Sunday, August 14, 2011

Two deaths, legal and illegal

Yvonne Tanner, a 22-year-old mother of a young daughter, had a safe and legal abortion performed by Stephen Pine and/or Morton Barke July 10, 1984 at Inglewood Women's Hospital. Yvonne went into a coma immediately after the abortion, and died August 14, 1984. Her death certificate indicates coma, hypertension, and urinary tract infection. The suit by her survivors alleged that Yvonne was not adequately advised of the risks prior to undergoing the fatal abortion. The other women who met their deaths at Inglewood include Kathy Murphy, Lynette Wallace, Elizabeth Tsuji, Cora Lewis, and Belinda Byrd.

Kris Humphrey placed a high value on "self-determination" and doing things "naturally." These values led her to choose the herbal abortion that ended her life on August 14, 1994. Kris consulted a friend who recommended an abortion technique from
Wise Woman Herbal, by Susun Weed. The method relied on a tea of pennyroyal extract and black cohosh root, both readily available in health-food stores. On August 5, Kris started the abortion regimen, but she failed to seek medical help when she developed symptoms of pain and cramping, even after the abortion should have been complete. She kept dosing herself with more pennyroyal tea, even after her friends and mother had offered to pay for an abortion at Planned Parenthood. Kris's condition deteriorated, but still she refused care. Her friends finally called 911 when Kris stopped breathing. She was resuscitated and put on life support, but all efforts to save her failed. She was removed from life support and declared dead late on Saturday afternoon, August 14. Her liver showed signs of pennyroyal toxicity. Kris's friends blamed the university health clinic for not performing an ultrasound before referring Kris to Planned Parenthood, while her parents blamed the herbal store that sold the pennyroyal. Nobody, it seems, is blaming the culture that makes abortion normative and assures young women that it's perfectly safe.

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