Monday, February 28, 2011

2002: Another reason not to give Planned Parenthood money

Diana Lopez, age 25, was 19 weeks pregnant when she went to a Planned Parenthood for a safe and legal abortion on February 28, 2002. She was 19 weeks pregnant.

Before the day was over, Diana had bled to death. She left two sons, 4-year-old Frankie and 2-year-old Fabian, motherless. The taxpayers of California paid for the fatal abortion, courtesy of Medi-Cal.

After the abortion, Diana had been rushed by ambulance to County Women‘s Hospital, where a hysterectomy was performed and Diana was given five units of whole blood in a futile attempt to save her life.

Diana‘s autopsy noted that Diana had hemorrhaged from a perforation of her cervix.

Diana‘s husband, David, filed suit, alleging that the abortionist‘s haste caused severe lacerations that killed his wife. The suit says that Diana‘s abortion was rushed through in ony six minutes, although Planned Parenthood‘s own web site says such a procedure should take 10 to 20 minutes.

The lawsuit also blames Planned Parenthood for proceeding with an abortion even though her hemoglobin levels were abnormally low prior to the procedure.

The family‘s attorney also noted that in 2000, the same Planned Parenthood rushed another woman though a similar 6-minute abortion, lacerating the patient‘s cervix, rupturing her uterus, perforating her sigmoid colon and causing the loss of 2 liters of blood. Planned Parenthood also delayed three hours before transferring the patient to a hospital. Fortunately, this patient survived her ordeal.

A review of Los Angeles County civil cases indicates that this patient was probably Kimberly Thomas, who sued on April 19, 2002, after her abortion by Joseph Marmet. Kimberly‘s suit was one of roughly 50 filed against the Los Angeles Planned Parenthood from 1983 to 2002. The medical board took no action against Marmet.

The medical board took no action against Diana‘s abortionist, Dr. Mark Maltzer, either. However, the California Department of Health Services investigated the facility and cited Planned Parenthood for:

  • Failing to institute a necessary change in medical protocol relating to the use of laminaria (used to expand the cervix) in the dilation and evacuation procedure.
  • Lacking the evidence to show a completed assessment of the competency and credentials of the physician who carried out the abortion.
  • Inadequately advising against a potentially dangerous second-trimester D&E procedure based on low hemoglobin levels.
  • Failing to follow proper surgical abortion policy and procedure by administering Cytotec to the patient on day one of the two-day abortion procedure, when policy requires it to be administered 90 minutes before the abortion procedure.
  • Failing to inform Planned Parenthood‘s governing body of any adverse outcome related to patient care within the facility.
  • Failing to notify the Health Department of a patient's death within 24 hours of the occurrence.
  • Keeping incomplete records describing the services provided to Lopez.

    The fact that the Planned Parenthood has made "corrections" to satisfy the state does not satisfy Diana‘s family. "It was wrong. It was wrong," said Judy Lopez, Diana‘s older sister. "She was healthy. She was fine."
  • 1993: Planned Parenthood referral proves fatal

    Andrea Corey was 31 years old when she was referred by a nearby Planned Parenthood to Southern Tier Women's Services in New York for a safe and legal abortion. Andrea was sent home after her abortion, but she had retained tissue that caused an infection. She died of this infection on February 28, 1993.

    Planned Parenthood had also referred Elizabeth Tsuji for her fatal abortion, and referred Christi Stile to the abortionist who left her permanently incapacitated. I just wanted to stress, in the wake of the news that Karnamaya Mongar was referred to a lethal quack by an abortion clinic, that just because you're referred by professional prochoicers doesn't mean they've vetted the facility. (As much as they insist that they're opposed to quack abortionists and filthy mills, that doesn't seem to stop them from referring to them.)

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    1992: A little-noted death

    The only information I've been able to gather on Diane Adams comes from pro-life web sites. Human Life International mentions that abortionist Angel Acevado Montalvo was charged with manslaughter in two cases of maternal deaths from safe and legal abortion. HLI also notes that after his conviction, Montalvo went right back to business doing abortions.

    Priests for Life posts a list of women who have died from legal abortions, including Diane Adams, whose date of death they give as February 28, 1992. They cite a March 5, 1992 article in the Virgin Islands Daily News. They cite one other death, that of Rosael Rodriguez, from that article.

    Rosael Rodriguez and Diane Adams are most likely the two women referred to by HLI.

    1930: Work of a proto-Tiller turns deadly for teen

    On Monday, January 6, 1930, young man brought a 17-year-old girl from Wellinton, Kansas, to Wichita to seek an abortion at the hands of Dr. C.C. Keester. They knew his name and looked him up in the phone book to find him. I'll call the man Mike, the girl Eudora.

    The couple told Keester that the girl was pregnant and wanted "an operation to get rid of the condition." He put her in some sort of reclining exam chair and examined her, then used instruments on her as Mike stood at her head and observed. Keester then helped Eudora from the chair and sent the couple to a hotel half a block away, where Keester kept his patients -- much the same way George Tiller would later use the Wichita LaQuinta as a sort of abortion clinic annex. Mike paid $40 in cash and took Eudora to the hotel, where they registered as a married couple.

    On Wednesday, January 8, Mike told Keester that Eudora was well. On Thursday the 9th, "a conseuence of the operation was checked", court documents said. Mike sought Keester, to no avial.

    He found him on Friday, January 10, at about 7:30 p.m. Keester found Eudora in bed and examined her. He told Mike that Eudora needed care or she would die. He sent Mike to get a fountain syringe, then used some instruments and the syringe on Eudora without starilizing them.

    On Saturday, Eudora seemed better. On Sunday at about 2:30, Keester visited the hotel and said that Eudora was well enough to go home. Mike took Eudora to his mother's home in Wellington, telling her about the abortion. On Monday night, Eudora took ill. Mike told Eudora's sister what had happened, and the family summoned Dr. McGrew, who examined Eudora and recommended that she be taken to a hospital. She was admitted the next morning, January 14. She was suffering pertionitis.

    Dr. Van Deventer was summoned on January 23, and he and McGrew examined the girl. They found her in grave shape, and summoned Dr. Snyder. Snyder performed surgery on January 31, with Dr. McGrew assisting with anesthesia, to try to save Eudora's life. McGrew testified later that Eudora's abdomen had been full of abscesses. Eudora's condition continued to deteriorate. On February 4, she was given a blood transfusion. On the evening of Feb 5 or 6, she asked everybody but her stepmother to leave the room. She said, "Mother, I am going to die. What Dr. Keester did to me is going to kill me." She then told of the trip to Wichita and the abortion. On February 12 Eudora became irrational, but she continued to linger until her death on February 28.

    Dr. McGrew attended the post-mortem examination. He later testified that everything he saw in examining Eudora, everything he observed in surgery, and everything he saw during the post-mortum, was consistent with the statements of Eudora and Mike about the abortion.

    According to court documents, "The defense was the stock defense of the practitioner of abortion -- the girl did it herself, and then went to a doctor for help."

