Saturday, August 29, 2015

Illegal, Self-Induced, and Legal: All Equally Dead

On August 29, 1918, 23-year-old homemaker Mabel Johnston died at Chicago's Cook County Hospital of blood poisoning caused by an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Nathan Smedley and Dr. Anna Warren. Both were arrested and arraigned but the case never went to trial.

On August 29, 1925, Katarzyna Tobiasz, age 31 or 32, died at Chicago's St. Mary's Hospital from an abortion performed on her there that day. A woman whose name is spelled once as Barbara Kolur and elsewhere as Barbara Kar was held by the coroner on August 31 for Katarzyna's death. Kolur/Kar's profession is given as nurse or midwife. On July 5, 1927, she was indicted by a grand jury for felony murder in Katarzyna's death. 

On Wednesday, August 18, 1926, 22-year-old Myrtle Shall's friends and her fiance, Bruce Armstrong, brought her to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh. She had been feverish and in pain for the past three weeks, and now she was in shock. Bruce said he knew only that his fiancee was terribly ill but didn't know why. Her mother, Alice Phillips, on the other hand, was able to tell the doctor more. Myrtle, she said, had attempted a self-induced abortion when her period had been two weeks later. At first her vaginal bleeding was a welcome sign that the abortion had worked, but when it continued for three weeks, accompanied by fever and pain, her family and friends had become concerned. Myrtle had been perfectly well prior to inducing the abortion. Now she was vomiting and the doctors found her to be weak and anemic, with a rapid pulse and respiration and an alarming blood pressure of 136/100. In spite of all of the doctors' best efforts, Myrtle died at 9:15 p.m. on Sunday, August 29.  The inquest, held there at the hospital and using medical testimony by Dr. John Danner and Dr. Harold H. McBurney, concluded that Myrtle had died of peritonitis from a self-induced abortion.

In 1927, fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Florence Kruse became pregnant as a result of statutory rape by Corwyn Lynch. Somebody arranged for an abortion, which was performed on August 29. Florence died that day. Dr. James Aldrich was arrested on murder by abortion charges that day for the girl's death. However, the coroner's jury was unable to confirm that Aldrich had performed the abortion, and he was released. Florence's father, Louis C. Kruse, was booked as an accessory. However, on September 17, both men were cleared by the coroner, and on September 19 they were released. The coroner did, however, recommend that Corwyn Lynch be charged with murder. There is no record that Lynch was charged. Florence's mother, Amanda Kirsch Kruse, was not implicated.

Diane Watson was 27 years old when she went to Hedd Surgi-Center in Chicago for a safe and legal abortion on August 29, 1987. Although Diane was over 12 weeks pregnant, Rudolph Moragne proceeded with the abortion, in violation of state regulations prohibiting outpatient abortions after 12 weeks. Diane had seizures and went into cardiac arrest at the clinic. Moragne and the other physicians present -- Henry Pimentel, Ester Pimentel, and Calvin Williams -- failed to perform CPR. Diane's autopsy report attributed her death to "seizures due to anesthesia during an abortion," and made note of the recent pregnancy. Diane's death certificate, however, not only makes no mention of the abortion, but has the "no" box checked for whether or not the decedent had been pregnant during the previous three months. Diane's family filed suit. A doctor reviewing the case said that Moragne and Hedd staff "deviated from the accepted standards of care [and] failed to appropriately and timely diagnose and treat intraoperative complications which resulted in her death." Another abortion patient, Magnolia Reed Thomas, bled to death when Moragne failed to diagnose her ectopic pregnancy when she came to him at Hedd for a safe, legal abortion.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Illegal in 1926 and 1943

On August 28, 1926, 44-year-old Margaret Muscia, an Italian immigrant and mother of 10, died from a criminal abortion performed that day in Chicago. Mrs. Minnie Miller, alias Molinaro, was arrested on July 10 for Margaret's death. Minnie's profession is not given. On November 15, she was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury.

Naomi Congdon, age 21, was the wife of Donald Congdon, a sailor from Denver, stationed in Norman, Oklahoma. On July 27, 1943, Dr. Andrew Young examined Naomi and noted that she was pregnant, and also that she had an ingrown toenail that was infected. The infection, he said, was "minor". Naomi told her husband that she wanted to "do something" about the pregnancy. She even admitted to him that she had ingested turpentine to try to cause an abortion, but had vomited it back up. Donald objected to the idea of an abortion. On August 16, Donald found a note from his wife, telling him that she was at the home of Mrs. Lena Griffin Smith, a 63-year-old maternity nurse in Oklahoma City. Donald went there and found his wife in great pain. He contacted doctors at the naval base, who instructed him to have Naomi brought to the base hospital. Donald called an ambulance and rode with his wife to the hospital. Police raided Smith's practice at her residence, finding one woman in bed recuperating from an abortion, and another just arriving for "treatment" she had already paid for. Smith confessed that she had been operating an abortion business for about 15 years. She had an accomplice, Mrs. Pearl Green, who was also a nurse. Smith herself had attended medical school for two years. On August 19, a Navy doctor examined Naomi and found she had a fever of 103 from an infection that appeared to have started in her uterus. He administered sulfa drugs and blood transfusions. But despite the efforts of the Navy doctors, Naomi died of septicemia on August 28. Smith was charged with first-degree manslaughter. Her defense claimed that Naomi had already been feverish when she'd come for care, and that the fatal infection had originated in the ingrown toenail. The jury found Smith guilty, and recommended a 10-year sentence.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Two Known Criminal Deaths, One Undetermined

Dr. Lucy "Louisa" Hagenow
The First Known Victim of the Notorious Dr. Hagenow

Louise Derchow, age 23, is the first known victim of notorious criminal abortionist Dr. Lucy Hagenow (pictured). 

