Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gigan's Finds, 1919

I'm still slogging through a page gigan had created for her research. It turns out that somehow I missed a lot of abortions on the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database during the years from 1910-1919. I have no idea how I managed to miss so many, but I'm glad gigan filled in the gaps.

1919: Wanda Skrzypzak, Edna Griffith, Thea Newman, Jeanette Ruff, Mary Kizior, Susie Airey, Gertrude Schaefer,

A little Googling led me to learn that the woman identified as Lena Benich was Lena Benes. The abortionist's originally successful appeal hinged on whether it was the abortion attempt or the subsequent infection that caused the death of Lena's unborn baby.

I can understand how, in plowing through death after death after death, gigan could blame abortion's legal status for the carnage. After all, there are far fewer deaths per year from abortion now, when it's legal, than there were then, when it was illegal. But there is a difference between correlation and causality -- just because two things happen at the same time doesn't mean one caused the other.

For example, if you have a high fever, and are very congested, it would be wrong to conclude that the fever is causing the congestion, or that the congestion is causing the fever. Both would have their real cause in whatever virus or bacterium was making you ill.

Many things changed between the years tabulated in the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database and the post-Roe world of legal abortion. Antibiotics were developed and became widespread and were refined and improved. Blood typing and transfusions were developed. Our understanding of what causes, and how to treat, hypovolemic shock has progressed considerably. Doctors have become more aware of the need to keep things clean and sanitary, and to sterilize instruments. Better nutrition has made women healthier in the first place. Improved sanitation reduced the overall filth that caused many infections.

To single out legalization, and to ignore the real factors, is to mistake coincidence for cause. And if you look at maternal mortality throughout the 20th Century, you can see that there wasn't any change in the trend at all with legalization of abortion:

Clearly something other than legalization was saving women's lives. And if you don't have that in mind, it's easy to believe what abortion supporters say -- that it was legalization, not all the many improvements in health, hygiene, nutrition, and medicine -- that had such a dramatic impact on maternal mortality.

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