Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two women "endangered," two "protected," all four dead.

On October 11, 1913, 28-year-old Frances Odochowski, a married woman, died in Chicago at the scene of an abortion perpetrated that day by Dr. Arthur L. Blunt. Bunt was arrested and held by the Coroner on November 7, and brought before a Grand Jury, but the case never went to trial.

On October 11, 1926, Jeanette Jarrett, a 28-year-old Black woman, died from complications of a criminal abortion performed on her that day. A Black doctor, Roy Shell, was held by the coroner on October 29. On November 1, he was indicted for felony murder.

If you're tempted to blame the deaths of Frances and Jeanette on abortion law, remember 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.

In fact, due to improvements in addressing these problems, maternal mortality in general (and abortion mortality with it) fell dramatically in the 20th Century, decades before Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion across America.

For more information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.

external image MaternalMortality.gif

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

Let's fast-forward to the blessed days of safe, legal abortion, shall we?

Life Dynamics lists 17-year-old Sharonda Rowe on their "Blackmun Wallsafe and legal abortions.
According to LDI, Sharonda had an abortion done in a doctor's office in Washington, DC on October 11, 1981. She suffered lacerations in her vagina and uterus, causing a massive, fatal air embolism. So, in spite of "safe and legal," Sharonda's competent and compassionate provider of vital reproductive health care services managed to slice her open internally to the point of letting air into her circulatory system and killing her.

L'Echelle Head, age 21, died October 11, 2000, after an abortion at Dayton Women's Health Services. Dayton Right to Life said that L'Echelle was pronounced dead at Samaritan Hospital after she'd been sent home from the clinic. Police had been called to a private residence to investigate the report of an unresponisve 21-year-old woman shortly after 6 p.m. L'Echelle's obituary indicates that she left behind a daughter, her parents, and three sisters. Peggy Lehner of Dayton Right to Life said, "The final results of the autopsy are still pending. From early indications it appears she suffered some sort of blood clot or embolism."

The safe and legal Dayton Women's Health Services had been caught operating without a license in 1999. It was inspected on October 27, 1999, to see if a license should be granted. Inspectors found rusty instruments, improperly-marked medications, and a failure to follow sterile technique. The clinic administrators were told they'd have to correct the problems to get a license. The clinic got the license after getting a waiver regarding follow-up care for patients. In other words, the state knew a year before L'Echelle's death that the facility was sub-par, and allowed the abortionist to ply his trade anyway. Thank you, legalization, for keeping abortion safe.

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