Henry Peckelhoff, a German barkeeper, testified that he and Louise, who sometimes used Peckelhoff's last name, had lived together for several months in the fall of 1887. On August 9, 1887 she told Peckelhoff that she was pregnant, and he told her to go to Dr. Hagenow's “maternity hospital” at 19 Twelfth Street in San Francisco to be examined. 

“She told him a few days before her death that she had met with a mishap there.” She died about 1 a.m. on Monday, August 27.  

Peckelhoff went to the undertaker at about 2 a.m., saying that he needed a burial for his wife. The undertaker's assistant removed Louise's body at about 3 a.m., then went to get a death certificate from Hagenow. The Assistant Secretary of the Health Department refused to issue a burial permit with a death certificate signed by Hagenow because of her illegal practice. The undertaker's assistant and Hagenow went looking for Dr. F. F. DeDerky, who had also attended Louise, but couldn't find him, so Hagenow's cook forged DeDerky's signature in order to get the health department to accept the death certificate and issue the burial permit, which was finally released at 3 p.m. 

The funeral was held at 4:00. 

Because of the suspicious circumstances surrounding Louise's death, the City Physician performed an autopsy at the Odd Fellow's Cemetery on September 1 and found what was termed “conclusive evidence” of an abortion, with inflammation caused by an instrument. 

Hagenow insisted that Louise had shown up at her door already seriously ill and bleeding heavily. While at the maternity home she was delivered of a four-month fetus. 

Henry Peckelhoff testified that he had paid Hagenow $75 for the week Louise had spent at the maternity home, and Louise had seemed not to be suffering when he'd visited her. 

All told, Hagenow was tried three times in Louise's death, and acquitted in the third trial, just around the time she was being investigated in the abortion deaths of Annie Dorris and Abbia Richards, as well as for the suspicious death of Emma Dep shortly after discharge from Hagenow's maternity home. The third acquittal was largely attributed to the death of the state's star witness, a journalist who had originally broken the story. 

Hagenow relocated to Chicago and began piling up dead bodies there as well. She was implicated in numerous abortion deaths, including Minnie Deering, Sophia Kuhn , Emily Anderson, Hannah Carlson, Marie Hecht, May Putnam, Lola Madison, Annie Horvatich, Lottie Lowy, Nina Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, Elizabeth Welter, and Mary Moorehead.

Scant Information on Two Deaths

On August 27, 1909, homemaker Anna Dennin, age 23, died in her Chicago home on Hamilton Avenue from an abortion. Dr. E. Mayeke held by the coroner's jury and indicted for felony murder. The source document doesn't indicate that the case went to trial.

Victoria Seronka, a 17-year-old homemaker, died on August 27, 1970 in transit by ambulance to Southwest General Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.  Doctors said that she was 3 months pregnant, and an autopsy revealed signs of an attempted abortion. 

I have been unable to determine what sort of abortion attempt had been made, but since independent researchers determined that 90% or more of pre-legalization abortions were done by physicians, the most likely scenarios are that Victoria had either traveled out-of-state for a legal abortion or had found a physician to perform an illegal one closer to home. Of those two possibilities, I think that the first is more likely, since there are no further news reports about Victoria's death. Only a local, illegal abortion would have remained a police matter and thus have warranted press coverage.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Three Historic Criminal Abortions

On August 26, 1871, a shabbily-dressed young woman waited on the platform of the Hudson River Railroad Depot in New York City. A trunk was delivered to her by a hired cartman. The young woman checked the trunk for Chicago -- her own destination -- then vanished in the crowd. As the flimsy trunk was hauled to the platform, the lid was jarred, and an overpowering stench filled the balmy summer air. The station master opened the trunk to find bloodstained quilts and rags -- and the nude body of a young woman. She was eventually identified by her dentist as 25-year-old Alice Bowlsby of Patterson, New Jersey. On August 31, the day Alice's name was first published in the newspaper, the baby's father, a wealthy young man named Walter Conklin, committed suicide by shooting himself. An investigation eventually led police to her abortionist, Dr. Jacob Rosenzweig, who in a sensational trial was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to seven years of hard labor at Sing-Sing.

On August 26, 1917, 28-year-old Mrs. Valdislaw Zapanc (I have been unable to determine her first name) died at Chicago's Englewood Hospital from a criminal abortion performed by some unknown perpetrator.

On August 26, 1922, Catherine Wainwright, whose husband was working in South America as a civil engineer at the time, died at Nassau Hospital, Long Island, New York. She was taken there after having been treated at her home since August 21 for what was diagnosed as "a gastro-intestinal infection." "There was plain evidence that the woman had undergone an illegal operation shortly before her death from mercury poisoning," news reports said. The autopsy revealed that she had been about three months into her pregnancy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Buried in the PP Transcript

The latest fetal-tissue marketing video from the Center for Medical Progress was, like the other videos, edited down from an extensive uncut original. I haven't been able to view the full unedited video yet, but I did read the transcript. And there I discovered a dirty secret: One of the most popular drugs used in later abortions can cause problems with patients if they want to get pregnant again later.

