Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Black Women's Lives on the Abortion Table

Blacks comprise about 12 percent of the US population, yet Black woman are sold roughly 25 percent of abortions. More disturbing is this fact: Black women account for at least 50 percent of known abortion deaths. 

A smiling Black teenage girl, with her hair in a short afro. She wears a medium-toned shirt with a high, scalloped collar.
Charisse Ards
This bears repeating: A young Black woman is twice as likely to be sold an abortion as a young white woman, and once she gets on the abortion table, she is at least twice as likely to suffer fatal complications as a white woman. More to the point, a Black woman coming of age in the US is at least four times more likely to die from abortion complications than a white woman coming of age.

Charisse Ards is one of the women Life Dynamics lists on the Blackmun Wall of women killed by safe and legal abortion. Life Dynamics indicates that Charisse was 20 years old, single, and a mother of one. According to Life Dynamics, Charisse died July 28, 1989, from a pelvic infection after a legal abortion.

Thirty-two-year-old Mary Ann Dancy was a mother of five children ranging in age from 2 to 17 when she went to Fleming Center in North Raleigh, North Carolina for a safe and legal abortion on July 27, 1990. She was accompanied by a male friend and her sister, Carolyn.

The abortion was performed by Clarence J. Washington at around 4:00 p.m. He documented no complications. "She seemed all right," Carolyn told the Raleigh News & Observer. "She walked to the car.

After Mary Ann went home, she took a bath and went to bed. However, she bled heavily but Washington did not return her calls. The next day, July 28, she was taken by ambulance to Halifax Memorial Hospital. She died that night during emergency surgery from hemorrhage due to a lacerated cervix.

Fleming Center had been the first freestanding abortion clinic in North Raleigh when it was originally founded by Dr. Paul Fleming. When he died in 1989, Raleigh Women's Health Organization bought the practice, which was purchased by Washington shortly thereafter. He closed it in 1991. He faced two more lawsuits in the year after Mary Ann's death, including one woman who was hospitalized for ten days for uterine lacerations. Another woman sued after a failed abortion attempt by Washington.

Planned Parenthood indicated that they had stopped referring women to Washington when they were unable to verify that he had admitting privileges at any local hospitals.

New Sources: 

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