Saturday, April 30, 2011

Three Chicago Anniversaries

Because the University of Chicago Law School, through the Chicago Historical Homicide Project, transferred handwritten records into an online database, I have far more criminal abortion cases from Chicago than from anywhere else. Today, all three anniversaries were uncovered in that database.

On April 30, 1909, Kelly Stella, age 28, died in Chicago from an abortion performed on April 13. A midwife named Louise Actenberg was held by the coroner's jury but the source document doesn't indicate that there was a trial.

On April 30, 1917, Mrs. Ruth Lemaire, age 24, died at West Side Hospital in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion. In her deathbed statement she implicated Dr. Lillian Hobbs. However, the coroner's jury did not place blame on Hobbs, and the case came to naught. Hobbs was also convicted of murder in the abortion deaths of Alda Christopherson and Ellen Matson. These fatal abortions were typical of pre-legalization abortions in that they were performed by a physician.

On April 30, 1923, 29-year-old Emma Herod died in her home from an abortion performed there that day. Dr. Emma J. Warren was arrested for the death. On July 15, Warren was indicted for felony murder in Emma Herod's death. Emma's abortion was typical of criminal 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 Deaths 1900-1909, Abortion Deaths 1910-1919, Abortion in the 1920s.

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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

1880: Death in Brooklyn

Mrs. Sophia Berghusen of Brooklyn died on April 28, 1880, under the care of the mother-and-daughter midwife team of Mrs. Mary Kaufmann and Miss Margaret Kaufmann. The coroner concluded that Sophia had died of abortion complications. Both the Kaufmann women were arrested and tried but acquitted, though the sources do not say what was lacking in the case against them.

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.
external image Illegals.png
external image Illegals.png

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.
Sources: "City and Suburban News", The New York Times, April 29, 1880; "Brooklyn", The New York Times, July 17, 1880;

1990: Death after home abortion

In Chapter 4 of Lime 5, Mona ghost-wrote of the death of a 32-year-old California woman I'll call "Daisy."
We learned of Daisy's death by ordering a database run of all deaths in California that met the ICD codes for abortion. We then ordered death certificates and, where possible, autopsy reports. Daisy's death certificate is No. 90-079380. Her autopsy report from the San Bernadino County Coroner's office is number 90-2384.
Daisy was not a poor, ignorant woman. To the contrary, she was a systems analyst for a defense contractor. Daisy knew that abortion was legal and readily available. She had an appointment to abort her second-trimester pregnancy scheduled for April 30, 1990, at a local abortion clinic.
But for some reason, Daisy didn't wait for her appointment. On April 28, she allowed her boyfriend to insert a plastic tube into her uterus in a home-abortion attempt. Daisy died of complications of that abortion.

1973: Chicago quackery kills young woman

Survivors of Julia L. Rogers, age 20, alleged that she underwent a safe and legal abortion by Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard at Friendship Medical Center in Chicago on April 21, 1973. Julia's death certificate states that her death April 28 at Tabernacle Hospital was due to "bronchopneumonia and generalized peritonitis complicating extensive necrotizing endometritis and myometritis with sealed perforation." In other words, she developed pnuemonia on top of peritonitis. A hole had been poked in her uterus, causing an infection that made the muscle tissue of her uterus start to rot inside her. Evelyn Dudley and Dorothy Brown also died after abortions at Friendship Medical Center. Sources: Chicago Sun-Times 11-19-78, The Abortion Profiteers; Chicago Tribune 4-30-73, 5-3-73, 7-17-73; Death Certificate No. C612195

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Anniversary: Mother bleeds to death in front of her children

On April 27, 1990, 23-year-old Sandra Milton underwent an abortion, performed by Dr. Carl Armstrong at Toledo Medical Services in Ohio. (Armstrong is John Roe 67 in Lime 5.)

Sandra's abortion was performed at 10 a.m., and she was discharged shortly thereafter for the 90-minute drive home.

The babysitter stayed with Sandra and her three children for three hours as the young mother slipped in and out of consciousness and suffered pain and abdominal swelling. Twice the alarmed babysitter called the clinic, but was told that the symptoms were normal. The third time the babysitter called the clinic, she got no response at all, and summoned an ambulance.

Sandra was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

Two anniversaries from the 19th Century

Miss Emily LeBinney, "whose family is said to be wealthy and to move in fashionable circles," died the evening of April 7, 1896, in the New York practice of midwife Mary Schott. Emily's cousin, George May, consulted with Miss Minnie Meyer, who served as a go-between. May arranged for Mrs. Schott to perform an abortion. He also paid for the procedure. Emily's baby was born alive during the abortion, and Arthur Robbins, whose relationship to the other parties is not given, threw the living child into the river. May, Robbins, Schott, and Meyer were all arrested. Mr. Fox of Dover N.J. was identified as the father of Emily's baby.

Dr. Charles P. Wood admitted that Elvira Woodward had come to his house in Manchester, New Hampshire, on April 1 and remained there until her death on April 27, 1871. He said that she'd expelled a dead fetus on April 3, and that she suffered from puerperal fever. Elvira took ill, languishing and finally dying on April 27, at about 2:30 PM, at Wood's house. (Read the rest here.)

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 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 on this era, see Abortion Deaths in the 19th Century.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is anybody else getting these spams?

I keep getting comments in my spam that sound like template responses to a search term, with "kamagra" (as a link) embedded in it somewhere. "Kamagra", no surprise, is "male enhancement." (And no, I wasn't dumb enough to click on the link. I googled the term to find out what the hell it is.

Is there any way to report spamming like this? My spam filter only catches it about 20% of the time, and the rest of the time I have to go in and hand nuke the blasted things.

Anniverseries: Three Chicago Abortions

On April 26, 1908, 32-year-old Mrs. Cora Johnson died in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion. Mrs. Dietrich, whose profession was only given as "abortion provider", was arrested, but acquitted for reasons not given in the source document.

On April 26, 1914, eighteen-year-old Florence S. Lindquist died in a Chicago home where an abortion had been performed on her. Dr. Arthur Schulz, who lived at the home in question, was arrested for her death. Florence's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

On April 26, 1926, Mrs. Fern Strecker, age 26, died at West Suburban Hospital from an abortion performed that day. The coroner fingered Elizabeth Schade, who was operating an illegal abortion business at a Chicago location. Aside from her abortion work, Schade's profession is not given.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Carhart investigation: Cause for hope?

Operation Rescue West reports, "Late-term Abortionist Carhart Under Full Investigation By Maryland Board of Physicians."