The relevant section of the transcript is to the right; you can click to enlarge it. I'm going to share the disturbing sections here. Discussing Digoxin, a drug often used to kill fetuses prior to starting the actual procedure, the StemExpress representative said, "A lot of women have had other problems due to [Digoxin]. Oregon State put out a paper saying women are more likely to have issues getting pregnant later."
StemExpress: We've provided some of those papers to physicians in clinics in the past. It's interesting, I think, because the doctors that love [Digoxin] don't want to look at those papers.
Buyer: Wait a minute, let me understand this. Digoxin can present problems for women to get pregnant later, but the doctors know that, but love using it and don't want to look at that.
StemExpress: Well they argue, what they're going to argue is, they're going to say, "I don't want to look at the paper."
I can't determine from the discussion in the transcript exactly what the concern is. There's some mention of hemorrhage risks. The StemExpress representative goes on to say:

I don't remember the physician that worked on it, but he was great. She basically did some examples where they were injecting Dig into the fetus, days before she did similar examples where they were injecting uh, air. Just did an air injection, it was the same result. It's cheaper. Dig is more expensive, it's mroe toxic to the woman. He was like, "You could use air, you could use alcohol." She was using like one hundred cc's of like, ethanol. Done. Stopped the fetal heart.

The StemExpress representative blames the adherence to Digoxin rather than air or ethanol as relating to "big pharma" wanting to get more money. There might be issues of the relative toxicity of a feticidal dose of ethanol versus Digoxin versus air should the injection accidentally get into the mother's blood stream.

I can't find the study in question, but I'll keep looking. Stay tuned for possible updates.

Planned Parenthood: A Volume Institution for Aborted Fetuses

The latest video from the Center for Medical Progress is from a meeting with Cate Dyer, CEO of StemExpress:

Planned Parenthood, the organization that performs roughly 1/3 of of all abortions in the United States, tries to distance itself from abortion. Abortion, it insists, constitutes only 3% of all their "services."

"Planned Parenthod's pathetic '3 percent' lie" explains how the claim can be numerically accurate but far from true. They use a little accounting trick is called "unbundling." How much does it distort the reality? The Washington Post noted that if you calculate based on the 329,000 abortions Planned Parenthood does per year among 2.7 million patients seen annually, about 12% of total patients, or one in eight, is walking through the doors for an abortion. That's a far cry from what Planned Parenthood wants you to imagine.

The StemExpress CEO chatting to a couple of fetal tissue procurement people has no reason to try go downplay Planned Parenthood's abortion activities. And she names the biggest advantage of working with Planned Parenthood as compared to other abortion facilities:

"Planned Parenthood has volume, you know, because they're a volume institution."

I think that says it all.

1893: The Death of Ada Hawk

SUMMARY: Ada Hawk, age 17, died on August 25, 1893 after a mysterious abortion perpetrated in Missouri.

John O. Edmonson was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree after an abortion he arranged resulted in the August 25, 1893 death of 17-year-old Ada Hawk. He was sentenced to three years in prison.


Edmonson was a middle-aged widower, president of the bank in Walnut Grove, living with his mother in Greene County, Missouri. Edmonson hired Ada, who lived with her parents, as a housekeeper for his mother in April of 1893. The trail found that Edmonson seduced Ada (though her mother testified that on her deathbed Ada had blamed Edmonson for "forcing" her, indicating either coercion or rape), resulting in her pregnancy.

The First Strategy

A man named J. M. Jones testified at the inquest that Edmonson "asked me what I would do if I got a girl into a delicate condition, and I told him I would marry her if she was respectable. He asked if I had a doctor book, but I had none and remarked that if he had any one in the fix he had better go slow as it was one way to get into the penitentiary."

"A few days afterward he told me to keep quiet about that girl in Springfield as there was nothing in it. I advised him that if he did not intend to marry her he had better send her off and he replied that he did not have the money. He recommended Ada Hawk to me as a housekeeper. Edmonson also asked me to see Mr. Henry Creed and get him to marry Ada. He asked me twice to do this, saying that if I could it would be a favor to him, Edmonson, and would be a good thing for both Creed and Ada."

Edmonson tried to cajole two different men Creed himself, and also tried to cajole L.B. Harper, into marrying Ada. Ada resented this move on Edmonson's part.

Not wanting to marry Ada himself and unable to recruit another husband for her, Edmonson began asking around for the best way to "get rid of it."

"Getting Rid of It"

He and Ada first tried inserting a rubber catheter, to no effect. Edmonson consulted with a druggist, Mr. King, who said he didn't know how to cause an abortion. Edmonson asked King if whiskey and "Indian turnip" would do the job. King indicated that there was a place near Walnut Grove where "Indian turnip" could be found.

Edmonson then took Ada to Springfield, where a doctor and "an old woman" agreed to perform an abortion for $50. The "old woman" in question Mrs. Donaldson, who was keeping the Commercial Hotel where Ada was staying. However, Donaldson insisted that while Ada had told her of the pregnancy and requested help getting rid of it, she'd refused to do anything to abort the pregnancy. Evidently some sort of concoction was also given to Ada.

Returning Home

Ada's mother, Mrs. E. J. Hawk, reported that Ada had come home on August 1 and had taken sick on the 5th, reporting pain in the stomach and bowels.

Edmonson coached Ada on how to hide the abortion from her mother and was very attentive of her during her illness. Some two or three weeks passed during which Ada kept her secret, while she continued to take some greenish medicine Edmonson had provided. The medicine seemed to make Ada more ill. Ada bled heavily and passed a clot, which led her mother to wonder if her daughter had been pregnant and had aborted.

Both of Ada's parents agreed that they insisted on sending for a doctor, wanting Dr. Hardin, the family physician. Ida, however would only consent to the doctor Edmonson chose, Dr. Perry.

"That excited my suspicions that my daughter had not done right," Mr. Hawk testified. "I asked her about it but she made no reply. She never made any confidential statement to me after or during her sickness.

