Sunday, January 29, 2017

Criminal Abortions in 1936, 1883, and 1857

1936: An Anonymous Tip

Rose Lipner, age 32, mother of 2, died at Riverdale Hospital on January 29, 1936. Rose was buried the next day at Mount Judah Cemetery in Cypress Hills, New York. After the funeral, several people, including an anonymous caller, notified police and the District Attorney's office that the death was suspicious, and Rose was exhumed for an autopsy. The medical examiner determined that Rose had died from an abortion. Katz was arraigned for second-degree manslaughter.

Dr. Maxwell C. Katz, who owned and lived at Riverdale (maternity) Hospital, which he operated, signed a death certificate indicating that Rose had been operated on there for a tumor.

During his trial, his defense brought forth a large number of character witnesses testifying to Katz's 25 years as a physician and his good reputation. Katz did admit to performing an abortion on Rose, but said that it was in an attempt to save her life. This defense was successful, and he was acquitted.

1883: A Chicago Midwife

On January 29, 1883, a Chicago widow named Adeline Savroch died in a carriage on the way home from having a criminal abortion performed by midwife Bertha Twachaus, who was held without bail for murder in Adeline's death. A saloon keeper named Julius Grosse, and his housekeeper, Celia Arlep or Ortlepp, were held as accessories.

1857: At the Doctor's House

Olive Ash worked for a farmer, Mr. Beckwith, in Vermont, in the summer and fall of 1857. She was about 19 years old, and she lived with the family during her employment. In the autumn of that year, Olive returned to her family home in Sutton. On December 28, 1857, Olive and her twin sister, Olivia, left their home and went by rail to the home of their cousin, Levi M. Aldrich, in Bradford, ostensibly to visit his widowed mother. 

The sisters remained at Aldrich's home about two weeks, then said that they were going to meet some friends at the Fairlee depot for an excursion into New York or Massachusetts. Instead, when they arrived at Fairlee depot they took a wagon to the home and office of Dr. William Howard. On Friday, January 29, 1858, Olive's mother, Mahitable, got a telegram telling her to come to Howard's home. She quickly complied, and was there when her daughter died at about 6 in the evening. Dr. Howard got a coffin for Olive, and the twins' mother took her daughter's body by train to Sutton.

On February 3, Olive's body was exhumed for an autopsy, which was performed the following day. The cause of Olive's death was obvious. There was a quantity of pus and the cervix was nearly ragged with injuries. Dr. Frost believed that Olive had hemorrhaged due to the damage to her cervix. 

A February 19, 1858 article in the Orleans Independent Standard of Irasburgh, VT notes that, "Before the examination of Howard, information was brought from Stanstead that the body of a Miss Young of Stanstead, who had died at Howard's house in Bradford, on the 17th of January, had been examined by the physicians of Stanstead, who were satisfied that her death was also caused in the same manner as that of Miss Ashe. Other evidence also corroborated their opinion."

Howard was released on bail of $600 for each woman's death.

During Howard's trial, Olivia testified about how her sister had come to such a sad end. 

Dr. Howard told the sisters that the abortion process would take three or four weeks. He gave Olive a concoction to drink two or three times. On the Friday the week after the sisters' arrival, Dr. Howard performed some sort of procedure on Olive as she lay on the bed in the room the twins shared. The following day, Dr. Howard performed another, similar, procedure on Olive, who clutched her sister's hand and reported great pain. Olive bled profusely. After this second operation, Olive kept to her bed.

That night, Dr. Howard performed yet another procedure, very painful for Olive to endure. This time he used instruments then reached in with his hand and pulled out a fetus, which Olivia reported as being about two-thirds the size of a newborn. Dr. Howard removed the fetus from the room, and Olivia never saw it again. Another witness testified that about two weeks after Dr. Howard's arrest, she saw one of Dr. Howard's dogs come out from underneath the office privy with something in its mouth. She made the dog drop what it was carrying and discovered it to be a fetus of about four or five months, in a state of decomposition. While she was looking at the fetus, another of the doctor's dogs snatched the fetus up and ran off with it. 

The jury found Howard guilty of abortion, but, inexplicably, not guilty of manslaughter.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Doctors and Homemakers and Abortion Deaths

A Safe and Legal Anesthesia Mishap

On January 22, 2001, 19-year-old Melissa Heim went to Access Health Center in Downers Grove, Illinois.She was given "twilight anesthesia" with a drug cocktail including Versed, Fentanyl, and Brevital for a safe, legal abortion, which started at about 11:45 a.m. and was finished at about noon.

After the abortion, she was moved to the recovery area, where she went into cardio-respiratory arrest about half an hour later. An ambulance was summoned, and Melissa was resuscitated by the paramedics, but due to the brain injury she had suffered, she died on January 26.

Her survivors filed suit against Access, doctors Victor Espinosa and Alfonso Del Granado, and nurse Pat Hurt, holding that they had failed to monitor Melissa properly in recovery and failed to resuscitate her quickly enough to save her life.

One of Two Dead Patients in Louisiana

Ingar Weber, age 28, died January 26, 1990, in a Louisiana hospital. She had been treated for acute kidney failure after a safe and legal abortion performed at Delta Women's Clinic in Baton Rouge on January 20, 1990.

Ingar's family sued the clinic and its doctors, Richardson P. Glidden and Thomas Booker. They faulted the doctors with failing to diagnose Ingar's kidney problems, or her deteriorating physical condition, before, during, or after the abortion. Ingar was transported to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, where she died.

Delta had also been sued following the death of another abortion patient. This woman was most likely 27-year-old Sheila Hebert, who died after an abortion on June 6, 1984.

