Sunday, July 31, 2022

July 31, 1918: Tetanus After Abortion in Pennsylvania

Dr. Herman Spangler of Easton, Pennsylvania was arrested in the summer of 1918 on two charges of abortion. One woman survived her ordeal, though her husband reported Spangler to the police. The other woman, 20-year-old silk worker Cecelia Dieber, was not so fortunate. She died on July 31 at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown 48 hours after being admitted. Fetal tissue had been left in her uterus and she had contracted tetanus from her injuries.

Police sought Spangler, who had quietly relocated from his business on Greenleaf Street in Allentown to Walnut Street in Easton. He couldn't lay low for long, though, because he had just been drafted. He was about to be shipped out for induction and arrested at Camp Lee and brought to the hospital shortly before Cecelia's death. There, both she and her mother identified him as the man who had perpetrated Cecelia's abortion on July 20. 

Cecelia's lover had been drafted and sent to France in the Army, which might have contributed to her decision to abort the pregnancy. She refused to name him to the police.

Spangler was also charged with practicing medicine without a license, though he claimed to be a graduate of the Metropolitan College of Chicago and was listen on prison intake records and on his death certificate as an osteopathic physician and his headstone identifies him as Dr. Herman D. Spangler. 

Spangler, age 27, pleaded guilty on all charges and was sentenced to serve ten years and six months in Eastern State Penitentiary and pay a fine of $1,500. 

I've been unable to determine if Spangler had never been licensed to practice medicine or had lost his license prior to hanging out his shingle as an abortionist. He died in prison on March 3, 1920 from pulmonary hemorrhage at the age of 29 after serving 1 year, 5 months, and 25 days of his sentence. 

Watch "Was Spangler a Doctor or Not?" on YouTube.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

July 30, 1960: A Death Adequately Documented by a Prochoice Site

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. According to genealogy records and her obituary, Claudette was a mother of two. Marriage records show that she was wed in 1954 at the age of 17.

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.

Watch "He Cited His Sources!" on YouTube.

Friday, July 29, 2022

July 29, 1985: Failure to Diagnose Proves Fatal

Twenty-six-year-old Yvette Poteat had an abortion performed by Dr. Marion D. Dorn Jr. at The Ladies Clinic in Charleston, South Carolina on July 16, 1985. A lawsuit filed by her surviving mother and sister says that Dorn did not examine the tissue he removed from Yvette's uterus, and did not notify Yvette that the lab report showed no fetal or placental tissue in the specimen.

On July 27, Yvette experienced "sudden, sharp, constant lower abdominal pains," and was taken to a hospital by her fiancée. She was admitted to the emergency room, where she informed the doctors about the abortion. She was mistakenly diagnosed as having Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, was given medication, and was discharged after several hours with instructions to seek follow-up care in two days.

Throughout July 28, Yvette experienced continued pain. She called the hospital but "was instructed not to return but to give the medication a chance to work."

Early in the morning of July 29, Yvette collapsed at home. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She went into cardiac arrest due to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that both Dorn and the hospital staff had failed to diagnose, and was pronounced dead 6:15 a.m.

The lawsuit noted that Yvette's mother "suffered the loss of the financial support of her daughter, extreme mental shock and suffering, wounded feelings, extreme grief and sorrow, has lost the love and affection and companionship of a loving and wonderful daughter, has been deprived of the use and comfort of her society."

The suit against Dorn, the clinic, the hospital and hospital doctors won a small $23,000 plaintiff verdict in 1987.

July 29, 1949: Death at the Doctor's House

On July 29, 1949, on the basis of a third-party referral, 22-year-old Dorothy Martin went to the Fulton, Georgia home of P.D. Beigun for an abortion. Beigun was not a physician or qualified to practice medicine. Dorothy, with the assistance of a man named Virgil Echols, had visited Beigun a few days earlier to make the arrangements.

Beigun took Dorothy into a bedroom while Echols waited in the living room. About 15 or 20 minutes later, Echols heard a sound described as a "slump," and Beigun called for him to come and help. Echols went into the other room and found Beigun supporting an unconscious Dorothy by the waist. Dorothy made a gurgling sound.

Echols helped Beigun lay Dorothy on the bed, and the men picked up her panties off the floor and put them back on her.