Dr. J. K. Perry testified that Edmonson had come to his office on August 21, asking him to tend to Ada for her headache and bowel pain. Perry arrived to find her with a fever of 103, and was told that she'd been delirious. He diagnosed her as having typhoid malarial fever and denied that she was pregnant when he treated her.

Perry came nine times to care for Ada, Mr. Hawk said, and always insisted that everybody leave the room while he attended to her.

A Deathbed Confession and Accusation

As her health deteriorated, Ada realized that she was dying and said to her mother, "Ma, how I love you. You will keep our secret, won't you?"

Mrs. Hawk promised that she would.

"Well, Ma, I did miscarry the Saturday after I came home [August 5]." Ada had gone into the woods to deliver the baby, then returned to the house and acted as if nothing had happened.

The dying girl turned to Edmonson and said, "John, you know that it was yours, for you forced me, and you know you forced me. You know you did and you can be punished for it yet. Are you going to do what you said you would? You said you would take care of me, and if you don't I will commit suicide."

Edmonson told Ada to be quiet and stop making herself so upset.

After Ada's Death

Mrs. Hawk further testified that after Ada died, "Mr. Edmonson told me that if I would get my husband quiet he would do what was right by us. "

Ada's father testified that, "Mr. Edmonson did not ask me to keep my mouth shut in regard to my daughter's death, but he said he would pay for the hauling of the coffin and of the corpse. He said he would not go to my house so much only to keep suspicion down.

After Ada's death, Edmonson asked a Mr. Brown to help him dig a grave, telling Brown that "he wanted her buried quick" and that "the family wanted a shallow grave." Word got to the authorities about the suspicious circumstances. The coroner had Ada's body exhumed, but it was too decomposed for him to be able to perform a satisfactory autopsy. Instead he held the inquest that brought the story out.

I have no information on overall maternal mortality, or abortion mortality, in the 19th century. I imagine it can't be too much different from maternal and abortion mortality at the very beginning of the 20th Century.

Note, please, that with 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.

For more on this era, see Abortion Deaths in the 19th Century.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Doctor in San Francisco, a Bartender in Philly

Late 19th Century San Francisco

Lucy "Louisa" Hagenow
On August 24, 1888, Mrs. Emma Dep, who had recently been discharged from a maternity home run by known abortionist Dr. Lucy "Louisa" Hagenow, died at 537 Second Street in San Francisco. The San Francisco Bulletin indicated that a Dr. Erenberg signed the death certificate attributing the death to peritonitis from a self-induced abortion. 

I find it a bit odd that there was no real investigation of the death. There is simply no explanation that makes any sense other than that Emma had gone to known Hagenow, had an abortion at the maternity home, thought she was recovering, went home, and died. Considering that there had recently been three Hagenow patients dying from botched abortions -- Louise Derchow, Anna Doreis and Abbia Richards --  one would think that they'd dig deeper into the circumstances surrounding Emma's death. Furthermore, a man named Franz Krone had died on August 13 at Hagenow's maternity home, leaving behind jewelry and money that was never accounted for.  

Hagenow relocated to Chicago, began using the name Lucy rather than Louise or Louisa, and began piling up dead bodies there as well. She was implicated in numerous abortion deaths, including Minnie Deering, Sophia Kuhn , Emily Anderson, Hannah CarlsonMarie HechtMay Putnam, Lola Madison, Annie Horvatich. Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, Elizabeth Welter, and Mary Moorehead.

Mid-20th Century Philadelphia

Doris Ostreicher
On August 25, 1955, the body of a young woman identified as Shirley Silver lay in the morgue in Philadelphia, where it had been since being brought there the previous day from the North Philadelphia apartment of bartender Milton Schwarts and his beautician wife, Rosalie. The young woman, they said, had suddenly taken ill and collapsed while sitting on a sofa in their living room. But when machinations began to try to remove the young woman's body without an autopsy, her real identity was revealed, and a scandal rocked the city. 

The dead woman was Doris Jean Silver Ostreicher, a 22-year-old heiress. Doris had made front page news when she eloped in a "fairy tale romance" with Earl Ostreicher, a 29-year-old motorcycle cop from Miami Beach, in late June of 1955. Ostreicher was the son of a Chicago fuel dealer. He held that he'd not known that his beautiful red-haired bride was wealthy. She'd told him, he said, that her father was a butcher, not vice president of the Food Fair chain of grocery stores. 

But fairy tale romances don't always lead to fairy tale marriages. Within a few weeks, Doris evidently was disillusioned, and had separated from her husband, returning to her family's Philadelphia home. When she learned that her short-lived marriage had left her pregnant, her mother, Gertrude Silver, helped her to arrange an abortion, which was perpetrated with some sort of instrument and a "vegetable compound." Doris collapsed and died. 

Rosalie and Milton Schwartz
When police searched the Schwartz apartment, they found abortion instruments there, including syringes, medications, dry mustard, absorbent cotton, mineral oil, and olive oil, along with a metal tube that was believed to be the fatal instrument in Doris' abortion. The Schwartzes pleaded no contest for their role in the young woman's death. Rosalie got a sentence of indeterminate length, while Milton was sentenced to 3-10 years. Both were paroled after 11 months, based on a "pathetic" letter from their gown son asking that his parents be freed in time for Christmas. 

Doris' mother, who was hospitalized for "bereavement shock" in the early days after her daughter's death, was charged as an accessory. She was fined and given a suspended sentence for her role in her daughter's death. The judge said that he considered the memory of how her daughter had died "substantial punishment."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Abortion Death that Wasn't

After years of research, I finally uncovered the real cause of the death of Pauline Roberson Shirley, a woman whose death the abortion lobby tries to pin on an unspecified illegal abortion..

