy 24:16)

Yet even prolifers, even Christian prolifers, balk at defending the life of the child conceived through rape.

Is this child any less deserving of protection?

Question abortion. It's an imperative, now more than ever.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Searches: Tietze and more

  • Christopher Tietze was an abortion advocate and researcher. But I have to give credit where credit is due. Despite his rather cold-blooded enthusiasm for abortion, he was smart, honest, and forthright.

  • "Back alley abortion" is a term that describes how doctors prior to legalization let their abortion patients into their practices: through the back alley, rather than through the front door. Which was kind of stupid, since that would only raise suspicions.

  • "What does the freedom of choice act actually say? Have you ever heard the advice not to look at what somebody says, but at what the person does? Ditto for judges and politicians. Roe vs. Wade, for example, places responsibility for the abortion decision squarely on the physician, who is supposed to determine if in his best medical judgment, abortion is the best course of treatment for the patient. In practice, of course, abortion is nearly 100% self-referred, with the doctor just acting as a technician who carries out the act. If you doubt this, check out the brouhaha from abortion advocacy groups whenever states pass laws requiring an actual consultation with a physician prior to an abortion.

    If you read the text of FOCA, it looks innocuous, to the point where some abortion advocates try to claim that it would prevent women from coerced abortions or from being given false information in order to get them to consent to abortions for eugenic reasons, or to protect a doctor who fears a lawsuit from a woman with medical issues. But if you look at how things actually work in practice, FOCA is another matter entirely.

  • Legal abortion in the third trimester turns out to be determined more by what the doctor is willing to do, and how much willingness there is to enforce what's on the books, than by what the law actually says.

  • Failed abortion is when the baby survives. It's not all that rare. In fact, the abortion is more likely to spare the baby than to kill the mother. This is probably part of why a live birth from an abortion is the "dreaded complication". That, and how likely it is the abortionist will get sued.

  • Uterine scarring can be caused by abortion.

  • Abortion videos: I've gathered the best abortion videos I can find right here.

  • Correlation laws abortion rates: Can somebody provide some more in-depth analysis? I've seen plenty. But the main point is that there certainly is a much stronger correlation between prolife laws and low abortion rates than there is between prochoice efforts at "prevention" and low abortion rates. Which Christopher Tietze (see above) told us long ago. As did prochoice researcher Kristin Luker. If you reduce the perceived "costs" of sexual risk-taking, either by flooding society with contraceptives or by making abortion readily available, people will have sex far more often in untenable situations, thus increasing unintended pregnancies. It's not rocket science. It's the basic law of unintended consequences.

  • Abortion methods 1950s: Planned Parenthood held a conference in 1955, noting that most illegal abortions were being done by physicians, no doubt using the same methods they'd have used in a legal practice. This would most often be dilation and curettage or a D&C. Oddly enough, the fall in abortion deaths slowed, then reversed, during the 1950s. The only thing I can think to attribute this to is a change in doctors' attitudes toward abortions: they became champions of abortion, abandoning the traditional dedication to "do no harm". But that's just my hunch.

  • Coathanger abortions is the term used to describe highly-risky self-induced abortions. They can probably be much better understood as a mental-health problem among women with a tendency to self-mutilate, rather than as some rational response to an unplanned pregnancy. Teas and "self-help" kits are more consistent with a rational decision to kill the baby at home than reaming oneself out with a rusty piece of metal, which is clearly something no rational person would engage in.

  • Self-induced deaths: The ones I could find are here. I classify as "coathanger" abortions any abortion that used a household object, even a smooth, easily sterilized one like a knitting needle. whereas "self-help" abortions are those in which the woman used materials intended for medical use or touted as appropriate for abortion by activists. Though my sample is far too tiny to draw definitive conclusions from, it does present some evidence that women had more sense than to just ream themselves out with whatever nasty, dirty, sharp piece of junk they could get their hands on.

  • Starting to smell after medical abortion: Any foul-smelling discharge after an abortion should be assessed by a physician immediately. This is just as true after a chemical abortion. Chanelle Bryant, Holly Patterson, Cherish Roe, Wanda Roe, Oriane Shevin, and Vivian Tran all die from infection after chemically-induced abortions, all in the past few years.