    Keester testified that Mike had indeed come to his office, but alone, saying he had a very sick wife in his car who he wanted the doctor to see immediately. Keester said that he was in the doorway between his reception room and exam room, and told Mike that he had other patients but that Mike could bring the girl up. Mike came back with Eudora. There were three men and "an office girl" in the reception room. Keester said that Mike told him, in the waiting room in the presence of the three men, "This is my wife. Examine her, and see what is the matter with her." Keester said he took Eudora into the exam room but left the door open, which allowed those in the reception area to hear what transpired.

    Keester was asked if he routinely left the exam room door open so as to allow people to listen in on private consultations with his female patients. He said, "I did it that time."

    Keester said the only examination he made of Eudora was to take her pulse, which was 128, and her temperature, which was 102 -- clear criteria to immediately hospitalize a patient. He said he asked Eudora what the trouble was, and she said, again in hearing of the men in the reception room, that she was pregnant and had attempted a self abortion. He said that the girl didn't give her name as being Mike's wife, nor that she was from Ponca City, as Mike supposedly had said. Keester said that he told her he was suspicious, told Eudora, "Your story don't jibe," and sent her away and never saw her again.

    Court documents noted, "He said that in cases of that kind he didn't care what became of them, and said: 'I have been accused of taking those kinds of cases, until now I don't have anythign to do with them."'

    If true, this would still make Keester complicit in Eudora's death, because if he did what he claimed, he abandoned a patient who was in critical condition, allowing her to die.

    The men in the reception area tstified that they heard Keester tell the girl "I can't do anything for you." The office worker testified that Eudora had said, "I fear I have made a serious mistake, and the doctor has refused to do anything for me whatever." One of the men in the reception area testified to having heard a similar statement from Eudora. But he testified that the private office door was closed while Eudora was in there with Keester.

    Keester also tried to counter Mike's story that he had cared for Eudora at the hotel on January 10th by bringing his wife and other relatives and friends to testify that he had been at home with them, celebrating his wife's birthday. These relatives said, along with Keester, that they remembered the date well because another woman's birthday was January 9, and that for five years she and Mrs. Keester had celebrated their birthdays together, choosing to do so on the 10th, Mrs. Keester's birthday, that year. However, Mrs. Keester's birthday is January 28, not January 10, as the prosecution was easily able to document.

    Keester's story evidently didn't convince the jury. He was convicted of manslaughter in Eudora's death, and his appeal was denied.

    Eudora'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 1930s.

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

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    Submitted for your amusement. Please put down your drinks.

    I was reading to my daughter last night from Hyperbole and a Half. We laughed until we cried. The illustrations just .... Well, see for yourself. Just put your drink down first unless you want to irrigate your keyboard.

  • The Scariest Story: Will this fiendish plot work?

  • The God of Cake: Childhood deviousness at its devilish best.

  • The Party: Inventiveness born of desperation.

  • This is Why I'll Never Be an Adult: This is me.

  • Dog: She even looks like my Rosie!

  • Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving: Two dogs for the price of one!

  • How a Fish Almost Destroyed My Childhood: Never assume you know what a child is thinking.
  • Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Our Own OC Held Without Bail

    Pro-Choice Extremist Reportedly Arrested by FBI for Threats to Pro-Life Activists

    Yup. forty-nine-year-old Theodore "Ted" Shulman, our own Operation Counterstrike, is in the slammer, arrested this past Thursday. I'm wondering what he did to be held without bail for making interstate terroristic threats against two unidentified prolife activists. And clearly the occasional death threats he posted here were just faint echoes of what he was doing elsewhere -- including, evidently, making threatening phone calls and being dumb enough to leave threatening voice mails without even disguising his phone number.

    [S]cientist and pro-life activist Gerard Nadal ... wrote of his relief over the "reprieve from death threats" to himself and his family in the wake of Shulman's arrest, and Sullenger and others were equally grateful.

    "He was always brazen in his threats and openly identified himself, telling us not to bother calling the FBI because they would never do anything for us," Sullenger said. "Thankfully, he was wrong about that."

    OC's mom is Alix Kates Shulman, author of the (I'm told) sexually graphic novel Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, published in 1972. His mom aborted four of his five siblings -- two before his birth and two after -- leaving him with just one living sister.

    Evidently Mama Shulman gifted her living children with her absence quite a bit when they were growing up, and expressed bewilderment that they were not grateful as adults. I'm not going to psychoanalyze him, but will say that having Alix Shulman for a mother certainly explains a lot about how Ted turned out.

    For whatever reasons, Theodore Shulman -- who goes by Ted -- seemed to fixate on the issue of abortion rights and defined his activism by fierce and often extreme verbal attacks on pro-lifers that often threatened them with a violent end. He liked to allude to himself as the "first pro-choice terrorist" and started a blog called "Operation Counterstrike."

    His mission statement says: "Right-to-lifism is murder, and ALL right-to-lifers are bloody-handed accessories. Swear it, believe it, proclaim it, and act on it."

    It's not clear what Shulman may have done to push his actions and rhetoric across the line to alleged criminality. In its website report about Shulman's arrest Operation Rescue includes an audio recording of a threat to Cheryl Sullenger that the group says Shulman left on the group's voicemail:

    "Hi Cheryl, I'm calling you to say you need to convert to pro-choice because your Maker is going to send an angel to gather you in very soon, and if you haven't converted to pro-choice by the time you get OFFED you will go to hell and burn!" the message says. "So quick, quick, quick -- convert to pro-choice during the few months you have left on this earth. Do it now!"


    According to pro-life activists, Shulman is also the subject of a federal investigation in Wichita, which could result in additional charges against him.

    For the curious -- whether to hear the threats or to hear OC's voice, here's one of the threatening voice mails he left.

    His blog is here. Allow me to share a few, ahem, choice snippets:

    Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who produced the right-to-lifist propaganda flick SILENT SCREAM, is dead.

    Unfortunately, he died in his bed. He was not killed by a pro-choice counterterrorist. Too bad, he would have been a most effective target.


    Good for Dr. Ginde, who used her car to get right-to-life terrorist Ken Scott out of her driveway.

    Run him over next time, doc!


    Last night, someone threw chunks of asphalt into the home of long-time pro-terrorist Joseph Scheidler. One of the bricks contained an anti-right-to-lifist note.

    The thought is nice, but why such a trivial attack? Why asphalt and not bullets?


    A man was arrested in Albuquerque for threatening to shoot two right-to-lifist protesters at an abortion clinic.

    Remember, don't threaten right-to-lifers at abortion clinics. Any drama at the clinic is bad for the clinic. In this case, the clinic was shut down for two hours while the police investigated the incident.

    Wait until the protest ends, follow a protester home, and THEN do your thing. That way, you can involve the right-to-lifer's family in your action.

    But on the other hand, he'd post tidbits like this:

    One of my childhood heros, Martin Gardner, has died. He was 95.

    Among his many accomplishments, he wrote the scholarly annotations for THE ANNOTATED ALICE. In which he explains all the jokes and gives the original nursery rhymes which Lewis Carroll was spoofing with his nonsense poetry. Highly recommended for anyone who likes to read.

    The Annotated Alice was one of my childhood favorites as well, a Christmas gift from my dad.

