Sunday, January 02, 2011

Today's anniversaries

  • Mary Strugnall, age 17, died January 2, 1929 from an abortion performed that day, apparently by Dr. Joseph A. Harter. Harter was held by the coroner on February 28. His brother, a student named Irving Harter, and Vernon Keyser, the baby's father, were arrested as accessories. Dr. Harter was indicted for homicide, but was acquitted on June 26. The source doesn't say why Harter was acquitted -- whether because the jury didn't believe he had done the abortion, or because of technicalities. Mary's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was attributed to a physician.

  • "Amy" Roe was 35 years old when she died in a New York hospital on January 2, 1971, leaving behind two children. She had suffered a massive pulmonary embolism during a safe, legal abortion she had undergone on Christmas Eve the previous year at 14 weeks into her pregnancy. Though Amy was the first woman identified as an abortion victim in 1971, she wasn't the last. The National Center for Health Statistics noted 90 induced abortion deaths for 1971 -- 15 legal, 75 illegal. Though the total of abortion deaths had been falling since the introduction of antibiotics (except for a brief reversal in the mid-1950s), with massive decriminalization of abortion in 1970 we would see a quick rise in the legal abortion deaths like Amy's as they came to replace deaths from illegal abortions -- thus eliminating outrage among the self-appointed protectors of women's lives, without actually eliminating the carnage.

  • On the morning of January 2, 1978, 26-year-old Sherry Emry's friends when to check on her. They had left her the previous day, too sick to get up and sleeping fitfully, with chills and sweating. They found her dead, and called the police. Sherry had been pain since New Years Eve. She had called Water Tower Reproductive Center in Chicago, where she had undergone a safe, legal abortion on December 28. They had assured her that her pain was normal. By New Years Day, Sherry was so sick that her friends tried to get her to seek medical care, but she had kept to her bed and assured them that she just had the flu. The autopsy performed on Sherry found that her fetus had been implanted in her fallopian tube, which had ruptured. She had bled to death. The coroner blamed Sherry's death on the fact that on instructions from clinic owner Arnold Bickham (pictured), Water Tower threw fetal remains away without a pathology analysis.

    Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually more likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners like Bickham.

    Sherry wasn't the only woman to die after abortion in a Bickham facility. Sylvia Moore, age 18, died after Bickham shoved her out the door of his clinic New Years Eve of 1986.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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