  • What does Obama say about abortion? He's expressed great enthusiasm for the practice, to the point of even supporting doctors who decide to finish the job if the baby survives the attempt:

  • FOCA babies left to die after post viability abortions: You don't need FOCA for that.

  • Abortion with versed: Abortionists like to administer versed because it causes amnesia; the woman can be screaming in agony, pleading for her baby's life, or otherwise wracked with pain or anguish, and she'll have no memory of it. Personally I find this to be appalling. How is deliberately allowing a patient to suffer horrible pain, and justifying it on the grounds that she won't remember it, any different from slipping her a date rape drug and figuring it's okay to have sex with her because she won't remember it?

    Jennifer H. was given versed during her fatal abortion, as was Adelle Roe.

  • Trisomy 18 abortion rates: Though some doctors recommend screening for Trisomy 18 along with other problems, all I've been unable to find the rate of abortions. Be Not Afraid is a resource for women and families seeking to avoid abortion after an unfavorable prenatal diagnosis. You can read the story of Grace, whose parents were treated with bewildered contempt for wanting to give her a chance to know what it was to be held and loved for two precious months; Mari Rae, who had been living in her family's love for 17 months as of the time her mother wrote her story; Trenton, whose family was given guidance in making birth choices, not just pushed toward abortion, and who passed peacefully in the womb shortly before his due date; and Valeria, whose family was given much loving support and who got to know her family's loving caresses for her short life.

    And here is Eliot's story:

  • Punctured uterus: can happen in abortion. Ingrid Thomas, Sandra Chmiel, Maureen Espinoza, Kathleen Gilbert, Faith Roe, Gloria Small, Shirley Payne, Geneva Calton, Jane Doe of Newark, Moris Helen Herron, Amanda Roe, Julie Roe, Nadine Roe, Diane Smith, and Katherine Strong are among those who died from somebody poking a hole in their wombs during safe, legal abortions.

  • Dr. Daniel Holschauer was disciplined by the medical board for stalking a patient for sex after performing an abortion on her. Days after the abortion, he showed up at her place of employment and had unprotected intercourse with her. He was a real pill; read the whole article.

  • Miami abortion clinics: I've got some choice ones here, if you'll pardon the expression.

  • Hyperemesis abortion: There is help. You can avoid an abortion. Contact Ashli.

  • Percentage of 3 trimester abortions performed in the US: The way it's phrased, this person is looking for what percent of the world's 3rd trimester abortions are performed in the US. I can't even begin to answer that. If they're looking to know what percentage of abortions in the US are third trimester, I can at least hazard a guess, based on the CDC's 2005 Abortion Surveillance Summary. Their Table 16 shows the breakdown of abortions by gestational age. They are very careful to look at abortions after 20 weeks without breaking it down any further, so as to deny researchers access to data on third-trimester abortions. There were 8,445 reported abortions to kill babies of more than 20 weeks gestational age. Remember that the report excludes states that don't report, such as California (a major abortion state). And if you doubt that this is a deliberate attempt to squelch information, rather than just a matter of not going into that sort of detail, consider how daintily they break down abortions done up to 8 weeks. They can't claim there's a great public health need for such a breakdown, and no public health need for a breakdown of later abortions. After all, their own researchers say that every two weeks after the 16th, the risk of death doubles. So surely a breakdown of abortions after 16 weeks, at 2-week intervals, would be more important from a public health standpoint.

    At any rate, 1.3% of abortions are done at 21+ weeks. Which, again, doesn't sound like many until you reflect that this is still more than eight thousand babies a year.

    Supposedly only about 100 abortions a year are done in the third trimester, but The American Journal of Public Health noted 86 third-trimester abortions in Georgia in just two years. If there are 43 third-trimester abortions a year performed in Georgia alone (which reported only 5% of the nation's abortions), it's hardly possible that fully 43% of third-trimester abortions are performed in Georgia. Though Georgia's percentage of abortions after 21 weeks is 3.5%, above the 1.3% national average, it's hardly the leader in late abortions. New York, in fact, is the leader:

    So Georgia performs roughly 12% of all reported abortion past 20 weeks. It's reasonable to figure that they probably perform a similar percentage of abortions past 24 weeks as well. If 43 abortions is 12% of abortions, there are about 358 third-trimester abortions annually nationwide, not 100. And this has to be low, because the last time the CDC counted, there were about 400-500 Reported live births following abortions. It's hard to believe that there are more accidental live births during post-viability abortions than there are post-viability abortions being performed.

