Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Onion: Government to save billions

U.S. Government To Save Billions By Cutting Wasteful Senator Program:

Established in 1789 as a means of overseeing the passage of bills into law, the once-promising senator program has reportedly failed to contribute to the governing of the nation in any significant way since 1964. Last year alone, approximately $450 billion was funneled into the legislative chamber, an amount deemed fiscally unsound considering how few citizens actually benefit in any way from its existence.

Despite Down Syndrome, woman in Florida keys makes a living as an artist

Florida Keys Art by Cinnamon

HT: Cause of Our Joy

Monday, March 29, 2010

1924: Another Chicago death

On March 29, 1924, 30-year-old Etta Marcus died at Chicago's Francis Willard Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day. The coroner concluded that Dr. William J. Wick had performed the fatal abortion at his office. However, on April 10, Wick was acquitted.

Etta's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was attributed to a physician.

Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.

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

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Welcome, IRS Agents"

Well, Obamacare supporters, thanks for ensuring that every freaking month the IRS is going to be monitoring each and every American to make sure we've purchased approved health care plans.

The only sweet part of this is that they'd be peering into YOUR business as well.

See also:

  • Obamacare’s IRS Provisions Trouble Security Experts: "With the IRS set to take a significant role in the new health care law signed by President Barack Obama on national television, that part of the Obamacare plan continues to worry those who have little faith in government efficiency, especially when Americans’ privacy issues are involved."

  • Under Obamacare, IRS Has Power to Penalize Americans Who Refuse to Buy Required Insurance: "In another indictment of Obamacare, a congressional report has found that the IRS will have the power to penalize, by means of fines, Americans who refuse to buy required, government insurance."

  • Under Obama Care IRS power grows considerably: "The mandates require that all Americans carry a minimum level of health insurance or pay a separate tax for every month they are without such coverage. All employers with 50 employers or more will also be required to provide their employees with that same minimum level of coverage. While that minimum level of coverage will be defined at a later date by the Department of Health and Human Services, it will be the responsibility of the IRS to monitor individuals and employers and to punish those who do not comply. .... The IRS would monitor individuals and businesses’ health insurance statuses through the mandatory reporting the bill requires. Under the law, every individual and most businesses are required to report to the IRS, on their tax returns, whether they have purchased or provided the required level of coverage and disclose to the IRS which months, if any, in which they failed to do so. .... Because these new mandates and taxes are under the purview of the IRS, taxpayers and businesses could incur additional penalties normally reserved for normal income tax cheats, paying fees over and above those for not complying with Congress’ new mandates."

  • ObamaCare To Be Enforced By IRS 'Bounty Hunters': "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will see its largest expansion since withholding taxes were first enacted during WWII to enforce the glut of new tax mandates and penalties included in the Democrats' latest health care plan, according to Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX). .... 'When most people think of health care reform they think of more doctors exams, not more IRS exams,' says U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady, the top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee. 'Isn't the federal government already intruding enough into our lives? We need thousands of new doctors and nurses in America, not thousands more IRS agents.'"

    Make sure to welcome your new IRS overlords!

    And why, pray tell, must we sic the IRS on the non-compliant citizen who dares to eat a Dorito without first taking out the proper insurance?

    Control. Control. Control the people.
  • 1942: Prosecutor's golfing buddy beats the rap

    On March 28, 1942, 19-year-old Cleo Florence Moore died at New Rochelle Hospital in New York from peritonitis from an illegal abortion.

    Upon admission, Cleo told authorities that she had taken some pills to induce the abortion, but before her death she changed her story and said that Dr. Frank F. Marino had performed the fatal abortion.

    According to Cleo's roommate, Alice Petersen, Cleo met a man through her work, and discovered that she was pregnant in January.

    On March 5, Cleo visited Marino to arrange an abortion, which he performed at his home office on March 9.

    By March 11, Cleo was ill and summoned Marino, who sent her to the hospital with instructions not to inform anyone that he had operated on her. Alice also said that Dr. Marino's wife told her to protect her husband, lest "you and Miss Moore...go to prison."

    Marino testified that he had examined Cleo on March 5, refused the requested abortion, and did not hear from Cleo again until the 11th, when he was summoned to her home and sent her to the hospital without reporting the abortion.

    Marino, who had been a member of the County Board of Supervisors, the New Rochelle Board of Education, and the New Rochelle Zoning Board of Appeals, was also a golfing buddy of the prosecutor of the case. Marino was acquitted.

    Cleo's abortion was typical of pre-legalization 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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    1975: Safe and legal and deadly in Chicago

    On March 25, 1975, 18-year-old Sharon Floyd went to Associated Concern in Chicago for a safe and legal abortion. Three days later, she died of pelvic infection and blood poisoning.

    Fortunately for other women, on July 1, 1975, public health officials closed Associated Concern, which was one of the abortion mills featured in the Chicago Sun-Times "Abortion Profiteers" series.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

    To email this post to a friend, use the icon below.

    What Obamacare supporters are smirking at

    One of my co-workers, a guy I usually get along with, was all smirky and smug this week because Obamacare "is a done deal". There's no escaping it now. He doesn't know what's in it, and he doesn't even care. What matters is that those of us who opposed it are stuck with it.

    I have no idea why that should make him so happy. His wife has a progressive, degenerative disease. He sees Obamacare as "They can't deny L insurance." He doesn't even know if necessary treatments for her disease will be covered. He has blind faith.

    I don't.

    Now, L is a grown woman. She can vote for Obama, she can contact her Congresscritter and support Obamacare. And if it turns out that she's left in the cold, able to get flu shots but not adequate care for her pre-existing condition, or unable to get things like heart valve replacements because her quality of life doesn't warrant it, that's her own doing. And her husband's. They were willing to put total faith in the Democrats and in Obama.

    Not so for these people.

    If people I love with pre-existing conditions -- such as autism and mental retardation -- get left out in the cold, unable to get life-saving treatments, it'll be because of other people's blind faith in Obama and the Democrats. Blind faith in people who embrace a "quality of life" ethic that considers people I love unworthy of medical care.

    My worry about the people I love is a joke to people like Mike. But somehow those of us who want to be sure that profoundly disabled people get medical care are "hatemongers".

    Saturday, March 27, 2010

    Oops? Turns out those kids are out in the cold after all

    Oops! Turns out all the hype about Obamacare ensuring that kids with pre-existing conditions won't be denied coverage was a bit premature. Parents, tell your kids not to develop any chronic conditions until after 2014!