    Well, here's hoping that Ted gets a decent phych eval in the lock-up and his intellect gets steered toward the constructive pursuits he's quite good at, when he's not lashing out at the people who didn't want his siblings to die violently.

    Repost: Atheist Jeremy propmpts review of reasons for abortions

    Searching for posts for a blog roundup found me a very interesting 90% pro-life atheist's perspective of abortion. Jeremy opposes abortion except for "hard cases", and ponders briefly what the numbers are.

    This Guttmacher Institute report notes the reasons women gave for undergoing abortions. The women could check multiple reasons, so the totals add up to more than 100%.

    Not surprisingly, the vast majority cited social reasons. Not ready/poor timing was cited as the primary reason by 25%, can't aford baby by 23%, having completed childbearing by 19%, relationship issues for 8%, lack of maturity in 7%, interference with school or career in 4%, and 6% saying "Other", for a total of 92% giving social reasons as primary reasons for abortions. That leaves just 8% of abortions being for "hard cases".

    Let's look at those "hard cases".

    "Fetal indications"

    The survey found that 13% of women reported "possible problems affecting the health of the fetus" as contributing reason for abortion, with 4% citing it as the primary reason. In no cases did the survey note a confirmed diagnosis of a severe fetal abnormality. Rather, the paper notes, "Women who felt that their fetus's health had been compromised cited concerns such as a lack of prenatal care, the risk of birth defects due to advanced maternal age, a history of miscarriages, maternal cocaine use and fetal exposure to prescription medications."

    This means that among "hard case" abortions for "fetal indications", cited as a primary reason for abortion by only 4% of aborting women, the vast majority of those are self-referred due to a perceived elevated risk of fetal problems, and not due to referral after a confirmed diagnosis. Are these women being counseled about the real risks of giving birth to a child whose health or well-being is compromised? Is anybody aware of any research into this area?

    And if only a tiny proportion of 4% of abortions are done for confirmed fetal health problems, why do prochoice organizations focus so much not only on confirmed fetal health problems, but on the most dramatic ones, such as anencephaly, rather than on cleft palate, club foot, and other reasons women seek abortions -- particularly late abortions -- under the umbrella of "fetal indications"?

    "Maternal indications"

    Of women completing the survey 12% cited "physical problems with my health" as a contributing reason for undergoing an abortion. Only 3% cited personal health concerns as the primary reason. As with "fetal indications", again, the researchers cited no examples of women being referred for abortions due to diagnosed life-threatening conditions; they seemed to be self-referred based on their own perception of risk. "Concerns about personal health included chronic and life-threatening conditions such as depression, advanced maternal age and toxemia. More commonly, however, women cited feeling too ill during the pregnancy to work or take care of their children."

    First of all, though untreated depression can be life-threatening, depression can be treated, even during pregnancy. Advanced maternal age as a "life threatening" and "chronic condition" seems to be taking a bit of license with words. I can't imagine a conscientious doctor referring a woman suffering from toxemia to an outpatient abortion facility. And toxemia, while life-threatening (far too life-threatening to be treated in an outpatient setting), isn't chronic. Again, the authors are taking a bit of license with words.

    I don't want to understate the distress of women "feeling too ill during the pregnancy to work or take care of their children." Hyperemesis gravidarum, for example, is truly debilitating at its worst. But allowing these women to be driven by despair to abort wanted pregnancies strikes me as pretty heartless. Doctors ought to be providing adequate care to these women.

    And, again, with only a miniscule percentage of 3% of women actually facing abortion due to confirmed, serious health problems, why do prochoice spokespersons try to act as if such abortions are fairly typical?

    Remaining "hard cases"

    Of the surveyed women, 1% cited rape as a contributing reason for the abortion (with less than half a percent giving rape as the primary reason), and less than half of one percent cited incest as either a contributing or primary factor. And, just as with health concerns, one might question easily if simply abandoning the victim to abortion is as compassionate as it's traditionally taken to be.

    A look at "hard cases" really raises more questions than it answers.

    Thanks, atheist Jeremy, for prompting this little bit of research!

    1971: Pre-Roe abortion leaves four kids motherless

    "Roseanne" was in the second trimester of pregnancy when she chose safe and legal abortion in 1971. She was 37 years old, had had four children.

    She was infused with saline for the abortion. Two days later, she began vomiting and having siezures. She aspirated some of the vomit and developed pneumonia.

    The pneumonia took its toll. Roseanne died on February 27 from the pneumonia and anoxic brain damage.

    See Legal Abortion Deaths Before Roe for similar cases.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    1926: Fatal Chicago abortion

    On February 27, 1926, 36-year-old Anna Welger died in her home from complications of an abortion performed that day.

    Theresa Struhala was indicted for felony murder in Anna's death. Struhala's profession is not listed.

    John Welger, whose relationship to Anna was not disclosed, was booked as an accomplice, but was later released.

    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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    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    I'd thought this was typical hyperbole

    Georgia Lawmaker's Anti-Abortion Proposal Could Punish Women for Miscarriages:

    A Georgia state representative has reintroduced an anti-abortion bill that would make miscarriages a felony if the mother cannot prove there was no "human involvement."

    I first caught word of this on some typically-hysterical abortion advocacy sites, so at first I'd thought they were exaggerating. Evidently they're not. Some clown actually came up with an idea that bizarre.

    Aside from being stupid, it's wrong and totally unworkable.

    Let's start with the blatant evil of the presumption of guilt. That's totally antithetical to our Constitution, and to the basic human virtue of giving people reasonable benefit of the doubt. And that's assuming that the pregnant state really is one in which there was an embryo. Sometimes you'll get signs of possible life -- elevated HCG levels, cessation of menstruation, and even a gestational sac on ultrasound -- when the woman is actually carrying a blighted ovum or hydatidiform mole. So this law requires you to legally presume not only that the woman caused the victim's death, but that there actually was a victim in the first place.

    Now we can move on to cases in which there actually was an embryo or fetus that died. We don't presume homicide with born people. There has to be some evidence of foul play before a homicide investigation. Considering the naturally high rate of natural death at the earlier stages of life, natural death is a reasonable presumption. To simply presume foul play unless proven otherwise for the unborn makes as much sense as presuming foul play every time an ailing elderly person dies. What a waste of law enforcement resources this idea would precipitate!

    Then we can move on to the cruelty of treating grieving women like criminals.

    The entire proposal warrants a big fat raspberry.

    Gosnell's lack of uniqueness finally getting press!

  • Problems with N.J. late-term abortion business similar to Pa.'s, by Marie McCollough, looks at the misadventures of Steven Chase Brigham, and New Jersey's failure to take proper action even after the authorities were told about his multi-state late abortion gambit. It's an excellent, very thorough article. The only fault I can find with it is McCollough's failure to point out that part of the reason Brigham was able to remain licensed in New Jersey despite an early attempt by the medical board to shut him down was that Michael Burnhill -- Vice President of Medical Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and frequent moderator at National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminars -- testified on his behalf.