  • Songs about abortion are here. A really cheerful bunch of ditties.

    Compare songs about abortion to songs about birth, such as There Goes My Life (which I can't embed, sorry). How many of us went through those same feelings? Tough I think we know these feelings as well:


  • Michael J. New: the researcher who very adeptly picked apart the New York Times's slipshod reporting on the effects of parental involvement laws on teen pregnancy and abortion rates.


    That's all for now!
  • Can abortion kill the woman?


    Abortion can cause infection, hemorrhage, bowel injuries, clotting disorders, and other potentially fatal complications. Also, amniotic fluid, fetal tissue, or air can get into the woman's bloodstream and cause an embolism, which can be fatal.

    The degree of risk of suffering any complication depends on the woman's health, the skill of the abortion practitioner, and how far advanced her pregnancy is. The risk of complications and death is also greater among Black woman and public-pay patients than among white women and private-pay patients, though researchers have been unable to determine why this is so.

    The risk of death is widely touted to be less with abortion than with birth. This comparison is based on taking known abortion deaths -- detected mostly via statistical samples sent by state vital records offices to the National Center for Health Statistics -- and comparing them to maternal death rates from intensive maternal mortality studies. This means that we really don't know the risk of death from abortion.

    But based on the scanty data available, the Centers for Disease Control has concluded that before 16 weeks, abortion is safer than childbirth, the risk is equal at sixteen weeks, and the risks of abortion death double every two weeks after week 16. This means that at 18 weeks, abortion is believed to be twice as risky as carrying to term, at 20 weeks four times as risky, and so forth. Most of the risk appears to be from the amount of effort it takes to dilate an unripe cervix to remove a large fetus, though injuries from bony fetal parts as the fetus is dismembered are also potentially catastrophic in later abortions.

    Statistically, women who have undergone abortions also have a higher risk of suffering violent death -- suicide, homicide, or accident -- than women who have given birth or who have not been pregnant. The increased risk of suicide appears to be directly related to the abortion. The increased risk of homicide or accidental death has not been studied as much, and researchers currently can not determine if the increased risk is related to the abortion (strain on relationships, the known increased risk of drug or alcohol abuse in women who have undergone abortions), or if there is some common risk factor that leads women at higher risk of violent death to also be at higher risk of undergoing abortions.

    I'd appreciate links to the most current research. From people who know what the heck they're taking about, not from people who are trusting the CDC and NARAL "fact sheets" which have been debunked to the point where anybody who hasn't relegated them to the status of bird-cage liners is delusional.

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    1929: Homemaker kills women in botched abortion

    On January 23, 1929, 22-year-old Edna Vargo died in Chicago from an abortion performed that day by Katherine Bajda. Bajda was identified as a homemaker. She was held by the Coroner on February 14. On March 15, she was indicted for felony murder in Edna's death.

    Edna's abortion was unusual in that it was performed by an amateur, rather than by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions.

    For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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    1925: The mysterious death of Kate Radochouski

    On January 23, 1925, 34-year-old Kate Radochouski died at Chicago's Lakeside Hospital from complications of an abortion performed that day. The Homicide in Chicago database says that she died at the scene of the crime, and that there was an arrest on February 11. But there is no name given for the person arrested. No perpetrator was ever identified.

    For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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    Rally around Obama's words

    "We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

    (HT: Anybody There?)

    We will not apologize for celebrating the lives of the vulnerable: of unborn children, disabled newborns, incapacitated adults. We will stand in solidarity with this mom and others like here:

    We will stand in solidarity with parents like these, who recognize that even a dying child has worth and dignity:

    We will never treat them like abortion supporters do -- as if they need to apologize for their children's very existence.