The Roommates' Abortions

Some time in November or December of 1955, 26-year-old Lucy Sanchez started casting about for an abortionist. A man named Ira Gin brought 26-year-old homemaker Lois Brown to the cafe where Lucy worked and introduced them, telling Lucy, "This is the lady you want to see." They made an appointment to meet in front of the post office at 6:00 the following day.

Lucy and her roommate, Clara Thornton, who was also pregnant, went to Brown, who said that her name was Vi, on January 18, 1956.

Clara testified that she and Lucy met Brown on the street and got into a car with her. Brown asked "how far along I was and I told her that I was three months along. She said I didn't have anything to worry about. Lois said that Lucy was a bit further ahead of me [six months pregnant] and it was a little more dangerous for her to go through with it, but said she would be all right, if Lucy would be in the care of Vi and present to tie the baby's navel cord and watch her from hemorrhaging."

Since Clara had the $100 abortion fee ready, Lucy went home and Brown took Clara to her practice and used a syringe to inject Clara with a solution that looked and smelled like Lifebouy soap. 

Clara suffered pain and discharge of fluid and clots that night and into the following day. Brown came by to check on her and reassured the roommates and their friend, Beatrice Duran, that Clara would be fine. She also recommended that Clara go to a doctor and claim to have a cold in order to get a penicillin shot.

Brown massaged showed Clara's friends how to massage her abdomen, telling them to do it periodically, "so everything that was left in there would come out." 

After attending to Clara, Brown pressured Lucy to come up with the money to have an abortion as well, going so far as to drive Lucy to Ira Gin's house to try to borrow it from him. He vouched for Lucy's honesty and assured Brown that Lucy would pay.

Brown had evidently come to some agreement with Lucy Sanchez. She went to the young women's home on January 26 and left with Lucy at about 3 p.m. 

At about 7:30 that evening, Brown went to the cafe where Clara worked, asking her to come to take Lucy home. Brown told Clara that she had done the abortion at around 5:00, which left Lucy bleeding, dizzy, barely conscious, and moaning loudly in pain.

Clara went to Brown's practice with her. Brown's mother was there as well. Lucy was lying on a couch, with her raincoat and some newspapers under her, and covered with a blanket and a bedspread. There was blood on the bedspread, newspapers, raincoat, and on Lucy. Clara also saw Lucy's clothing there. Brown was acting nervous and excited. 

Clara helped Brown carry Lucy down to the car, and accompanied by Brown's mother they drove Lucy to a hospital. Brown instructed Clara to tell staff there that Lucy had been in this condition at home, and that Clara had called Brown for help.

As Clara sat outside the emergency room with Brown and Brown's mother, Brown told Clara "she knew she shouldn't have done it, and took out her wallet, took out $30 and gave it to me and said those $30 were to help me in case Lucy needed anything."

But Lucy was beyond needing any help. A doctor came out and informed the three women that Lucy had died.

The doctor who performed the autopsy said that Lucy had bled to death from large blood vessels in the uterus, and that the membranes had been forcibly separated, likely "by some blunt object which produced dilation of the cervix." The uterine membranes were a dark brown color with a granular appearance, which the physician testified could have been caused by the introduction of chemicals.

Brown testified in her trial that she had been introduced to Lucy, but had only told Lucy that she would look for somebody to "help her", perhaps to arrange for her to go to Tijuana. 

The jury found Brown guilty of both abortions -- Lucy's and Clara's -- and of the murder of Lucy. Brown appealed on the grounds that she couldn't be convicted of two crimes -- murder and abortion -- for the same act. The court agreed with her, letting the murder conviction stand and throwing out the abortion conviction. She was sentenced to prison for five years to life for Lucy's murder and two to five years on for Clara's abortion.

A Doctor Implicated in Chicago

On January 26, 1920, 24-year-old Lydia Swanson, daughter of Swedish immigrants, died at Chicago's Post Graduate Hospital from an abortion attributed to Dr. Rosa Gollnick. Lydia had developed septic inflammation of both lungs. Gollnick was arrested on January 27 and went to trial, but was acquitted on June 18 for reasons I have been unable to determine.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sloppy Care and a Fatal Mistake

Sloppy Care Costs High-Risk Patient her Life

A brightly-smiling young white woman with short blond hair
Alexandra Nunez

Alexandra Nunez was a 37-year-old single mom from New Jersey. On January 25, 2010, she told her family that she was going to a doctor's office in Newark for a procedure to remove a cyst. Instead she went to A1 Medicine in Jackson Heights, Queens for an abortion. She was 16 or 17 weeks pregnant. The abortion was performed at 3:30 p.m. By the end of the day, Alexandra was at Elmhurst Hospital Center, dead from hemorrhage.

Her 19-year-old daughter, Daisy Davila, told the New York Daily News, "I'm upset because I never got a chance to say goodbye. She didn't want anyone to go with her. I made dinner and lunch ,,, hoping she would come back."

Eventually the medical board concluded that the doctor responsible for Alexandra's death was Robert F. Hosty. He had no hospital affiliation and hadn't taken any continuing medical education training since 2004.

Because of Alexandra's obstetric history, which included two c-sections, and the location of the placenta, Hosty should have known that it was unsafe to proceed with an abortion in an outpatient setting. Catastrophic complications are to be predicted, and the doctor must be certain that there is an adequate supply of blood for a possible transfusion, and a fully equipped operating room nearby in case an emergency hysterectomy is needed.

