Thursday, July 30, 2020

Prochoice Site Adequately Documents 1960 Abortion Death

According to "When Abortion was Illegal (and Deadly): Seattle's Maternal Death Toll," Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History ProjectClaudette Sayles, a 23-year-old Black woman was a student living in Seattle in 1960.

Mae Etta Scott, age 22, admitted to assisting in preparations for an abortion to be perpetrated in Claudette's apartment. Claudette died of abortion complications on July 30.

Police arrested Scott and she was charged with second-degree murder. The jury believed Scott's defense that nothing she had done had caused Claudette's death, so they acquitted her.

The Project cites the August 10, August 19, and December 16, 1960 issues of the Seattle Times and includes a clipping, "Murder Charge Filed in Death of Woman," from the August 10 Seattle Times which identifies Scott as a telephone operator and notes that a 20-year-old woman undergoing an abortion at the same time was being held as a material witness.

Taking this amount of care to verify and document a death is a laudable break from the usual abortion-rights web site. Usually they just copy and past a blub from another site without first verifying the story. This has led to at least two instances I know of in which there was no actual evidence that an illegal abortion was involved: Becky Bell and Pauline Shirley. To this day, Wikipedia insists that Becky died from an abortion in spite of the fact that her autopsy report shows otherwise. Kudos to the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project for doing their homework.

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