Monday, July 06, 2009

1970: Pre-Roe abortion proves fatal

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.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Wu Tse-tien said...

I knew someone who died during open-heart surgery. Should we make such surgery illegal?

Christina Dunigan said...

Last time I checked, the goal of open heart surgery was not to kill somebody. The same can't be said for abortion, which by definition if "successful" results in at least one human death.

Abortion is no more "medical care" than is lethal injection.

It should be illegal because it's a hideous practice, killing the most vulnerable and helpless members of the human family. It's just that a lot of people tolerate it being legal on the grounds that this somehow spares women cruel deaths. Which it doesn't. So what's the point in people forcing themselves to suppress their natural revulsion? Once they realize that the only people really benefitting from legalization are abortionists, the house of cards built on the lie that legalization was about protecting women will fall. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Wu Tse-tien said...

"It's just that a lot of people tolerate it being legal on the grounds that this somehow spares women cruel deaths. Which it doesn't."

You mean illegal abortion is no more dangerous than legal?

Christina Dunigan said...

If legalization was any improvement at all (which is doubtful, since it didn't change who was doing abortions, or their motives), that improvement has been offset by the vast increase in the number of women submitting to abortions.

I know of three criminal abortionists who had clean records -- no dead patients -- who each went on to kill two women in their supposedly safer legal practices: Jesse Ketchum, Milan Vuitch, and Benjamin Munson. Legalization invited all manner of sloppiness that these guys wouldn't have dare risked before legalization.

Look at the mortality trends for the 20th century. Abortion deaths were falling steadily. There's not a blip in 1970 (when New York and California legalized abortion on demand) or in 1973 (Roe, rolling out the red carpet to abortionists nationwide). There was certainly ZERO statistical impact.

Oh, the abortion lobby tries to claim credit for the fact that the numbers fell after 1973 -- and they take this credit by ignoring the fact that the numbers had been falling all along, without any help from legalization. And people who don't understand that figures lie and liars figure just nod like so many bobblehead dolls, never questioning.

If legalization is the reason for the death rate falling, how did it somehow have a retroactive impact going clear back to the 1940s and before?

Wu Tse-tien said...

What do you make of the following quote re: pre-Roe abortion, by a Pennsylvania funeral director, who worked first as an autopsy technician and then as a coroner in Pennsylvania in a major hospital, starting in the the mid-1950s until his retirement in 1991 (from THE WORST OF TIMES by Patricia G. Miller)?

"In the coroner's office or at the hospital, the death certificate always listed abortion as the cause of death. I think you got a diagnosis like tetanus, uremia, or pelvic infection--something other than abortion--from private doctors where no autopsy was done and the coroner was not involved. Now, if there were three or four a year that I knew about because there was an autopsy, you can be sure that there were three times that number that no one knew about--and that is just in one county in Pennsylvania....We just saw a few--the tip of the iceberg, you could call it....Most of the dead women I saw were in their teens or twenties. I don't recall too many older than that....The deaths stopped overnight in 1973, and I never saw another abortion death in all the eighteen years after that until I retired. That ought to tell people something about keeping abortion legal."

Christina Dunigan said...

Explore my web site a bit. You'll find I took some cases from Ms. Miller's book. But her research was, unlike Leslie Reagan's, dubious at best. She just took anecdotes from abortion supporters, without any evidence that she verified their stories. And research has shown memory to be a very malleable, selective thing.

I've found case after case of doctors and trying to hide abortion deaths to no avail. Back in the "worst of times", people actually CARED if a woman died from a botched abortion. An anonymous tip would be enough to get a woman's body exhumed and an investigation launched into her death. Now, nobody in the public health sector or law enforcement gives a rat's ass. Killing an abortion patient is another "victimless crime" that it's seen as a waste of manpower to investigate.