Echols tried to revive Dorothy, and asked Beigun what happened. Beigun indicated that he'd packed Dorothy's uterus with gauze. The men summoned police and an ambulance. While they waited, Beigun instructed Echols on what story they were to tell. They were to say that they'd been sitting in the living room with Dorothy when she'd felt faint and asked for a glass of water. Then, they'd say, Dorothy fainted and they moved her to the bed. Beigun warned Echols that he'd be in just as much trouble as Beigun himself unless he stuck with the story.

When the police arrived, Dorothy was dead. A toxicologist, who later participated in the autopsy, said that when he arrived at Beigun's home to remove Dorothy's body, he'd found her with her slip bloody and rolled up around her waist, but that there'd been no blood on the panties.

The next day the toxicologist and a physician performed an autopsy. They found that Dorothy's cervix had been dilated, discolored, and abraded, and that her injury must have been very painful. They believed that gauze had been forced into Dorothy's uterus, even though no gauze was present at autopsy, because her injuries were consistent with this scenario. They also concluded that Dorothy had gone into shock and died within a few minutes of her injury. Dorothy had been in good health, with no abnormalities of her heart, lungs, or kidneys and no history of fainting.

The fetus appeared to be about three to four months of gestation. It was removed at autopsy, along with Dorothy's damaged uterus, and placed in a glass jar to be presented as evidence of Dorothy's pregnancy, gestational state, and injuries.

Three days after Dorothy's death, medical supplies and broken packages of gauze bandages were found in Beigun's home and collected as evidence.

In trial, it came out that Echols had previously brought his own wife to Beigun for an abortion. That abortion took place in June, 1948. Echols had paid Beigun $65. Echols had dropped his wife off for the abortion and picked her up later to take her home. She became sick with nausea and pain, and Echols pulled a 6-inch rubber tube and about 60 feet of gauze out of his wife's uterus. Her pain became so great that Echols called a doctor, who had the sick woman brought to a hospital. Her temperature was 104 degrees. She was provided with penicillin and a blood transfusion. Beigun visited her at the hospital, asking why she'd not returned to him for treatment rather than going to somebody else.

Documents don't reveal why Echols, whose own wife had very nearly died under Beigun's care, brought another woman to the same man for his dubious services.

Watch "Why is Horrible Good Enough?" on YouTube.

Source: Supreme Court of Georgia. Beigun v. State No. 16985.Feb. 16, 1950

July 29, 1941: Two Doctors, One Dead Woman

On July 29, 1941, 34-year-old Agnes Pearson of White Plains, New York died at Grasslands Hospital in New York of peritonitis caused by complications from three abortion attempts perpetrated on July 11, July 26, and July 28. Agnes left two children motherless.

Dr. Nathan Schwartz, age 55, and Dr. Samuel Schwartz (not related), age 68, were charged with first degree manslaughter in Agnes' death. The Grand Jury heard evidence from Agnes' husband, four hospital doctors, three nurses, state police, and a laboratory worker.

New source: "Indict 2 Doctors As Woman Dies," New York Daily News, August 8, 1941

Thursday, July 28, 2022

July 28, 1989 and 1990: The Black Lives that Don't Seem to Matter

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 Kay Ards was 20 years old, single, and a mother of one. According to Life Dynamics, Charisse died July 28, 1989, in a hospital in Arapahoe County, Colorado from a pelvic infection after a legal abortion.

Mary Ann Dancy
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 and 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.

Watch "Black Women Die Disproportionately" on YouTube.

New Sources: 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

July 27, 1920: Doctor Never Brought to Trial

On July 27, 1920, 38-year-old homemaker Adelaide Fowler died at her Chicago home after a criminal abortion. Dr. Barney Welty was arrested, and indicted by a Grand Jury on August 1 but, for reasons I have been unable to determine, the case never went to trial.

July 27, 1985: Second Incomplete Abortion Death Thanks to Benjamin Munson

Yvonne Mesteth

Eighteen-year-old Yvonne Corrie Mesteth was the second of two patients to die of infection after safe and legal abortions by South Dakota abortionist Benjamin Munson. Munson's career as an abortionist had begun in the "worst of times", prior to legalization, but there is no evidence that any of his "back alley" patients died under his care.