  • William Saletan has been doing a multi-part series for Slate that is amazingly thorough and even-handed: What Happened to the Women ("A grand jury says Kermit Gosnell mistreated and killed abortion patients. Why did nobody stop him?"), The Abortion Industry (The hidden factions of the abortion trade: feminists, doctors, and entrepreneurs.), The Sisterhood of Silence (A bad abortion clinic, a dead woman, and a wall of pro-choice denial.), The Sunshine State (What reporters and health inspectors found in Florida's worst abortion clinics.), "Leave Well Enough Alone" (How pro-choicers won a political victory by ignoring bad medicine.), Fighting the Gestapo (Why good abortion providers refused to cooperate with Florida health inspectors.), Choosing Sides (The abortion clinic debate that tore apart Florida's pro-choice coalition.), and most recently, The Next Gosnell (Reckless rogue abortionists and what we can learn from them.)

    Personally, I'd love to see an ongoing debate starting with Saletan's piece.
  • 1924: Fatal abortion, midwife's denial

    On February 26, 1924, Wanda Szidzewicz died in a Massachusetts hospital from septicemia due to an abortion performed on her on February 6 by Ida Cantor. Wanda had developed septicemia and was hospitalized on February 11..

    Testimony at Ida's trial indicated that Ida's profession was midwife, since she delivered at least one baby that Dr. Sawyer and Ida's own husband testified to.

    The jury found that Ida used improperly sterilized or non-sterile instruments in the abortion. A key part of the prosecution's case was a deathbed statement by the injured woman.

    The medical examiner found "no evidence of violence outside or in", but did find evidence that instruments had been used to perform an abortion. He also testified that Wanda had said that Ida Cantor had performed the abortion in question. A Dr. Sawyer testified that he'd told Wanda that she was dying, testimony intended to add credibility to her deathbed statement.

    A doctor from the hospital, however, testified that the death and expulsion of the fetus, along with Wanda's injuries, might have been brought about with "an accidental abortion", such as that caused by lifting a heavy box. Hospital records stated that Wanda had lifted a heavy box at some point, "four days before".

    Ida's attorney's launched a scattershot and ineffectual defense. Part of it was putting forth Ida's assertion that she she'd had to ask the police why she was being arrested -- she claimed that this proved that she'd not known anything abut Wanda's abortion or death. Her lawyer asked an expert witness if the "constant jarring operation of a sewing machine" could ahve caused Wanda to miscarry, but never introduced any evidence that Wanda had operated a sewing machine. The defense had tried to place Ida's grandchild's birth certificate into evidence as proof that she'd been at the child's birthday party in New York at the time of the abortion and thus couldn't have performed it. Ida's husband's testimony did nothing to aid her; in fact, it contradicted her.

    After her conviction, Ida appealed, but her conviction was upheld. Wanda's widower, Waclaw , also successfully sued Ida.

    When reading of abortions in this era, 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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    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Another abortionist busted for dealing drugs

    Abortionist Zvi Harry Perper charged with racketeering and drug trafficking

    Shades of Kermit Gosnell! Another abortionist caught running a pill mill! One with political connections that may explain why the clinic suffered so few repercussions and was able to remain open in spite of longstanding problems and lawbreaking. Perper was the abortionist of record when Baby Rowan was born alive and left to die at James Pendergraft's EPOC abortion center. Rowan's mother, Angele, reported that the place was filthy, speckled with old blood, and staffed by callous, uncaring people.

    Sound familiar?

    Today, two criminal anniversaries

  • Lillian Hobbs was convicted of murder in the 1916 abortion death of 21-year-old Alda Christopherson. The testimony of John K. McDonald, who was granted immunity in exchange, was crucial in the case. He was the father of Alda's aborted baby. Depending on whose testimony you believe, the whole sordid story began either on February 21, or six weeks earlier. You can read it all here.

  • In the late winter of 1879, Jennie P. Clark's body was found stuffed into a trunk in a river at Lynn, New York. An investigation pieced together how she ended up there.
  • Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Kermit Gosnell should have set up shop in Kansas

    Then had anybody gone after him, those investigators would have been attacked the way Phil Kline has been.

    Evidently it's wrong to encourage HEALTHY depressed people to off themselves

    Minnesota Man Allegedly 'Hunted' Suicidal Victims

    MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minnesota man charged with two counts of aiding suicide was committing a crime -- not playing a game -- when he "hunted" vulnerable people on the Internet and encouraged two of them to kill themselves, prosecutors claim.

    William Melchert-Dinkel used alter egos to stalk victims and get them to commit suicide for the "thrill of the chase," prosecutors said in written arguments filed in advance of a court hearing Thursday in front of a judge who will decide whether the former nurse's actions were criminal.

    Why is trolling for apparently healthy depressed people and urging them to kill themselves a crime, but when Kavorkian did this to sick depressed people, he was a folk hero? I guess sick people aren't as valuable as healthy ones, so they're not entitled to treatment for their depression.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    More great work by Sean O'Sullivan on Gosnell's NAF buddies in Delaware

    State seeks sanctions against two abortion clinic doctors.

    It's getting harder for the National Abortion Federation to play innocent on this one. The folks at the belatedly-dismissed NAF member Atlantic Women's Medical Services evidently were in pretty deep with seedy Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell -- as well as up to mischief of their own. And the Attorney General's office is asking the medical board to suspend their licenses.

    Albert Dworkin and Arturo Apolinario both still work at Atlantic, where Kermit Gosnell was also working one day a week until his Delaware license was suspended. The horrifying revelations about Gosnell's practices led to an investigation of the Delaware clinic where Gosnell had started at least half a dozen of his illegal third-trimester abortions, before having the patients meet him at his filthy Philadelphia mill to be doped into a stupor and be delivered of their living children, which Gosnell would then kill with a "snip" to the spinal cord.

    Dworking is in trouble for failing to report Gosnell's misconduct -- which he has no excuse for being unaware of, since he was the certified ob/gyn of record for Gosnell's clinic.

    Apolinario is in trouble for continuing to prescribe and dispense medications for 20 months after his Delaware drug license had expired.

    There's also some confusion now as to exactly who owns the pair of (until recently) National Abortion Federation clinics in Delaware. The Delaware AG's office identified Panzy Myrie as the owner of Atlantic, while prosecutors in Philadelphia identified LeRoy Brinkley as Atlantic's owner.

    Regardless of which of the pair -- perhaps both -- owned the facilities, Myrie is being charged by Delaware prosecutors with passing herself off as a licensed doctor -- a gynecologist -- though she has no Delaware license.

    So, the plot thickens.

    Zombie has second thoughts on advance directives

    Death Channels: Zombie copes with his/her uncle's death and the ramifications of an advance directive "Uncle Larry" had signed over a decade earlier, in a fit of depression when he'd first been diagnosed with HIV.

    One night, I was alone with Larry in his room, while the night nurse was elsewhere in the building. He was due for another morphine dose in a few hours, so the previous dose was probably starting to wear off. For the first time in days, Larry stirred, and seemed to wake up. He made a faint moaning noise. I got up and leaned closer, and for the only time during the last month of his life, he spoke. It was just two raspy words: “Help me!”

