Friday, March 15, 2019

Planned Parenthood Head Find Cooperative Tool at Dallas TV Station

Evidently WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas doesn't believe in fact checking. They uncritically passed along a claim that was discredited by its own originator clear back in 1942, six years after he'd pulled the numbers pretty much out of thin air.

In "36-year-old Chinese immigrant now leads Planned Parenthood, warns of Roe being overturned," reporter Jason Whitely puffed up the credibility of his source -- as if she is utterly unimpeachable -- while passing utterly bogus alarmism to the public.
“I am deeply concerned about the future of Roe versus Wade,” said Dr. Leana Wen, 36, the new national president of Planned Parenthood.
Wen is a 36-year-old Chinese immigrant, a former emergency room doctor and the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood in almost a half century. 
She spoke with WFAA on a trip to Dallas this week. 
“We face a real situation where Roe could be overturned and if it is overturned then one in three women over reproductive age, which is 25 million women, could be living in states including Texas where they do not have the right to safe, legal abortion and we know what will happen. Women will die. Thousands of women died every year pre-Roe,” Dr. Wen said. 
She took over from Cecile Richards last November after leaving her position as the Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore. 
“I saw the crisis in women’s health as the biggest public health crisis of our time. We cannot be in this position where we know what works in public health and we’re rolling back the gains that have been hard fought. And that’s why I’m here,” Dr. Wen said.

An elderly white woman with her pale hair coiffed in a neat up-do, her large eyes looking into the camera
Dr. Mary Calderone
Dr. Wen has absolutely no excuse for claiming thousands of pre-Roe deaths. Planned Parenthood's own erstwhile Medical Director Dr. Mary Calderone dismissed that entire idea based on the most up-to-date and intensive research of the late pre-Roe era.  In "Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem," published in the July, 1960 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, Calderone said:

Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure. This applies not just to therapeutic abortions as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physicians. In 1957 there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortions of any kind. In New York City in 1921 there were 144 abortion deaths. In 1951 there were only 15; and, while the abortion death rate was going down so strikingly in that 30-year period, we know what happened to the population and the birth rate. Two corollary factors must be mentioned here: first, chemotherapy and antibiotics have come in, benefiting all surgical procedures as well as abortion. Second, and even more important, the conference estimated that 90 percent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians. Call them what you will, abortionists or anything else, they are still physicians, trained as such; and many of them are in good standing in their communities. They must do a pretty good job if the death rate is as low as it is... abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous.
Planned Parenthood's own Medical Director, after extensive research including a multinational conference hosted by Planned Parenthood, gave no credence to the idea of thousads of women dying from illegal abortions as the 1950s turned into the 1960s. What excuse does the illustrious Dr. Wen have for claiming "thousands" of deaths? Given her credentials it's hard to believe that she's speaking from ignorance. 

And what of the admiring pen of stalwart journalist Jason Whitely? Does he have an excuse for not bothering to check Dr. Wen's almost patently absurd claim before passing it along? Had he merely googled "did thousands of women die from abortions before roe" he would have found something by posted by the Guttmacher Institute (essentially Planned Parenthood's research arm) in 2003: "Lessons from Before Roe: Will Past be Prologue?" Even when trying to get people worked up and alarmed over the presumed bloodbath amongst abortion-minded women, the AGI's  Rachel Benson Gold said:
In 1930, abortion was listed as the official cause of death for almost 2,700 women—nearly one-fifth (18%) of maternal deaths recorded in that year. The death toll had declined to just under 1,700 by 1940, and to just over 300 by 1950 (most likely because of the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s, which permitted more effective treatment of the infections that frequently developed after illegal abortion). By 1965, the number of deaths due to illegal abortion had fallen to just under 200, but illegal abortion still accounted for 17% of all deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth that year.
So our journalistic friend needn't have looked far to have found that Dr. Wen's claim was not exactly reality-based. And seriously, the claim that there were thousands of annual deaths from abortion in the years leading up to Roe has been totally debunked for decades now. But, as Bernard Nathanson said, it's a useful number, so despite the fact that it's a load of dingo's kidneys, it gets bandied about anyway.

An old photograph of a balding, middle-aged white man with round wire-rim spectacles and a neatly trimed moustache, wearing a suit with a stiff collar.
Dr. Frederick Taussig
The original source of the 5,000 - 10,000 deaths claim was a book -- Abortion, Spontaneous and Induced -- published in 1936 by Dr. Frederick Taussig, a proponent of legalization of abortion. Taussig calculated an urban abortion rate based on records of a New York City birth control clinic, and a rural abortion rate based on some numbers given to him by some doctors in Iowa. He took a guess at a mortality rate, multiplied by his strangely generated estimate of how many criminal abortions were taking place, and presto! A myth is born!