Yvonne was in the second trimester of her pregnancy. The abortion was performed in Munson's office in Rapid City. Yvonne developed an infection, kidney failure, and adult respiratory distress syndrome. She died on July 27, 1985.

Munson is the third former criminal abortionist I've learned of who had a clean record -- no patient deaths -- as a criminal abortionist, only to go on to kill two patients in his legal practice. The others are Milan Vuitch (Georgianna English and Wilma Harris) and Jesse Ketchum (Margaret Smith and Carole Schaner).

Despite having already killed Linda Padfield shortly after his practice was granted legal protection, Munson was welcomed into the National Abortion Federation, and allowed to remain a member after Yvonne's death. And to this day, advocates of abortion love him and forget that Linda and Yvonne ever even existed.

Watch "The Legalization Fairy Failed Again" on YouTube.

South Dakota Death Certificate No. 140 85-003853

July 27, 1884: Packed in Ice and Sent Home

Twenty-five-year-old Lizzie Cook, a domestic servant, died suddenly on July 27, 1884, in Lockport, New York. Dr. Ira T. Richmond (alias of Dr. Ira Butler) was arrested. Richmond, age 46, had come to Lockport a year earlier and opened a sanitarium, "which died for want of patronage." This might be due to the fact that, as the Chicago Inter Ocean reported on July 30, 1884, Richmond "had a dubious character among physicians."

Evidently Lizzie's brother-in-law, William, had taken her to Richmond's practice, where she was examined in his presence and diagnosed with dropsy and blood poisoning. Two days later, she was put to bed at Bowen's house at about 11:00 at night, and remained there sick for nearly three weeks before her death in the afternoon of July 27. Richmond attended to her on a daily basis, sometimes visiting more than once a day, during that time.

By Saturday evening, her body had already been packed in ice and taken to her parents' home. She was buried on Monday morning after a large funeral. "The secrecy in getting her body removed to her home created suspicion," so her body was exhumed that afternoon for an autopsy that revealed signs that she had died from a surgically performed abortion.

Richmond was immediately arrested and charged with either first degree murder or first degree manslaughter, according to differing sources. He pleaded not guilty, insisting that Lizzie had not been pregnant when she died and had died of dropsy and blood poisoning. "The evidence is strong against him, however," said the July 30, 1884 Cincinnati Enquirer. Sentiment against Richmond was so strong there fears that he would be lynched.

Richmond was convicted of first degree manslaughter on October 21, 1884. I have so far been unable to determine if his Canadian wife's testimony about his doings there was admitted into evidence. The jury recommended mercy. After requesting and being denied a new trial, Richmond/Butler was sentenced to six years of hard labor at Auburn Prison.

July 27, 1974: Teen Dies After Seizures

Gina Gardner, a 17-year-old cheerleader at Gulf Comprehensive High School in West Pasco, Florida, went to Dr. James R. Lund for a safe, legal abortion on July 26, 1974.

She went into convulsions almost immediately after Lund administered a fourth dose of the local anesthetic Lidocaine while she was still under the effects of the initial dose of Demerol for the procedure. She convulsed for nearly twenty minutes. 

Gina was pronounced dead at Morton F. Plant Hospital the following day.

Gina's mother, Patricia Kennedy, had to wrangle to even bring the case to court because of a recently-passed Florida law regarding medical malpractice cases. Her suit alleged that Lund's office lacked the facilities and staff to deal with respiratory arrest and failed to provide appropriate informed consent. She ended up settling out-of-court for a mere $15,000.

Monday, July 25, 2022

July 25, 1930: Why Was Dr. Psota Acquitted?

On July 16, 1930, homemaker Evelyn Dellorto, age 20, underwent an illegal abortion believed to have been performed at the office of Dr. Frank Psota. Evelyn died at Auburn Park Hospital in Chicago on July 25, leaving behind her husband, James, and their infant daughter, Evelyn. 

On August 1, Psota was booked for murder by abortion even though the coroner's verdict was "undetermined." Psota was indicted, and held on $10,000 bond by Judge Lyle. 

On December 10, he was acquitted of the murder charge for reasons I've been unable to determine. 


July 25, 1928: Doctor Sent to Joliette

Tillie Hartel, aged 19, lived with her parents in La Salle, Illinois and worked as a stenographer at the downtown Hoefferie clothing store. 