    I ran into the hallway and got the nurse, describing to her what had happened. Her response? “He must be in pain!” She came in and quickly gave him another dose of morphine. Before he faded back to sleep Larry made one last gesture: He shook his head, as if to say “No no no.” And then he went unconscious again. He never woke up after that, the nurses ensuring that he was drugged up at all times. He died three days later without saying another word or regaining consciousness.

    What killed him? Well, the doctors would likely say he died of AIDS. But the direct cause of his death was, basically, starvation and dehaydration. Which, I later learned, is what actually kills many patients in hospice care, who often die from the withholding of nutrition rather than from the more slow-moving effects of their terminal illnesses.


    In 1996, in a fit of depression, he signed agreements that his life not be “artificially” prolonged should he become severely ill. But I have this terrible nagging feeling that once he came face to face with the real possibility of death, he wanted to stay alive. I suspect that he struggled for a month to wake up so he could revoke the “Do Not Resuscitate” order. But partly because of his condition, and partly because of the drugs he was given, he was unable to speak or move.

    When one is healthy and young it’s easy to causally say, “If I get old, just unplug me!” But the young and the healthy can’t imagine what it’s like to stare death in the face and know that no one will save you because you told them not to. The will to live is truly tested and often only becomes manifest when one is at the point of death. Can we trust the wisdom of our 40-year-old selves to know how we’ll feel when we’re about to die?

    Furthermore — and in Larry’s case, more troubling — can we trust end-of-life instructions that were signed by someone who may or may not have been in his right mind?

    Two anniversaries, including stupid crook trick

    On February 23, 1944, Amelia Cardito, 34-year-old mother of 4, died in a New York hospital from complications of an illegal abortion that had been performed on Valentine's day in the office of Dr. Anthony Renda. Renda, author of three books on obstetrics, may have been a smart doctor, but he was a stupid crook. He implicated himself when he called police to complain that Amelia's widower was shaking him down for funeral expenses. Renda was sentenced to 7 years in Sing-Sing for Amelia's death. Amelia's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

    On February 23, 1928, 26-year-old Miss Martha Washington died in Chicago from an illegal abortion. The person or persons responsible were never identified or prosecuted.

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

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    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Find-a-Grave no help in finding pro-abortion poster children's graves

    I've written to Find-a-Grave to point out this problem, to no avail, and they refuse to make either grave Famous.

    I gave Zen, the memorial creator, information regarding the actual location of Rosie Jimenez's grave, but Zen did not add the information. I believe that since Rosie is a famous political figure, her memorial should be managed by Find-a-Grave, to facilitate the actual FINDING of her grave.

    According to Ellen Frankfort, author of "Rosie: The Investigation of a Wrongful Death," Rosie's grave is in La Piedad Cemetery.

    Until the cemetery is added, nobody can find the grave or provide photos of the grave.

    Likewise, the Memorial for Becky Bell is a political memorial indicating "unknown" burial. But here is the actual memorial with Becky's grave site.

    Since she became in death a public figure, people will be looking for the actual grave.

    I'm not sure why Find-a-Grave is reluctant to provide visitors looking for Rosie and Becky actual information about where their graves are. But if you're a member, you might chime in with your two cents worth: Becky and Rosie both became public figures, both should be "Famous", and certainly both memorials should tell seekers where the actual graves are.

    Today's anniversary raises interesting question

    Today's anniversary is Shirley Hollis, a 30-year-old mother of two who ignored severe cardiac symptoms after an abortion and ended up dying as a result on February 22, 1991.

    It isn't unusual for a woman to die because she failed to seek treatment when she was suffering alarming symptoms after an abortion. It's particularly problematic in women with undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies.

    It's also been documented, by the CDC among other researchers, that women are more likely to die violent deaths -- homicide, suicide, or accident -- in the aftermath of an abortion than demographically matched age-mates who had not undergone abortions.

    I once listened to a National Abortion Federation meeting in which nurses lamented how difficult it was to get patients to seek care for post-abortion symptoms. At the time I placed the blame entirely on the abortion lobby's success in getting people to internalized the idea that abortion is ludicrously safe -- that no harm can befall the woman as long as she goes to a legally operating abortion facility.

    But maybe in some of these cases we're not seeing women who really think their symptoms aren't serious. Maybe in some of these cases the women are actually hoping that the symptoms are very serious indeed. If at some level some of these women are refusing to seek care because they're hoping that they'll die.

    Has anybody seen any research on this, or is anybody able to comment on it from personal experience or from witnessing such behaviors in somebody else?

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    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Bernard Nathanson and Kermit Gosnell

    Bernard Nathanson, who had been the last surviving founder of NARAL, is dead.

    NARAL, originally the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, was responsible for, among other things:

  • Popularizing the lie that 5,000-10,000 women were dying annually from criminal abortions.
  • Falsely identifying the Catholic Church as the only real opposition to legalized abortion.
  • Cultivating the cooperative relationship -- which continues to this day -- between the abortion lobby and the mainstream media.

    and, perhaps most pertinent in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell debacle --

  • Cultivating the nod-and-wink relationship between abortionists and public health officials.

    I told the story of this last in the opening chapter of Lime 5:

    In June `970 the State of New York legalized abortion, and in less than a month freestanding abortion clinics began springing up like mushrooms. Before legalization, the national Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws ... had "publicly pledged assurance that the new law would work in a safe manner" and took it upon themselves to evaluate these new facilities.

    Dr. Bernard Nathanson ... began inspecting the new clinics and described the first one he visited as drab, dank, and unsanitary. He then visited a second clinic and described it in a similar manner. The second one was operated by [Harvey Karman], a theatrical arts graduate who had been arrested numerous times in California for performing illegal abortions, including one in which he killed a woman.


    Then Nathanson was approached with a challenge. the largest freestanding abortion clinic in the world, [the Center for reproductive and Sexual Health, or CRASH], was in big trouble. Originally touted as a model to prove that first-trimester abortions could be performed safely in outpatient clinics, it was now in danger of being shut down. The clinic's owners asked Dr. Nathanson to take over operations of [CRASH] and save it from suffering the same demise as other New York abortion clinics.

    Nathanosn met with the clinic's administrator and she gave him the rundown on the precise problems [CRASH] was facing. She told him that the doctors were "atrocious ... sadists, drunks, incompetents, sex maniacs, thieves, butchers, and lunatics... half of them don't even wash their hands anymore before doing an aboriton, let alone scrubbing. They refuse to use masks or caps, and their mustaches are dragging into the suction machines. I swear, one of these days we're going to lose one of those guys right into the suction trap and the lab is going to tell us the tissue is pregnancy tissue and the abortion is complete."

    When Nathanson inspected the facility, he found that it was chaotic, crowded, inadequately lighted, ill-equipped, poorly run, poorly staffed, dirty, and operating with no back-up emergency hospital. He also discovered that staff abortionists were paid on a commission basis and that the more experienced ones would purposely underestimate gestational ages on some patients. The idea was to trick the new abortionists into taking the messy and time-consuming late abortions, leaving the easier, quicker, and more profitable ones for themselves.

    As a side note -- this is how the now-popular D&E second-trimester abortion technique was developed, on the fly.