Even if Taussig's calculations, by some mathematical miracle, had been correct, they still would have been out of date by the end of WWII. Antibiotics and blood transfusions changed the face of medicine. And not only are the Taussig numbers dated, they were never accurate to begin with. At a conference in 1942, Taussig himself appologized for using "the wildest estimates" to generate the number.

Although it took Taussig six years to reject his own faulty calculations, at least he did admit that he'd been wrong. Other abortion enthusiasts lacked Taussig's compunctions. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, admitted that he and his associates knew that the claims of 5,000 to 10,000 criminal abortion deaths were false. They bandied them about anyway, Nathanson confessed, because they were useful. This, too, is old news -- Nathanson came clean 40 years ago.

WFAA TV8 owes its viewers and its online readers an apology. And Jason Whitely needs to learn to use Google and, of course, to stop blindly trusting Planned Parenthood to be an accurate source of information.

Contact WFAA through their website.

Friday, March 08, 2019

March 8: Safe and Legal in New York

Safe and Legal in New York 1972

New York City Chief Medical Examiner Milton Helpern did not share the abortion lobby's elation about the new law. Rather, he expressed concern that ill-equipped and poorly-staffed freestanding legal abortion facilities were posing a danger to women. He was right.

In early March of 1972, "Colleen took advantage of the new law and traveled from Michigan to New York for a safe and legal abortion. She was 21 years old and 20 weeks pregnant. Colleen had a history of asthma. During the abortion, she went into respiratory arrest. She died March 8.

"Connie" was 31 years old when she, too took advantage of the liberalized law and underwent a safe and legal abortion in New York on March 3, 1972. She went into cardiac arrest during the abortion. Attempts to save her life were futile; she died on March 8, five days after her abortion. She left behind one child.

The 1970 liberalization of abortion 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 "Colleen" and "Connie," 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:

  • "Judy" RoeJuly, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • Carmen RodriguezJuly, 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" RoeSeptember, 1970, sent back to her home in Indiana with an untreated hole poked in her uterus
  • Maria OrtegaOctober, 1970, fetus shoved through her uterus into her pelvic cavity then left there
  • "Kimberly" RoeDecember, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Amy" Roe, January, 1971, massive pulmonary embolism
  • "Andrea" RoeJanuary, 1971, overwhelming infection
  • "Roseann" RoeFebruary, 1971, vomiting with seizures causing pneumonia after saline abortion
  • "Sandra" Roe, April, 1971, committed suicide due to post-abortion remorse
  • "Anita" RoeMay, 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" RoeJune, 1971, cardiac arrest during anesthesia
  • "Audrey" RoeJuly, 1971, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Vicki" RoeAugust, 1971, post-abortion infection
  • "April" RoeAugust, 1971, injected with saline for outpatient abortion, went into shock and died
  • "Barbara" RoeSeptember, 1971, cardiac arrest after saline injection for abortion
  • "Tammy" RoeOctober, 1971, massive post-abortion infection
  • Carole SchanerOctober, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Beth" RoeDecember, 1971, saline injection meant to kill fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • "Julie" Roe, April, 1972, holes torn in her uterus and bowel
  • "Robin" RoeMay, 1972, lingering abortion complications
  • "Roxanne" RoeMay, 1972, given overdose of abortion sedatives
  • "Danielle" Roe, May, 1972, air in her bloodstream

March 8: Self-Induced in Montana

SUMMARY: Twenty-two-year-old Mary A. Bellville died in Lewistown, Montana on Friday, March 8, 1889, from complications of an attempted abortion. "Her death aroused increased excitement in Astoria."

A week before her death, Miss Bellville made a deathbed statement that Arthur B. Roosa had helped her to abort another pregnancy the previous June, "furnishing the instrument and instructing her in its use".

Roosa, Miss Bellville said, was the father of both aborted children. He had not helped her with the second, fatal abortion. News coverage attempted to quell rumors that any local physicians, or any party other than Miss Bellville herself, "had any part in this criminal act."

I would appreciate any help in deciphering the jargon in the article that states: "On the other side it can be shown that the girl has been 'unfortunate' on three former occasions, and that some three other men have paid sums of money at her suit as being each the author of these respective troubles." I take this to mean that she had sued three men prior to her involvement with Roosa for "seducing" her and "inducing" her to abort these pregnancies.

Miss Bellville had been blind for four years, though what role this played in her troubles is not in any say spelled out or speculated upon in the news coverage of her death.

