Saturday, June 15, 2013

1984: Mom Finds Teen Dead on Bathroom Floor

Early on the morning of June 15, 1984, 14-year-old Germaine Newman's mother found her dead on the bathroom floor. Just the day before, Germaine had undergone a second-trimester abortion performed by Dr. E. Wyman Garrett in Newark, New Jersey. After her abortion, Germaine had begun vomiting and suffered from abdominal pain and a high fever. During the night, the massive infection that was causing her symptoms killed her. An autopsy found that Germaine's uterus had been punctured, and her abdomen was full of pus and adhesions. When the New Jersey medical board investigated Dr. Garrett, they noted that he had illegally altered Germaine's medical records. Garrett argued that he was suffering from ''burnout syndrome,'' caused by performing more than 2,600 second-trimester abortions between 1982 and 1986.

Deceived or lying?
Abortion advocates argue that although legal abortion deaths like Germaine's are indeed sad, they're only a pale shadow of the carnage that would ensue were legal protection restored to unborn children. They use these claims to garner support among those otherwise reluctant to support legal abortion as well as to slander life advocates.

There are two approaches Big Abortion takes when trying to scare people into supporting legal abortion as a means of protecting women's lives:

Outright lying. They will trot out the long-disproven claim that 5,000 to 10,000 women were dying every year from abortion before legalization.

Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL,* admitted that he and his associates knew that the claims of 5,000 to 10,000 criminal abortion deaths were false. They bandied them about anyway, Nathanson confessed, because they were useful. This, too, is old news -- Nathanson came clean in 1979 when he published Aborting America.

Lying by omission. They will use numbers that are accurate, but will totally remove them from context in order to draw a conclusion that is demonstrably false. which typically involves taking fairly reliable abortion mortality numbers from before and after legalization then crediting legalization for the drop. No less prestigious organization than the Alan Guttmacher Institute uses this statistical legerdemain: "As the availability of legally induced abortion increased, mortality due to abortion dropped sharply: The number of abortion-related deaths per million live births fell from nearly 40 in 1970 to eight in 1976."

The truth is that you can take virtually any time period from when public health officials first started collecting the data and you'll find that abortion mortality fell.The only exception is a strange leveling-off in the 1950s that I've been unable to account for:

Milan Vuitch
What caused abortion mortality to fall precipitously wasn't legalization. Legalization didn't even make a blip in the trends, likely because for every non-physician whose business fell away, a physician abortionist became sloppy once the risk of a prison sentence for botching an abortion was gone. I know of three erstwhile criminal abortionists -- Jesse Ketchum, Milan Vuitch, and Benjamin Munson -- who kept their noses clean prior to legalization but each went on to practice appallingly sloppy abortions that killed two patients after legalization.

*National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, later renamed National Abortion Rights Association, now called NARAL Pro-Choice America

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