    Nathanson's first task was monumental: getting [CRASH] in shape for an upcoming state health inspection. It was clear that without a complete overhaul, it had no hope of passing. Nathanson saw his goal as revamping the operation "to make it into a model clinic for all those that would arise across the nation when the laws [against abortion] fell."

    It turns out that CRASH was a model clinic for those that would arise across the nation when the laws against abortion fell. Just not in the way Nathanson had hoped.

    First, he ordered up-to-date sterilizing equipment, scrub suits, and lights for the operating rooms. He imposed some discipline on the staff, including medical criteria for screening patients and a protocol for sending high-risk patients to a hospital for their abortions. He knew he could never get the entire clinic into shape, so he focused on the central issue -- the aboriton itself. His theory was that the inspector might overlook irregularities in counseling, record-keeping, recovery, and other areas of the clinic if he could observe a model abortion done in a properly equipped procedure room. To that end, on the day of the inspection Nathanson selected his most qualified doctor, instructed his staff to be on their best behavior, and scheduled the calmest patient.

    When the state inspection team arrived, the place was spotless and the staff behaved professionally. The "show abortion" went flawlessly with the patient calm and quiet. Nathanson said that "[the state inspector] was impressed. he was even encouraging as he offered a mild critique of our ridiculous recovery room. As he left, he winked and murmured to me, 'Don't worry.' I knew we were safe for a while."

    Of course, after the inspectors left it was back to business as usual. The very next abortion patient at [CRASH] had her uterus perforated and ended up in the emergency room of a local hospital, in serious condition. Nathanson opined that, "If that operation had occurred in [the inspector's] gaze, he probably would have closed down [CRASH] on the spot." Instead, the staff's command performance allowed the facility to keep its license, and they eventually moved to even bigger facilities.

    However, Nathanson was becoming disillusioned. the clinic's administrators seemed to have a ghoulish preoccupation with doing more and later abortions. Suspicious that the lab was not doing proper pathology reports, Nathanson had a staffer extract a section of liver from a cadaver and send it to the lab. the report came back "pregnancy tissue." The wife of one of the doctors reported that her husband was having nightmares, another that her husband had developed a drinking problem. Four marriages ended in divorce and affairs between staffers were common. Nathanson resigned his position at [CRASH], and eventually renounced his "pro-choice" position. He went on to become an outspoken opponent of legalized abortion.

    However, [CRASH] flourished despite its numerous problems. In 1984, 1985, and 1986, [CRASH] was cited by the state for a lack of medical supervision and administrative control. Also in 1986, it was cited for primary medical deficiencies, because it had no anesthesiologist on staff and was improperly administering anesthesia.

    Unfortunately, these warnings apparently went unheeded. On August 10, 1988, 19-year-old "Christine" underwent a 14-week abortion at [CRASH]. Despite her obvious signs of distress shortly after the procedure, the clinic did not instigate emergency procedures for almost an hour. After finally being transported to Cabrini Medical Center, Christine was pronounced dead from complications related to anesthesia. ....

    During a subsequent health department investigation, authorities found that Christine's post-operative condition was listed on clinic records as "pink, responsive, alert," even though by that time she had already gone into respiratory arrest. Investigators eventually determined that the note was written before the abortion even began. Among their other findings were that [CRASH] "did not employ proper monitoring equipment or procedures, ... had no working EKG machine, ... had no [cardiac defibrillator] available," and that "neither the surgeon nor the nurse were properly knowledgeable about CPR procedures and techniques." They were also critical of what they called "an inordinate delay on the aprt of [CRASH] in calling for an ambulance."

    In addition to issues directly related to Christine's death, the health department inspections conducted in 1988 determined that ARS 12 routinely placed patients at "continuing and serious risk" by employing "procedures and equipment that were grossly irresponsible and in contravention of accepted medical practice." Among specific allegations were that the facility:

  • Had no one on staff who was qualified to administer anesthesia
  • Did not employ proper procedures or equipment for administering anesthesia
  • Did not administer preliminary test dosages to determine a patent's sensitivity to anesthetic drugs
  • Used dosages of anesthesia that were twice as high as specified in the clinic's in-house procedure manual
  • Maintained no procedures or devices to accurately gauge the amount of anesthesia being given, estimating dosage "by eye"
  • Conducted pre-operation medical examinations and medical histories that were cursory and inadequate
  • Had no functioning emergency equipment on-site
  • Had a number of emergency medications that were past their expiration date
  • Had no one on staff with current CPR training
  • Did not document respiration and pulse prior to anesthesia
  • Had insufficient lighting in operating rooms
  • Lacked proper hand-washing sinks ion exam rooms, and had no soap or paper towels at either the scrub sink or recovery room bathroom
  • Improperly stored oxygen and nitrous oxide canisters
  • Had unsanitary conditions, including stained scrub sinks, dirty walls and floors, trash stored in operating scrub room, blood on two wheels of the operating room table, red make-up stains on the rim of oxygen and nitrous oxide masks, uncovered and dusty tubing on suction machines....

    During this time, the medical director of [CRASH] was [David Gluck]. The facility, however, was unable to produce any documentation verifying his credentials or qualifications and there was virtually no evidence that he provided any meaningful medical supervision. Despite the fact that one investigation was conducted a full two weeks after Christine's death, there was no indication that [Gluck] had personally reviewed the matter or directed that any reforms be instituted. Similarly, they uncovered 18 patient medical charts that showed complications, and not one indicated that it had been reviewed by [Gluck].

  • I'd also add that it's amazing that they actually found 18 records that noted complications at all, since the dead patient had been charted as "pink, responsive, alert."

    The account of what shoddy operations arose when abortion was legalized in New York was given at length by Nathanson in Aborting America, which he published in 1979. Seedy mill after seedy mill has been uncovered since then.

    We've known, clear back to before Roe, that left to themselves, abortionists would run shoddy, dangerous shops. The only surprise in the Kermit Gosnell story is that a prosecutor -- and some in the mainstream media -- are taking it all so seriously instead of giving it a nod and a wink and looking away.

  • ADDENDUM: See Nathanson's The Silent Scream in its entirety here.

    1929: Dying declaration implicates doctor

    On February 21, 1929, Virginia Clark died of complications of a botched, illegal abortion. G. W. Wilbanks and W. A. N. Jones were charged with murder in her death. Wilbanks was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and the following information comes from the Westlaw commentary on his appeal.

    Virginia was treated prior to her death by a Dr. McArthur, who testified as to her dying declaration. He said that Virginia told him that when she learned that she was pregnant, she told the man responsible that "something would have to done about it." He made arrangements for an abortion to be performed by a doctor. The paramor brought the doctor to Virginia, and he used medicine and instruments on her. The procedure was so painful that Virginia asked him to stop, so the doctor administered chloroform. According to Dr. McArthur, Virginia told him that this abortion "was what had butchered her up and was killing her."

    Virginia didn't tell her mother, Mrs. Goodwyne, about the abortion. Mrs. Goodwyne testified, "She (Virginia Clark) said that she went to the theatre or something, and it seemed like there was something broke, and she said she thought she wouldn't be able to get back to the hotel, but she did."