The investigation pertains to revelations to the Board by an OR employee, who has informed the Board:

• Carhart misrepresented his practice on his Maryland medical license application when he indicated he was an emergency room physician and university professor. In reality, Carhart has not had an affiliation with a hospital since 1987, and was stripped of any formal duties with the University of Nebraska in the late 1990s.
• Carhart’s Maryland application omits his decades of job history as owner and abortionist at the Abortion and Contraceptive Clinic in Bellevue, Nebraska, and 12 years of employment at Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas, where he specialized in late-term abortions.
• Carhart conducts risky late-term abortions in Maryland without hospital privileges.
• Carhart has a history of involvement in multiple botched late-term abortions during his employment in Kansas, including the third trimester death of 19-year old Christin Gilbert.

Granted, it's the first item in that list that's most likely to get Carhart in trouble. Medical boards tend to frown more on lying on your application than they do anything else. Kill your patients, defraud them, cripple them -- as long as you say you're sorry, promise to do better, and agree to take remedial classes, you can typically keep your license. But lie to the medical board? Now that is a serious no-no.

So there is a real possibility that Carhart will go down in screaming flames, as he so well deserves to do. Once one state yanks your license, all the other states tend to do so as well. If Carhart is smart, he'll just take his bat and ball and go back to his own yard, and just stop practicing in Maryland. The board will drop the investigation and Carhart will keep whatever other state licenses he has.

But then, as we saw in Kansas, politics play a stronger role than we'd like to believe. Maryland is one of the most abortion-friendly states in the country. The board may well choose to turn a blind eye simply because Carhart is an abortionist with friends in high places.

Only time will tell. Pray that real justice will be served.

Four anniversaries today

The first is one I have very little information about:

On April 25, 1899, Sarah Messinger died in St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed by Marie Kampfer. Sarah died at the crime scene on the day the abortion was performed. Kampfer was held for $5,000 bond by Coroner's Jury.

I have a little more information regarding the circumstances of the next death:

In January of 1902, Abraham Conheim promised marriage to 19-year-old Harriet Larocque. With the promise of marriage, Harriet became sexually involved with Conheim. In April of 1902, Harriet discovered that she was pregnant. Conheim reneged on his promise of marriage, and instead arranged a criminal abortion for her.
Harriet took ill after the abortion, dying on April 25. Harriet's father sued Conheim for seducing and debauching his daughter, impregnating her, and causing her death.

The next is one of a chain of deaths attributed to an osteopath in the Oklahoma City area. For details, click on the woman's name:

Richard Thacker maintained an office and operating rooms in the Terminal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Frank Lee, a University of Oklahoma football player, brought his wife, Nancy Joe, to Thacker's practice on April 23, 1932. Frank and Nancy were keeping the marriage secret, which might have been at least part of why they sought an abortion. Thacker later testified that he placed drugs into Nancy Joe's vagina, instructing Frank to take her to a hospital afterward for observation.
But by the time 17-year-old Nancy was taken to Oklahoma City General Hospital, she was near death. She said that Thacker had performed an abortion on her.

Our final death is from safe-n-legal days:

Twenty-two-year-old Nicole Williams was the third patient known to have died of safe and legal abortion complications under the dubious care of Dr. Robert Crist. The others were 17-year-old Latachie Veal and Diane Boyd, a mentally disabled teenage rape victim. Nichole submitted to a first-trimester abortion at Reproductive Health Services in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 25, 1997.
Reproductive Health Services, a National Abortion Federation member facility, is operated by Planned Parenthood of St. Louis. Crist serves as medical director.

In 1899, killing a woman via abortion got you arrested. By the 1990s, it got you a lucrative position in a reputable chain of "reproductive health care" facilities.

Yeah, things have really improved. For abortionists.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Read the original Trig-bashing Wonkette post

Greatest Living American: A Children’s Treasury of Trig Crap On His Birthday, courtesy of Google Cache.

Jack Steuf seems appalled that Sarah Palin's supporters are bonkers for her "retarded" kid. He posts, with undisguised disgust, things like Glen Beck's misty-eyed commentary on how moved he is by the way the Palins welcomed little Trig, and any evidence that people genuinely think he's adorable and want to see him.

He expressed disgust with the way little Piper smoothed her baby brother's hair, and embedded a snippet of video which he introduced with "Here’s Piper licking her hand and rubbing it all over Trig’s head for some reason:" How about, "Because she loves her little brother and she's taking care of him in a way that makes sense to a little girl?"

He was also disgusted with footage of little Trig and another baby with Down Syndrome meeting at a book signing, introducing the clip with, "Here’s Trig returning the favor, meeting another Down syndrome baby and immediately trying to lick it:"

First of all, neither of those babies is an "it." And those of us who don't hate babies saw this as a beautiful moment -- the Palin family delighted to see the woman's baby, and the delight of both moms seeing their babies together. And hint to Mr. Steuf: Babies with Down Syndrome often have protruding tongues. Nice move, making fun of him for that.

He also shares a disgusting commentary by some hatermongering clown called Louis C.K. (Warning -- extreme profanity, ignorance, and pure hatred):

For those of you who don't have the stomach to listen, I'll hit the salient "humorous" points:

1. "Her baby is under one year old. It doesn't matter yet that it's retarded."

First of all, Trig is HE, not IT. And, like Jack Steuf, old CK reveals his ignorance: Babies with DS have low muscle tone and a quiet disposition that makes it necessary to give them extra stimulation. Parents also have to be alert to symptoms of some of the negative characteristics of DS, such as heart problems. The extra work of being a good parent to a kid with DS starts early. Who is it that's really "retarded," CK? A sweet little baby who is too young to have language skills, or a supposedly functional adult too lazy and ignorant to learn a little about Down Syndrome before he shoots his mouth off?

2. "What matters is when it acts the way it does now when it's fifteen years old."

Again with referring to a child as "it." And again with the ignorance. A 15-year-old with DS can do pretty much what any other 15-year-old can do with the exception of some intellectual skills. A teenager with DS will go to school, do homework, help with household chores, and socialize with friends just like any other teenager. Again, old CK displays who is really "retarded."

Then it gets really disgusting, but I'll share it because it's important to recognize just how hateful and ignorant Palin-bashers are:

3. "But when she was standing on the stage at the f-ing convention holding a baby that just came out of her f-ing disgusting c***, her f-ing retard-making c***,and she holds it up, I hate her more than anybody."

So any woman who has a baby with DS is just a "retard maker", by CK's standards. Those "retards" aren't real babies. They're just disgusting creatures. Feel the LOVE!

4. "It's not gonna start failing IQ tests yet."

