Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today's anniversaries

  • 1930: Fatal abortion by doctor: On September 9, 1930, 20-year-old Matilda Kleinschmidt underwent a criminal abortion, believed to have been performed in the office of Dr. J. Murney Nicholson. Matilda died on September 21. Matilda's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

  • 1995: Antiquated abortion method kills mom as well as baby: Linda Boom, age 35, decided on abortion when she learned that her baby might have Down syndrome. Fourth-year resident Karen S. Watson and supervision physician Daniel Gilman used the antiquated saline abortion technique, causing fatal damage to Linda's heart.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    L. said...

    Here's an interesting MSM piece about Downs babies:


    Christina Dunigan said...

    Thanx, L. Here it is as a link.

    I want to repost an old comment I'd made in another DS thread. While M didn't have Down syndrome, he did have the mental disabilities that are the reason so many people are prejudiced against folks with DS:

    One of the most profound discoveries of my life involved M, one of the men that lived at that institution. M is "retarded". I'd say his measured IQ is about 20. Perhaps lower. He's non-verbal. He can't dress himself, can't bathe himself. He needs help cleaning himself up after he uses the toilet. He has the "self-care skills" of a freshly toilet-trained toddler.

    There was also something amiss with his legs. He was very knock-kneed, and had a strange, shambling gait that quickly wore out his shoes in the toes.

    Due to poor care he'd originally received at the institution in his youth, he was missing quite a few teeth.

    So there was M. At first, all I saw was a middle-aged man, short, deformed, snaggle-toothed, and mentally retarded.

    But in that place where respect was hard to come by if you were a resident, M demanded respect from the staff. If you showed him respect, he'd be a joy to you. If you dissed him, he could make your life a living hell. Some of the staff hated him for that, because he made their jobs tricky. But all M wanted was respect. His motto, as far as I could see, was "Don't tread on me." Perfectly reasonable. And when I saw that, love or hate him, the staff quickly learned to treat M with respect, I started to admire him.

    This man was locked away for life in a maddening place that would have driven me to despair, madness, perhaps suicide. But he was thriving.

    Once he won my admiration, my love wasn't far behind.

    And I can still remember the moment it struck me: There isn't a goddam thing wrong with M. He's a fine, magnificent example of a human being, deformed legs, missing teeth, mental retardation and all.

    That moment rocked my world, and I am so much the richer for it. My horizons were expanded, as much as the European mind was expanded when they learned there was a land on the other side of the Atlantic. A whole new world of people I'd have once brushed off was opened up to me.

    I started seeing treasures all over that institution. People I genuinely rejoiced in, respected, and loved. It's been about eight years since I left, but my home is still decorated with pictures of the people I knew there. Not the "normal" people -- the other staff -- though many of them were wonderful people as well. It was the residents, the warehoused people society saw as "defective, who were treasures. And they were hidden away in an institution, where few people could see them at all, and even fewer see them for who they were.