    (Sick kids left in the lurch. Is this a surprise from the same President who's okay with wrapping a gasping baby in a towel and sticking her in a closet to die?)

    1940: Abortion by doc proves fatal

    On March 27, 1940, Mrs. Mary Ann Maria Page of Alton, Illinois, died from a botched criminal abortion. She was 20 years old.

    The Coroner's jury identified the perpetrator as 69-year-old Dr. C.E. Trovillion, also of Alton, former managing officer of Illinois state hospitals.

    Mary Ann's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a doctor.

    During the 1940s, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744 in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

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

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    1926: Fatal abortion by midwife

    On March 27, 1926, 24-year-old Louise Maday died at Chicago's West End Hospital from complications of an abortion performed that day. Midwife Amelia Becker was held by the coroner on April 27.

    Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.

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

    To email this post to a friend, use the icon below.

    1929: The death of a poster child

    According to the National Organization for Women web site, Clara Bell Duvall was a 32-year-old married mother of five, aged 6 months to 12 years. She and her family were living with her parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania due to financial problems. NOW says that Clara attempted a self-induced abortion with a knitting needle. Though she was seriously ill and severe pain, NOW says, Clara's doctor delayed hospitalizing her for several weeks. Her death, at a Catholic hospital on March 27, 1929, was attributed to pneumonia.

    I'd welcome any verifying information on Mrs. Duvall's death. After all, NOW also claims that Becky Bell died from complications of an illegal abortion, when in fact she died of pneumonia concurrent with a miscarriage. (There was no evidence that Becky's pregnancy had been tampered with in any way.) But if people who think abortion is a good idea want to blame Clara's death on abortion, I'll let them claim her as somebody their ideology killed.

    Clara Duvall seems to be the woman described in the chapter, "Marilyn," in The Worst of Times by Patricia G. Miller. Marilyn was Clara's daughter. There are differences in Marilyn's story and in the story NOW relates, but so many other details match that it is unlikely that they're describing different women.

    Marilyn gives her mother's name as Claudia, and her age as 34. The difference in ages may be attributed to people taking the years of the woman's birth and death and calculating her age without taking the months into account. Marilyn also said that her mother sang with the Pittsburgh light opera company, so it is possible that Marilyn might be using a false name for her mother to preserve the family's privacy.

    Clara/Claudia's association with the opera company may also explain the elegant portrait on NOW's site -- a portrait that a poverty-stricken and desperate woman would have been unlikely to afford.

    The following facts match:
    • Five children, from an infant to a 12-year-old
    • Living in Pittsburgh
    • Died in March of 1929
    • Death originally attributed to pneumonia
    • The woman used a knitting needle
    • Was at home for several days before being hospitalized
    • Died in a hospital
    • Cared for until her death by her usual doctor who seemed at a loss as to how to care for his moribund patient
    Marilyn said that her brother Gerald was the oldest, twelve years old when Clara died. Eileen was ten. Rose was eight, Marilyn was six, and Constance was 18 months. Marilyn describes poignantly the difference between her life before her mother's death and her life after losing her mother. The loss was truly shattering for the entire family.

    Marilyn said that her mother had gotten help from a friend for a successful abortion between the births of Marilyn and Constance. Marilyn didn't have any details of the first abortion, and got what she knew about the fatal abortion from her sister Eileen, who had spoken at length with their mother when she was hospitalized -- though it seems odd that a dying woman would be explaining to a 10-year-old girl how she performed a knitting-needle abortion on herself.

    NOW's story differs from Marilyn's in many aspects, however. Aside from the different age and name, the following aspects do not match:
    • NOW has the family living with the woman's parents; Marilyn said that they were living in a large house owned by her mother's parents.
    • NOW indicates that the family were too poor to afford a home of their own. Marilyn said that they lived in a large house, and that her father was an editor of one of Pittsburgh's daily newspapers, and that he did freelance public relations for sports events. Marilyn also said that one of her mother's friends was the wife of a well-known Pittsburgh industrialist. This is not a likely friendship for a destitute woman forced to move her family of seven into her parents' home. Marilyn also said that her mother was laid to rest in a magnificent mahogany casket with a satin lining, hardly the sort of burial a poverty-crushed widower could afford for his dead wife. Marilyn also said that the casket lay in the parlor, not a room that poor people were likely to have. In fact, Marilyn describes how shocking it was, after her mother's death, to go live with poor relatives. Poverty was a new experience for the child. In fact, Marilyn describes a riverboat outing the family took before her mother's death. She described how the girls were dressed in matching navy blue coats with red satin linings, and her brother had a jacket and tie.
    So there are two possibilities:
    1. Clara Bell Duvall and Claudia are two different women, both with five children, both of whom lived in homes owned by their parents, who both performed knitting-needle abortions in the same city in the same month, and who both died in hospitals and both had their deaths wrongly attributed to pneumonia.
    2. Clara and Claudia are the same woman, and but NOW turned her from a prosperous matron and opera singer into a wretched slum mother in order to make her situation seem more desperate.
    All I could find of Clara's story in Pittsburgh papers is a death notice verifying that she died at Mercy Hospital on March 27, 1929. Her husband was Grafton Duvall, her parents Joseph H. and Sadie E. Bell, nee Cain. It also verifies that services were held at the family home.

    If what NOW and Marilyn describe is accurate, then Clara/Claudia's abortion was unusual in that it was self-induced, rather than 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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    Friday, March 26, 2010

    1986: Abortion leaves husband alone

    Gail Wright was 29 years old when she underwent a legal abortion. She was 20 weeks pregnant. After her abortion, she developed sepsis. She died of adult respiratory distress syndrome on March 26, 1986, leaving behind a husband.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

    To email this post to a friend, use the icon below.

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    1962: Too trivial to hold against such a swell guy

    Want an interesting exercise? Google "Dr. Henrie abortion". You'll get sites like these:

  • Professors profile Grove doctor who performed 5,000 abortions:

    W.J.B. Henrie
    GROVE, Okla. - In 1953, a strapping 17-year-old broke away from the small-town life he had known to join the U.S. Navy, fulfilling a duty to which he said he felt called.

    More than 50 years later, Hank "Buster" Henrie returned to the town of his youth to learn about a father he wanted to know better. His father, Dr. William Jennings Bryan Henrie, was Grove's only physician for many years. The doctor also operated an underground abortion clinic and performed 5,000 abortions over a 23-year period, according to a claim the doctor himself made at his 1962 trial.