March 8: Deliberate Incomplete Abortion Kills Teen

SUMMARY: Rita McDowell, age 16, died March 8, 1975 after an abortion performed by Robert Sherman at Columbia Family Planning Clinic in Washington, DC.

On March 4, 1975, Robert Julius Sherman (pictured, left) performed a safe and legal abortion on Rita, who was in the second trimester of her pregnancy. Rather than admit her to the hospital for the then-standard saline abortion, Sherman performed a vacuum aspiration abortion usually used for first trimester abortions. When Rita was discharged, her mother was informed that she would probably expel the fetus that night. As they left the office, Rita told her mother, "Oh, Mama, I feel like I had one hundred needles in me."

Rita did not expel the fetus. Instead, she developed a fever. Her mother called Sherman's facility on March 5 to seek care for her daughter. She said that Sherman would not speak to her, and that the receptionist told her to bring Rita in two days later.

In the early morning hours of March 7, Rita awoke screaming, then collapsed in her mother's arms. Doctors at the hospital where Rita was taken removed the macerated fetus, but she died from massive infection just after midnight on March 8.

An investigation into Rita's death revealed evidence that Sherman deliberately performed incomplete abortions so that he could charge more for follow-up care. Sherman was charged with murder in Rita's death, and prosecutors presented witnesses and evidence that Sherman re-used disposable medical equipment, failed to perform tests to verify pregnancy, failed to do pathology examinations of abortion tissues, allowed a nurse's aide to perform surgery, and falsified medical records.

Testimony during his trial indicated that Sherman would send patients home with green plastic trash bags to collect fetuses that they expelled at home after their incomplete abortions.

After the trial ended in a hung jury, Sherman pleaded guilty to 25 counts of perjury in exchange for dropping the murder charge in Rita's death.


Thursday, March 07, 2019

The Many Victims of Dr. C. W. Milliken

As of the day before yesterday, this is pretty much all I'd known about Dr. C. W. Milliken:

"On the first of March, 1921, Dr. C.W. Milliken performed an abortion on Iva J. Triplett. Milliken was practicing in Akron, Ohio. Immediately after the abortion, Iva became severely ill. She continued under Milliken's care until she died of septicemia and peritonitis the following week, leaving a widower and children. The Elyria, Ohio Chronicle Telegram described Milliken as a "prominent democratic politician."

In October of 1920, 19-year-old Frances Karies died at Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital from a criminal abortion that had been performed in Akron, Ohio, by Dr. C. W. Milliken. The coroner recommended Milliken's arrest, but there is no record if any legal action was taken against him for Frances's death.

The Lima (Ohio) News notes that Milliken was also charged with performing a fatal abortion on Florence Cobb. He was held on $10,000 bail in each case, Iva's and Florence's.

Charles Waldstein Millikin, sixth son of Thomas and Tamar (Clark) Milliken, was born Apr. 17, 1856 in Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio. An allopath, Milliken was an 1880 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He was licensed in Ohio in 1896 after having served a residency at Harrisburg Hospital and Philadelphia Hospital in Pennsylvania. He practiced in Akron until his death from cerebral hemorrhage and chronic myocarditis on April 13, 1929. He and his wife, Katherine McEbright, who married October 9, 1894, never had any children."

As I often do when the anniversaries of women's deaths approach, I went to a newspaper archive to see if anything new had been uploaded about Iva Triplett, who died on March 6, 1921. I found an article from the Akron Beacon Journal dated March 15, 1921. As I opened it up to resize it and put the newspaper name and date on, I noticed a name I'd not associated with Milliken before: Marie M. Vogt. As I read through the article I found yet another dead woman: Maud Sporn.

This article had enough details for me to piece together a timeline:

c. September 23, 1920, abortion performed on Frances
October 2, 1920, abortion performed on Maud
October 12, Maud dies
October 23, 1920, Frances dies in Chicago

January 18, 1921, abortion performed on Florence

c. April 15, 1921, abortion performed on Louise Marie
March 1, 1921 abortion performed on Iva 
March 4, 1921, Louise Marie dies
March 6, 1921, Florence dies
March 9, 1921 Iva dies 

I'd known that Milliken had died a free man from other research I'd done. I'd wondered how he'd managed to stay free after killing three women in criminal abortions in such a short space of time. 

Today, when putting the finishing touches on my data collection, I did a search for Milliken himself, and found one article after the other lauding his political activism. I had to put Marie's name in before I found the article that, aside from listing her name as Louise Marie rather than Marie M, clarifies how Milliken got away with it all.

He plea bargained before a sympathetic judge.

Never underestimate the advantages of being politically connected.


March 7 Many Deaths

SUMMARY: Gloria Small, age 43, died March 7, 1978 after an abortion performed by Ronald Tauber at his Orlando Birthing Center in Orlando, FL.