Maybe that funeral director's PERCEPTION was that "the deaths stopped overnight". Maybe the person is just plain full of shit. The truth is that his story doesn't hold water. Hiding an abortion death was a crime. You'd be an accessory after the fact to HOMICIDE. You'd have to be very devoted to either abortion or to the abortionist to be willing to risk prison for him. People reported suspicious deaths. It wasn't a matter of just fake a death certificate and walk away. A cop, a neighbor, a deiner, an embalmer, somebody at the cemetery, a clergyman, a friend or family member, could make an anonymous call and the whole thing would be blown wide open.

Start looking beyond what the abortion lobby feeds people.

Wu Tse-tien said...

Do you feel that a woman who has an abortion should be arrested and tried for murder?

Christina Dunigan said...

As things stand you couldn't because it's not common knowledge that abortion really does kill a baby. There's so much "grain of rice" and "blob of tissue" bullshit put out by abortion profiteers that there's no way you could show that she knew she was having a baby put to death.

Now, if you could clearly demonstrate that she knew full well that she was killing a baby and did it not under duress (fear for her life, etc), then yes, just as you'd prosecute anybody else who killed a baby. But that'd be a tough burden of proof in the current "It's just a blob of tissue" climate.

As it is, I get pissed off when women get prosecuted for illegal abortions they do on themselves that would have been perfectly legal for a physician to do. That's a double standard, where a more educated person -- who after all, knows better, since he can see the fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound -- is okay to do something that a less educated person -- who might just see it as "bringing on a late period -- gets prosecuted for. She's being prosecuted for being uneducated and poor, not for killing her baby. And being uneducated and poor aren't things you ought to be prosecuted for.

Wu Tse-tien said...

In the case of women who meet the standard you set forth above for prosecution for murder, but who had the abortion, say, forty or fifty years ago, would you, since there's no statute of limitations on murder, be in favor of arrest and prosecution of these women?

We're not speaking of arrest and prosecution under current laws, plainly, but in a hypothetical situation where the law allowed for such indictments.

Christina Dunigan said...

I thought I made the answer clear when I said that it hinged on ability to prove knowledge of what she was doing.

If somebody convinces me that a sack contains a rabid animal and asks me to drown it, and I toss it in the lake, how accountable should I be held if it turns out that the person knowingly handed me a bag with a sleeping baby in it? Ought not the person who KNEW it was a baby be the one criminally responsible?

Wu Tse-tien said...

So, the answer is "yes?" If, in the aforementioned hypothetical situation where such prosecutions were possible, it came to light that an 80-year-old woman, say, had an abortion fifty years ago, and she met the standards for culpability you put forth, and had not become mentally diminished with age, you'd be in favor of arrest and prosecution?

Christina Dunigan said...

Now you're being silly. Laws can't be enforced retroactively for things people did before the law was passed.

I'm starting to find this conversation very dull. You're just spitting out NARAL "debate points" and I get tired of responding to the same things again and again. Can you try something new?

Wu Tse-tien said...

Maybe I'm being silly, but you're being evasive. We're speaking of a hypothetical situation, remember? You were willing a couple of posts back to answer a hypothetical question re: the prosecution of women who abort ("Now, if you could clearly demonstrate that she knew full well that she was killing a baby and did it not under duress (fear for her life, etc), then yes, just as you'd prosecute anybody else who killed a baby.").

Why not answer this one? If we lived in a society that allowed for the prosecution for murder of women who abort, would you be in favor of a statute of limitations on the crime, or not?

The questions may be "NARAL 'debate points' " to you, but they're not to me. I'm genuinely interested in your answers, and I don't ask the questions frivolously or disrespectfully.

Christina Dunigan said...

I've not given vast amounts of thought to the idea of prosecuting aborting women. That's something that the abortion lobby obsesses about. Prolifers, by and large, aren't interested. It's the abortionists and their accomplices we're interested in going after. And my research has shown me that we will have our work cut out for us just on that front.

There is enough of a history of problems keeping quack abortionists in jail. The laws on the books would need to be overhauled to get rid of the loopholes that allowed these guys to get away with it over and over again, even in cases where they killed the patient as well as her baby. And THAT is where my attention has been focused.

Wu Tse-tien said...