    This past week, Dr. Henrie's son sat down with two professors from Pennsylvania's Gettysburg College, Jennifer Hansen and Kristen Eyssell, who are filming a research documentary about the doctor's life, his practice and the impact he had on Grove.

    "I learned that Dad was loved by the community," said the younger Henrie. "I didn't know the intensity of the love for my father, and I was surprised at the level of protection (against the law) he was given by the community."
  • Missives from the Grove:

    You want to know what the difference between Grove 1956 and Grove 2006 is? In 1956 abortions were illegal, but you could get one from Dr. Henrie and no one thought much of it. .... In 1956 when abortion was illegal, you could count on getting a safe, compassionate one from your local doctor and not necessarily have to pay a dime.

    What a swell guy!

    But they're forgetting someone. There's one name you won't find in these hagiographic articles: Jolene Griffith.

    On March 3, 1962, kindly Dr. Henrie, an osteopath, performed an abortion on Jolene Joyce Griffith at his clinic in Grove, Oklahoma. Jolene developed an infection, and, according to her survivors, Griffith abandoned her and provided no care to treat the infection.

    On March 10, Jolene was admitted to a hospital in Tulsa. She died there on March 25, leaving behind a husband and three minor children.

    Henire was conviced, and served 25 months of a 4-year sentence. Upon his release, he went right back to doing abortions.

    Much to the applause of people who don't even care enough about Jolene Griffith to learn her name.

    How is it that to the self-appointed champions of women's lives, the life of Jolene Griffith is beneath their notice?

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

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  • My email to Craig Ferguson

    Dear Craig,

    Last night I dreamed that you were managing an enormous Burger King in a shopping mall, and brought me into an unoccupied section of the dining room in order to perform a root canal. Though your use of novocain was very skilled, your use of humor to alleviate the boredom of the procedure was in poor taste and would have been alarming had I not been so heavily sedated. You definitely made the better career choice in waking life.

    As far as guest spots in my dreams, you vastly out-weirded Mel Gibson, who made a cameo appearance about 13 years ago at a pot-luck luau held by pirates ("Argh!" pirates, not Somali pirates), in which all he did was eat copious amounts of a dip that nobody had told him was made with smoked human brains. Although that might explain his subsequent real-life behavior. Kuru is an ugly disease.

    Oh -- and what was up with the group of bikers at Table 13 who entertained the other diners by melodramatically lip-synching to The Alan Parsons Project's "Limelight" while gradually morphing into poorly costumed robots and space aliens, and why were they so intent on killing the winsome little girl who was fleeing them through a post-apocalyptic wasteland on a makeshift Segway?

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    The Best of Health Care Floor Debates

    The Best of Health Care Floor Debates

    House Republicans led a spirited debate against the government takeover of health care. Here are their speeches. To watch the full session from 3/21/2010, visit: http://bit.ly/hcrdebate

    It's an interactive map, with a sidebar list. Click and listen.

    1947: Slimebag boyfriend arranges fatal abortion

    On March 21, 1947, Ilene Eagen was brought to Mankato, Minnesota, to the dental office of W. A. Groebner for an abortion. Court records indicate that Ilene was pressured into the abortion by her paramour, Raymond Older, who refused to marry her and threatened her with bodily harm if she refused an abortion.

    After the abortion, Ilene became violently ill and lost consciousness. Groebner and Older failed to seek or provide proper care for the sick woman. Instead, Older took Ilene to his service station in Granada, Minnesota and kept her there through the remainder of the night, into the morning of March 22.

    Older allowed Ilene to languish without medical care. She died March 24.

    Ilene left a seven-year-old daughter motherless.

    Older tried to escape civil liability on the grounds that despite his refusal to marry her, and the threats, Ilene had consented to the abortion and that therefore she was responsible for her own sickness and subsequent death.

    It seems the current aims of the abortion lobby are to provide more options and fewer barriers to creeps like Raymond Older, and to shut down the pregnancy centers that would provide support and help to women like Ilene.

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

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    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    How a bill really becomes a law

    HT: Political Byline

    Two early 20th Century deaths

    On March 23, 1905, Mrs. Ida Pomering died in Chicago from an abortion performed earlier that day. A midwife named Apollonia Heinle was held by the coroner's jury for Ida's death.

    On March 23, 1907, Mrs. Dora Swan, age 24, died at Englewood Union Hospital in Chicago from the effects of a criminal abortion. Mrs. Louise Achtenberg, whose profession is not given, was held responsible by the coroner, but there is no record that charges were filed.

    Note, please, that with ordinary public health issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.

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

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    1979: Antiquated abortion method leaves two kids motherless

    Life Dynamics lists 24-year-old Lynn McNair on their "Blackmun Wall" of women killed by legal abortions. LDI notes that Lynn was 23 weeks pregnant when she was injected with saline by Dr. Edward Rubin at Jewish Memorial Hospital. The first injection of saline failed to kill the fetus, so Lynn was given a second injection. After this second dose, Lynn went into contractions and slipped into a coma. She died March 23, 1979 of a pulmonary embolism of amniotic fluid -- amniotic fluid that got into her lungs through her bloodstream. She left two children motherless.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

    To email this post to a friend, use the icon below.

    New Jersey moves to ban breathing

    New Jersey Bill to Ban “E-Cigarettes” Use in Public Passes another Hurdle

    In an attempt to ban cigarette simulators, a New Jersey Senate committee has decided to ban public "smoking". "Smoking would be defined as any process of inhaling tobacco and exhaling smoke, or any other substance or vapor that can be inhaled and exhaled."

    The question arises: Would the bill cover fetuses, who are inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid? Or is in-utero activity considered private even if the mother is in a public place?

    Sunday, March 21, 2010


    Stupak Announces Deal With White House on Abortion Funding Ban

    How can he and the other prolife Democrats be stupid enough to trust Obama to disappoint his pro-abortion backers?

    Did Obama lobotomize these people? Threaten their kids if they voted "No"? Blackmail them? They can't honestly believe him.

    World Down Syndrome Day Blog Roundup

  • 3-21 World Down Syndrome Day, which includes a sidebar link to Sharing Our Blessings, which provides a free book to parents who have just learned that their child has Down Syndrome.

  • This Good Life celebrates her little boy, who has DS. It's a beautiful post and very encouraging for parents who has recently gotten the news that their child has DS.

  • The Life & Times of Aidan & Alayna offers the perspective of a mom who is also a teacher.

  • Sunflower Stories expresses pain -- not about having a child with DS, but about the hurtful, hateful things people say and do.