After the abortion, Alexandra began to bleed uncontrollably. Rather than seek the cause of the bleeding, Hosty administered medications, then stood by and did nothing while a nurse anesthetist intubated Alexandra and began providing oxygen. Nobody summoned an ambulance until over 45 minutes after blood began pouring out of Alexandra's body.

Paramedics arrived to find Alexandra still on the procedure table in stirrups, cold and gray and for all appearances already dead. Blood was still draining from her body into a pool on the floor. The only monitoring instrument in place was a pulse oximeter. The nurse anesthetist was administering oxygen, and because she was the only one who seemed to know what was going on, the emergency responders assumed that she was the physician. Nobody else was assisting the patient in any way.

The paramedics began a futile attempt to resuscitate Alexandra, but she was pronounced dead at the hospital. As a prudent physician would have suspected, the placenta had implanted deeply into the area of Alexandra's uterus that had been scarred by the prior surgery.

A1 was an ambulatory surgical facility doing abortions and plastic surgery. They employed Hosty even though he had already allowed a gynecological patient to die by triggering massive bleeding then utterly failing to provide any effective lifesaving care.

How many "bad apples" does it take before you finally treat the orchard? Dr. Robert Hosty performed late second trimester abortion on high-risk patient Alexandra Nunez in outpatient clinic. Alexandra started hemorrhaging. Hosty made ineffectual gestures toward treatment before finally calling an ambulance. Alexandra bled to death.

A Quack Relocates to Chicago and Carnage Ensues

On January 25, 1891, 23-year-old Minnie Deering died at Schaeffer's Hotel in Chicago, evidently due to the effects of carbolic acid mistakenly administered to her by a saloon keeper named Joseph Hoffman. Hoffman reportedly had been involved with Minnie for about four months prior to her death. Hoffman had checked into the hotel about a week before Minnie's death, saying that his wife would be coming from the country to visit him. She arrived on January 18. She was reported to be sickly and stayed in her room, having her meals delivered to her there.

On January 23, Hoffman brought in Dr. Dietrich to treat Minnie for a fever. Dietrich prescribed an oral medication and an alcohol and carbolic acid solution to be externally applied. He returned the following day to find Minnie's condition improved. About an hour later, Hoffman summoned Dr. Detrich and reported that he'd mixed up the medications and given Minnie the carbolic acid orally by mistake.

News clipping headshot of an elderly, scowling white woman with ussed dark hair
Dr. Lucy Hagenow
When Dr. Dietrich arrived, he found another doctor, W. P. Goodsmith already there. They pumped Minnie's stomach and administered counter measures to no avail. Some reports indicate that the County Physician, Dr. Hektoen, had been called in to attend to Minnie. Whoever the doctors were, they made other efforts to save her, but she died at 12:30 p.m.

"At the coroner's inquest it was shown that Miss Deering had visited Dr. Hagenow for relief from her woes, and that she was suffering from a criminal operation when the acid was administered."

The coroner's jury concluded that ultimately Minnie had died because of a criminal abortion since it had started the chain of events that led to Minnie's death. However, they did not conclusively determine that Hagenow herself had perpetrated it. They ordered her held to a grand jury pending further investigation.

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: Sophia KuhnEmily Anderson , Hannah Carlson , Marie Hecht , May Putnam, Lola Madison , Annie Horvatich , Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, Elizabeth Welter ,and Mary Moorehead.

In 1889, Dr. Lucy "Louise" Hagenow fled San Francisco to avoid prosecution for abortion deaths. Her first Chicago patient died in January of 1891. The judge threw out the case. Hagenow went on to be implicated in 13 additional abortion deaths. Enabling abortionists endangers women.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Planned Parenthood's Prenatal Services

Planned Parenthood insists that they're not just about abortions. They boldly claim, among other things, that they offer prenatal care.

Planned Parenthood President Cecil Richards, speaking in 2011, said, "Prenatal care. Those are the kinds of services that folks depend upon Planned Parenthood for.

Lori Lamerand, the Cheif Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood Michigan also said in 2011, "Prenatal care! What is what we want to focus on. That is what is so vital.

So folks count on Planned Parenthood for prenatal care. Planned Parenthood wants to focus on prenatal care. This would lead one to believe that one could call up a Planned Parenthood and set up a prenatal care appointment, right?

So Life Action did just that: They called Planned Parenthood facilities all over the country, trying to schedule appointments for prenatal care. Here are a sample of the responsess they got:

Tempe, AZ:
"Planned Parenthood offers abortions, so they don't offer prenatal care."

Athens, OH:
"Unfortunately, no, we wouldn't provide any type of prenatal services here at Planned Parenthood."

Fort Collins, CO:
"We're not a prenatal care provider."

Albany, NY:
"No Planned Parenthood does prenatal care, hon."

Farmington, NM:
"We don't offer prenatal care at PP. We specialize in abortions."

Cornell, NY:
"We tell you you're pregnant, and then we offer at PP to do the abortions. OK? So we don't do any prenatal services here."

Merrillville, IN:
"No, we don't do prenatal services. I mean, It's called Planned Parenthood, I know it's kind of deceiving."

Fayettevillle, AR:
"We only offer family planning services and abortion services."

Fairbanks, AK:
"Not at all at Planned Parenthood."

Santa Fe, NM:
"No, see, we don't see pregnant women as a way of giving prenatal care."

Dallas, TX:
"We only offer termination services."

Bend, OR:
"We actually don't offer prenatal services. We're not licensed to do so in Oregon or Washington."

The call to the Virginia Beach, VA office is particularly telling. The on-hold message says: "Did you know that PP can take care of all your reproductive health needs? Whether it's an annual exam, pregnancy testing and counseling, prenatal care, we're here for you with high-quality, low-cost services." But when the employee answers the phone and the caller asks for prenatal care, the employee responds, "No, we don't, not at the moment... Neither our Hampton nor our Richmond office does."