The Abortion-Lobby Claim

According to a multitude of abortion-rights web sites, none of which provide any substantiating documentation, Pauline Roberson Shirley was a 29-year-old married mother of six. She and the children, according to these claims, were living with her mother in Arizona while her husband was looking for work in California. These sites gives no details of the illegal abortion that Pauline reportedly underwent, but say that she was hospitalized for hemorrhage afterward and in need of transfusions. They then indicate that Pauline's mother was looking for donors for the needed blood when Pauline bled to death on August 22, 1940.

What The Death Certificate Says

Pauline Shirley's death certificate, with discrepancies noted between the abortion lobby claims and what the death certificate actually says.
Click to enlarge.
An exhaustive online search has finally yielded Pauline's death certificate. It straightforwardly indicated that yes, Pauline Shirley, born June 2, 1910, died in an Arizona hospital. The date disagrees slightly, with the death certificate saying August 23, 1940, rather than the August 22 that is on the prochoice sites.

One can also easily piece together from the information that Pauline was indeed living with her mother. She also wasn't living with her husband -- because she wasn't married any more. That's really not significant. (Of course, how many children she had and what her mother was doing during Pauline's final hours won't be on a death certificate one way or the other.)

The cause of death section indicates "secondary anemia" and "uterine hemorrhage," which I would say substantiates that Pauline had bled to death.

But the abortion-rights websites deviate from the death certificate in one extremely important way:


The cause of death is noted as "incomplete abortion, spontaneous (?)" "Abortion" is the medical term for a miscarriage. So what the medical examiner was indicating when he completed the death certificate was that it looked as if Pauline had died from a miscarriage, but he wasn't 100% sure.

There is a section of the death certificate for information about external causes of death. This section is completely blank, even after an autopsy. That means that there were no signs that anybody had used instruments of any kind -- either of the medical or "coat hanger" type -- to perform an abortion on Pauline.


I can never say with 100% certainty that Pauline didn't use some sort of abortifacient. She might have tried an herbal tea such as parsley, which is harmless, or pennyroyal, which can trigger an abortion. If she did take any kind of abortifacient, it didn't do any obvious damage to her body. By far the preponderance of evidence that I've been able to uncover is that Pauline's death was not a criminal abortion death.

Abortion-rights groups also claim that Becky Bell died from complications of an illegal abortion, when in fact she died of pneumonia concurrent with a miscarriage. (There was no evidence that Becky's pregnancy had been tampered with in any way.) I don't know why they persist in using those debunked examples of criminal abortion deaths when there are plenty of verifiable illegal abortion deaths with abundant documentation supporting them. I've done all the legwork already!

But nothing seems able to break into or out of the prochoice echo chamber, not even evidence like autopsy reports and death certificates.

From 1807 to 1974, Six Abortion Deaths

Mary Ann Lafavor, the 15-year-old wife of Frank Lafavor, was "the victim of ... inhuman outrage". Frank had married his young bride over the objections of her family in March of 1870. The couple had settled as tenants on the farm of Thomas McIntyre. On August 15, Frank went with McIntyre to deliver wheat, leaving Mary Ann feeling unwell. She left the home herself at about 7 a.m. "The neighbors became alarmed at her absence from home and made search for her in every direction without success" until about midnight, "when she was discovered dragging herself around the corner of her dwelling more dead than alive." Two doctors came to her aid, and found her to be in critical condition, examined her, and and asked her if she had undergone an abortion. She admitted that she had taken some sort of abortifacient that day, but refused to say who she had gotten it from. "Everything possible was done to restore her, but after suffering intensely for a whole week and died on Tuesday morning last [August 23] at about eight o'clock." During the ensuing inquest, Mary Ann's mother testified that about five minutes before her death Mary Ann called out, "Tommy gave it to me! Tommy gave it to me!" McIntyre, was charged with her death.

Mrs. Anna May Klanenberg, age 24, died at St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago from complications of an illegal abortion on August 23, 1906. Physician J. W. Mitchell was held by the coroner's jury, and indicted, but the source document doesn't indicate that there was ever a trial.

On August 23, 1910, Mrs. Louise Heinrich died in the New York apartment of Dr. Buffam and his wife, Vivian Buffam, a nurse. At the yo,r, Louise was under the care of Dr. Andre L. Stapler. Stapler cleared the case with Dr. O'Hanlon at the coroner's office, filling out a death certificate indicating that Louise had died from gastritis. Four years later, the Coroner's Office came under investigation concerning allegations that doctors there were taking bribes to cover up abortion cases. Louise's body was exhumed, an autopsy performed, and the real cause of death -- a criminal abortion -- was uncovered. Stapler was tried for manslaughter in Louise's death. 

Lydia Hoff of Jamaica, Queens, was charged with perpetrating a fatal abortion on 26-year-old Mrs. Violet King on August 11, 1916.  Violet, who died on August 23, left behind three children.