  • A Leader's View blogs about opening a small business with their adult daughter, who has DS.

  • Room for More looks at common myths about Down Syndrome.

  • Learning as I Go addresses how we can help overcome the financial obstacles standing between kids with DS and the loving families that want to adopt them. (Learn more here.)

  • Bill and Ria share a beautiful poem.

  • Hannah's Shenanigans lists 10 things you can do to support people with DS.
  • Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day!

    HT: Cause of Our Joy

    Today, March 21, is World Down Syndrome Day

    Down Syndrome International (DSI) has officially earmarked 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). The date was chosen to signify the uniqueness of Down syndrome in the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome and is used synonymously with Down syndrome. Commemoration of World Down Syndrome Day started on 21 March 2006, it has " grown " manifold globally.

    The annual observance of WDSD aims to promote awareness and understanding of Down syndrome and related issues : and to mobilise support and recognition of the dignity, rights and well being of persons with Down syndrome.

    We definitely need more public awareness. Right now, societal fear and loathing of people with Down Syndrome is so severe that the prenatal War on Down Syndrome has at least 13 times the level of "collateral damage" as combat bombing missions.

    Down Syndrome Brochure provides information, plus a beautiful 4-color brochure in both English and Spanish.

    The site also includes a reminder that there are currently over 200 families waiting to adopt a child with Down syndrome. Feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of meeting the special needs of a child with DS need not put a woman on the abortion table. She can place her child in a home that is ready to welcome him or her with open arms, fully prepared for all the special joys and challenges associated with DS.

    This is also a good time to remind you that Band of Angels puts out beautiful Celebrate! packages for parents who have just been told their child, born or in the womb, has Down syndrome. You can choose from three different packets at different prices.

    Band of Angels also produces a beautiful coffee table book, Common Threads, available in hard or soft cover. (I recommend the hard cover! This book is too beautiful to go for anything but the very best!) If you run any sort of a business that has a waiting room, leaving this book for customers to explore will go a long way toward reducing the misconceptions and prejudice.

    I buy my calendars from the Down Syndrome Association of Houston. They are absolutely beautiful and I get many positive comments about the cute kids and gorgeous pictures.

    People with Down Syndrome are not a threat. They are a vital part of our world. You can go here for a list of notable people with Down Syndrome, including actor Chris Burke

    Read here about Haile King Rubie, an artist with Down Syndrome. Sujeet Desai is a musician. Bernadette Resha is an artist who designs and sells t-shirts and other merchandise.

    Let's celebrate diversity and enrich our own lives by embracing our brothers and sisters with DS!

    There are some beautiful products available at Cafe Press:
    *Down syndrome isn't scary - it's just different
    *We are all Different. We are all Beautiful.
    *Gently Enhanced
    *My child took me to Holland... (The reference is from this.)
    *Want to come to Holland with me?
    *It's okay to be different
    and my personal favorite:
    *Love does not count chromosomes.

    A retrospective of Down Syndrome posts:

  • She chose not to salvage any joy
  • Antiquated abortion method kills mom as well as baby
  • Newsweek on new Down Syndrome test
  • Feel the LOVE!
  • Down Syndrome gets positive press in Washington Post!
  • More great news for kids with Down Syndrome
  • Aborting a baby with Down Syndrome
  • Palin's not the only proud mom of a baby with DS
  • A joyful anniversary for a happy mommy
  • When shame hides something glorious
  • What did Jon do?
  • 1927: Doc, midwife implicated in fatal abortion

    On March 21, 1927, Nancy Dawson died on-site in Chicago from a criminal abortion performed that day. That same day, Dr. J.F. Peck and midwife Christine Sedwig were booked for murder. They were indicted for felony murder on April 1.

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

    Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.

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

    To email this post to a friend, use the icon below.

    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    And they didn't warn the public. Surprised?

    PA Health Dept. Acts To Prevent Abortions At Unsafe Clinic:

    On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health took action to ensure that no other abortionist will begin operating at Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia abortion clinic because the facility itself presents a danger to the public.

    Gosnell’s clinic was raided on February 22, 2010, when authorities discovered filthy and unsafe conditions, along with a collection of aborted babies that stretched by 30 years. Gosnell has been implicated in the abortion deaths of two women along with a lengthy history of botched abortions. Gosnell is known to have operated an abortion clinic illegally prior to Roe v. Wade.

    The dead women were Semika Shirelle Shaw and Karnamaya Mongar. Read more about Gosnell's "back alley butcher" days here.

    The Health Department is seeking an order prohibiting abortions at Gosnell’s clinic because of dangerous conditions found there. The office has no access for a stretcher in the case of an emergency. In previous emergencies, care was delayed because exit doors were padlocked shut or blocked with debris from the clinic.

    Other infractions included the lack of emergency resuscitation equipment. A deficiency report noted that the only source of suction for patients with airway tubes was the same suction machine used for abortions. Filthy and unsanitary conditions were also cited.


    But here's the clincher:

    Even Vicki Saporta of the National Abortion Federation has thrown Gosnell under the bus. She says that the NAF recently denied Gosnell affiliation because of nineteen “extensive” violations of NAF guidelines were discovered during an inspection last December.

    Why didn't NAF report this guy?

    Okay, to some extent it would have been closing the barn door after the horse got out, but still, you'd think two dead patients and deplorable conditions like those described would have merited something more than "You don't quite fit NAF standards." Not that being good enough for NAF is necessarily a ringing endorsement. In fact, considering some of the cesspools they've allowed to enter and remain in the fold, it should be an automatic call to the health department if they don't even measure up to NAF standards, which are low enough that a snake would bump his head trying to slither under them.

    Just one quip in closing:

    Saporta was “dumbfounded” to learn that Gosnell had been telling reporters that the NAF found his clinic to be clean.

    Let's see -- He kills babies for a living, he was party to Harvey Karman's quackery, he ran a filthy place, and he let two patients die horrible deaths. But Vicki Saporta is "dumbfounded" about him saying he'd passed a NAF inspection? It reminds me of this exchange from Arsenic and Old Lace:

    Mortimer: Aunt Abby, how can I believe you? There are twelve men down in the cellar and you admit you poisoned them.

    Aunt Abby: Yes, I did. But you don't think I'd stoop to telling a fib.

    1926: Should we be outraged or shrug it off?

    On March 20, 1926, 19-year-old Alice Annalora died at the County Hospital in Chicago from complications of an abortion performed that day. Dr. Wilford Vine was booked for Alice's death, as was her husband, Joseph Annalora. Vine was indicted for felony murder.