    We will stand in solidarity with women like Ashli, who deserve real medical care, not abandonment to the anguish of a dead child:

    We will never concede that what these women and families endured is an acceptable price to pay for "choice". We will never join you in abandoning demoralized women to the mercies of abortionists who stand to profit from their fear and despair.

    We will continue to be there, to fight for women like this young mother:

    And let me bring Obama's words back here: "...for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

    We will never join Barack Obama in accepting the abandonment of fragile infants to a lonely death. We will never waver in our determinate to provide them with the care they deserve.

    We will never buy into the lie that legal abortion supposedly saves women's lives. We will not give in to those who hold women hostage to rhetoric, to those who insist that we must allow them to kill babies with medical instruments, lest they kill mothers with coathangers. Those who threaten to kill women if abortion is criminalized are killing them anyway, even as they've been given free rein to kill the children.

    We will never embrace buying anything at the cost of mothers' tears and children's lives.

    We're not going away. And we won't stop until every child is welcomed, and ever mother given the support and love she deserves.

    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    Correlation isn't causality.... but let's look

    Americans United for Life has rated states on their prolife laws. You can see the rankings and details here.

    We can look Here for how the Alan Guttmacher Institute ranks states for "efforts to help women avoid unintended pregnancy". This publication also includes abortion statistics for the states. Granted, it's for the year 2000, so it's out of date, but it's all we have to work with

    For 2000, the states with the highest prolife rankings have an average abortion rate (number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age) of 11.4. The states with the lowest prolife rankings have an average abortion rate of 25.4. The national abortion rate was 21. So states with prolife laws had dramatically lower abortion rates than states that enshrine abortion rights in law. If we look at more recent data, from the 2005 CDC abortion surveillance, some states didn't report, but we can look at those that did. Of reporting states, the ones that rate best for prolife laws had an abortion rate of 9.22, compared to a national abortion rate of 15. The states that ranked least prolife in their laws had an average abortion rate of 18. And if we pull in the 2000 numbers for non-reporting states, the most prolife states had an abortion rate average of 9.4 -- still respectable and well below average for the nation. The least prolife states had an average abortion rate of 19.3.

    The states with the highest "prevention" ratings from the AGI have an average abortion rate of 19.8. Considering that the national abortion rate is 21, that looks pretty good, prevention-wise, huh? Until you consider this: The states with the lowest "prevention" rankings from AGI have an abortion rate of 14.4 -- considerably lower. If we look at 2005 AGI data, the top states in "prevention" have an abortion rate of 13.67, compared to a national abortion rate of 15 -- which looks nice, until you factor in California. If we plug in the number for 2000 -- the only one we have -- that changes the abortion rate for the states with the best "prevention" to 15.4. If we look at the states the AGI ranks as worst at "prevention" we see an average abortion rate of 13.3 -- lower than the national average.

    It's even more interesting to look at California. This state got the worst rating from the prolifers, so it's no surprise that it had a staggering 31 abortions per 1,000 women every year. But what is telling is that the Alan Guttmacher Institute ranks California #1 in efforts to prevent unintended pregnancy! New York, the state that's worst in 2005 data with an abortion rate of 30, ranked 43rd by prolifers because of its abortion supporting laws. The Alan Guttmacher Institute ranked it #5 in prevention! Clearly the Alan Guttmacher Institute gives A's for effort, not for results.

    At first glance Wyoming looks like a winner for the AGI -- there were only 14 abortions performed there, too low a number to even calculate an abortion rate. But wait! Nine hundred Wyoming women went out of state for abortions, 9 per 1,000 women of childbearing age. Wyoming is a bit flukey. If we look at the remaining states, we see that Idaho and Kentucky tied for lowest abortion rate -- 4 per 1,000 women of childbearing age. The AGI ranks Idaho #26 and Kentucky #22 in prevention, even though they're the most successful.

    American Life League rates Kentucky #12 in prolife laws, Idaho #26.

    Granted, correlation isn't causality. It could be that states with low abortion rates also have prolife laws because of a culture that discourages abortion, and states that lack prolife laws also have a culture that encourages abortion. They certainly seem to have a culture that encourages the sorts of "prevention" efforts that the AGI pushes.

    But they don't seem to have a whole lot of success.