I've encountered "pro-lifers" who favor prosecution of the woman, and short of that, say that they have no problem with women dying of botched abortions. A minority, to be sure, but they do exist. I had an online exchange with a young man who declared that women "stupid" enough to go to a quack abortionist deserved to bleed to death. What would you say to him?

Christina Dunigan said...

"I had an online exchange with a young man who declared that women "stupid" enough to go to a quack abortionist deserved to bleed to death. What would you say to him?"

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

But that's typically the "prochoicer" (usually a man) who says that in response to a woman dying at the hands of a quack legal abortionist. The callous "prolifer" (again, usually a man) says, "Well, if she was killing her baby she deserved to die." Both in my opinion equally heartless.

I've found both sides to be hopelessly naive. The self-identified prochoice seem to think the problem of quackery magically went away with legalization (via Marcus Welby crowding out the quack), and the self-identified prolife seem to think the problem of quackery will go away with recriminalization (via quacks getting locked up when they butcher some woman).

That's a large part of why I post all manner of abortion deaths, legal and illegal, amateur and professional. It's been an education for me and can be an education for anybody with eyes and a mind and a heart.

Wu Tse-tien said...

Thanks for the candor. I appreciate it.

Just so you know, I'm anything but an "armchair warrior." I've experienced both illegal and legal abortion, years apart.

Christina Dunigan said...

Another highly personal reason to be involved, huh? I've seen that on both sides. For me, a huge factor is how creepily close I came to aborting my son, because I bought into what they told me in college about how "poor women need abortions", when it turned out all I needed was help finding a better apartment, something my husband's friend was able to do in just a single day -- much to our astonishment. I think this is a lot of why women end up much more polarized than men do. And since people tend to associate most with like-minded people, we end up in social bubbles that reinforce our perspectives. So the prochoice woman ends up hearing the same stories about how legal abortion is such an improvement over "the bad old days," and prolfie women end up hearing the same stories about deceit and quackery at the hands of legal abortionists.

Wu Tse-tien said...

Yes, well, I have a "hands on" (if you'll pardon the expression) basis for comparison that most don't.

It's not always men who espouse the let-the-sluts-bleed-to-death creed; I've encountered plenty of "pro-life" women in that camp. It's plain that you're not one of them.

You and I have a major point of overlap, and that's the safety of women. Where we differ is in how to achieve it, and at what price.

Christina Dunigan said...

I came into the whole thing after being exposed to overwhelming evidence that women were being betrayed.

First it was learning about how my babysitter's mother forced her to submit to two unwanted abortions, with help from Planned Parenthood and a private ob/gyn. Sherri believed that once the heart was beating, it was a baby, and it was murder to kill it. Planned Parenthood lied to her and told her that her 8-week fetus was "like a blood clot". It wasn't until her third pregnancy, when she'd gotten married and moved away from her domineering mother, that Sherri learned that the heart is beating well before 8 weeks. None of the people from PP or the ob/gyn were there to see her horror and shock when she learned this. And frankly, I don't think they'd care.

Then there was a brouhaha about a billboard in Santa Cruz, California. It showed the picture of an adult hand holding an aborted fetus so just his little feet show. It said, "Aborted: 10 Weeks Into Life" and gave a phone number. The local news station interviewed the director of the largest abortion facility in the area. She said, "We've been getting hundreds of angry calls from women wanting to know why they weren't told this before their abortions. We want that billboard DOWN!" This told me that what happened to Sherri -- deliberately misleading women about what an abortion destroys -- wasn't a flukey thing just at that one Planned Parenthood.

I'd been a fence sitter until then, with the idea somewhere in my head that abortions were only done in the most desperate circumstances, and only after the patient had undergone thorough counseling to be sure that ... I don't know what. I had no specific idea. But the idea that women would be routinely lied to just burnt my toast.

Since all this was happening right at the time that I very nearly picked up the phone and called PP myself to abort my son, it was a powerful whammy. A "This means WAR!" moment. It was the betrayal of the trust of women that was the tipping point.