If they don't actually provide prenatal serices, surely they can at least refer for those services, right?

When the caller asked the Council Bluffs, IA "Is there any other clinic you can refer me to?" the answer was less than helpful: "I don't know of anything. I would look around on the internet."

In all, Live Action called 97 Planned Parenthood offices across the country. Only five actually offered prenatal care.

I'm still waiting for Planned Parenthood's supporters to get tired of being lied to.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Five Chicago Abortion Deaths

A Disgraced Ex-Doctor, 1944

Portrait of a smiling young white woman with fine features and dark, shoulder-length hair
Geraldine Schuyler
Geraldine Schuyler, age 20, was a secretary at Matthewson Electric Company in Chicago when she learned that she was pregnant in January of 1944. She turned to her mother, Leah Schuyler, who went with her on Monday, January 17 to meet one of Leah's friends, 49-year-old Mrs. Avis Konradt. Konradt, a nurse, took them to a rooming house where 79-year-old George E. Fosberg was caretaker. Fosberg was a physician whose license had been revoked in 1930 when he'd gone to prison for bank fraud. Mrs. Schuyler paid Fosberg $100, and he took Geraldine into the basement for the abortion, accompanied by Konradt.

Geraldine started to become ill on January 20. By the night of Saturday, January 22, she took a sudden turn for the worse and was quickly taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston shortly before midnight. Less than half an hour later, she was dead.

Mrs. Schuyler told the police what had happened, and led them to the rooming house, where police found him "in the dusty basement of the house, walking thru stacks of his old records as a physician." The police confiscated seven sets of surgical instruments.

Fosberg was convicted of manslaughter rather than the more serious charge of murder by abortion. The judge had originally sentenced him to serve 14 years in prison. The sentence was deferred while Fosberg tried to get a new trial. The attempt failed. However, Fosberg's attorney argued that due to his client's age, a 14-year sentence was equivalent to a death sentence. Fosberg was sentenced to between one and three years. I have been unable to learn anything about the outcome of the charges against Avis Konradt.

A Lay Abortionist, 1929

As was the case nationwide before legalization, the majority of Chicago's illegal abortionists were midwives or physicians, though there were the occasional lay abortionists such as Katherine Bajda, identified as a homemaker in the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database. Despite not being a medical professional, Bajda benefited from Chicago's catch-and-release system of dealing with deadly abortionists.

On January 23, 1929, 22-year-old Edna Vargo died in Chicago from an abortion performed that day, Bajda was held by the Coroner on February 14. On March 15, she was indicted for felony murder in Edna's death. Three days later, while free to ply her trade, Bajda got caught with 25-year-old abortion patient Violet Diancalana dead in her home.

An Unidentified Perp, 1925

On January 23, 1925, 34-year-old Kate Radochouski died at Chicago's Lakeside Hospital from complications of an abortion performed that day. The Homicide in Chicago database says that she died at the scene of the crime, and that there was an arrest on February 11. But there is no name given for the person arrested. No perpetrator was ever identified.

A Midwife, 1914

On January 23, 1914, 17-year-old Helen Kleich, who worked as a domestic servant, died at Cook County Hospital from sepsis, arising from an abortion perpetrated on January 17 by midwife Margared Wiedemann. Wiedemann was held by the Coroner for murder by abortion, but was acquitted.

Another Midwife, 1913

On January 23, 1913, 32-year-old homemaker. Margaret Wagner died at Post Graduate Hospital in Chicago from septic infection caused by an abortion perpetrated on January 9. The suspected abortionist was midwife Caroline Orbach. Orbach was held by the Coroner on January 24. The case went to trial but Orbach was acquitted on November 25 for reasons I have been unable to determine.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

An Undertaker's Revelation, and Other Abortion Deaths

An Undertaker Blows the Whistle, 1961

Headshot of a smiling young white woman with short, thick, dark hair
Vivian Grant
On January 21, 1961, 52-year-old Dr. Mandel M. Friedman contacted a Queens undertaker, asking him to arrange burial for 23-year-old Vivian Grant of New York. Friedman told the undertaker that Vivian, unmarried and working as a book editor at Dell Publishing, had died of a heart ailment. 

The undertaker notified authorities, who determined that although Vivian had not been pregnant, Friedman had attempted to perform an abortion on her, causing her death. Friedman was charged with homicide and falsifying a death certificate.

An autopsy showed that air bubbles had entered Vivian's blood stream during the abortion attempt, which triggered clotting problems, causing her to bleed to death.

Headshot of a balding middle-aged white man, wearing a jacket and tie,
Mandel Friedman
Vivian had told the baby's father that she believed she was pregnant on January 13. He offered to marry her, but they decided to postpone marriage and arrange an abortion instead. They went to Friedman's office on the morning of January 21, and the boyfriend paid $800 for the abortion. He left Vivian with the doctor. When he returned at 2 p.m., Friedman told him that Vivian had died, and returned the abortion fee.

Friedman resurfaced late the following year, while still awaiting trial in Vivian's death. He was charged with homicide in the September 11, 1962 death of Barbara C. Covington, age 35, a Florida socialite.

Few Details on 1926 Death

On January 21 of 1926, 38-year-old homemaker Victoria Smith died in Chicago from a botched abortion. The Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database indicates that the abortion was performed at Jefferson Park Hospital, but the database often erroneously lists the hospital where the woman died as the location of the abortion. The coroner pushed for the arrest of Peter Krakowski as the principal and Mary Sprochi as an accessory. Krakowski's profession is not given. On February 15, Krakowski was indicted for felony murder.