On August 23, 1927, 27-year-old Shellane Franklin, a Black woman, died at the scene of the crime from an abortion performed on her that day. Dr. Gordon Jackson, a white man, was held by the coroner on October 28. On December 15, he was indicted for felony murder. Shellane's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Twenty-five-year-old Dorothy Muzorewa, a nurse, had recently immigrated to the Chicago area from Zimbabwe. A jouralist's notes after her death tell the following story: Dorothy went to Women's Aid Clinic for a safe and legal abortion on June 15, 1974. The fetus didn't die, however, and clinic told her to return on August 22. She showed up bleeding and in pain. David Turow examined Dorothy, diagnosed an infection, and sent her home with prescriptions for tetracycline to control the infection and ergonovine to control the bleeding. Dorothy's husband said that he awoke on the morning of August 23 to find his wife bleeding profusely. Dorothy assured him that she was just menstruating, so he left for school. When he returned home, he was alarmed by Dorothy's bleeding and called an ambulance. Dorothy was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival shortly after noon. Only after her death did her husband, a theology student, learn of the pregnancy and abortion.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fatal in Colorado, 1923 (and 1929?)

On August 21, 1923, 32-year-old Catherine Stange died in Denver of septicemia due to an abortion blamed on Dr. Daniel R. Lucy. This was quite the scandal, since in addition to being a doctor, Lucy was a city councilman. His high position also meant that he was given warning of his pending arrest for second degree murder, to give him time to arrange bail. Lucy's only comment to the press after being told of the charge against him was to note that he was not surprised, that this was what he had expected from the coroner's jury. He was later acquitted of the charges.

According to the National Organization for Women web site, Ruth Friedl was a married, 27-year-old mother of two living in Denver. NOW's site said that pregnancy was life-threatening for Ruth, but they don't specify why, nor do they say why she was denied an abortion, since there were always exceptions made for abortions deemed necessary to save the mother's life. NOW says that Ruth drank ergot apiol, an herbal abortifacient, on August 21, 1929. That night, according to NOW, Ruth collapsed at the dinner table in front of her husband and children, and died on the spot. The only verification I can find of Ruth's death is a Find-a-Grave memorial for Ruth I. Freidl, 1901-1929, buried in Colorado, and a FaceBook post that has a bit more information and some photos: 

Ruth Irene Friedl (Aug. 24, 1901 - Aug. 21, 1929)After having her daughter, Ruth Friedl was told that another pregnancy would be medically dangerous. When she became pregnant, her uncle, a doctor, said he would not perform an abortion, since he could lose his license and be imprisoned. She did not tell her husband she was pregnant and attempted to self-abort by drinking a plant poison, ergot apiol. She died that night in front of her husband and two small children.
In 1967, Colorado legalized abortion for rape, incest, suspected fetal anomaly, and threat to the mother's health. However, even before then, doctors were allowed to take steps they thought were necessary to save the mother's life. There's no clarification of what risks there were to Ruth, but whatever the risks were, they weren't serious enough that Ruth's physician uncle thought he could do the abortion legally or legally refer her for an abortion. I'd welcome any verifying information on Mrs. Friedl's death. After all, NOW also claims that Becky Bell died from complications of an illegal abortion, when in fact she died of pneumonia concurrent with a miscarriage, and they claim that Pauline Shirley died from an illegal abortion when her death certificate indicates a miscarriage. Their claim that Clara Duvall died from a self-induced abortion is based on what she purportedly told her 12-year-old daughter shortly before her death, which was attributed to pneumonia. It's therefore hardly surprising that I can't find anything to verify that Ruth died from an abortion.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Three Historic Chicago Abortion Deaths

Dr. Thomas Neill Cream
On August 20, 1880, Miss Mary Faulkner  died at the Chicago office of Dr. Thomas J. Cream during the commission of an illegal abortion. Cream and Mrs. Mackey, a nurse, were arrested in Mary's death. Cream was sentenced to life in prison not for Mary's death but for the death of his lover's husband, who died after taking poison Cream provided. A letter writing campaign -- and a promise to cleave the country -- got him released. He moved to London and gained infamy as a serial murderer, killing young women with poison. He was hanged in Newgate Prison in 1892.

On August 20, 1913, 20-year-old Emma Witte, a clerk, died in Chicago from an abortion perpetrated that day at the office of Dr. Otis M. Walker. Emma reportedly went to Walker's office early Wednesday morning. Dr. Charles L. West was summoned there to administer chloroform. He didn't linger, but returned late that afternoon he found Emma evidently lifeless, with Walker desperately attempting to revive her. She was rushed to St. Anthony's Hospital but declared dead on arrival. Walker was indicted by a Grand Jury that day, but the case never went to trial. 

On August 20, 1918, 28-year-old secretary Alma Heidenway died at 329 South Ashland Avenue in Chicago from an abortion performed that day by Dr. J. A. Stough. Stough, along with Fred Cordray and Alice J. Kennedy, were held by the Coroner on September 5. Eunice Magill was 'brought back from Forest Park." Stough and Cordray were acquitted on May 29, 1919. The others never went to trial for Alma's death.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

StemExpress and the Beating Heart

The Center for Medical Progress has released the most gruesome video yet. There are no shots from the pathology lab of picking through mangled fetuses. (The video clips used to illustrate a fetus of the approximate age Holly is discussing are of a 19-week baby, Walter Fretz, who subsequently died from extreme prematurity.) The grisly parts of the video are those in which former StemExpress procurement technician Holly O'Donnell talks about the handling of a live-born premature boy. CMP project leader David Daleiden stresses what we've learned from previous videos: that a fetus who has been killed with a chemical injection prior to being extracted or expelled is useless for fetal tissue research, so every intact fetus is one that was delivered alive.

Everything Holly says, everything said by others shown in the video, is consistent with other reports I've encountered over thirty-plus years of prolife research, which includes abstracting medical journal articles, reports from autopsies performed on aborted fetuses, legal documents, clinic inspection documents, and medical board documents. Yes, some information I have encountered is testimony from former abortion workers, but there is a lot of third party, very credible, verification that these sorts of things do indeed happen.