Again, Trig is a "he," not an "it." And nobody "fails" an IQ test. An IQ test just shows where the person is on the bell curve in a measure of a certain kind of intelligence. Everybody is somewhere on that bell curve. I dare say Trig may not excel in the kind of "intelligence" CK has, but he'll trump CK in love and interpersonal skills.

5. "When the kid turns f-ing 12 and it's still not tying its shoes, she's gonna be, 'Enough with this! This is now a challenge and not a joy, frankly.'"

More dehumanization, still referring to Trig as "it." And more ignorance -- kids with DS learn to tie their shoes just fine. And they remain just as much a joy as ever to their families, who love them. Not everybody is like you, Mr. Steuf, insisting that people meet your personal standards before they're worthy of love.

Steuf posted a half-assed apology:

I regret this post and using the word “retarded” in a reference to Sarah Palin’s child. It’s not nice, and is not necessary, but I take responsibility for writing it. For those who came and are offended by this post: I’m sorry, of course. But I stand by my criticism of Sarah Palin using her child as a political prop.

All he does here is show that he really doesn't get it. He doesn't see anything wrong with referring to two children as "it". He doesn't see anything wrong with dehumanizing children and making fun of their families for actually loving them. He clearly still finds "retards" so disgusting that he can't understand why the Palin family loves Trig, and why so many open-hearted people think he's beautiful and are glad to see him fully embraced as a member of the Palin family. What does Steuf want the Palins to do? Lobotomize Trig and hide him in an institution the way the Kennedys did with Rosemary? Evidently so, since he's so offended that they take their baby out in public as if he's a "normal" kid.

Thus spake Jack Steuf and Louis C.K., whose idea of humor is displaying their utter ignorance, intolerance, and irrational hatred of anybody who is different from them or who loves those different people.

Some people say that the idea that there's a Hell is cruel. But could Heaven really be Heaven with those two there, kicking kids like Trig Palin for all eternity? God will ultimately protect Trig Palin and other vulnerable people from the hatemongers forever. And that's going to be a good thing.

1923: Chicago doc's work kills Daisy Singerland

On April 22, 1923, 30-year-old Daisy Singerland died at Chicago's Robert Burns hospital from complications of a criminal abortion performed earlier that day.

On June 1, Dr. J.W. Lipscomb was indicted for felony murder in Daisy's death.

Daisy's abortion was typical of criminal 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 1920s.
external image Illegals.png

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
Source: Homicide in Chicago Interactive

Hodari on four patient deaths: Corrective action? Meh.

Michigan abortionist tied to four client deaths resists safety regulations

Notorious Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari, who has been linked to four patient deaths, has a strategy for preventing future trouble. Not future trouble for endangered patients, mind you: Future trouble for Alberto Hodari. You see, the widened clinic exit that would allow emergency rescuers to get a gurney in and out of the building is just too expensive, so Hodari plans to just do more things that aren't abortions (rather than do fewer abortions). This will change his status from "abortion clinic" to "doctor's office" and free him from the annoying burden of regulations to protect the lives of patients.

Four women are known to have died at Hodari-run abortion mills. Fifteen-year-old Tamia Russell died less than 24 hours after a late-term abortion at Hodari’s Lathrup Villiage in 2004, the same clinic that is subject to closure. In 2007, a 17-year-old Hodari patient died from abortion complications. Chivon Williams died less than six hours after having been released from one of Hodari’s abortion clinics following a suction abortion.

In 2009, Hodari was fined $10,000 for his part in the death of 32-year-old Regina Johnson in 2003. An investigation by Voices for Women revealed that the facility where Johnson died, having never awakened from anesthesia, was not equipped with resuscitation equipment.

The idea that he needs to upgrade his facility is dismissed by Hodari and his lawyer:

Hodari’s attorney, Victor Norris, responded, “The department can’t be that concerned about irreparable harm if they gave the license in the first place.”

In other words, not only is Hodari refusing to take corrective action, he doesn't want the state to take any corrective measure either. He'd prefer that they take the Pennsylvania Approach that allowed Kermit Gosnell to run a filthy, dangerous abortion mill without any real oversight.

And Hodari was permitted to practice at several National Abortion Federation member clinics -- as was Kermit Gosnell. NAF continues to claim that they actually give a rat's ass about patient safety.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1955: ProChoice icon kills woman in nutcracker abortion

Joyce Johnson, Meet Harvey Karman

During April of 1955 Harvey Karman was working at the Clinical School of the Psychology Department of the University of California at Los Angeles, seeking a doctorate in psychology. He was not licensed to practice medicine.

Around early February of 1955, 26-year-old Joyce Johnson told her husband, Ben, that she was pregnant. They discussed an abortion. Joyce had a friend named Patricia who she saw shortly before she met Karman. Prior to the abortion, according to both Patricia and Joyce's husband, Joyce was in good health.

The Abortion & Its Effects

On April 6, 1955, Karman met Joyce in a motel room and, using a speculum, inserted a nutcracker into Joyce in order to perform an abortion.

On April 8, Joyce's husband took her to St. Joseph's Hospital. She was examined by a Dr. Moss who diagnosed her as suffering from "an infected criminal abortion." The dead fetus was still in her uterus. She expelled it while at St. Joseph's.

On April 13, Joyce was transferred to General Hospital for specialized treatment. She died there on April 21. An autopsy was performed, and Joyce's death blamed on bronchial pneumonia brought on by the septic abortion.

The Trial

During the trial, a photograph of the autopsy was available, but the district attorney didn't display it. He instead told the jury, "you can look at it up in the jury room if you are so inclined--it's an autopsy picture--I'm not going to show it to you because some people don't like to see things like that--she was 26 years old April 6th. She was a girl in good health. She was pregnant. She wanted to do something about having an abortion for this pregnancy."

The district attorney also told the jury, "Frankly, I don't know how you feel about this matter of abortion--it is a matter of difference of opinion. Some people say well, people can't afford it, it's all right to have an abortion. Some people say if the woman's health won't stand it it's all right to have an abortion. Our law says it's all right to have an abortion if her health is of such nature she can't have a baby. Some people think abortions are all right. Some people are absolutely against all of them. If you want to know the truth, I'm pretty much against all abortions myself, I think it's a terrible thing for a girl to be talked into this."

The appeals court found it "improper for the district attorney to express his personal belief as to all abortion," but noted that since the jury was admonished to ignore the comment Karman had no grounds for appeal in the fact that the DA made the comment.

The Defense

Karman's defense called a Dr. Gilbert as an expert. He reviewed the autopsy report and medical records, an opined that Joyce did not die from a septic abortion. He was paid $150 for his testimony, ironically the same amount Joyce paid for the abortion.