1901:A Deathbed Statement Reveals Abortion Death Two Years Earlier

In 1901, on her deathbed, Chicago homemaker Annie Robinson named Teresa Muenster not only as the abortionist responsible for her own death, but also as the abortionist responsible for the death of her sister-in-law, 28-year-old Caroline Schroeder, on January 21, 1899.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Abortion Deaths: 1990, 1971, 1971, 1910, and 1845

Second Death in Six Years

Ingar Weber, age 28, died January 26, 1990, in a Louisiana hospital. She had been treated for acute kidney failure after a safe and legal abortion performed at Delta Women's Clinic in Baton Rouge on January 20, 1990. Ingar's family sued the clinic and its doctors, Richardson P. Glidden and Thomas Booker. They faulted the doctors with failing to diagnose Ingar's kidney problems, or her deteriorating physical condition, before, during, or after the abortion. Ingar was transported to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, where she died.

Delta had also been sued following the death of another abortion patient. This woman was most likely 27-year-old Sheila Hebert, who died after an abortion on June 6, 1984.

A Lack of Follow-Up Care

The survivors of 21-year-old Linda Fondren sued after her death. Linda had a safe and legal abortion performed by Mohammad Pourtabib at Pre-Birth in Chicago on New Years Day, 1974. She suffered bleeding, but Pourtabib did not provide follow-up care.

Linda was taken by ambulance to Michael Reese Hospital, in shock and needing emergency care. They would not admit her, but instead sent her to Cook County Hospital, where doctors performed an emergency hysterectomy. Linda remained hospitalized at Cook County. On January 16, doctors tried to drain fluids from Linda's chest and inadvertently punctured her spleen.

Linda died on January 20 from "hemoperitoneum with splenic rupture following hysterectomy and earlier dilatation and curettage." She left behind a small child.

A Beneficiary of New York's Abortion Law

"Andrea" was 26 years old when she underwent a newly legalized abortion at a New York City abortion facility on January 12, 1971.

After her abortion, Andrea contracted an infection. Her system was unable to fight the infection, and she died on January 20, 1971, leaving behind six children.

The 1970 liberalization of abortion had made New York an abortion mecca until the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling that abortionists could legally set up shop in any state of the union. In addition to "Andrea," these are the women I know of who had the dubious benefit of dying from the newfangled safe-and-legal kind of abortion in pre-Roe New York:

  • Pearl Schwier, July, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • Carmen Rodriguez, July, 1970, salt solution intended to kill the fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • Barbara Riley, July, 1970, sickle-cell crisis triggered by abortion recommended by doctor due to her sickle cell disease
  • "Amanda" Roe, September, 1970, sent back to her home in Indiana with an untreated hole poked in her uterus
  • Maria Ortega, October, 1970, fetus shoved through her uterus into her pelvic cavity then left there
  • "Kimberly" Roe, December, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Amy" Roe, January, 1971, massive pulmonary embolism
  • "Sandra" Roe, April, 1971, committed suicide due to post-abortion remorse
  • "Anita" Roe, May, 1971, bled to death in her home during process of outpatient saline abortion
  • Margaret Smith, June, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Annie" Roe, June, 1971, cardiac arrest during anesthesia
  • "Audrey" Roe, July, 1971, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Vicki" Roe, August, 1971, post-abortion infection
  • "April" Roe, August, 1971, injected with saline for outpatient abortion, went into shock and died
  • "Barbara" Roe, September, 1971, cardiac arrest after saline injection for abortion
  • "Tammy" Roe, October, 1971, massive post-abortion infection
  • Carole Schaner, October, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Beth" Roe, December, 1971, saline injection meant to kill fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • "Roseann" Roe, February, 1971, vomiting with seizures causing pneumonia after saline abortion
  • "Connie" Roe, March, 1972, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Julie" Roe, April, 1972, holes torn in her uterus and bowel
  • "Robin" Roe, May, 1972, lingering abortion complications
  • "Roxanne" Roe, May, 1972, given overdose of abortion sedatives
  • "Danielle" Roe, May, 1972, air in her bloodstream
Illegal in Chicago

On January 20, 1910, homemaker Elizabeth Lambacher, age 27, died at her Robby Street home in Chicago from septic peritonitis caused by an abortion. A nurse or midwife named Mrs. Hopp was indicted by a grand jury. The source document does not indicate that the case ever went to trial.

A Forced Abortion in a House of Ill Repute

Mary Ackerly of White Plains, New York, was the uneducated daughter of Sutton Ackerly, a shoemaker, and his disreputable wife Martha.. From the time she was around 9 years old, Mary's family had begun sending her to live with other families, for reasons that are presumed to be understood by newspaper readers of the time. Mary didn't take well to her peripatetic life, it seems, since she rarely stayed with one family longer than a few months.

At the age of 19, Mary went to work in the home of Mrs. C. Nelson, near Sing-Sing. Mrs. Nelson had a married son, Harry, who lived nearby. Mary  went to New York with Harry Nelson, who had promised that if she went with him he would pay her $27 that he owed her. Instead, Nelson set Mary up to room at a "house of ill fame" at 174 Broom Street. There, on the night of December 14, 1845, one of the women who lived at the brothel told Mary that somebody was up in the attic room to see her. When Mary got upstairs she found Nelson, along with Dr. Seth Shove, who served as a sort of house doctor of the "house of assignation."