    Ultimately, the coroner was unable to determine the legal status of the abortion that killed Alice, so Dr. Vine and Mr. Annalora were released.

    Alice's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

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

    To email this post to a friend, use the icon below.

    1906: Home abortion proves fatal

    The year was 1906. Anna Gosch's boyfriend, Mr. Edwards, admitted that he knew Anna, that they'd had a sexual relationship, and that she had called him to tell him that her period was late. He admitted that he went to Kearney, and got a hotel room with the intent of performing an abortion. While Anna and her boyfriend were in the room, a bellboy came and objected to the presence of a woman in Edwards' room.

    The next day, Edwards said, he took her to her home, and using a speculum he tried to insert a catheter into her uterus, but was unsuccessful. He said that Anna went upstairs and returned with a catheter with a wire in it. He said that he used this on Anna, and then bent the wire and threw it away.

    A witness said that Edwards denied having done the abortion himself. He said that Anna had gone upstairs, then come down and told him that she thought "she had done it." But a speculum and three catheters were in Edwards' valise when he was arrested.

    A physician, Dr. Cameron, was called on Thursday, March 15. He saw her twice a day until the Monday before her death, at 2 or 3:00, consulted with another physician, and concluded that Anna was going to die.

    Dr. Cameron testified,"I asked her what had been done to make her sick, and she said there had been a man had passed an instrument into her with a wire in it, rubber with a wire in it. I asked her when that had been done, and she said Monday; she thought it was Monday night." When asked about who the man was, "She said he was a man who traveled for rubber goods or instruments of some kind, said he was a traveling man."

    Anna Gosch died on Tuesday, March 20, 1906, at 6:10 PM.

    Edwards was convicted of homicide.

    Anna's death is similar to the death of "Daisy" Roe, a systems analyst who died in 1990 after allowing her boyfriend to attempt to perform an abortion on her with a piece of aquarium tubing.

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

    Note, please, that with issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.

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

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    The Bullwinkle Approach

    I'd completely forgotten about this!

    Doing more of the same thing and expecting a different result. Einstein called it insanity. But "The Bullwinkle Approach" is pretty apt as well.

    An inkling of abortion worker remorse?

    I can't divulge much, just to say that I had a client today who had a tentative plan, then a crisis happened and I helped said client to quickly carry out the tentative plan to avoid what the client perceived as a looming catastrophe. It turns out that upon getting the client calm and gathering more information -- after helping the client ward off the perceived catastrophe -- the precipitating event wasn't as bad as it had seemed. But getting the client calm, helping the client ward off the problem (which likely won't really have an impact for many months yet, rather than immediately as the client believed), seemed paramount at the time.

    It's reversible, mind you. The client can decide that it wasn't as good an idea as first believed, and take action to put things back the way they were. But the very fact that in order to calm the client I helped the person implement a plan that wasn't fully researched and explored, I feel awful. There can be some troublesome (though not catastrophic) repercussions if it turns out that the move wasn't the right one. Had the client not been so terribly distraught, the same decision probably would have been made, but with greater deliberation and better information to back the decision, and after a couple of weeks of really assessing the situation to make a more informed choice.

    I want to go back and have a re-do, to find a way to calm the client without taking what was a fairly drastic step. To show the client how to regain emotional equilibrium and make choices calmly, not in the middle of a crisis.

    I wonder if abortion workers ever go home and wonder if they've helped somebody make a mistake. But in the case of abortion, an irreversible and devastating mistake. What goes through their minds? I think of the lady abortionist (I forget her name) who wrote a piece about her work, and she mentioned what she considered a devastating mistake -- when she'd performed an abortion on a rape victim, only to, upon examining the dead fetus, realize that it was too old to have been conceived during the rape. It had been conceived prior to the rape, with the patient's husband, but the patient hadn't yet realized she was pregnant. (I don't know if she even told the patient or not.) Plenty of abortion choices turn out to be devastating to the patient afterward, and abortionists shrug the patients' distress off as a theatrical variation of buyer's remorse. Why should one abortion done based on bad information stick out from any other abortions done based on bad information (ithe patient didn't know the fetus had a beating heart and wouldn't have aborted had she known, the baby didn't really have the suspected birth defect, the layoff wasn't long term after all, etc.)?

    I don't know. Just awake in the middle of the night trying to make sense of it.

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    An acceptable level of collateral damage

    I've been trying to find the ratio of unintended civilian casualties for every enemy combatant killed by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, to no avail.

    The closest I can get to an estimate of how much collateral damage our troops are causing is this piece, that estimates a little more than one civilian death for every 12 bombs or missiles our troops use.

    I'll round it up, say that it's two civilian deaths for every dozen bombs or missiles.

    Our targets aren't so much enemy combatants as enemy equipment -- tanks, weapons caches, munitions factories, and so forth -- and efficacy is counted in terms of whether the target was destroyed, not whether combatants were killed. But the equipment isn't just sitting there unattended. I think it's a safe assumption that if a bomb hits its intended target, it's also taking out at least one enemy combatant. And for the sake of comparisons, I'll go for the very lowest estimate and say that each successful bomb or missile is taking out only one enemy.

    This article estimates that 75% of bombs were hitting their intended targets. That's 3/4, which is 9/12.

    To eliminate a hundred guys like this, we accidentally kill 22 people we didn't intend to kill.

    So, if we're making the low estimate of combatant casualties (one per successful bomb or missile) and a high estimate of civilian casualties (two per dozen bombs or missiles), every dozen missiles is taking out nine enemy combatants and two civilians. For every 100 of the enemy killed, we are (at the absolute highest estimate) taking out 22 civilians.

    Let's compare the War on Terror, then, to the War on Down Syndrome, which kills three genetically standard babies for every "enemy" (baby with Down syndrome) successfully eliminated. For every 100 of the "enemy" killed, we are killing 300 "civilians" -- non-targeted "normal" babies. That's at least 13 times the "collateral damage" rate of combat bombing missions.

    To eliminate 100 people like this guy, we accidentally kill 300 people we didn't intend to kill. So evidently we consider this guy thirteen times as threatening as that guy in the other picture.

    What has the world come to, when doctors have at least a 13-times higher collateral damage rate than military bombers?

    Who is killing indiscriminately here?

    1907: Doc's work fatal for Chicago woman

    On March 19, 1907, Mrs. Bessie Simons, age 30, died at her Chicago home from complications of a criminal abortion performed there that day. Dr. C. D. Hughes was arrested in the death. Bessie's abortion was typical in that it was performed by a physician.