Gloria Small, a 43-year-old mother of six, went to Ronald Tauber for a safe ane legal abortion. Despite Gloria's obesity, asthma, chronic lung disease, and family history of high blood pressure, Tauber elected to perform the 15-week abortion at his Orlando Birthing Center on March 7, 1978.

Gloria's uterus was punctured in the abortion. Tauber packed Gloria's uterus with medical gauze, which appeared to have controlled the bleeding. However, the next day he removed the packing and the hemorrhage resumed.

She was not transferred to a hospital until 30 hours after she had been injured, and died despite an emergency hysterectomy. The medical examiner said that Gloria's medical history should have precluded performing an abortion in an outpatient setting. The medical board faulted him with failing to transfer to a hospital as soon as he'd had the bleeding stabilized with packing, and with trying to remove the packing in a setting where there was no blood available for a transfusion. A court-appointed panel found Tauber negligent in Gloria's death.

The repercussions for the 31-year-old Tauber were astonishing, given the legality of Gloria's abortion. He was dismissed from the staff of two hospitals, had his medical license suspended, and was charged with manslaughter. However, I have found no record that the case ever went to trial.

SUMMARY: Mrs. Hattie Myers, age 19, died at Wichita Hospital on the morning of Tuesday, March 7, 1922 after an abortion attributed to Dr. Charles C. Keester.

Hattie Mae Fields Myers, age 19, died at Wichita Hospital on the morning of Tuesday, March 7, 1922. After hearing the testimony of twelve witnesses, including four doctors, a coroner's jury concluded that Hattie had died from complications of an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Charles C. Keester. He was arrested on March 10, charged with two counts of manslaughter -- one for Hattie's death, and another for the death of her unborn bay. Hattie was the second woman that I know of whose abortion death was attributed to Keester. The others are:

San Mateo Doctor Dumps Body, 1919

Inez Reed, age 28, died in San Mateo, California on March 7, 1919 after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Ephraim Northcott, a relative of the notorious serial murderer Gordon Northcott. Inez's body was found dumped in a ravine.

A Murder Mystery Connected With Abortion Death, Chicago, 1913

The March 7, 1913 death of 16-year-old Edna Ruth Frederickson was tangled up in a tale of murder and intrigue that led to much speculation but few conclusions. I've been unable to learn the details of her untimely death.

Edna was employed at a Chicago candy shop for $2 per week, and turned her wages over to her mother. Wanting to have some money for herself, and unhappy at home, Edna turned to a co-worker at the candy company, a married woman who went by the names of Lillie Dearborn and Kitty Young.

Dearborn took Edna to the Dreamland Dance Hall, "and Edna soon began to earn more money." Evidently through a connection she made at Dreamland, Edna became pregnant.

George Ringler Jr., who was responsible for Edna's pregnancy, was first sought aboard a steamer where he worked as a machinist, but for some unexplained reason he was not aboard when the ship sailed.

A German newspaper clipping about Edna's death was found in the pocket of George Dietz, a murder victim. Also in Dietz's pocket was the business card of Dr. Eva Conheim. Eventually, Dietz's widow, Augusta, was implicated in his murder, and beyond the clipping and business card, no connection was ever made between Dietz and Edna.

A New Berlin, IL, Midwife's Fatal Work in 1908

On March 7, 1908, unmarried seamstress Nellie Shuff, age 26, of New Berlin, Illinois, died at Wesley Hospital in Chicago. Nellie had lived as a boarder in the home of widow Martha Scott. The coroner's jury determined that she died from complications of an abortion that had been perpetrated at a home on Forest Avenue. Seventy-one-year-old midwife Johanna White was arrested, tried, and sentenced to one to ten years at Joliet for the death. White was so old and feeble that she had to be carried in and out of the courtroom, and was not expected to survive the length of her sentence.

A Medical Student's Deadly Work on his Fiancee, Peekskill, NY, 1881

Mary Maber, age 20, died in Peekskill, New York on March 7, 1881, after lingering for a year with complications of an abortion perpetrated by her boyfriend, medical student Vincent Height, who married her on her deathbed after she had languished for nearly a year. Height was tried in April of 1881, but the case resulted in a hung jury after 20 hours of deliberation.

Midwife Prosecuted for 1875 New York City Death

On March 7, 1875, 20-year-old Antoinette Fennor died at the home of New York midwife/abortionist Catherine MaxwellNews coverage of the coroner's inquest gives us an interesting glimpse into how abortion was practiced, investigated, and prosecuted in Brooklyn in the late 19th century, and how the public responded to abortion deaths. They certainly didn't take the bored, "You pays your money and you takes your chances" attitude I see people taking toward modern abortion deaths. Follow the link to learn more. The verdict was that Antoinette died of peritonitis March 7, 1875, from an abortion performed about February 26 by Mrs. Maxwell. Jennie Gale, the witness who admitted to having Maxwell do an abortion on her, and John Betts were accessories. All three were arrested.

