Thursday, February 10, 2011

1957: An atypical illegal abortion death

Abortion supporters are assuring us that they protect women from back alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell -- which obviously they don't, since it was a prochoice political decision to allow him to ply his trade unfettered. Not only were the state and city health departments and the state medical board willfully and wantonly ignoring evidence that Gosnell was a dangerous quack, but pro choice groups -- up to and including the prestigious National Abortion Federation -- were referring women to Gosnell and in some cases even paying him.

Prolifers set up pregnancy centers to help women avoid abortions altogether. They've never referred a woman to a Kermit Gosnell or an Ira Ledbetter.

So as you read today's story, ask yourself:

1. Who was it, a prolifer or a prochoicer, who referred Alice for her abortion?
2. Was Ira Ledbetter really worse than the staff at Gosnell's filthy mill?
3. Who can be better trusted to help women -- those who are pushing for state oversight, or those who call the oversight "TRAP Laws" and insist that they're not necessary?
4. Who -- the prolifers outside abortion clinics, offering alternatives and information and often even copies of lawsuits against the doctor and the clinic, or the "escorts" rushing to make sure that those materials are kept out of the patients' hands -- is really standing between women and butchery?

Which group shows more real care, in practical terms, for women's well-beling?

On February 10, 1957, veterinarian Ira Ledbetter performed an abortion on Alice Kimberly. Ledbetter used a veterinary instrument called a milk tube on Alice, causing lacerations and an embolism. She quickly died of her injuries, leaving her husband with five minor children to raise alone.

Alice's abortion was unusual in that it was not preformed by a physician, as was by far the most typical scenario. Still, it was performed by somebody with medical training, which was unusual but still more common than amateur or self-induced abortions.

Illegal by Doctors Illegal by Paramedical Illegal by Amateurs Self Induced

During the 1950s, we see an anomaly: Though maternal mortality had been falling during the first half of the 20th Century, and abortion mortality in particular had been plummeting, the downward trend slowed, then reversed itself briefly. I have yet to figure out why. For more, see Abortion Deaths in the 1950's.

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

Source: 183 Kan. 644, 331 P.2d 307; Supreme Court of Kansas. DeWain Kimberly, Sr.; Jeannette Kimberly, a minor; Carol Ann Kimberly, a minor; DeWain Kimberly, Jr., a minor; Jackie Dean Kimberly, a minor; and Donnie LeeKimberly, a minor, by DeWain Kimberly, Sr., their father, as natural guardianand next friend, Appellees,v.Ira Ledbetter, Appellant.No. 41074.Nov. 8, 1958

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