    Wilbanks tried to get his conviction overturned on the grounds of the difference between what Virginia told her mother, and what she told Dr. McArthur as she lay dying.

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

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    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    1988: You don't have to be Kermit Gosnell to be appalling

    When 23-year-old Stacy Ruckman went to Scott Barrett for an abortion on February 20, 1988, she didn't know how he anesthetized his patients.

    According to Barrett's staff, Barrett would not have general anesthesia administered to his abortion patients. Instead, he would inject them with excessive amounts of the local anesthetic Lidocaine. The overdose would cause the woman to lose consciousness.

    Sometimes, staff reported, a woman would stop breathing, and Barrett would resuscitate her. But when Stacy stopped breathing, Barrett and his staff were unable to revive her.

    An autopsy found toxic concentrations of Lidocaine in Stacy's blood. Her parents sued, and a jury awarded them $25.3 million for the wrongful death of their daughter.

    Here's everything I have on Barrett over at RealChoice:
    • Legal Abortion Advantages describes Barrett's care of 22-year-old B.J. The medical board noted that "having nearly eviscerated his patient and with her clearly in critical condition, he sent her to the hospital in a private car during rush hour. ... A more egregious example of incompetence and gross negligence is difficult to imagine."

    • Another Barrett Botch Job describes Barrett's care of 18-year-old S.G., who nearly bled to death right under Barrett's nose, while her anxious family pleaded with him to do something for her.

    • Yet Another Barrett Botch Job describes how Barrett sent 15-year-old S.C. home with retained tissue, then didn't return her mother's calls when the girl was was in shock from infection.

    • Scott Barrett Wrap-up summarizes what I'd covered in the series.

    And abortion supporters insist that if we just gave guys like this tax money to ply their trades, they'd be less greedy and sloppy. I'm not clear on how funding Scott Barrett would discourage Kermit Gosnells from setting up shop.

    For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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    Four criminal anniversaries

  • February 20, 1927: 23-year-old Angerita Hargarten died in her home from an abortion performed there that day. Midwives Anna Trezek and Frances Raz were held by the coroner, Trezek as the principal and Raz as her accomplice.

  • February 20, 1919: W. G. Waters and M. T. Summerlin performed an abortion on Viola Parr with instruments of some sort, causing her death. I have been unable to determine what professions Waters and Summerlin pursued when they weren't acting as abortionists. Viola's abortion was unusual in that it was apparently performed by an amateur, rather than by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions.

  • February 20, 1916: 19-year-old Bertha Carlson died at South Park Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed at an unknown perpetrator at an unknown location.
  • February 20, 1906: Mrs. Ida Prochnow, age 35, died in St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed there earlier that day. Midwife Madaline Motgna was arrested in the death.

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

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  • Saturday, February 19, 2011

    1916: Colorado women killed by abortion

    Some time in February, 1916, Mrs. Ruth Camp died from complications of an illegal abortion performed in Denver, Colorado.

    Dr. Bennett Graff was found guilty of murder in Ruth's death, and sentenced to 11 - 13 years in prison. Graff protested "stoutly" and appealed the conviction.

    Graff was also charged in the death of another woman from an illegal abortion, but I've been unable to get any details of that case.

    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 information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.
    external image Illegals.png
    For more on pre-legalization abortion, seeThe Bad Old Days of Abortion

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Legal Abortion and the Milgram Experiment

    I recently spoke to a reporter about the Kermit Gosnell scandal. She could not seem to wrap her mind around how Gosnell's employees could participate in such a barbaric practice as "snipping" the spinal cords of live-born babies. "It's easy enough to explain," I told her. "Call it The Milgram Effect."

    The Milgram Experiment "was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience." Test study participants were instructed to give what they believed were a series of increasingly painful electrical shocks to another person. More than half of the participants obeyed the experimenter to the end -- administering what they'd been made to believe were lethal shocks.

    Millgram summed up his findings:

    Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.

    Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.

    Kermit Gosnell's employees, fortunate to be employed in a city with an unemployment rate of nearly 11%, were being reassured by their boss that they were doing nothing wrong in "snipping" babies. Tina Baldwin testified that Gosnell had told her this was simply how such procedures were done, that this was “part of the demise.”

    At one point in his Grand Jury testimony, Steve Massof tried to suggest that the clinic’s practice of cutting babies’ spinal cords was somehow part of a late-term procedure called intact dilation and extraction (IDX), commonly referred to as “partial birth abortion” and banned under federal law since 2007. In an intact dilation and extraction, which was used most often to abort pregnancies beyond 17 weeks, the fetus was removed from the uterus as a whole. In order for the head to pass through the cervix without damage to the mother, the doctor would collapse the fetal skull by making an incision at the base of the neck and suctioning the contents. This procedure was done while the baby was still inside the mother.

    I believe that Massof was truly testifying as to what Gosnell had told his staff. Gosnell reassured them that this was all okay, just part of "ensuring fetal demise."

    And in a way, working in abortion at all is a real life example of the Millgram effect. Practitioners experience dismay, shock, horror, and moral revulsion about what they're doing to the unborn babies, and they train themselves to continue to do so anyway.

    It struck me that our tolerance of widespread abortion as a society has been a gigantic Milgram experiment. The majority of Americans indicate moral opposition to abortion -- with even 22% of self-identified "pro-choice" Americans consider abortion wrong most of the time. Yet we tolerate it, defend it, practice it, submit to it. Is it really because we believe it's not wrong? Or is it because the designated experts insist that it's necessary? The doctors, the counselors, the women themselves, all morally revolted by the act itself, but participating anyway. Why?

    Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.

    When will we stop letting the few self-selected experts push us into doing what we know is wrong?

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    1995: One victim of multi-state quackery enterprise

    Lisa Bardsley was 26 years old when she went to Dr. John Biskind in Phoenix, Arizona. She was at least 20 weeks pregnant when she underwent her supposedly safe and legal abortion on February 16, 1995.
    An hour after the abortion was completed, Lisa was discharged from the clinic. With a friend who had accompanied her, Lisa headed home to northern Arizona.

    Lisa took ill, so she and her friend stopped at a motel and called for medical help. Lisa was taken to a hospital in Cottonwood, where she died February 17.

    The autopsy showed that she'd bled to death from a large uterine laceration. (Arizona State Board of Medical Examiners, # 9215)

    Biskind went on to get into further trouble for delivering a live, nearly term infant during an abortion performed on a teenager, and for the abortion death of Lou Ann Herron. Herron's death got far more press than Bardsley's, whose death for some reason did not capture public attention or generate outrage the way Herron's death did.

    Biskind's license was finally revoked in 1998.


    The clinic where Lisa died was owned by abortionist Moshe Hachamovitch, who was implicated in the abortion deaths ofChristina Goesswein, Tanya Williamson, Luz Rodriguez, and Jammie Garcia.