The defense also appealed on the grounds that the the DA unduly prejudiced the jury by bringing out in cross-examining Karman that he'd been conviced previously of a felony. The appeals court ruled that this was proper impeachment of a witness.
Karman's defense also argued that Joyce's husband and friend were improperly granted immunity after they originally refused to testify.

Karman's defense also claimed that the prosecution failed to prove that the abortion wasn't necessary to save Joyce's life. But the appeals court found that the testimony of Joyce's husband and friend that Joyce had been in good health, settled that matter. Of course, pure logic would prove that matter, since Joyce was seeking an illegal abortion from an amateur in a motel room. Had her life been in danger, an ob/gyn would have been able to admit her to a hospital and perform the abortion there.

The Final Say -- Sort Of

An appeals court found that the district attorney's statement that what defendant did was "absolute butchery" was fair argument on the facts, and not an unduly prejudicious statement. It came out in the case that Joyce's husband was dating another woman and therefore had an interest in Joyce securing an abortion.
Karman was convicted of the abortion by a jury. But when prochoice Governor Jerry Brown took office, he pardoned Karman and set him at large to further the cause.

Typical or Not?

Joyce'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. However, it stands out because Harvey Karman was treated like a real doctor by the abortion establishment. He was invited to train abortionists, and was celebrated by abortion advocates for having invented a suction cannula designed specifically for early abortions. So his amateur status is not necessarily reflective of his comparative skill.

external image Illegals.png
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: District Court of Appeal, Second District Division 3, California.The People of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent,v.Harvey Leroy Karman, Defendant and Appellant.Cr. 5583.Nov. 13, 1956

Sunday, April 17, 2011

1993: Abandoned patient bleeds to death

Those insist that legalization of abortion is necessary to keep our daughters safe might want to speak to Lou Ann Herron's father, Mike Gibb, who silently wept in the courtroom as he listened to witnesses describe how his 33-year-old daughter, Lou Ann Herron, bled to death from a safe-n-legal abortion at the now defunct A-Z Women's Center.

The Pregnancy

Medical assistant Sylvia Aragon wept on the witness stand as she said that Lou Ann's pregnancy was "too far along" for an abortion. Aragon said that she thought abortionist John Biskind Biskind kept ordering more and more ultrasound scans to try to get one that would document the pregnancy as being early enough for the abortion to be legal. A total of seven ultrasounds were done before an estimate of 23 weeks was obtained the day prior to the abortion. Although Arizona law allows the abortionist to have final judgment about whether or not the fetus is viable, and therefore past the legal limit for abortion, the standard point for viability is believed to be around 24 weeks. The ultrasound Aragon did on April 9 showed a 26-week fetus.

If the abortion was indeed being done after 24 weeks, Arizona law requires that two physicians be present. Biskind was the only physician attending Lou Ann's abortion. Arizona law also limits abortions after 24 weeks to those that an abortionist can try to justify on the grounds that it was necessary to preserve the health and safety of the mother -- a nonsensical concept, since after 24 weeks a conscientious physician faced with a gravely ill patient will perform an emergency c-section in a hospital operating room; he will not perform a risky late abortion in a freestanding clinic.

There were no health concerns in Lou Ann's case anyway, the prosecution noted. She sought the abortion because she already had two children and was separated from her husband.

The Abortion

Prosecutors said that Biskind had ordered a total of seven ultrasounds performed, with estimates ranging from 23 weeks 3 days to 26 weeks. However, only the ultrasound that showed the pregnancy as 23 weeks 3 days was forwarded to the medical examiner; the others were lost or destroyed by the facility. Biskind's defense held that no attempts were made to fudge ultrasounds, nor were records tampered with or destroyed.

The abortion was performed at 1:30 p.m. Biskind, his lawyer said, noted a small amount of blood on the sheets when he checked on Lou Ann after the abortion, but that he was not concerned because bleeding is normal after an abortion.

The Aftermath

Two medical assistants testified that Lou Ann was very frightened about her condition as she lay in recovery. She begged, they said, to know what was wrong with her. She cried out in pain as she lay in a puddle of blood for three hours. Biskind fixed her IV (complaining that there was no qualified nurse on staff to do this), reassured her, and left the building at around 3:45 p.m., according to testimony.

Clinic administrator Carole Stuart-Schadoff had a staffer page Biskind 25 minutes later when Lou Ann's condition worsened. Biskind did not return to the clinic, but told staff to call 911.

Prosecutors estimate that by the time paramedics were summoned, Lou Ann had lost 2 to 3 liters of blood.

When the rescue crew arrived, Phoenix fire captain Biran Tobin Tobin testified, Lou Ann was wearing an oxygen mask, but had not been intubated. There was also no IV in place. "I very quickly felt that there wasn't a lot of competent medical care going on at the time," he said.

Tobin testified that Lou Ann appeared to be dead. Nobody at the clinic seemed aware of how grave her condition was, he said, and nobody seemed to be helping her in any way. Staff told Tobin that Lou Ann's vitals were pulse 100, blood pressure 90/50. "It was very difficult for me to believe that they could get the vital signs of a woman who, even as we walked in the door, looked really dead," he said.

On cross-examination, Tobin indicated that during the 11 minutes the rescue crew was at the facility, he personally never touched the patient. He could not say if her skin was so cold because it was cold at the facility, or because she was dead.
Biskind surrendered his license to practice medicine in Arizona after Lou Ann's death in order to stop an ongoing medical board investigation of the circumstances and his handling of the case.

The Trial

A former Maricopa County medical examiner testified that the tear in LouAnne's uterus was caused by medical instruments, and not by a fetal body part as the defense suggested. However, even had the injury been caused by a fetal body part, this is an expected complication and would not have excused Biskind from his duty to notice and treat the injury.

Emergency room physician John Gallagher testified that, based on his assessment of Lou Ann's condition, she could have been saved had she been brought into surgery promptly. This assessment is in keeping with a CDC study concluding that given the training and resources available to physicians, no woman need bleed to death from a legal abortion.

Gallagher trains paramedics for the Phoenix Fire Department. He said that the records he reviewed clearly indicated that Lou Ann's condition was life threatening as she lay bleeding after her abortion, and that Biskind should have recognized the severity of her injuries. Gallagher testified that the records clearly indicated serious trouble at 1:25 p.m., 16 minutes after Lou Ann had been taken to the recovery room. He said that had he been treating her, he would have ordered more IV fluids and blood immediately, and summoned an ambulance to take her to a hospital where she could be treated in a properly equipped operating room.

Gallagher noted that during her last hours in the recovery room, Lou Ann became combative, anxious and frightened, and that she reported her legs were going numb. These, he noted, are all clear signs of severe blood loss. Instead of recognizing the danger she was in, Gallagher noted, Biskind instead tried to calm Lou Ann and reassure her that she would be "just fine."

