Tuesday, October 05, 2010

1971: A teen's journey to death

"Becky" was 18 years old when she traveled from Arkansas to New York for a safe and legal abortion. She was 14 weeks pregnant.

The abortion was performed on September 26, 1971. Though she was running a fever the day after the abortion, staff discharged her to return home.

By the time Becky got back to Arkansas and saw a doctor, her condition was critical. She died from infection on October 5.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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Rupert said...

And for each "Becky" that dies through abortion, there are nine who die in childbirth.

Christina Dunigan said...

Those numbers are unmitigated bullshit, and anybody who has done any real research -- with an eye to FACTS, not to supporting fetus-slaying as a livelihood -- knows that.

Rupert said...

Your failure to recognize and accept independant data from sources such as the CDC is noted.

Christina Dunigan said...

Crediting the CDC as an independent data source regarding abortion is as blindly naive as crediting R.J. Reynolds as an independent data source regarding smoking.

Rupert said...

Just because the data doesn't show what you want it to doesn't make it invalid. It's the CDC, not PP.

Do you have any independent sources which invalidate the CDC data? And don't start the whole 'there is so much hidden information and obfuscated collected data that I can't determine what's true and what's not' argument.

Christina Dunigan said...

Rupert, I read everything the CDC published about abortion mortality, then also contacted every state and territorial vital records office (including New York City and the District of Columbia) to find out exactly how the CDC tabulates their abortion mortality data. There are so many holes in their collection system -- let's just say it's more of a sieve than it is a pail.

In order for a death to be counted as an abortion death, ALL of the following must happen. Any ONE step missed, and the death goes undetected:

1. The treating physician must be aware that there was an induced abortion. (Figure how likely that would be with a chemical abortion performed on a woman who is keeping the pregnancy a secret.)

2. The treating physician must not only cite the abortion as the cause of death on the death certificate, he must cite it as the PRIMARY cause of death. If it's in any other box the computer won't catch it.

3. The coder at the Vital Records Office must put in the appropriate ICD-10 code. (See this article for a bit more about that.)

4. The properly coded death certificate must then be in the 10% statistical sample the state in question sends to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). This means that only TEN PERCENT of deaths for each state are sampled to NCHS. So statistically, for every abortion death sampled to NCHS, there are NINE MORE that aren't in the samples.

5. When the CDC's research fellow investigates the death, there must be sufficient paper trail to verify that the abortion was indeed an induced abortion. To tabulate as a LEGAL abortion, there must also be a paper trail designating that a physician in good standing (not one with a lapsed or suspended license, but whose patient thought he was in good standing) performed the abortion.

The CDC then takes these deaths, tosses in the odd death that somebody takes it upon himself to report (Curtis Boyd, for example, evidently reported Vanessa Preston's death, since he wrote it up in a medical journal; Robert Crist, on the other hand, clearly did NOT report Latachie Veal's death.)

When an agency takes a SAMPLE of deaths, then presents them to the public, and does all their calculations, with the presumption that this SAMPLE is actually ALL the deaths, it's cranking out crap. Period.

Anybody with six months and several thousand dollars to spend can duplicate my efforts.

Rupert said...

Your claims are emotive and exaggerated.

Even if it isn't quite 100% accurate (what data is?) the fact remains that death through abortion is hugely less likely than death through childbirth.

You could spend six years and several hundred thousand dollars and not find any different.

Christina Dunigan said...

And I need to clarify --

For every PROPERLY CODED death that gets through the NCHS system and gets reported to the CDC, there are, statistically speaking, likely NINE PROPERLY CODED abortion deaths that don't get counted.

There are still more improperly coded deaths that likewise sail under the radar. And new coding rules make it highly unlikely that the death certificate will even be ACCEPTED by NCHS if abortion is coded as the primary cause of death:

"WHO's coding rule no. 12, together with its recommendation no. 7, states that deaths due to medical and surgical treatment must be reported under the complication of the procedure and not under the condition or reason for treatment. In effect, this makes abortion a "ghost" category under which it is impossible to code a death. Medical coders have, in fact, relayed that any attempt to code a death due to abortion under an abortion category yields a "reject message" from the computer programs provided by the National Centre for Health Statistics of Washington D.C., a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. .... Only a minute number of abortion-related deaths actually qualify to be declared under abortion, i.e. those for which the medical certificate of death categorically and unequivocally gives abortion as the underlying cause of death. If abortion is mentioned anywhere else on the death certificate, on the underlying cause line, the death gets coded as an accident of some kind, a sudden or unexpected death, an illness (like septicaemia—blood poisoning) or an injury, etc." -- Abortion Related Death Statistics

Christina Dunigan said...

Rupert, I described how I found the CDC's data to be appallingly incomplete. You simply assert that they're adequate. Upon what do you base that assertion? What comparable research have you done that shows that the holes in the system are tiny and insignificant?

Any system that treats a 10% sample as if it represents the whole is by definition off by roughly 10%. If the deaths reported by other means than the NCHS amounted to about 90% of the deaths the CDC counted, I'd say that they were probably getting them all. But there's no evidence that this is the case.

Please try to produce something other than your satisfaction with the political ramifications of the numbers, and your personal preferences for believing in them. Because right now you sound like a Creationist explaining away dinosaurs.

Rupert said...

Now who's talking 'unmitigated bullshit'?

"there are, statistically speaking, likely NINE PROPERLY CODED abortion deaths that don't get counted.' -who, what, where, when, how? 'likely'? You wish!

And the accuracy of the stats for post-partum mortality would be......?

'Please try to produce something other than your satisfaction with the political ramifications of the numbers, and your personal preferences for believing in them' - ditto.

At least you're not a creationist, thank g....um,um....thankfully!

Christina Dunigan said...

I'll explain it again, since you can't seem to follow.

Abortion deaths are counted from a 10% SAMPLE. The number of deaths in the SAMPLE is treated as if it is the TOTAL number of deaths.

For "childbirth" (i.e. pregnancy related) deaths, the number of deaths in the SAMPLE is used to calculate the TOTAL number. They figure if there are X number of childbirth deaths in the 10% sample, then there will be 10X TOTAL deaths.

But they do NOT do the same with the abortion deaths.

I'll write a post explaining it.