Sunday, December 16, 2012

Quacks, both Before and After Roe, Killed Multiple Women

On December 6, 1874, midwife Mrs. Johanna White perpetrated an abortion on Mrs. Christine Seifred. Christine had been unfaithful to her husband when he was away in Europe, and when he returned and learned of the pregnancy, he left her. Ten days later, on December 16, Christine died from infection. Police arrested Mrs. White and her assistant, Margaret Smith.

On December 11, 1911, 34-year-old homemaker Mary Thorning underwent an abortion performed by Paulina Bechtel. Mary died on December 16.  Though Bechtel was identified as a midwife in the Homicide in Chicago Database, she was actually a doctor. At that time and place, female obstetricians were often referred to as midwives. Bechtel had already killed Ida Henry and Barbara Shelgren in 1900, In both of those cases she had been indicted but not tried. Bechtel was held by the Coroner's Jury and indicted on January 1, 1912 for Mary's death, but the case never went to trial.

On December 16, 1925, 22-year-old factory worker Bridget Masterson died in her Chicago home from a botched abortion. John O'Malley, the father of Bridget's baby, committed suicide by gas after learning of Bridget's death. He left a note implicating "a lady doctor at 310 W. North Ave." This was the address of Dr. Lucy Hagenow. Hagenow was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury on January 5, 1926. Hagenow, who had already been implicated of the abortion deaths of Louise Derchow, Annie Dorris, Abbia Richards, and Emma Dep in San Francisco, would go on to be linked to over a dozen Chicago abortion deaths: Minnie Deering, Sophia Kuhn, Emily Anderson, Hannah Carlson, Marie Hecht, May Putnam, Lola Madison, Annie Horvatich, Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Elizabeth Welter, and Mary Moorehead. Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. In fact, due to improvements in addressing these issued, maternal mortality in general (and abortion mortality with it) fell dramatically in the 20th Century, decades before Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion across America.

Now we move ahead to the days of safe-n-legal abortion.

Barbara Auerbach was 38 years old when she went to a New York hospital for a safe, legal abortion and tubal ligation, performed December 11, 1981. Two days later, she was discharged. On December 16, Barbara was vomiting and suffering from back pain and inability to void her bladder. She was admitted to Princeton Medical Center in Princeton, New Jersey. Doctors there tried in vain to save her life, but she died within three hours of being admitted. The autopsy showed that Barbara had an obstruction of her small bowel, which caused massive infection throughout her body.

On December 15, 1984, Mary Pena underwent a safe and legal abortion at San Vincente Hospital in Los Angeles. Mary had thought that she was 3 months pregnant, but doctors discovered she was at 22-weeks. During the procedure, Mary sustained two cervical lacerations, and because she was bleeding heavily, a hysterectomy was performed in an effort to save her life. The surgery was not successful, and at 1:50 am on December 16, 1984, she died while on the operating table. The Investigator's Report states "Dr. Allred cleared the case with Coroner and body was released to the family picked mortuary ... and services held. When the death certificate was taken to Kern County Health Department they refused to accept it and called the case to Los Angeles Coroner. ... Mortuary in Bakersfield will bring body to this office for autopsy on morning of 12-20-84." Only then was cause of death attributed to exsanguination due to cervical laceration due to therapeutic abortion. The cervix showed two lacerations - a small one that had been sutured and a large unsutured one extending through the full ring of the cervix. Once a cause for the fatal hemorrhage was determined, the death certificate was accepted, and Mary was laid to rest again. San Vicente had been purchased by National Abortion Federation member Familiy Practice Associates Medical Groupshortly before Mary's death. Other patients known to have died after abortion at Allred's facilities include:  Denise Holmes, Patricia Chacon, Josefina Garcia, Lanice Dorsey, Joyce Ortenzio, Tami Suematsu, Deanna Bell, Susan Levy, Christina Mora, Nakia Jorden, Maria Leho, Kimberly Neil, Maria Rodriguez, and Chanelle Bryant.

Venus Ortiz submitted to a 15-week abortion at National Abortion Federation member Eastern Women's Center at the hands of  Dr. Leiber on February 24, 1993. Her family due on the grounds that there was negligence in administering anesthesia to Venus, and then failed to resuscitate her promptly when she stopped breathing. Venus was left in permanent need of respirator, with profound brain damage. Venus remains in a coma/vegetative state. She was hospitalized a little over five months before being transferred to permanent nursing home care. She remained in a vegetative state for the remainder of her life. She died in a Staten Island nusing home on December 16, 1998 at the age of 29. Two other patients, Dawn Ravenelle (only 13 years old) and Dawn Mack, also died of complications of abortions done at Eastern Women's Center.

Prolifers need to learn that criminalizing abortion won't be enough. We will have to close loopholes in the law and demand accountability from authorities, who in the name of abortion rights will ignore quackery whether abortion is legal or not. Prochoicers need to learn that legalizing abortion didn't abolish quackery. Only diligence can keep the quacks in check.

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