Dr. Sidney Wecsler, an abortion expert testifying for the prosecution, said that the letter Biskind wrote to the medical board describing Lou Ann's death misrepresented both her condition and his treatment of her. The letter, dated June 1, 1998, said that Boskind checked on Lou Ann at 1:25 p.m., and that "pulse and blood pressure were satisfactory." The medical records, however, show that Lou Ann's blood pressue was low at that time, a symptom of severe blood loss. Biskind also said in the letter that Lou Ann was alert and talking when he left the clinic at 4:05, which Wecsler said would have been impossible for the moribund patient who was certainly dead by the time paramedics arrived twenty minutes later.

Wechsler said that Biskind surely knew as early as 3:15 p.m. that Lou Ann was not alert, because he ordered a drug to arouse her, which did not work. Biskind's letter makes no mention of administering this drug.

Biskind's defense has been claiming that the assistants at the clinic failed to keep Biskind informed of Lou Ann's deteriorating condition. But Biskind's letter to the medical board claims that he himself checked on her every 30 to 45 minutes.
Wechsler was cross-examined by Biskind's lawyer. The lawyer contends that the assistants could have misjudged how much blood Lou Ann was losing, and that Lou Ann's low blood pressure may have been due to medication and not hemorrhage. Wechsler didn't budge from his initial assessment, that Biskind had plenty of evidence and had no legitimate reason to claim ignorance of Lou Ann's life-threatening condition.

Wechsler said that Biskind should have done a pelvic exam and other tests to determine exactly what was wrong with Lou Ann as she lay, frantic and bleeding, in the recovery room. If nothing else, Wechsler said, the fact that Lou Ann was still in recovery three hours after her abortion, long after other patients were up and about and discharged from the facility, should have alerted Biskind to the fact that something was seriously wrong.

A doctor who specializes in obstetric ultrasounds testified that the quality of the scan used to justify Lou Ann's abortion was so poor that it appeared the machine was defective and improperly used. The judge ordered struck from the record the expert's comment that reading an ultrasound properly is "a matter of life and death" for an unborn baby.

Biskind's defense was largely based on the idea that no physician would have rationally have left the facility had he realized that Lou Ann was in danger of bleeding to death from the hole in her uterus. The defense also holds that Biskind did not order multiple ultrasounds, but that the fetus was truly 23 weeks.
The prosecution noted that the clinic charged $1,250 for an abortion between 20 and 24 weeks, and indicated that it was this fee, and not any medical concern for Lou Ann, that led Biskind to proceed with an abortion.

Biskind's attorney also indicated that Biskind informed Lou Ann of the risks of a late abortion before she signed the consent form.

Biskind's co-defendant, Carole Stuart-Schanoff, had a defense based on the idea that as administrator of the facility, she had no medical training, took no role in patients' medical care, and therefore was not responsible for what happened in the clinic she was running. Prosecutors point out that Stuart-Schadoff scheduled the abortion, and that she scheduled it despite knowing that there would be no registered nurse attending the recovery room that day. The prosection also noted that Stuart-Schadoff delayed calling 911, choosing to call Biskind first.
Lois Montagno, an RN from the now closed A-Z Women's Center, testified that she told Stuart-Schadoff a week in advance that she would not be able to work past noon on August 17, 1998, the day Stuart-Schadoff scheduled Lou Ann Herron for her fatal abortion. This supports the prosecution's contention that Stuart-Schadoff was responsible for leaving Lou Ann in the care of medical assistants, who would not be qualified to supervise the recovery room.

Montagno also testified that she left a note to remind the supervisor, and told her as she was leaving on the 17th, reminding Stuart-Schadoff to tell Biskind that there would be no RN in the recovery room. Montagno did not tell Biskind she was leaving; she testified that he was in the procedure room at the time and she did not want to interrupt him.

Upon retiring to deliberate at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the jury of seven women and one man immediately agreed that the defendants were guilty. It was simply a matter of deciding which charges they were guilty of: the manslaughter charge, or the lesser charge of negligent homicide. It took them 4 1/2 hours to conclude that Biskind was guilty of manslaughter, Stuart-Schadoff of negligent homicide.
Lou Ann's family, which occupied two rows of the courtroom during the trial, wept as the verdicts were read. They met with members of the jury afterward.
Jury foreman Russell Craig, 56, spoke for the jury in the aftermath of the abortion death trial. He reported that he and other jurors were haunted by vivid dreams. He was particularly disturbed by the autopsy photos.

According to Craig, Biskind was his own worst enemy. "At one point when the prosecutor had finished his closing arguments," Craig told a reporter, "he applauded. It certainly didn't make much of an impression."

Only after the trial was over did members of the jury learn of Biskind's history of misconduct, including the previous death of another abortion patient. Craig said that this information "makes me feel better about my decision."
After the verdict, County Attorney Romley called for tougher laws addressing the way the Board of Medical Examiners handles doctors with problems.

The Owner

A-Z owner Moshe Hachamovitch testified, news reports say, "reluctantly and under tight security." When questioned about his knowledge of procedures at the facility, and about Lou Ann's death, he responded, "I don't remember." He did, however, indicate that he called Biskind a few weeks after the death to discuss the case, but did not say what, if any, conclusions he reached about how the situation was handled.

Hachamovitch admitted that the clinic did not have a procedures manual, but said that Biskind was "excellent at doing second-trimester abortions." Hachamovitch indicated that he himself is an expert on late abortions, having performed "hundreds of thousands of them" during his 41 years of practice, going back to pre-Roe days in New York. However, Hachamovitch's license had been suspended in New York for nine months on the grounds of gross negligence, gross incompetence, and inaccurate patient records. His license was again suspended in New York for practicing fraudulently and failing to maintain adequate records.
Hachamovitch himself performed the fatal abortions on Tanya Williamson, Luz Rodriguez, and Christina Goesswein. Jammie Garcia died after a safe and legal abortion at Hachamovitch's Texas facility.

Friday, April 15, 2011

1997: Safe, legal abortion kills Texas teen

Life Dynamics lists 16-year-old Maureen Espinoza on their "Blackmun Wall" of women killed by legal abortions.

Citing an article in the San Antonio Express-News dated April 24, 1997, LDI notes:

  • Maureen's abortion was performed at a doctor's office in San Antonio on March 28, 1997.
  • The abortionist punctured Maureen's uterus, but took no note of the complication.
  • Maureen was admitted through the emergency room at NE Baptist Hospital on April 3.
  • She underwent two surgeries to try to save her life.
  • She died on April 15, 1997.