Nelson told Mary that Shove was there to perform an abortion on her. Mary said that she tried to get out of the room, but Nelson and Shove had locked the door, pushed her onto the bed, and blown out the candle. Mary didn't see what instrument the appropriately-named Shove used on her, but what he did was incredibly painful. Mary told her mother that she had screamed for help but nobody came. Shove finished what he was doing then he and Nelson left.

Mary Kearney, a girl who lived at her house, said that in the evening of Tuesday, December 15, Mary went into labor, delivering the baby about 2:00 in the morning of the 16th. Miss Kearney found the baby left on a marble-topped table. Seeing the baby move its hand and foot, Miss Kearney placed the child in a warm place by the stove hearth, where it died about half an hour later.

Other than doctors attending her from time to time, Misss Kearney said, Mary Ackerly had no visitors after the birth and death of her baby. After the night of the abortion, Mary never saw Harry Nelson again. Mary sickened and suffered wretchedly during the ensuing weeks, her condition deteriorating. She was sent home some time during the first week of January, 1846.  Over the ensuring days, Mary had a dark red, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, and frequent bouts of vomiting. 

At Mary's request, she was visited by a minister every other day who prayed with her and urged her to clear her conscience. As it became clearer to Mary that she wasn't going to recover, she wept and told her mother all about her pregnancy and the abortion.

Dr. William Belcher, the family's usual doctor, tended to Mary three times before her death.  Dr. Belcher made it plain to Mary that she was dying, and she told him the same story she had told her mother about Harry Nelson, Dr. Shove, the unfamiliar house she'd been taken to, and the forced abortion. She was dead by around 6:00 on the morning of January 20.

Belcher and another doctor performed an autopsy, finding multiple adhesions around Mary's uterus. There were no signs of injury inside the uterus or vagina, but there were injuries causing fecal impaction and large abscesses around the bowel and bladder. Her uterus was enlarged and showed signs of recent pregnancy.

When Shove went to trial for Mary's death, an assortment of doctors testified that they'd known him well and respected him professionally. Some had seen Shove perform surgery and considered him to be skilled. The doctors also testified that for an abortion, the patient would have to be cooperative in order to carry it out. Both hands would be needed, so a doctor would not have spare hands to hold down a struggling patient. Mary's injuries, as described by Dr. Belcher, were not consistent with those that would happen if a qualified doctor was doing an abortion procedure. At no point did there seem to be the issue raised, nor answered, as to whether Mary's injuries were consistent with a skilled surgeon attempting to perform an abortion on a struggling woman.

As the jury went to deliberate whether Shove should be convicted of murder, manslaughter, or neither, they had to take into account:
  • whether Mary had been "quick with child," meaning that she had been able to feel the baby move and know that the baby was alive
  • whether she had gone to New York for the purpose of an abortion
  • whether she had consented to the abortion
  • whether Shove had indeed been the person who had perpetrated it
Much of this hinged on how much credibility the jury would give to the testimony of Mary's mother and of Dr. Belcher regarding what she had told them as she lay dying. Shove's attorney had brought forth many witnesses against the character of both Mary and her mother. Mary was described as a thief, a prostitute, and an arsonist. Both women were described of being of bad moral reputation and as utterly untrustworthy.

The judge told the jury that Martha Ackerly's credibility had been completely impeached, and hence, by implication, that they could discount anything she'd said. The judge also indicated that though Mary ordinarily would be considered of such bad character that they could dismiss her testimony as well, they could choose to give credibility to what she said on her deathbed under the presumption, common at the time, that people about to meet their Maker would want to do so having confessed all of their sins before doing so.

Some testimony also seemed to hinge on whether somebody had paid Mary's parents to make themselves scarce after Mary's death. The implication seems to be that the Ackerly family had been trying to blackmail Shove. Martha Ackerly said that Shove had given Mary some money, wages that had been due to her.

The defense arguments -- that Shove can't have been the one who had perpetrated the abortion because it had been done so sloppily, and that after all he was respectable and Mary and her family were disreputable and thus couldn't be believed -- worked. Shove was acquitted.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Child's Nightmare and Two Other Safe, Legal Abortion Deaths

Lacerated Inside, a Lingering Death

A middle-aged Black man with a receding hairline and thick, dark-rimmed eyeglasses, viewed through a chain-link fence
Reginald Sharpe
Dr. Reginald Sharpe has a history of malpractice, including the death of a 26-year-old patient on January 19, 2008. After poking around online I learned that her name was Chloe Colts

Chloe's death certificate indicates that during the abortion, performed on January 11, Sharpe had perforated her uterus, and once the instruments were inside her pelvic cavity had managed to cut a uterine blood vessel and lacerate her intestines and her liver. Chloe died at St. John Hospital in Detroit.

A Phony Doctor, a Tragic Scene

On January 19, 1993, Angela Sanchez, age 27, went to Clinica Feminina de la Comunidad with two of her four children: 12-year-old Maria, and 2-year-old Victor. The children waited for their mother in the lobby. A clinic staffer approached Maria and suggested that she take the car and drive Victor home. Maria protested that she was too young to drive. The children continued to wait for their mother. 

At around noon, a staffer took the children to lunch. When they returned to the clinic, Angela's car was gone, and Maria was told that her mother had gone to another clinic. The children continued to wait, but when their mother failed to appear Maria finally called her uncle, Hemiberto Sanchez, who took them home with him.

By 10:00, Angela's family was frantic, and Maria's aunt Celia took the girl to the clinic to look for the missing woman. When they arrived, they saw Angela's car. Maria jumped out of her aunt's pickup truck and ran to the car. There she saw her mother lying on the ground. Maria asked two women from the clinic, who were standing nearby, what had happened to her mother, and they told her, "She's dead."