    1949: Attempt to hide cause of death proves futile

    On February 17, 1949, the battered body of Mrs. Roberta Shirley Danks, a 28-year-old war widow from Chicago, was found crumpled on a rural road near Chesterton, Indiana. She had bruises over her body and a deep gash on her head, but an autopsy revealed that these injuries had been sustained after her death, evidently to try to make Roberta appear to be the victim of a hit-and-run driver. She had actually died of peritonitis from a criminal abortion performed several days earlier.
    An investigation found that Roberta had undergone an abortion, performed by a physician, in the basement of the Chicago home of 40-year-old housewife Olive Janes. Roberta had been on leave from her job as a switchboard operator at Roosevelt College in Chicago.
    Roberta's boyfriend, 36-year-old James Manes, who had been involved with her for three years, said he hadn't seen her since February 6.
    Janes was sentenced to 7 - 14 years for manslaughter, plus 5 - 10 years on two other abortion counts.
    Dorothy's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions.
    external image Illegals.png
    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

    1929: Fatal abortion performed by homemaker

    On February 17, 1929, 25-year-old Violet Diancalana died in the home of Katherine Bajda, of complications of a criminal abortion performed on her there that day.

    Mrs. Bajda, identified as a homemaker, was held by the coroner.

    On March 15, Bajda was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury.

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

    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

  • Homicide in Chicago Interactive
  • Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    1925: Midwife's efforts kill woman

    On February 16, 1925, 28-year-old Agnes Crowe died in Chicago's West Side Hospital from a criminal abortion performed that day.
    The coroner indicated that a female midwife was responsible for Agnes' death, but did not name the guilty party.
    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.

    external image Illegals.png
    For more on pre-legalization abortion, seeThe Bad Old Days of Abortion

    1929: Doc's fatal work

    On February 16, 1929, Mrs. Ruth Weir, of East Orange, New Jersey, died at Orange Memorial Hospital of **sepsis**contracted through a criminal abortion.

    Dr. James R. Chamberlain testified that he had examined Ruth at her home and had admitted her to the hospital due to a septic condition. Dr. James Wilson testified that he had treated Ruth in the hospital during late January and that she was suffering from septicemia.

    Dr. Maurice Sturm was arrested when Ruth implicated him in a deathbed statement. Mrs. Frieda Sanger testified that Sturm had sent Ruth to her home to recuperate. Sturm admitted to performing the abortion, but insisted that it had not been illegal because it was necessary to save Ruth's life.

    The District Attorney claimed that Sturm failed to keep proper records, including concealing names and appointments of patients. Sturm, who was later acquitted of the manslaughter charge in Ruth's death, alleged during his trial that a judge had demanded bribe money from him to dismiss the case, but that $1000 he had given the judge was a gift and not part of the bribe money.

    This case rasises several important points we would do well to remember:

    • The majority of criminal abortions were performed by physicians, not amateurs.

    • If the doctor thought the abortion was necessary to save the mother's life, all he had to do to protect himself from prosecution was keep adequate records.

    • When an abortionist killed a patient before legalization, the law would look at him closely and not shrug the death off as unimportant.

    We don't know if Strum kept poor records on Ruth because the abortion was illegal, or because he was a quack who just kept poor records.

    1890: Mystery abortion proves fatal

    On February 16, 1890, Mrs. Mary Keegan died from complications of an illegal abortion performed that day.
    Mary died at the location where the abortion was performed.

    Mrs. Annie Schneider was arrested and held by the Coroner's Jury. Mrs. Schneider is described as employed in an unidentified profession.

    The Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database shows no other illegal abortion deaths associated with Mrs. Schneider.

    I have no information on overall maternal mortality, or abortion mortality, in the 19th century. I imagine it can't be too much different from maternal and abortion mortality at the very beginning of the 20th Century.
    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 on this era, see Abortion Deaths in the 19th Century.
    For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Scare tactics resurface

    Let's see how many lies and misrepresentations the abortion enthusiasts at can cram into a 30-second ad:

    Only decades ago, women suffered through horrifying back-alley abortions.

    1. Most criminal abortions were performed by doctors. Estimates by Planned Parenthood's Mary Calderone, and pro-choice researcher Nancy Howell-Lee, indicated that over 90% of women found doctors to perform their abortions, and of the remaining 10%, probably half of them were performed by trained non-physicians, both paramedical (nurses or midwives, for example) and lay (as the Jane Syndicate in Chicago).

    2. And it wasn't "women" who submitted to those abortions. Nancy Howell-Lee's research indicated that whether a woman sought out an abortionist, rather than avoiding that risk, depended upon whom she turned for help. If she turned to somebody we would now describe as "pro-choice", or if she turned to somebody who placed other concerns than the woman's well-being first, then yes, they'd end up arranging an abortion. Women whose friends and family, and whose babies' fathers rejected abortion, where highly likely to avoid the risk of abortion and instead chose to give birth.

    3. Criminal abortions were not, by and large, the deplorable and filthy quacks so popularly presented in abortion advocacy lore. As Planned Parenthood's Mary Calderone pointed out in 1960, "Call them what you will, abortionists or anything else, they are still physicians, trained as such; and many of them are in good standing in their communities. They must do a pretty good job if the death rate is as low as it is." And just one year earlier, in 1959, Planned Parenthood's Alan Guttmacher said, "They have to be good to stay in business, since otherwise they would be extremely vulnerable to police action."

    4. If you want to see horrifying abortion practices, you need look no further back than last year, when Kermit Gosnell's filthy and deplorable Philadelphia abortion mill was raided. And Gosnell was merely the most recent, and most widely publicized, of a seedy lot. Dangerous abortion mills that would fit well into any "back alley" scenario thrive best when prochoice extremists hold sway, as they did in Pennsylvania. It is, and has always been, the prolifers trying to shut these places down, while prochoice activists either looked the other way or actually stepped out in defense of dangerous quacks.

    or they used dangerous methods when they had no other recourse

    As Nancy Howell-Lee pointed out in her research, the women who turned to dangerous self-abortion techniques tended to be mentally unstable women for whom the abortion attempt was more an attack on themselves than a rational attempt to dislodge an unwelcome fetus. Psychiatric journals of the time note many such cases and their relationship to other forms of self-harm.

    so when the Republican party launched an all-out attack on women's health

    Do be serious! Are they really trying to claim that abortion is the totality of "women's health"? All the care for heart disease and cancer and the flu and fibroids and broken bones and appendicitis -- not to mention mental health treatment for women prone to self-injury -- evidently are somehow NOT "women's health" in the abortion lobby's eyes. If you have abortion, you have everything you could ever want or need.

    pushing bills to limit access to vital services

    Funny how they don't get specific. Which they're wise, of course, not to do, since even most prochoicers oppose forcing taxpayers to foot the bill.

    we have to ask, "Why is the GOP trying to send women back -- to the back alley?"

    We've covered this before. The danger to women is the dubious oversight of abortion practitioners that prochoice extremists are so keen to provide. Any woman reaching for a coathanger needs mental health services. And it's despicable for abortion advocates to try to use sad cases of mental illness to convince us to abandon women to the likes of Kermit Gosnell and his ilk.

    It's as if they're deliberately trying to set up another Rosie Jiminez situation, to literally scare another woman into a deadly situation that they can then try to milk for tax dollars.