LDI's source: "M.E.'s office verifies teen died from legal abortion," San Antonio Express-News, April 24, 1997

1932: Oklahoma abortionist claims another victim

The Arrangements

Dr. Richard E. Thacker maintained an office and operating rooms in the Terminal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In the early part of April, 1932, Ruth Hall, who was unmarried, went with her friends, Helen Wright and Margy Brown, to Thacker's practice. Ruth was in good health at the time, but had discovered that she was pregnant. Helen reported that Ruth was on vacation from her job at Southwest Bell Telephone Company. Ruth's friends stayed in the waiting room while Thacker took Ruth back into his exam room for five or ten minutes. Thacker told Ruth to return at noon the following day, April 6, a Wednesday.

Ruth borrowed money to pay for the abortion. She, Margy, and Helen returned as instructed, bringing Ruth's roommate, Elma Benne, with them. The four young women awaited Thacker's arrival in his waiting room. After he arrived, Helen went into the procedure room with Ruth, while Elma and Margy waited.

Helen said she saw Ruth give Thacker money, but she didn't know how much. Ruth then got onto the table as instructed by Thacker.

The Abortion

Here is Helen's testimony regarding what happened next:

She was on her back with her knees up; defendant used a long slender instrument, and then packed her with gauze; I guess he packed her womb; I saw him insert the instrument into her private parts; he did not make any examination before he used this instrument, nor did he take her temperature; he did not test her heart or feel her pulse. If he asked anything about her condition I did not hear it; we were in a small narrow room; she asked him when to remove the gauze, and he said 24 hours.

Helen testified that there were some other women in Thacker's office when she and Ruth collected their friends and went back to the boarding house where Ruth lived. Helen remained with her friend for four hours, leaving her in the care of her roommate.

The Aftermath

Helen returned to the boarding house on Thursday, and spent the night with Ruth and Elma. Ruth took ill in the night. Elma said that her friend "suffered quite a bit", and got up to use the bathroom, where Ruth passed something. Elma thought that Ruth seemed to feel a bit better after that. Both Helen and Elma observed blood on the bed at the time. Elma described it as "a spot the size of two hands".

Helen said goodbye to Ruth at 10:00 Friday morning. She never saw her friend again.

On Saturday, Ruth's brother came to bring his sister to their parents' house, as was their routine. Mrs. Hall reported that Ruth was sick when she arrived at about 4 or 5 p.m. It wasn't until roughly 11:00 that Ruth finally told her mother why she was ill. Mrs. Hall called Dr. Vaughn, their family doctor. He didn't provide any care for Ruth, but did consult with her mother over the phone.

Mrs. Hall then called Thacker. Here is her testimony regarding that phone call:

When I phoned defendant, I stated: 'This is Mrs. George Hall, at Bethany. Do you remember a girl coming to your office by the name of Ruth Hall?' He said he did not remember her, that she was not there. 'Well' I said, 'She is sick and we want you to come out and see her.' He said, 'What is the trouble,' and I said, 'You know what is the matter with her, come out right away.' He said, 'I haven't got any way to get out there.' I told him I could tell him a way. He said he would have to get a taxi. I did not care how he got there, all I wanted was for him to come. He acted like he was not going to come, and I said, 'You will wish you had. You had better come on out here if you know what is good for you.'

Defendant came out; my daughter was in a back bedroom, and I went with him to her room; I don't think he asked any questions about her physical condition; he asked what was the matter; she smiled at him and did not say anything; he had taken her temperature and she did not have any fever at all.

He opened up his case to get his instruments and started in like he was going to work on her without sterilizing his instruments or washing his hands; I asked him if he was not going to sterilize his instruments or wash his hands; he said, 'I guess I had better;' he washed his hands, but did not sterilize his instruments; he took out an instrument of some kind, and used that on her; he used that to dilate her vagina, then used a swab with cotton and stuck that in a bottle that contained iodine and swabbed her out with it; after he treated her he sat at the foot of the bed and talked with us for some time. He said, 'This is something I certainly do not approve of; I told the girl this when she came to the office and wanted help, but I could not turn her down. It seems like the more I try to help people lately the most of them get into worse trouble;' he said if his wife knew this 'she would kill me. I feel like sometimes going and jumping in the river, and if I had I would be better off.' He further said, 'Before I do anything like this again, the husbands will have to come with the wives, or the mothers with the daughters.'

I asked him about getting another doctor, and he said he did not think it necessary. She died Friday evening. I called Dr. Vaughn, and he would not come. I called Dr. Ferris and defendant; Dr. Ferris got there first, then the defendant came. She was dead when defendant got there.

The Fallout

After Ruth's death, Thacker said, Ruth's sister tied to shake him down for funeral expenses. Thacker refused, on the grounds that he felt he had done everything he could for Ruth. Her sister threatened to turn him in to the police. Thacker fled to his brother-in-law's ranch near Amarillo, Texas, where he changed his name to Miller. He then relocated to Springdale, Arkansas, where he was finally appreheded. He was arrested in the afternoon, and claimed at the time of his arrest that he had been planning to return to Oklahoma City that evening.

Over Thacker's understandable, albeit unsustainable, objections, the court permitted a number of witnesses to testify that after Ruth's visit to his practice, Thacker had performed fatal abortions on Robbie Lou Thompson, Lennis May Roach, and Nancy Joe Seay Lee. The witnesses went into detail about the events, up to and including the death of each of them.

Thacker testified that Ruth had indeed come to his office, but he denied performing an abortion on her. He said that she was seeking aftercare for an abortion she had obtained elsewhere from another doctor. He did admit that he had been summoned to the Hall home by Ruth's mother, but he denied any of the statements he made to Mrs. Hall regarding having an abortion practice. He also admitted to having treated Robbie Lou Thompson, Lennis May Roach, and Nancy Joe Lee, but denied that he performed any abortions.

The Appeal

Thacker was convicted of murder, but appealed the conviction, claiming seventeen errors in the prosecution of his case, mostly focusing on the presentation of evidence that he had performed abortions on other women. Thacker's attorneys held that this evidence was prejudicial. But the state countered that the evidence of numerous other abortions demonstrated that Thacker was a practicing abortionist and that the crime against Ruth was performed as a part of that business.

The appeal also challenged other aspects of the state's case, and boiled down to, "You didn't prove she was pregnant. And even if she was, you didn't prove that I used any instruments on her. And even if I did, you didn't prove that I used them to cause an abortion. And even if I did, you didn't prove that the abortion wasn't necessary to save her life. Not to mention you didn't prove that the abortion caused her death." The state noted that circumstantial evidence was sufficient. Thacker's appeal clearly illustrates why so many doctors who clearly were performing abortions were nevertheless not convicted, since one weak link in the chain of proof could destroy the state's entire case.

New York Times; "Abortion Ring", Time, Monday, May 9, 1932; Thacker v State. 1933 OK CR 119. 26 P.2d 770. 55 Okl.Cr. 161. Decided: 10/27/1933. Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals

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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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Culture of Me

HT: Jill Stanek

Abortion and the negation of love:

Those of us in the pro-life movement often claim that we live in a “culture of death.” But most of us don't believe it. Not really. We may use the phrase as a rhetorical tool, but deep in our hearts we think that our family, friends, and neighbors wouldn't knowingly kill another human being.

We convince ourselves that they simply don't realize what they're doing. If only they could see—and honestly look at—the ultrasound pictures of an unborn child. If only we could convince them that what they consider a “clump of cells” is a person. If only they knew it was a human life they were destroying. If they only knew, they wouldn’t—they couldn’t—continue to support abortion.

But they do know. And the abortions continue. Not because we live in a culture of death but because we live in a culture of me.


• "Women: This is your life and your body. What you think is right . . . is! No matter what anyone else has to say about it. Look around you . . . many people sat in that same chair. Be strong. And if you think this is a “sin,” remember, God forgives!"


• "I didn't let your dad know about you, simply because I'm ashamed. In my heart I will miss you but physically I don't have the means to take care of you and your older sister. I will never label you a mistake, because God obviously thought you should have been here, even though I beg to differ."

Notice that all three examples mention God. God forgives. The baby is better off with God. However, the last one best sums up this attitude behind the Culture of Me: God thought you should be born, but I beg to differ.


Pangs of conscience are, of course, a natural reaction to the taking of an innocent life. But while the Culture of Me can accept an unborn child being ripped from the womb, having hurt feelings about such actions is unacceptable.

The end of the Glamour article closes with a feature called, “Women tell the true story of my abortion.” Unsurprisingly, the women represented are more concerned about their own anguish than they are regretful about their decision to kill another human:

• “I don’t want this to affect the rest of my life.” — Carla, 23


But the most revealing confession came from thirty-five-year-old Micaela:

"This may sound strange, but I felt I knew the being I was carrying. I felt he was my son. I even called him Ernesto. .... I know it was really about me, ... and that's what the last five years since the abortion have been about."

While rereading these quotes I was reminded of the words of Josef Pieper.

“... In every conceivable case love signifies much the same as approval. This is first of all to be taken in the literal sense of the word's root: loving someone or something means finding him or its probes, the Latin word for ‘good.’ It is a way of turning to him or it and saying, “It's good that you exist; it's good that you are in the world!”

The opposite of love is the frame of mind that declares, “It's good that you not exist; it’s good that you are not in the world!” ....

Joe Carter is web editor of First Things and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator. His previous articles for “On the Square” can be found here.


Glamour, Are You Ready to Really Understand Abortion? [PDF]

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hearts full of hurt: Abortion clinic messages reflect new counseling philosophy

America to Planned Parenthood: Piss off!

Verbatim from: Life Voice. If you like this post, follow their blog.

Poll Finds 54% of Americans Want Planned Parenthood Defunded

A poll commissioned by the Susan B. Anthony Fund finds that 54% of Americans do not want family planning dollars going to organizations that perform abortions. Importantly, 43% strongly oppose use of taxpayer dollars in this manner while only 20% strongly support.

The Polling Company results reveal the following:

  • 82% of those who are pro-life oppose this funding
  • 26% of those who are pro-choice oppose this funding
  • Women oppose by a 51-40% margin
  • Latinos oppose by a 47-45% margin
  • African-Americans oppose by a 62-26% margin
  • Independents oppose by a 52-36% margin
  • Ages 18-34 oppose by a 54-38% margin
  • Republicans oppose by a 77-20% margin
  • Democrats oppose by a 55-38% margin
  • Those in the 35-44 age range were the only age category in support of funding Planned Parenthood

In summary, there is broad support in America as a whole and in key demographic populations to strip Planned Parenthood of the over $360 million it receives in federal and state taxpayer dollars each year. The survey interviewed 1,000 Americans with a margin of error of +/- 3%. Read poll results here.

Barbara Lyons

Sunday, April 10, 2011

1910: Another Chicago death

On April 10, 1910, Celia M. Schultz, age 29, died in a Chicago home from an abortion.
A woman named Mary Rommell was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury. The source document does not indicate her profession, or that the case ever went to trial.
Note, please, that with ordinary 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.
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For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
Source: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database

Friday, April 08, 2011

1928: Abortion victim takes ill at work, dies

On April 8, 1928, 26-year-old Mildred Jacobsen "took sick" at work. She died there before she could be taken to a hospital.
On May 4, the coroner concluded that Mildred had died from complications of a criminal abortion, and recommended the identification and arrest of the person or persons responsible.
Nobody was ever held accountable for Mildred's death.
external image Illegals.png
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

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Texas house votes to divert PP money to vulnerable citizens

Texas Right to Life removes $61M tax funds from abortion industry!

Money that Planned Parenthood and its supporters wanted to allocate underwriting people's sex lives has been diverted by Texas lawmakers into other areas of the state budget:
  1. Pregnancy centers to help women avoid abortion
  2. Services for people with autism
  3. Mental health services for children
  4. Emergency medical services and trauma care
  5. Early Childhood Intervention
  6. Services for the deaf, blind, and those with multiple disabilities
  7. STAR program for at-risk youth
So, much to PP's chagrin, the money is going to go to needy people, mostly children and those with disabilities. You know, the kind of people Planned Parenthood has sought from Day One to eliminate.

So this is a double blow to them. They lose funding -- and it's being diverted to those their founder looked down on as "human weeds."

Compassion trumps elitism! Go, Texas!

HT: Mommy Life

Texas house votes to divert PP money to vulnerable citizens

Texas Right to Life removes $61M tax funds from abortion industry!

Money that Planned Parenthood and its supporters wanted to allocate underwriting people's sex lives has been diverted by Texas lawmakers into other areas of the state budget:
  1. Pregnancy centers to help women avoid abortion
  2. Services for people with autism
  3. Mental health services for children
  4. Emergency medical services and trauma care
  5. Early Childhood Intervention
  6. Services for the deaf, blind, and those with multiple disabilities
  7. STAR program for at-risk youth
So, much to PP's chagrin, the money is going to go to needy people, mostly children and those with disabilities. You know, the kind of people Planned Parenthood has sought from Day One to eliminate.

So this is a double blow to them. They lose funding -- and it's being diverted to those their founder looked down on as "human weeds."