The Brooklyn Eagle spared no words in its castigation of Betts, saying that he "helped [Antoinette] into her grave, and cheated a product of love and guilt out of its right to be born."

In striking contrast to a modern abortion death case, there were none of the signs of concern for women's lives that you see nowadays. There was no knot of supporters outside holding signs saying "Mrs. Maxwell Helps Women". There was no ad-hoc coalition of lobbying and activist organizations forming a legal defense fund for the woman who killed Antoinette. And there was no group of young admirers asking Mrs. Maxwell to come speak to them about how they could follow in her footsteps. There were none of those familiar signs we see nowadays about how important it is to protect women from lethal butchery. No, back then, when nobody cared about women's lives, being party to a woman's abortion death just got you scorn, infamy, and a prison sentence.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

March 6 Ellen Williams

SUMMARY: Ellen Williams, age 38, died March 6, 1985 after an abortion performed by Chatoor Singh at Dadeland in Miami, FL.

"Don't go out and put yourself in the hands of quacks, dear. There are plenty of places that don't care about women like we do."Betty EasonOwner, Dadeland

Ellen Lorena Williams, age 38, was as a personnel manager for the Dade County, Florida school board when she learned that she was pregnant in early 1995. A married woman living in Richmond Heights, Ellen had a 10-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter and didn't want any more children. She opted for an abortion.

Chatoor Bisal Singh performed Ellen's abortion at Dadeland Family Planning in Miami on March 2. Since Ellen was a big woman, 6 feet tall and weighing nearly 300 pounds, Singh had used an ultrasound to estimate Ellen's pregnancy at 13 weeks.

On March 4, Ellen returned with her husband, Walter, doubled over and rocking back and forth in pain. Betty Eason gave her some tea, settled her in a Naugahyde lounge chair, covered her with a blanket, then called Singh, who arrived four hours later.

Singh examined Ellen, then turned her over to Nabil Ghali, who performed a second D&C and sent Ellen home with a bottle of antibiotics. Eason had taken a blood sample from Ellen, but the laboratory was unable to do a culture on it because Eason had used a contaminated container.

At 3:48 p.m. on March 5, Ellen was rushed by ambulance to Coral Reef Hospital. On arrival she was in pain and suffering from a fever of 105 degrees. She was rushed into surgery. She died in the intensive care unit at 10:25 a.m. on March 6. The autopsy revealed that she had uterine and bowel perforations, causing the peritonitis that killed her.

Singh told the Miami Herald that he didn't usually work at Dadeland, but was "strapped for cash" and agreed to fill in for Robert Kast while he was away. Singh described himself as "not an abortionist, just an honest, easygoing guy looking for something temporary.

After Ellen's death, Singh quit working at Dadeland, saying, "It was a bad month." It certainly was: the same day he'd performed the first abortion on Ellen Williams, Singh also did an abortion on a woman identified as "Patricia W.," who afterward hemorrhaged and passed a portion of her fetus, which Singh had failed to remove. When she returned with it to the clinic, staff told her it was "a blood clot," but a hospital later verified that it was a 16-week fetal head.

"I freaked out, I didn't know what to do," Patricia told the Miami Herald. "I could see the eyes, and the arms and legs."

Beatrice's Fatal Journey to Dr. Hart

SUMMARY: Beatrice Fisher, age 36, died on March 6, 1945 after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Frank Hart in his Seattle, WA practice.

Beatrice Fern Fisher, age 36, operated a gas station and grocery store with her husband, Lyle, in Snohomish county, about seventeen miles north of Seattle. The couple had three children, aged 14, 13, and 4. Around 1937, Beatrice had successfully sought an abortion, performed by the same Seattle doctor who had delivered her oldest child. Around March 4 of 1945, Beatrice informed her husband that she was pregnant, and that she intended to return to Seattle for an abortion to be performed by the woman who'd done the first abortion. Her husband wasn't happy with the plan, but left the matter to his wife.

BeatriceFisherDenies.pngOn March 5, Beatrice took her four-year-old daughter and $100 in cash and drove to Seattle to seek her former physician. On the way to Seattle, Beatrice stopped at the home of her mother-in-law, Ethel Howard. Mrs. Howard was a practical nurse. While at her mother-in-law's house, Beatrice called a "Dr. T" and spoke to him about having an abortion done. This was the first Mrs. Howard learned of the pregnancy.