    Note, please, that with overall public health issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.

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

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    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Six Media Tricks, by Cracked.com

    6 Subtle Ways The News Media Disguises Bullshit As Fact

    When you browse the news today, Cracked.com warns, beware of Weasel Words, Implying Without Saying, Burying Inconvenient Facts, Biased Photos, The Active Voice, and Guessing the Motives Instead of Reporting The Facts.

    Give us your examples! (I was gonna give some but I'm too tired.)

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    1976: What an abortionist did on his Florida vacation

    Cycloria Vangates underwent a safe and legal abortion on March 13, 1976, performed by Dr. Paul Glassman.

    She suffered a cervical laceration. The Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine found that Glassman failed to adequately treat Cycloria's injury. She died on March 17.

    Glassman's license was finally revoked for three years beginning in 1981. He later recovered his license on the condition that he undergo close supervision and not perform any more abortions.

    Glassman moved to Missouri, but his attorney revealed to the Florida Board that Glassman performed 17 abortions while visiting in Fort Lauderdale, in an effort to prove that the ban against Glassman performing abortions was unnecessary. (Don't you have to wonder what goes on in somebody's head, that while they're vacationing in Florida, they decide to do a few abortions? Aside from the idea that you can show people that they can trust you by doing sneaky things behind their backs. Tell me abortionists aren't nuts.)

    Glassman also faced a 1978 Florida conviction for felony grand larceny involving filing insurance claims for a faked automobile accident.

    Glassman paid out $386,875 to Cycloria's survivors, according to a malpractice liability search.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    1907: Doc implicated in deathbed statement

    On March 17, 1907, Paulina Schneider died at St. Francis Hospital in Peoria, Illinois, from complications of a criminal abortion.

    Paulina gave a deathbed statement implicating Dr. Robert Emery in her abortion. Paulina's mother had also fingered Emery.

    For reasons not given in the source document, Emery -- identified as "Old Doctor Robert Emery" -- was found not guilty.

    Note, please, that with issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909

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

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    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Obamacare and Set Theory

    Obama and the supporters of Obamacare seem flummoxed by the way polls show people favoring various provisions of the bill, while hating the bill overall. How, they ponder, can so many people like all these parts of it and not like the whole thing?

    To understand that, a bit of basic Set Theory.

    I'll oversimplify to make it easy to follow.

    On any given provision of the bill, there will be three sets of people -- those who like it, those who hate it, and those who have no opinion. For each provision, we will look at the set of those who like it. So the Set of People Who Like Provision A will just be called Provision A for short.

    Obama seems to think that the sets are additive -- that is, The Set of People Who LIke The Whole Bill ought to equal the sum of Provision A + Provision B + Provision C and so on. But if you add Provision A + Provision B + Provision C, etc., you'll get The Set Of People Who Like At Least One Provision of the Bill, not The Set of People Who Like the Whole Bill.

    Let me illustrate. It's not to scale, because I'm illustrating a basic point, not trying to get exact numbers here.

    So -- here is the Set of People Who Like Provision A:

    If you pass a bill that's just Provision A, all these people will like it.

    Now, watch what happens when you add The Set of People Who Like Provision B:

    The area covered by both circles would be The Set of People Who Like At Least One Provision. It's bigger than Provision A or Provision B. But The Set of People Who Like Both Provision A and Provision B is depicted by the area of overlap. It is smaller than either Provision A or Provision B alone. Mathematically, The Set of People Who Like Both Provision A and Provision B can not be larger than the smaller of the two sets.

    Following me?

    As you add more provisions, two things happen:

    The Set of People Who Like At Least One Provision can grow, but The Set of People Who LIke All The Provisions can't. It can never be bigger than the smallest set. And unless there is 100% overlap between any two sets, the Set of People Who Like All The Provisions will continue to get smaller and smaller as you add more provisions:

    You've seen this in real life when you try to get a group of people to agree on what to order on a pizza. In a group of 10 people, 8 may like pepperoni, 9 may like extra cheese, 6 may like sausage, 8 may like onions, 4 may like pineapple, and 1 may like anchovies. That doesn't mean you're going to have 10 people who want a pepperoni, sausage, onion, pineapple, and anchovy pizza with extra cheese. The largest possible number of people who would like a pizza with all those toppings is one -- and that's if the anchovy person also likes pepperoni, extra cheese, sausage, onions, and pineapple. If the anchovy person doesn't like extra cheese, even he won't want a pizza with the works.

    And this is how you can get so many people who like one more or more parts of the Obamacare bill, while having only a minority that like the whole thing.

    Planned Parenthood lobbying lies again. Surprised?

    I got one another email from the Planned Parenthood mailing list, beseeching me to watch "Tiffany's Story" and beg my congrescritter for abortion coverage in Obamacare:

    So much of the national conversation on health care reform is about the politics ... It seems that some lawmakers and pundits have forgotten what this is really all about: getting people the care they need. That's why I want to share a moving story from Tiffany, a mother of three in South Dakota.

    In this brief video, Tiffany describes the kind of deeply private, personal and difficult decision that some women like her are forced by circumstance to make in this country regarding their families and their health. I admire her bravery in sharing this story with Planned Parenthood and supporters like you, and I urge you to watch Tiffany tell her story in her own words.

    Then, tell your representative in Congress to focus on what matters and pass health care reform without new restrictions on abortion coverage. Because it's not about politics, who's winning, and who's losing. It's about Tiffany, and women like her all around the country who need health care reform, and need it now.

    This is a bald-faced self-interested lie by PP. This is about politics, and about winning, and about losing. But mostly, it's about Planned Parenthood putting more tax money in their coffers. And they're not above exploiting a family's tragedy to do it.

    I don't know if Tiffany was lied to by her doctor and/or by Planned Parenthood, if she's a well-meaning but misinformed dupe, or if she knows better but out of loyalty to the abortion agenda is willfully lying. Either way, Planned Parenthood's use of Tiffany has to be exposed as the fraud it is. We should defund these cruel rat-bastards.

    You might want to go back and look at the original (and effective) misleading use of Tiffany's story that the grotesquely misnamed "Campaign for Healthy Families" did when they were fighting the South Dakota abortion ban bill: Wrong on Three Counts.

    Tiffany's situation simply didn't apply under the proposed South Dakota abortion ban, but the "Campaign for [un]Healthy Families" used it anyway, because it was effective; because most people would simply take the sad but still grateful woman at her word and not question her. And thus, they'd never question the agenda of "Campaign for [un]Healthy Families".