Sobbing, Maria clung to and kissed her mother while the two women from the clinic told Celia that a man had shoved Angela from a car and they were picking her up. One of the women, Alicia Ruiz Hanna, who operated the facility, told Maria that her mother had just come knocking on the door, then collapsed.

Celia put her sister's stiffened body in the back of her truck and flagged down a policeman, who led her and Maria to a hospital. There, Celia was told that her sister had been dead for several hours.

After a prolonged investigation, and Hanna's jailhouse conversion to Christianity, the full story finally emerged. Hanna, who had been passing herself off as a doctor and performing abortions at the facility, had given Angela an injection to induce abortion. Angela stopped breathing, and staffers attempted to revive her. One of them even tried to call 911, but Hanna told her employee, "No, I'll save her -- we'll get in trouble" and hung up the phone because she feared that she would go to jail and lose her children if it was discovered that she was running the clinic illegally. She and the other woman had planned to put Angela's stiffening body into the trunk of her own car and abandon the vehicle in Tijuana.

Hanna had originally used doctors to perform the abortions but eventually started doing them herself as a cost-cutting measure.

In December 1994, Hanna was convicted of second-degree murder for Angela's death. She was sentenced to 16 years to life.

Bleeding Out Slowly, a Teen's Life Ends

The March 1990 Bernadell Technical Bulletin says that 17-year-old Glenna Jean Fox underwent a second trimester abortion at the hands of Dr. Morris Wortman in January of 1989. Glenna Jean continued to bleed for two days after this second-trimester abortion. She was taken to an emergency room but died from shock several hours later on January 19.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"I couldn't see how Planned Parenthood could ever redeem themselves...."

Ask yourself this: "What happens when a victim of sex trafficking gets an STD?"

Laura J. Lederer, a leader in the fight against human trafficking, looked into that question, and other related questions regarding how sex-trafficking victims come into contact with health care providers. What she and co-author Christopher A. Wetzel  found was published as "The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities" in the Winter, 2014 Annals of Health Law.

Lederer and Wetzel found, not surprisingly, that when sex-trafficking victims get sick or injured, or are put on birth control, or get pregnant, their pimps take them to health care facilities. During their time of sexual slavery, nearly 88% of trafficking victims are taken to a medical facility of some sort.

One medical care provider stood out above all others:
Survivors also had significant contact with clinical treatment facilities, most commonly Planned Parenthood clinics, which more than a quarter of survivors (29.6%) visited.
Actually, 29.6 -- let's round it up to 30 -- is closer to 1/3 (33.3%) than it is to 1/4 (25%). That's an astonishing number. Nearly one-third of sex trafficking victims pass through the doors of Planned Parenthood..

At first glance, this would seem like very good news, right? If Planned Parenthood workers were properly trained, nearly a third of sex trafficking victims would come into contact with dedicated people who are trained and ready to identify them and offer them help in escaping from sexual slavery. This would be amazing!

What will Planned Parenthood actually do? Let's look at the experiences of one Planned Parenthood employee who saw for herself how the organization tackled the issue of staff spotting possible sex trafficking.

Ramona Trevino was working as a manager at a Planned Parenthood in Texas when the group Live Action was releasing various undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood workers engaging in questionable or even illegal practices.

"I just blew it off," Ramona said of the  videos. "I thought, 'This is ridiculous. We don't have anything to hide, so why are we so concerned about these undercover investigations? If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear, right?"

"In the beginning of 2011," Ramona continued, "another undercover investigation came out exposing Planned Parenthood workers aiding and abetting underage sex trafficking."

Planned Parenthood Federation of America went out publicly saying that they would retrain all of their staff on how they reported abuse.
When we were called into this meeting, I went in really believing that Planned Parenthood could redeem themselves. They're going to prove that they really do care about women and this is something that really concerns them. I walk into the room -- it's dark, we sign in, and there's a projector screen pulled down, and they begin to play all of the previous undercover investigations that had been put out about Planned Parenthood. And I became very perplexed. I thought, you know, "What's going on here? Are we showing these things because they're trying to show us what not to do? You know -- the things that are wrong, that we don't do these things?" 
And so I raised my hand and I said, "I'm confused. When are we going to actually begin the retraining? What can I do as a manager to take this information back to my staff and put -- enforce policies and procedures that would help protect women who are experiencing either sex trafficking or abuse, sexual abuse in any way? Because that's a difficult subject to talk about if you ever have a patient come in who expresses that." And so I really wanted to know how we dealt with that. 
And she immediately shot me down and she said, "We're not here to talk about that, Ramona. We're here to teach you how to identify if you're being videotaped or recorded or entrapped in any way."
"At that moment," Ramona said, "my heart just sunk. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I couldn't believe that we were actually there to train on how to identify if we're being recorded. Again, it goes back to why? Do we have something to hide? Why is this an issue for us? That experience for me left me so disgusted that I couldn't see how Planned Parenthood could ever redeem themselves after that."

In their paper, Lederer and Wetzel explore what Planned Parenthood and other health care providers could do in order to help protect and rescue sex trafficking victims, and to alert authorities who could bring the perpetrators to justice. Sadly, it doesn't seem that Planned Parenthood has any interest in moving in that direction. It's not the pimps and pedophiles that Planned Parenthood sees as problematic. It's the investigators who show what really happens behind closed doors.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Illegal Abortion Deaths, 1887 - 1982

Deadly Secrets in Florida, 1983

On January 4, 1983, Albert Payne got a phone call from a family friend, Debbie Manning, who worked at the emergency room at a Miami hospital. Debbie gave Albert some shocking news: His 33-year-old wife, Shirley Yvonne Payne, mother of their three children ages 3 to 12, was dead. She had bled to death from an abortion.