At some point that morning, Beatrice called her husband and said that she'd not been able to talk to her doctor, but that the nurse at the doctor's office had referred her to "Dr. T" in Seattle.

Beatrice, her mother-in-law, and the little girl went to Seattle, to Dr. T's office. They arrived at around noon. Dr. T was not available, but his nurse gave Beatrice a business card from Dr. T. On the back, she wrote the name of Dr. Frank C. Hart, along with the address of his office in the Joshua Green building in Seattle.

Beatrice and her companions went to Hart's office, where they found a waiting room full of women but no nurse. Later, Hard came into the waiting room and announced, "Five of you women that came in just now leave and those that were here yesterday remain." Mrs. Howard left with the little girl, but Beatrice stayed.

On the drive home, at about 5:00, Beatrice stopped at her mother-in-law's home. She said she had a severe headache. She was perspiring heavily. Mrs. Howard, following Dr. Hart's instructions, gave her daughter-in-law black tea and put a hot water bottle under her back. That was when she noticed that Beatrice's genitals were bandaged.

Beatrice stayed in bed for about 45 minutes, then got up for dinner with her in-laws. She left for home at about 8:30, stopping at the gas station to pick up her husband.

The following morning, Beatrice told her husband that she was returning to Dr. Hart to have "blood clots" removed. She looked tired. She took her daughter with her again, stopping again at her mother-in-law's house. The three went into Seattle, ate lunch, then went to Hart's office. During the trip, Beatrice reported chest and arm pain, and her face was flushed deep red.

At Hart's office, the women again found a waiting room full of women, but no nurse. Again, Hart made the announcement that those who were there for the first time were to leave, and the rest were to remain. He told Beatrice to proceed into the office. Mrs. Howard told Hart that she was very concerned about Beatrice. Fisher told her, "This is no place for relations and children. Meet her downstairs in the lobby."

Expecting her daughter-in-law to be ready to leave in about 20 minutes, Mrs. Howard went to do some shopping. On returning to the building, she found a crowd of people gathered in the lobby near the flower shop. Mrs. Howard approached the group and found Beatrice lying dead.

The autopsy determined that Beatrice had been about two months pregnant. There were clear signs that somebody had performed a curettage. The uterine wall had been gouged in several places. Clots had formed over these gouges. The coroner concluded that one of these clots had formed an embolism that had lodged in Beatrice's lung, causing her death.

On March 7, Hart was arrested. He showed authorities through his premises and gave instruments into evidence, including sponge-forceps and irrigating curettes. When questioned, Hart said that he kept no patient records and didn't give receipts.

Hart was convicted of abortion and manslaughter in Beatrice's death.

Beatrice's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

During the 1940s, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744 in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

external image MaternalMortality.gif

A March 6 Litany of Death

Filthy in Florida, 1985

Ellen Williams, age 38, died March 6, 1985 after an abortion performed by Chartoor Singh at Dadeland in Miami, FL. Her death illustrates so much of what's wrong with the abortion lobby that I'm addressing it separately.

Lingering Death After Safe, Legal California Abortion, 1969 into 1970

A 16-year-old girl underwent a safe and legal second-trimester saline abortion on August 26, 1969. At that time, California allowed abortions as long as they were performed by doctors in hospitals. A journal article on her death identifies her as "F.S." I'll call her "Felicia." Felicia developed an infection and symptoms of meningitis after her abortion. She continued to be treated for ten days before she was transferred to another hospital in San Francisco for further treatment. Doctors performed two heart valve replacements on Felicia, and had scheduled her for yet another before she died on March 6, 1970. The cause of death was severe congestive heart failure and pneumonia.

Abortion-Rights Group Cites Sources for 1967 Seattle Death

The Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project -- unlike most abortion-rights publications -- actually cites specific sources for their stories of illegal abortion deaths. For the March 6, 1967 death of Elizabeth Staley, they cite the Daily Olympian (March 8 & 9 and May 3 & 4, 1967) and the Seattle Times (May 5 & 6 and July 18, 1967). They also include a clipping from the March 8 Daily Olympian, "Manslaughter, Abortion Charges Filed Here In Young Wife's Death." The clipping notes that the investigation into Elizabeth's death had begun on March 6, a Monday, when Ronald showed up at St. Peter Hospital with his wife's lifeless body. County Coroner Hollis Fultz began in investigation beginning with an autopsy, showing that Elizabeth, who had been about four months pregnant, had suffered an air embolism (air in her blood stream) during the abortion. I've been unable to determine if the woman charged in Elizabeth's death was the abortionist or only an accomplice.