    Let's look at the newly repackaged Tiffany story:

    Tiffany implied that she was given two choices -- do a selective reduction to abort one twin, or do nothing and let both of them die. She very carefully chooses her words so that we're left in the dark as to whether or not she was offered the recommended treatments for Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), so we can't tell if Tiffany's doctor didn't offer her a way to try to save both babies, or if he presented it as so unlikely to succeed as to be not worth trying, or if he just falsely gave her the choice, "Abort one or lose both." Because of this vital information gap, I don't think the story is told in Tiffany's own words. A layman wouldn't have the media savvy to be that carefully and diabolically ambiguous.

    Let's get some words from experts:

    What if I’ve been told that there is no hope for my babies diagnosed with TTTS? This may have been the case 25 years ago, but there is tremendous hope now for your babies. TTTS has been the focus of a few serious researchers and their work, who had to overcome the prevailing pessimism at the time to create a new reality for your babies. All you have to do is read the Foundation’s web site, and see what former TTTS couples on our message boards have to say. You will know that your babies can make it, and be healthy. Never give up. We are here to help you.

    Aside from the way Planned Parenthood carefully crafted the story to make it appear that Tiffany's only choices were to abort one baby or lose both, there's the way Planned Parenthood hides behind TIffany and holds her up as representative of women submitting to abortions. But that's just the way of the abortion lobby -- to use women in tragic circumstances as human shields to deflect criticism of their own lies and deceptions. Women facing a grave personal or fetal anomaly represent only a tiny fraction of women submitting to abortions -- yet PP wants you to lobby as if they were the norm. And what's more, PP never even addresses whether or not abortion really is the best option for these women. They simply assume that any problem that arises for a pregnant woman is best treated with abortion. Which, of course, makes sense for Planned Parenthood, since it's the only thing that they really offer to pregnant women.

    Planned Parenthood wants money. Lots of money. YOUR money. To pay for abortions, even those performed without parental knowledge on underage girls pregnant through unreported sexual abuse.

    This isn't about helping women like Tiffany. It's about using women like Tiffany for public relations purposes to try to emotionally blackmail taxpayers into funding elective abortions.

    For more information about what real care for mothers like Tiffany would look like, see Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation. And this appropriate and dually-lifesaving care is covered by most insurance. It's pretty iffy regarding whether it'd be covered by Obamacare, which seeks to "reduce costs" and "focus on prevention".

    1973: Safe and legal in Chicago

    Reports on death of Evelyn Dudley, age 38, alleged that she was treated at Friendship Medical Center in Chicago on March 16, 1973. Later, at home, she collapsed in the driveway. She was taken to a hospital, where attempts to save her failed.

    Her death was due to shock, due to hemorrhage from a ruptured cervix and vagina, from "remote abortion." T.R. Mason Howard stated that Evelyn was treated at Friendship for infection sustained in an abortion in Detroit. But Evelyn's brother stated that she had come to Chicago specifically to have the abortion.

    Julia Rogers and Dorothy Brown also died after abortions at Friendship Medical Center.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    Another historic abortion case

    Harriet "Hattie" Reece was a 25-year-old primary school teacher in Browning, Illinois. Her husband, Frank, was also a teacher and principal at the school where Hattie taught. They had been married two and a half years in 1899, when the events unfolded that ended Hattie's life on March 16. And the finger pointed at Dr. James W. Aiken, who seemed to be a bit of a George Tiller precursor -- somebody who would find a "life of the mother" case in any pregnancy. But unlike Tiller, Aiken couldn't just buy his way out of trouble. He was found guilty and sentenced to fifteen years.

    News coverage in The Quincy Daily Journal gives us two perspectives -- Frank Reece's and James Aiken's -- with a bit of other folks' input scattered about. See whose testimony seems more credible to you.

    Frank's Story

    Frank testified to the coroner's jury that he had been unaware of his pregnancy, but then testified that they had suspected pregnancy two months earlier and had consulted Dr. Blankinship, who was not certain but believed that Hattie was indeed pregnant. Hattie, Frank said, reported severe pains. Frank said that "Dr. Blankinship said it would be best for her health if such was the case." The "it" to which Blankinship referred seemed to be continuing the pregnancy.

    But Frank evidently had some concerns about his wife's plans after they spoke to Blankinship. "In talking with her I learned that she did not want to have a child, as she wished to continue teaching. She said if there was any way out, she did not want the burdens. We called Dr. Blankinship in again. She was feeling blue and despondent and I asked him in her presence if he had any medicine for despondency. He said that there was a medicine that would relieve her but that he had no right to give it. Neither of us asked him for it. That was a month ago."

    This seemed to have been a roundabout way to request an abortion to remove the underlying cause of Hattie's "despondency".

    Frank indicated that he wrote to Dr. Stremmel of Macomb, Illinois, at his wife's request. Stremmel, Frank said, also recommended continuing the pregnancy because, Frank said, "an operation would ruin her health."

    "She then said she was going to write to Dr. Aiken of Tennessee. I told her as far as I was concerned I would have nothing more to do with it. I knew Dr. Aiken only by heresay and had no conficence in him."

    Hattie wrote to Aiken and showed her husband the letter she got in response, indicating that "such an operation would be a delicate one, but that he could take her through it safely and have her on her feet in ten days. .... I said I would not listen to such a proposition nor tolerate it." Hattie continued a correspondence with Aiken, over her husband's protests. "I said to her, 'If you do what you contemplate it will result in death and disgrace.'" He would only consent to an abortion if it was a legal abortion, necessary to protect her health. Hattie proposed going to Aiken for a consult. Frank thought a consult was a good idea but was opposed to Aiken. He offered to pay for the expenses if she went to see doctors in Macomb, but would not underwrite any involvement with Aiken.

    Hattie went anyway, paying the expenses from her salary, leaving on the 24th and planning to stay somewhere under Aiken's care. She sent Frank a letter "in which she said she had done nothing but what clear conscience would approve and that I would when she saw me." She sent several other letters to Frank, saying she was not well, concluding with a telegram -- which was later presented as evidence at trial. Frank finally went to Tennessee to speak to her.

    When Frank arrived, Hattie said that Aiken had examined her, told her she would not survive childbirth but that he could "safely take her through it" -- presumably meaning an abortion. Aiken told Frank that "the danger was not over and that the trouble was with her stomach."