Compassion trumps elitism! Go, Texas!

HT: Mommy Life

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

1969: Colorado doctor kills woman

On April 6, 1969, 35-year-old Mrs. Catherine L. Barnard of Arvada, Colorado, died of a botched criminal abortion.
Dr. Virgil Jobe, who was later also charged with performing an abortion on a 17-year-old Oklahoma girl, was convicted in Catherine's death.
He was sentenced to five years in prison for the Oklahoma girl's abortion. I have been unable to determine the outcome of any trial over Catherine's death.
Catherine's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.
external image Illegals.png
In the 1960s, we see the 20th Century downward trend in abortion mortality resumed -- until a brief upturn starting in 1968, when some states first started loosening their abortion laws. For more, see Abortion Deaths in the 1960's.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion.

Source: "Dr. Jobe Guilty, Draws 5-Year Abortion Term", The Oklahoman, October 25, 1969

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

2000: Suicide after Carhart abortion

Dear Lord,
I sit here alone with my thoughts wondering if you will ever forgive me. Why do I continue to fail you? I'm failing you because I‘m turning away from the precious gift of having a child. A child. A breathing, living, beautiful life that I created but too selfish to accept from you. Will you still love me as a child of yours? Will I still love me after today?
Haley‘s journal - Oct. 23, 2000

On April 5, 2001, Donetta Robben‘s 22-year-old niece didn‘t show up for work. Her friend Rosa drove over to check on her, and her car wasn‘t there. Rosa called the girl‘s father, Edwin. Had she gone home to visit her family?
Edwin later said he just knew that his daughter was dead. He called the Omaha police, and he called his daugther‘s landlord. They went to the apartment. They found her body.
Though the coroner estimated that the young woman had been dead for several days, all official documents, and the young woman‘s tombstone, use the April 5th date. So will I.
In telling her niece's story, Donetta decided to use the name ‘Haley Mason‘ rather than her niece‘s real name. In respect for the family‘s desire to grieve privately, I‘m using the name Donetta uses: Haley Mason. Likewise, I use the psuedonoms Donetta uses for friends and family members.
The official ruling was that Haley‘s death was an accidental overdose. Her family was stunned as the investigators spoke with them, revealing the discoveries made while looking into the young woman‘s death. Isolated words echoed in their minds: death, journals, death, pills, death, drinking, death, hurt, death, abortion... Abortion?
The answers to how Haley went from happy-go-lucky college student to suicide statistic weren‘t in the official reports. They were found in Haley‘s journals, where she poured her heart out in the final months of her life.
The story of how Haley died begins when she fell in love with Todd. She found out she was pregnant and told him. He wanted her to get an abortion.
Haley was a student at the University of Nebraska. She worked two jobs to meet her expenses. Unmarried, without much money, and with a disapproving boyfriend, Haley saw abortion as her only option. She made her appointment at the Bellevue, Nebraska practice of Dr. Leroy Carhart. It was late October of 2000.
Haley wrote of Todd‘s attitude: "I must let him abandon me. He doesn‘t care about me. I know he‘s only agreed to pay for it to ease his own guilt."
Haley found the abortion stressful: the wait, the sounds, the crude and uncaring behavior of the doctor. Haley‘d been told to arrive at the clinic at 7:00 in the morning, but it was ten hours before she was finally on the table, ready for the abortion. Carhart walked into the room, clad in a dirty coat and glasses so smeared that Haley‘s friend, who had accompanied her, wondered how he could even see through the lenses.

Haley, in her fog of medication, tried to make a joke. "Don‘t hurt me down there?" she said. "Be still and I won‘t," Carhart replied.
While performing the vacuum abotion, Carhart spouted profanities. He told Haley and her friend that he was tired. He‘d been speaking in California the day before, and had just flown into Omaha that morning.
After the abortion, Haley felt violated, as if she‘d been raped. She also experienced continued spotting into January. She'd not been given a follow-up appointment, and didn‘t know if the bleeding was normal or not. She didn‘t want to go to another doctor, because she‘d have to tell him about the abortion, and that was just too painful to talk about. The bleeding was a constant reminder of the death of Haley‘s unborn baby.
Haley told few people about the abortion: three close friends and two relatives. But she didn‘t tell them of her struggle to cope with the emotional pain. She kept telling herself that she‘d done the best thing. But she started punishing herself, and pushed away anybody who tried to love her. She didn‘t feel that she deserved their love.
Haley longed for a knight in shining armor to rescue her from the prison of her grief, but she no longer felt comfortable with men. She had to get drunk to be able to endure sex. And even then, it reminded her of the abortion. Todd came by at early hours, looking for sex. Haley submitted, but her heart wasn‘t in it. She no longer felt loved. She felt used.
The drinking got worse. Hot baths and quick jogs provided temporary relief from the anguish, but it always returned.
Finally, Haley could stand it no more.
First, plenty of numbing alcohol. Then, she went into her living room and grabbed a precious photo of her late mother and maternal grandfather. Next, a bottle of vodka. A bottle of aspirin. An old prescription bottle of Benadryl. Haley washed the drugs down with the vodka, leaving the three bottles next to the photograph.
She went into the bedroom. She put her rosary around her neck. She set an empty holy water bottle on her dresser. She opened her journal to the day of the abortion. She lay down, head on her pillow, looking for the rest she couldn‘t find any more in living.
Leaving her family to sort out their own pain.

1927: Chicago doctor's fatal work

On the morning of April 5, 1927, Arhne Reynolds died at the office of Dr. Louis Ginsburg from an abortion performed on her there that day.
Ginsburg was arrested on April 18, and indicted for felony murder on May 15.
Arhne'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 1920s.
external image Illegals.png
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

Sunday, April 03, 2011

1928: Another fatal abortion by Chicago midwife

On April 3, 1928, 30-year-old Stafania Kwit died from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day by midwife Pauline Majerczyk.
On May 3, Mauerczyk was held by the coroner for murder by abortion.
Mauerczyk was indicted for felony murder on May 15.
external image Illegals.png

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

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Okay, folks -- I need your help!

I spent a chunk of yesterday afternoon listening to our Executive Director explain how desperately she had tried to get our funding source to cough up the money for salaries through the end of the program year, to no avail. Of course, this was followed by, "So we have to let you go."

Effective the end of the work day.

Y'all here know me for what I do here. I've done prolife work before as a professional, and would of course be very open to doing that again. Even a tiny job doing some research or writing would help me to network for something full time.

Also, any comments or letters about finding the blog helpful and informative would be nice as well. Those of you who think I totally suck are, of course, exempted from that request.

Thanks in advance for any help, good wishes, and prayers.