A Seattle Doctor in 1945

Beatrice Fisher, age 36, died on March 6, 1945 after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Frank Hart in his Seattle, WA practice. Given the abundance of information on Beatrice's death, I'm devoting another post to her story.

The First of Two Deaths Attributed to Chicago Midwife, 1928

A typical Chicago abortion death in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was perpetrated by a physician or midwife at the practitioner's office. The woman would take ill and her family would bring her to a hospital, where she would die after naming the guilty party. Such was the abortion that killed 24-year-old Lucille Smith on March 6, 1928. Lucille, a store clerk and homemaker, died at Chicago's Burrows Hospital from complications of an abortion performed that day at the office of 68-year-old midwife Emma Schulz. Schulz was indicted for felony murder on April 1, 1929. The following year, Schulz was arrested after the death of 23-year-old Gladys Schaffer.

Second of Three Deaths Attibuted to Lima, OH Doc, 1921

The March 21, 1921 Lima (Ohio) News notes that Dr. Charles W. Milliken was charged with performing a fatal abortion on Florence Cobb. Ohio records indicate that Florence died on March 6 and was about 23 years old. It turned out to have been quite a month for Milliken -- or, more to the point, for his patients. Iva Triplett had died under his care on March 9. Milliken was held on $10,000 bail in each case, Iva's and Florence's. An earlier patient, 19-year-old Francis Karies, had died in Chicago in 1920 after undergoing an abortion at Milliken's Ohio practice.

An Unidentified Perp in Chicago, 1915

Bessie Wallace, a 35-year-old homemaker and Russian immigrant, died on March 8, 1915 after an abortion perpetrated in Chicago by an unidentified person.

Deathbed Implication Fails to Produce Indictment, 1896

On February 29, 1896, Dr. Jacoby was summoned to the Brooklyn home of Mrs. Lena Schott, variously identified as a midwife and as a "doctress" in news coverage of what was to follow. Jacoby had been asked to attend to Mary Gibson, a 22-year-old domestic servant. Concluding that Mary was suffering the effects of a botched abortion, Jacoby didn't want to deal with the case himself and instead had Mary taken to Bellevue hospital.

LenaSchottSketch.pngOnce she was there, Mary gave a statement saying that Schott had indeed perpetrated an abortion on her. Since Mary was expected to die soon, Schott was arrested and held until Mary's fate played out. On March 6, 1896, Mary Gibson died.

During the inquest into Mary's death, things got heated between Schott's attorney, William Howe, and Coroner Hoeber, with the two of them bickering, Hoebner leaving the room, Howe pursuing him, and somebody having to bring the Assistant District Attorney in to referee.

Finally a police detective was able to testify that they had found Mary at Schott's house prior to her transfer to Bellevue.

Almost immediately afterward, Howe and Hoebner resumed their bickering, with Howe complaining about Hoebner's "confounded eccentricities" and Hoebner accusing Howe of owing "everybody" money. Howe countered that Hoebner owed the clerk $300. It looked as if the two were going to come to blows before the ADA managed to call things to order. The coroner's jury eventually decided to rule that Mary had died "from causes unknown," and Mrs Schott was released.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

March 5: Safe and Legal in Philly, Illegal in Chicago

Safe and Legal in Philly, 1980

Gwendolyn Cliett, age 29, was about to undergo a safe, legal abortion and tubal ligation at Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia on March 5, 1980. She was 8 to 10 weeks pregnant. Before the procedure could be done, Gwendolen reacted to the anesthesia and died. Gwendolyn, being a Black woman, was at higher risk of abortion death than a white woman would have been.

A Mysterious Chicago Death, 1915

Lillian Galvin died March 6, 1915 in Chicago. Authorities were unable to determine who had perpetrated the fatal abortion. I have been unable to learn anything else about Lillian. I have not even been able to find her name in Chicago or Cook County death indices.

A Chicago Midwife, 1907

On March 5, 1907, Mrs. Ella Brunswick, age 24, died at St. Elizabeth's hospital in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day. In a deathbed statement, Ella implicated a 35-year-old midwife named Kunigundi Hardman.

Ella's abortion was typical of Chicago abortions of the era in that it was perpetrated by a medical professional. Physician-abortionists and midwife-abortionists were very common.

Known Perp, Unknown Profession, in Chicago, 1900

On March 5, 1900, Mrs. Alice Koester died in German Hospital from complications of an illegal abortion that the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database indicates was performed there that day by Maria Janke. The database is often in error about abortions being perpetrated in hospitals. Alice's fatal abortion was more likely performed either at her own home or at wherever Janke typically piled her abortion trade. Janke was arrested March 10, and held by Coroner's Jury on March 11. She was sentenced by Judge Clifford to Joliet Penitentiary for a charge not noted in the source. Janke's employment status is listed as "professional", but so far I have been unable to determine her usual profession. Most Chicago abortionists were doctors or midwives, but since I have not found a professional listing for her, she was more likely a professional lay abortionist.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Semika Shaw: Victim of Politics

Semika Shaw
Today we observe what happens when, like pro-choice politicians are wont to do, you place your confidence in abortion providers and assume that they're above reproach.