Holly describes an incident in which she was working with another StemExpress worker, Jessica, at the Planned Parenthood in Alameda. Jessica called her over, saying, "I want you to see something kind of cool, it's kind of neat." -- an aborted baby ("the most gestated, the most like a baby that I've seen," Holly says) whose heart began beating when tapped with an instrument (around 4:06). CMP cuts to a recording, purportedly of Dr. Ben Van Handel, Executive Director of Novogenix Laboratories, saying "So you know there are times when after the procedure is done that heart is still beating." They cut back to Holly, who describes how stunned and confused she was, trying to process whether this fetus really is still alive. She describes being taught how to cut through the aborted baby's face in order to harvest the brain. "I remember sitting there and thinking, 'What did I just do?' And that was the moment I knew I couldn't work for the company anymore." She describes her anguish as she packed away the baby, a little boy who was so big that it was difficult for her to stuff him into the biohazard container. Holly describes cupping that baby in her hands, crying and reflecting that she would be the only person ever to hold him.

You can't tell from this video how much the Planned Parenthood staff knew about what was going on. People are very good at hiding unpleasant truths from themselves. This video, thus, is primarily an indictment of StemExpress. But it doesn't say very good things about Planned Parenthood. The doctors, at least, know that these are live-born, albeit fatally premature, infants being sent to the lab for dissection. And since Holly refers to there being "people," not just her fellow StemExpress worker Jessica, in the lab, there had to be Planned Parenthood employees there to witness Jessica tapping the baby's heart to make it beat before she started coaching Holly on how to cut his little face open to get to his brain.

Watch the video and you will totally understand why StemExpress filed to try to keep these videos from ever being released. I really wish that StemExpress was getting as much bad press over this as Planned Parenthood is getting -- and I wish Planned Parenthood was getting more.

CMP includes some footage of Planned Parenthood staff as well, such as Melissa Farrell, Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, admitting that they alter their abortion process in order to "obtain intact fetal cadavers." Remember, these fetuses are being delivered alive and dying from either extreme prematurity or from being dissected for organs.

I am guessing that eventually CMP is going to release the entire video of Holly O'Donnell describing her work at StemExpress. They are, they say, going to release more videos. So far each has been more horrible than the one before it. It boggles even my jaded mind to think what can be coming next.

Midwife, Self, Doctor: All Fatal

On August 19, 1917, 31-year-old seamstress Anna Lindquist died at Chicago's County Hospital from a criminal abortion perpetrated that day by nurse/midwife Katherine Schmidt. Schmidt was tried in Anna's death but acquitted on February 28, 1918.

Ruth Haught, a 30-year-old widow, died at University Hospital in Hobart, Oklahoma, on August 19, 1937, of blood poisoning from an apparent self-induced abortion

Documents regarding Tami Suematsu, age 19, alleged that she underwent a safe and legal abortion by Vern Wagner at Riverside Family Planning Center in Los Angeles on August 19, 1988. Tami went into bronchial spasm and asthma-related respiratory failure then cardiac arrest. She was transported to a hospital, but died shortly after arrival. Riverside Family Planning was a Family Practice Associates Medical Group facility and thus a member of the prestigious National Abortion Federation. Other patients known to have died after abortion at FPA facilities include Denise HolmesPatricia ChaconMary PenaJosefina GarciaLanice DorseyJoyce OrtenzioDeanna BellSusan LevyChristina MoraTa Tanisha WessonNakia JordenMaria LehoKimberly NeilMaria Rodriguez, and Chanelle Bryant.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Chicago Physician's Fatal Work, 1901

Homemaker Annie Robinson, age 28, died at her Chicago home on August 18, 1901, from an abortion performed there that day. She left her husband, George W. Robinson, a cashier at a streetcar company, to care for their two small children. Dr. Muenster was arrested that day, and she was held by the Coroner's Jury.

Mrs. Robinson's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Safe and Legal: 1971 and 1978

"Vicki" was 23 years old when she underwent an abortion in New York state, taking advantage of the liberalized abortion law. She was 20 weeks pregnant. The doctor decided to use the saline abortion method, which involved injecting a strong salt solution into the amniotic fluid. The fetus would swallow and inhale the fluid, which caused massive internal bleeding. The fetus would die, triggering labor. Saline was injected into Vicki's uterus to begin the abortion. The next day, she began to show signs of infection. She expelled her dead fetus but her condition did not improve. On August 17, 1971, she died of sepsis. Some of the other women who died because of New York abortionists' careless enthusiasm for saline abortions during the pre-Roe period include: Carmen Rodriguez"Roseanne" Roe"Anita" Roe"April" Roe"Barbara" Roe"Becky" Roe"Beth" Roe"Colleen" Roe"Julie" Roe, and "Sara" Roe.

Marina Deschapell, age 34, went to the Miami abortion facility at 620 SW 1st Street for a safe and legal six to eight week abortion on August 17, 1978. Eduardo F. Elias administered Valium and Xylocaine for the abortion. Immediately after the procedure, Elias noticed that Marina was not breathing. He initiated CPR and an emergency team was summoned. The ambulance crew found Marina with no signs of life. Although the medical examiner did not attribute Marina's death directly to the abortion, police noted that the clinic, owned by Luis Barquet, was not equipped with any emergency equipment other than an air bag.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Illegal, Legal, and Self-Induced Deaths

On August 14, 1908, 23-year-old homemaker Bertha Isserstadt, a Jewish immigrant from Austria, died in Chicago from complications of an abortion performed August 5. A woman named Margaret Wiedman was held by the coroner, but eventually acquitted for reasons not given in the source document. Wiedman's profession was given as "abortion provider".

Black and white headshot of a young woman with dark blond or light brown hair
Mary Park
Mary Park, a 24-year-old schoolteacher of Greeley, Colorado, died August 14, 1917. Four years later, Dr. Nicholas J. Phelan was tried of murder in her death from illegal abortion, but he was acquitted by reason of insanity and sent to a mental hospital. The following year, Mary's body was exhumed, and Dr. E.L. Willis of Denver was subsequently tried and convicted in her death. He had been party to the abortion, performed at the Colonia Hotel in Denver. Willis was sentenced to 10 - 15 years in prison for Mary's death.

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 MurphyLynette WallaceElizabeth TsujiCora Lewis, and Belinda Byrd.

Kristina "Kris" Humphrey placed a high value on "self-determination" and doing things "naturally." She viewed modern medicine suspiciously, since her stepbrother had died from an allergic reaction to a medication. When she had gone to Planned Parenthood to abort a previous pregnancy, she had felt that they were trying to shame her. So after a positive pregnancy test in 1994, Kris didn't follow up on the referral to Planned Parenthood that her university health office had offered her. Instead, she consulted a friend who had reported success twice with a "natural" home abortion brew using pennyroyal and black cohosh root. On August 5, Kris began using the tea. Her friends thought all was well as Kris began to experience some vaginal bleeding over the succeeding days. 
Kris Humphrey
Kris's mother, Embee, however, was worried and urged Kris to get an ultrasound to make sure she didn't have an ectopic pregnancy. Kris grew ill and suffered pelvic pain and her friends grew concerned as well. Finally on Friday, August 12, Kris agreed to take a friend up on the offer of a loan and to go to Planned Parenthood for a clinic abortion on the 13th. Kris never made it. She collapsed overnight and began having seizures. Her friends called 911 and brought the abortion tea ingredients to the hospital with their friend. Kris had developed severe clotting problems and was bleeding from every orifice as well as all of her piercing sites. In a desperate attempt to save their patient's life, doctors did exploratory surgery and discovered that Kris had been trying to abort an embryo that had lodged in her fallopian tube. The embryo had died and become a site for infection. Removing the tube and the pregnancy, however, couldn't undo the damage Kris had done to her liver by continuing to take the pennyroyal concoction. She was taken off life support and declared dead on August 14. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Repost: Is childbirth safety relevant?

When cornered about unsafe abortion clinics and deaths from legal abortion, abortion apologists fall back on the old standby, "Well, it's still safer than childbirth."

Earth to abortion apologists: Even if your claim was true, it's irrelevant.

Could you imagine the public outcry if, in the wake of an airline crash, the FAA and the airline industry insisted that there was no need for an investigation and no need to take corrective measures on the grounds that, "Well, flying is still safer than driving!" We'd never stand for it. No matter how much safer airline travel is than driving, we still hold airlines to strict safety standards. No matter how much safer airline travel is than driving, we still investigate crashes. No matter how much safer airline travel is than driving, we still remain ever alert for ways to reduce risks and make it safer.

The comparative safety of an alternative method of transportation simply isn't relevant. We ask the question, "What caused this tragedy? What can we do to prevent this from happening again?" The question of how many of those airline passengers might have died had they driven instead is never asked, because it's not relevant.

But let a woman die from a legal abortion, and abortion apologists come out of the woodwork simpering, "Well, women die in childbirth all the time! Why not worry about them!" But the fact remains that there is no amount of addressing childbirth safety that will change how abortions are performed. No matter what we do about how prenatal care is provided, or what equipment is available in delivery rooms, and so forth, none of this will change what goes on in abortion clinics, just as putting airbags in cars doesn't make airline travel safer.

By all means, yes, let's address childbirth mortality. Let's make better prenatal care available. Let's educate women about the importance of good nutrition before and during pregnancy. Let's develop protocols for referring high-risk women to specialists. Let's improve all aspects of obstetric care, for the better health and safety of mothers and babies. But let's not for a minute forget that none of this will change a thing about abortion practice.

If abortion apologists are serious about their often chanted mantra of "safe and legal," they'd do something to address "safe" other than obsessing with "legal." They'd investigate abortion mishaps the way the FAA investigates air travel mishaps. They'd make recommendations about preventing further mishaps. They would, in short, take abortion safety as seriously as they take abortionlegality.

One of a Plethora of Deaths at a NAF Chain

 Sara Franki Lint, a 22-year-old coed, submitted to a safe and legal abortionat San Vicente Hospital in Los Angeles, California, on August 11, 1970. Adolpho Zlotolow, who operated San Vicente (an abortion facility that was part of the Family Planning Associates Medical group chain, and, through FPA, a National Abortion Federation member) said that Sara went into ventricular fibrillation soon after the abortion was initiated by either Albert Kapstrom or Milton Gotlib.

The technique being used on Sara, hysterotomy, was one with a known high maternal mortality rate. It was, in fact, surgery similar to a c-section but with the intention of allowing the baby to die of prematurity.

San Vicente staff treated Sara for an hour before transferring her to Midway Hospital down the street, where she died at 4:57am on August 12. The autopsy found yellow fluid in Sara's heart, frothy tan fluid in her lungs, and a seven-inch male fetus in Sara's uterus.

San Vicente was where Oriane ShevinNatalie MeyersJoyce OrtenzioLaniece Dorsey, and Mary Pena underwent their fatal abortions. It was bought out byFamily Planning Associates Medical Group. Other women who lost their lives due to abortions at FPA include: