Monday, June 06, 2022

Minimizing the Problem

As I was updating the entry for Barbaralee Davis, the first known abortion death at a National Abortion Federation member clinic, I because disgusted as I always am by the cavalier attitude the abortion lobby -- and their media lapdogs -- take towards women's legal abortion deaths. I just want to take some time to call out a particularly infuriating example.

The September 1, 1977 Decatur Daily Review quotes attorney Frank Susman, who had defended Dr. Kenneth Edelin in an infanticide case related to a post-viability abortion. 

The face and spine of Barbaralee's fetus were found embedded in a rip in her uterus. But how did Susman characterize the failure to even notice that major parts of the fetus hadn't been removed? "[A]bortion, like all surgical procedures involves a risk, and possibly a risk of death. And this patient in this procedure was advised of that."

Was Barbaralee informed that it was possible that pieces of her dead fetus would be left embedded in a uterine tear, and that she might be sent home with an undiagnosed, life-threatening injury? And why is "Well, all surgery has risks" an excuse for an abortion death caused by such an egregious injury? Had Barbaralee's abortion been illegal, though still performed by a doctor, no doubt that same spokesperson for the abortion lobby would have been livid about how the legal status of abortion had forced Barbaralee to seek substandard care and suffer an injury she never would have died from had her abortion been legal. If it weren't for double standards, the abortion lobby would have no standards at all.

Then there's the misinformation: "I think we just have to put this in perspective and realize that -- for example -- well over a million abortions were performed last year in the United states and there were five deaths."

That statement simply wasn't true. According to the 1976 CDC Abortion Surveillance Summary, there were ten legal abortion deaths -- twice the number Susman claimed. To be fair, the CDC doesn't exactly leap out and announce abortion death numbers right away. The 1976 summary wasn't issued until August of 1978. Susman doesn't say where he got the lowball number. The CDC also admittedly missed one, since the 2019 Abortion Surveillance Summary notes 11 legal abortion deaths for 1976. Of course, that's assuming that the CDC actually knows -- or even cares -- how many legal abortion deaths there are. There's abundant evidence that their data collection on legal abortion deaths has been perfunctory at best since Willard Cates and David Grimes left the abortion surveillance branch.

The kicker, though, is the way Susman, the abortion lobby, and the media simply dismiss legal abortion deaths as nothing worth worrying your pretty little head about. Imagine if, after an airline crash, the NTSB and the airlines insisted that the concern was far out of proportion and started citing the overall safety of airline travel. Such a transparently self-serving attitude would be roundly condemned. For some reason, though, the abortion lobby is able to dismiss cases of fatal malpractice by reminding us that comparatively few patients actually die. 

The proper response to any death caused by mistakes, or slipshod procedures, or faulty equipment is to do a preventability study and to at least suggest corrective action. Why aren't abortion facilities held to this standard?

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