In March of 2000, Semika Shirelle Shaw underwent an abortion at Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia office. Semika, a 22-year-old mother of two, called Gosnell's office the next day to report heavy bleeding, but according to court documents she was not instructed to seek care. Two days later, she collapsed while at home with her cousins, screaming and writhing on the floor. Her mother came  home and had Semika taken to the hospital, where she died of sepsis and a perforated uterus.

Here is the segment of the Grand Jury Report concerning Semika's death:

On October 9, 2002, the Professional Underwriters Liability Insurance Company reported to theState Board of Medicine that it had paid a $400,000 settlement to the family of Semika Shaw, the 22- year-old mother of two who died following an abortion procedure at Gosnell’s clinic in March 2000. (In January 2003, the Pennsylvania Medical Professional Liability Catastrophe Loss Fund reported to the Department of State that it had paid an additional $500,000 toward a $900,000 award to the family.) The October 9 report is logged in as “received” by theDepartment of State’s “Complaints Office” on December 6, 2002. The file turned over to the Grand Jury shows no further activity until over a year later – January 2, 2004 – when a one-page printout of Gosnell’s license information is stamped “received” by the complaints office.

The next action recorded in the file is a one-paragraph “Prosecution Evaluation,” dated April 29, 2004, in which Mark Greenwald, a prosecuting attorney for the Board of Medicine purportedly summarizes the case and concludes: “Prosecution not Warranted.” Here is the paragraph:

    • Brief Factual Summary: The file was opened as a result of a Medical Malpractice Payment Report. The underlying malpractice case involved the death of a 22 year old female following the termination of her 5th pregnancy. Following a seemingly routine procedure on 3/1/02, the patient was taken to the ER at the University of Pennsylvania with complaints of pain and heavy bleeding. The patient underwent surgery but the surgeon was unable to locate any perforation and the patient died from infection and sepsis. Although the incident is tragic, especially in light of the age of the patient, the risk was inherent with the procedure performed by Respondent [Gosnell] and administrative action against respondent’s license is not warranted.

    • RECOMMENDATION: Z-02, Prosecution not Warranted

Kermit Gosnell
In fact, all the information in this single paragraph is taken entirely – including incorrect dates – from the insurance company’s original paragraph-long report sent to the Board in October 2002. And yet, while Greenwald included the irrelevant, but pointed, assertion that this was the patient’s fifth pregnancy that was being terminated (note: the report said that this was the patient's fifth pregnancy, not her 5th abortion -- ed), the Department of State prosecutor omitted from his summary the most important information that the insurance company had provided: “Autopsy report indicated perforation of cervix into uterus. Heirs alleged our insured improperly performed the termination procedure and failed to diagnose post-op uterine perforation resulting in sepsis and death.”

Greenwald’s supervisor, Charles J. Hartwell, the Senior Prosecutor-in-Charge at the Department of State’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, purportedly reviewed Greenwald’s “evaluation” and approved it on May 14, 2004. Hartwell did so, ostensibly, knowing nothing beyond the bare facts that Semika Shaw died from infection and sepsis two days after Gosnell perforated her uterus and cervix during an abortion procedure. (Greenwald also omitted from his evaluation that the insurance carrier had settled the case for $900,000, the majority of which had to be disbursed by a Pennsylvania catastrophic expense fund.)


Before Department of State prosecutors decided not to investigate the 22-year-old patient’s death, they had been told of Gosnell’s many illegal practices. What makes these prosecutors’ inaction even more astonishing is that they did know more than the bare facts included in the Board attorney’s evaluation of the case. On the same day in 2004 that they decided not to do anything about Semika Shaw’s death, these same two prosecutors also closed the investigation into the complaint brought to the Department of State more than two years earlier by Marcella Stanley Choung. That was the complaint that had alerted the Board of Medicine – eight years before Karnamaya Mongardied – to almost all of the same violations revealed by this Grand Jury’s investigation.

Semika's cousin, Pennsylvania Representative Margo Davidson, favored laws to enforce standards for the state's abortion practices. She told reporters about Semika's young children sobbing and not being able to understand why their mother wouldn't get up. ("Legislator explains her backing of abortion crackdown,"
Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), Dec. 16, 2011)

Semika's cousin tells her story: