Saturday, August 13, 2011

Four anniversaries

Three of today's anniversaries each have a fairly lengthy story. I'll summarize the women's stories here. Click on each woman's name to learn more.

Ann Regan, "the daughter of a respectable widow" in Knightstown, Indiana, took ill on August 10, 1858. Her condition deteriorated over the next few days. On August 13, she went into a severe convulsion and died. The next day an autopsy determined that somebody had used instruments to perform an abortion on Ann, resulting in her death. Interestingly enough, news coverage of her death focused on heaping scorn and loathing on the man behind the entire tragedy. For more on this era, see Abortion Deaths in the 19th Century.

On August 13, 1922, 21-year-old Beulah Pickerill died at Chicago's Mid West Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion performed there that day. Two physicians, Vincent Filletti and Michale Galgano, were held by the coroner and indicted for felony murder.

Donna Heim, age 20, went to Her Medical Clinic on August 12, 1986, accompanied by her sister. Donna told staff that she had asthma, and she noted this on her forms when she filled them out. Despite this pre-existing condition, a nurse anesthetist administered general anesthesia for her safe and legal abortion. Donna reacted to the anesthesia and stopped breathing. Staff lied to Donna's sister even as Donna was being hauled to the ambulance. Donna died the next day without regaining consciousness.

Allegra Roseberry, age 41, had been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. She was admitted to Emory Hospital for assessment in anticipation of admission to an experimental cancer treatment program. There, a sonogram during surgery revealed a 23-week pregnancy, much to everyone's surprise since Allegra had undergone fertility drug treatment in order to conceive her son Matthew 20 years earlier. Her doctors lied to her, both about her own treatment options and about the health of her unborn baby, convincing her to submit to an abortion that killed her.

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