    Frank went back to Hattie's room, begged her forgiveness for having been harsh with her, and returned home.

    He got a telegram from his wife saying that she was worse and to come at once. When Frank arrived, Aiken told him that Hattie was dying and that he'd sent for her father. The prosecution was able to present this telegram to confirm that Aiken had contacted Hattie's family:

    Tennessee, Ill., March 15, '99 -- Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy -- Your daughter Hattie is here quite sick from tympanus of stomach and bowels. In all probability she can't get well. Come at once, as there is no time to lose. Yours, Dr. J.W. Aiken

    This missive had been sent to Hattie's parents the day before her death.

    Then Aiken told Frank that "he had told the people Mrs. Reece had died of peritonitis. That was the story he had been telling and we must both stick to it as I was in it as deep as he." Frank told Aiken that he'd tell the truth, and went to speak with his wife.

    She told Frank that the abotion had been performed on Saturday (most likely March 4) with blunt instruments, and that she had expelled the dead baby on Wednesday (most likely March 8). Aiken had put the baby in his pocket and left with it.

    The coroner's jury concluded that Hattie had died of peritonitis caused by an abortion performed by Aiken. Aiken told the coroner's jury that he was innocent and would reveal the real culpret.

    The Trial

    Aiken's trial was held before a packed courtroom in Macomb, Illinois.

    When the defense cross-examined Frank, they brought out that he had met John Shippey on the evening train the first time he'd gone to see Hattie. Shippey had said, "How is this, are you not teaching at Browning?" to which Frank had replied that there would be no school that week. He told Shippey that Hattie had gone to Colchester to see a sick aunt, and had herself come down with tonsilitis. I'm uncertain as to the significance of this testimony; perhaps it was meant to discredit Frank as a liar, or perhaps it was intended to show that Hattie had been sick from something other than an abortion.

    The defense also asked Frank if he had paid Mrs. Ellis (on whose premises Hattie had died, and who had witnessed Hattie's statement exonerating Aiken) $15. This question related to supposed efforts to cover up the real cause of Hattie's death. The prosecution objected.

    The defense questioned the telegraph operator who had supposedly sent the telegram to Frank from Hattie; he said he had no such telegram in his files. A different telegraph operator said that he had sent a telegram from Aiken, summoning Frank, on March 15.

    Anna Aiken, Aiken's niece, testified for the defense that she had gone through her uncle's office and had found no letters from Frank or Hattie Reece.

    Aiken's Story

    Aiken took the stand in his own defense. He admitted that he had corresponded with Hattie, who he had known since before her marriage and had treated earlier for tonsillitis. He could not produce the letters in question. He said that she had written complaining of being run down, suffering from hemorrhiods and "suppressed menses". She had asked, he said, if he could either treat her without seeing her or if he could come to her home in Browning and treat her there. He denied there being anything in the letter about "being in a delicate condition" or requesing an abortifacient -- odd claims, since "suppressed menses" was at that time coy way of referring to pregnancy while not outright admitting it, and a woman with severe hemorrhoids would hardly want to undertake a long train ride to get treatment when there were any number of doctors closer to home.

    Aiken said that his reply had been that he could not come to her, but that if she came to him he could treat her, but that "some rectal troubles required delicate operations" but he could have her okay in a week or two, or maybe ten days, and that this care might cost as much as $35. She had, he said, replied, "If nothing happens I will come to Tennessee March 3rd." She had also, he said, indicated that she didn't want her friends to know she was there until she had recovered and could visit them. He had, he said, secured accomodations for Hattie at Mrs. Ellis' place. He also said that he'd gotten a letter from Frank indicating that Hattie was coming to him for care.

    Aiken said that he met Hattie at the train station, took her to Mrs. Ellis, introducing her as "the lady who came to saty with you for a short time; you may call her Hattie for the present." He said that he left her, and returned on Saturday morning to find her in bed with a fever. He examined her, he said, "for piles and also for female trouble". Twice during the examination, he said, Hattie asked him to stop. She also, he said, asked him if she was pregnant. He asked her if she had taken any drugs. She said that she had. Aiken said that he then treated her for constipation, fever, and "nervousness".

    Frank arrived on Thursday night, which would have been March 9. Aiken met him on the sidewalk and took him to Hattie. Aiken said that he told Frank that Hattie's period had started on Tuesday and that she'd caught cold. The coverage gets confusing at this point -- it says "he did not tell Reece then that he had performed the operation". Whether this consistutes Aiken admitting that he had performed "the operation" but not telling Frank, or a denial that Aiken had performed "the operation" at all I can't discern.

    At any rate, Aiken said that Hattie's condition worsened, so he told her to send for her mother, but Hattie declined. He then suggested that she hire a nurse and get a second opinion. She agreed to this. Aiken first telegraphed Dr. Bolles, but couldn't get him. He then telegraphed Dr. Lewis.

    Mrs. McKenzie (another witness to Hattie's statement) arrived at "the hotel" before Dr. Lewis did. Lewis and Aiken consulted briefly, then Lewis examined Hattie. Lewis testified about his examination, which involved instruments for "cleansing the organs". The details of his testimony were not reported. After Lewis left, Aiken telegraphed Hattie's parents and husband. He then asked Hattie if she wanted to leave any message for her parents in case she died before they arrived. Aiken said that Hattie told him, "I want to make a statement that you did not perform an abortion on me, and have always treated me like a gentleman." He then wrote up the statement as dictated by Hattie, Miss McKenzie copied it. Hattie by then was too weak, he said, to sign it, but the witnesses signed it. The defense presented it as Exhibit B:

    Tennessee, Ill., March 15, '99 -- I want to make this statement before these witnesses. Dr. Aiken has not produced an abortion on me. I think I took cold. The doctor has treated me kindly for which I am thankful. Signed in the presence of these witnesses. Hattie Reece. Witnesses -- Willia McKenzie, S.E. McKenzie, Lydia Ellis

    Miss Willia McKenzie testified before the coroner's jury, corraborating evidence given by her mother and by Mrs. Ellis. They indicated that Hattie had indeed signed the statement exonerating Dr. John W. Aiken.

    Hattied died Thursday at around 4 p.m. Her father had arrived Wednesday evening, her mother the next morning. Aiken expected to be arreseted. He consistently held that he had never performed an abortion on Hattie or given her an abortifacient, and denied that she had miscarried wile under his care. His defence brought forth about twenty character witnesses who said that he'd been practicing for over thirty years and had a good reputation.

    Aiken was typical of criminal abortionists in that he was a doctor.

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

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