"No way my wife is pregnant," Albert had responded. He called the day care center. Shirley had never showed up to pick up the children.

Shirley had undergone what she expected to be a safe and legal abortion at Woman's Care Center in Miami. She was 16-18 weeks pregnant. Shirley suffered a perforated uterus. Dr. Hipolito Barreiro made a frantic call to another doctor he knew, Nsibide Ipke, who had a practice 10 blocks from the clinic, wanting Ipke to come over and fill out clinic forms. "You've got to come sign. I'm not licensed."

Ipke, who said that he'd believed Barreiro to be licensed, went to the clinic to see what was going on and found Barreiro trying to attend to Shirley before calling an ambulance. When paramedics arrived on the scene, they reportedly found Shirley with an IV in her arm, lying on a couch, bleeding heavily.

Shirley arrived at the hospital in critical condition due to delay of transfer. An emergency hysterectomy was performed to try to save Shirley's life, but she bled to death in surgery. She was the second patient from that clinic to die in less than three weeks, and the fourth to die in less than four years.

Ruth Montero, Myrtha Baptiste, Maura Morales, and Shirley Payne all died from abortions at the clinic, owned by Hipolito Barreiro. Trained in Argentina and West Africa, but not licensed in U.S. Barreiro evidently perpetrated Shirley's fatal abortion without documenting this fact on her clinic records.

After Shirley's death, authorities lame ted that they were powerless to oversee abortion facilities in Florida. "We have no authority to look into sanitary conditions or whether a clinic's location is near a hospital," a licensing and certification official told a reporter for Florida Today. A clinic could only be investigated in the event of a complaint or a patient death, the official said, and that the only permissible grounds for state action would be if the abortion had been done by somebody other than a licensed physician.

While authorities told reporters that greater state oversight could protect women from unsavory abortion clinics, the clinic owners indicated that such a law would be a form of anti-abortion harassment. The Florida Abortion Council, an organization of abortion clinic owners, had gotten a US district court to strike down a 1980 Florida law that would have allowed state oversight.

While asserting that state oversight wasn't needed, FLAC representative Patricia Baird Windle said that FLAC had denied membership to Women's Care Clinic because of patient deaths in August of 1979 and 1981.

Chicago Deaths, 1924 and 1921

On January 4, 1924, 28-year-old Elizabeth Strobl died in Chicago's Columbus Hospital from complications of an illegal abortion performed that day. Mrs. Anna Wenzig, whose profession is not given, was arrested January 15 for Elizabeth's death.

On January 4, 1921, 21-year-old Jennie Chubb died in her Chicago home from complications of an abortion performed that day. The coroner identified Veronica Rypcznski as the person responsible for Jennie's death. Veronica's profession is not mentioned in the source.

Third Time was Fatal, 1887

Bertie Hammaremiller, age 19, had lived with her mother on Langdon Street in Chicago. She already had one child to 19-year-old Fred C. Dethloff. On January 4, 1887 Bertie died from a botched abortion. Dethloff, who admitted that this was the third time he'd helped Bertie to abort two other pregnancies with medications in the three years they'd been together, was put on trial for his life. I have been unable to determine the outcome of the case.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Oregon in 1985, Missouri in 1966

Safe and Legal in Oregon, 1984

Loretta Morton was 16 years old when she underwent a legal abortion in December of 1983. She was sent home with birth control pills. On January 3, 1984, Loretta was at home, and having trouble breathing. Her mother called for an ambulance. The ambulance crew assessed Loretta, decided she was stable, and left. They were called back ten minutes later because Loretta had lost consciousness.

The crew rushed Loretta to a hospital, but attempts to resuscitate her were in vain. Within an hour of having lost consciousness, she was dead. An autopsy showed that she had died from a pulmonary embolism from the abortion.

A Fatal Abortifacient, 1866

An inquest was held in St. Louis, Missouri, regarding the January 3, 1866 death of 23-year-old Aurora Heaton.

Aurora had lived in a rural area wiht her mother and stepfather until about six weeks prior to her death. She moved to St. Louis, as did "a young Scotchman named Isaac McDonald," with whom Aurora had evidently been keeping company prior to the move. Aurora told Isaac that she believed that she was pregnant, so he bought something at a drug store and gave it to her prior to returning to college.

The two corresponded, with Aurora's lamentation that the abortifacient drugs hadn't done their job. She went to a pharmacy and bought oil of cedar, another folk abortifacient. She took a one-ounce dose during the evening of January 2. Later that night she went into convulsions. She died shortly after midnight.

A postmortem examination found the poison still in her stomach -- and that contrary to her beliefs, Aurora had not actually been pregnant.

Safe and Legal in New York, 1970

"Amy" was 35 years old when she took advantage of New York's new law allowing outpatient abortion-on-demand, somewhere in the state of New York on December 24, 1970. She was 14 weeks pregnant. During the abortion, Amy suffered from a massive pulmonary embolism. Efforts to save her life finally failed, and she died on January 2, 1971, leaving behind two children.

Though Amy was the first woman identified as an abortion victim in 1971, she wasn't the last. Other women to die that year include Cassandra BleavinsJanet ForsterDoris GrantBetty Hines"Annie" Roe"Andrea" Roe"Anita" Roe"April" Roe"Audrey" Roe"Barbara" Roe"Beth" Roe"Monica" Roe"Roseann" Roe"Sandra" Roe"Tammy" Roe"Vicki" RoeLaSandra RussCarole SchanerMargaret Smith, and Kathryn Strong.