On July 2, 1928, she told her parents that she was leaving for Springfield to vacation for a week. This struck her father, Michael Hartel, as odd, since they had no relatives in the state capital and Tillie had never gone there before. She didn't write home at all during her absence. 

Dr. Joseph P. Moran

What Tillie's parents hadn't known was that she hadn't left La Salle. Instead, she had gone to the home 45-year-old nurse named Mae Bowers shared with her husband, Herman, to undergo an abortion at the hands of 32-year-old Dr. Joseph P. Moran. Tillie's brother, 19-year-old taxi driver Edward Hartel, found out where his sister was when he encountered Mrs. Bowers on the street. He later said that Mrs. Bowers had told him that his sister "is a bad little girl and is ailing with a disease." 

Their sister Julia had also known that Tillie was at Mrs. Bowers'.  Edward said he visited Tillie but didn't discuss her illness with her. "I thought it was best to leave her alone and avoid a lot of worry on her part." He also thought that the situation was "funny" and that it was best not to tell their parents to avoid worrying them.

Tillie arrived home around July 9. A few days later she took ill. Her father said that all he knew of the nature of her illness was what his wife told him -- that Tillie frequently had pains in her side which her were relieved with hot water bottles. 

Tillie's health took a turn for the worse around July 21 or 22, and Dr. Moran began coming to the house to tend to her. Mr. Hartel had no idea who had sent for Moran, nor did he know who the woman was Moran sent to attend to Tillie. He would later learn that it had been Edward, at the behest of Julia.

Tillie died at about 6:40 on the morning of July 25 after having ailed for about 14 days. Dr. Moran completed a death certificate attributing her death to acute bronchitis and the distraught family lay her to rest at Saint Vincent Cemetery in La Salle.

About three weeks later Coroner Dr. L. D. Howe received an anonymous letter saying that Tillie had actually died from a criminal abortion. He got a court order to have her body exhumed. Dr. W.D. McNally and Dr. George B. Springer of Cook County Coroner's office did autopsy in morgue of La Salle undertaking establishment and confirmed that abortion had indeed been the cause of death.

Because at the time it was considered first degree murder if a woman died during the commission of an abortion, Moran, Mrs. Bowers, and a midwife named Vera Kubra were indicted on murder charges. I have been unable to determine the outcome of the charges against Kubra, but the nurse and doctor were held without bail while awaiting trial.

Mrs. Bowers and Moran signed confessions pleading guilty to abortion in order to get the murder charges dismissed. Each was sentenced to Joliet for 1 - 10 years. 

According to the Streator, Illinois Daily Times-Press, "Mrs. Bowers freely admitted having assisted Dr. Moran in the performance of at least 75 operations in her luxurious furnished apartment in LaSalle. She also expressed the belief that the physician was a dope addict, and professed having seen him take both tablets and hypodermic injections while in her presence." Mrs. Bowers also indicated that she assisted Moran with abortions perpetrated at Moran's office in the Penney building in LaSalle.

Bowers said that Tillie's aborted baby was burned in her stove.

Moran made a good impression in prison, got out on good behavior, and went right back to committing abortions. He was sent back to Joliet to complete his sentence and when released the second time took up a life immersed in the criminal underworld. He vanished and was presumed killed in a mob hit.

Watch "The Abortionist Who Became a Mob Doc" on YouTube.


July 25, 1911: An Unknown Chicago Perpetrator

According to the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database, Katherine Collins, 23 years old, died on July 25, 1911 at Chicago's Lake Side Hospital from an abortion committed by an unidentified perpetrator. There were so many physicians and midwives practicing abortion in Chicago at the time that it is likely she availed herself of one of them.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

July 24, 1931: A Lay Abortionist in North Carolina

Carolina Hotel
On July 16, 1931, B. Marby Hart, a wealthy businessman staying at the Carolina Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina, had a get-together of some sort in his room involving a number of young women. After his companions left in the early morning hours of the 17th, Hart evidently collapsed into his bed with a lit cigarette. When he awoke to find the bed on fire, he stumbled through the smoke into the bathroom rather than into the hallway. He fell into the bathtub, striking his head. After firefighters extinguished the flames, they found him dead of smoke inhalation.

One of the people evacuated from the hotel during the fire was 20-year-old Celia Olga Roberts of Creedmoor, North Carolina.

Brantwood Hospital
What happened to Celia over the next few days is unclear. She would most likely have been transported to a hospital near the hotel. By July 23, she was in Brantwood Hospital in Oxford under the care of Dr. W. N. Thomas. 

Celia's illness had nothing to do with the fire. She was dying of septicemia from a botched abortion. Dr. Thomas testified that Celia told him "a woman in Raleigh" had perpetrated the abortion. 

She died on July 24, leaving behind a widowed mother.

What Celia said on her deathbed and the investigation that followed are not revealed in any news coverage I've found of the case. The investigation must have been less than straightforward, because it too three months before the identified abortionist was arrested: Mrs. Sophie E. Layton, a homemaker who lived at 706 Sasser Street in Raleigh with her husband, John, a mechanic.

A Justice of the Peace, I. E. Harris, was arrested "on charges of advising and procuring the operation." He turned state's evidence and identified Layton as the abortionist. Harris's statements corroborated what Celia had said on her deathbed -- that Harris had arranged the abortions and taken her to the hotel, but that he was not the father of her baby. He confessed to paying Layton $14 for the fatal abortion after meeting with her to make the arrangements on July 11. He said that he had done so out of sympathy for Celia's plight.

Eugene Mangum, age 21, also of Granville County, identified Layton as the person who went into Celia's room the night the abortion reportedly had taken place. He also testified that he had visited Celia several times in that room while she was staying at the hotel. Mangum evidently also knew the purpose of the hotel stay because Harris, he said, told him that he'd found a woman in Raleigh to "do the work."

Layton's defense was that she had never seen Celia nor had she ever been at the Carolina Hotel. She brought forth witnesses who said that they were with her on the days the abortion had allegedly been arranged and perpetrated.

Layton was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison. The jurors deliberated for five hours before finding her guilty and recommending mercy in sentencing. Layton appealed but her conviction was upheld.

She didn't stay incarcerated long. She was paroled in December of 1934 after serving roughly two years of her sentence.

Watch "Celia's Fatal Journey" on YouTube.


July 24, 1929: A Doctor in Chicago

According to the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database, on July 16, 1929, Dr. Sven Windrow reportedly performed an abortion on 19-year-old Emmy Anderson at a Chicago location. 

Emmy died on July 24. Dr. Windrow was held by the coroner on July 25. Jacque Lagrave, age 67, was held as an accessory. Windrow was indicted February 6, 1929 for felony murder. 

Emmy, a native of Colic, Sweden, worked as a maid. Her abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

July 23, 1961: Lifesaving Abortion Kills Mother

Erika Charlotte Wullschleger was a Swedish immigrant who entered the United States through New York aboard the Ile de France on June 1, 1951. She married Arvid Douglas Peterson at Big Bear Lake in California on June 6, 1953 when she was 21 and he was 35. Their daughter, Yvonne, was born in April of 1955.  When was naturalized in 1956 at the age of 23 they lived at in San Diego. 

a tank respirator, more commonly known as an iron lung
Erika had entered Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California on July 11, 1961 at the age of 28. She was in the first trimester of pregnancy and was having problems breathing. She was diagnosed with pneumonia and placed in a tank respirator.

At this time, abortion was only legal in California if it was done to save the life of the mother. Erika's physicians made the decision to abort her child as soon as she was well enough to undergo the procedure.

On July 21st, Erika's condition was improved, and Arvid signed the consent form for the abortion, which was scheduled to take place two days later.

Erika went into cardiac arrest during the abortion, performed as scheduled on July 23, and was unable to be resuscitated. The abortion that was intended to save her life ended her life instead.

After autopsy, it was believed that Erika's original illness was caused by a hereditary disease that was exacerbated by the medications she was taking for her schizophrenia.

Erika's was not the only tragic death caused by doctors who recommended (or excused) abortion as a life-saving or health-preserving option for the mother:

  • Allegra Roseberry was pushed into an abortion in order to obtain experimental cancer treatment.
  • Anjelica Duarte sought an abortion on the advice of her physician, and ended up dying under the care of a quack.
  • Barbara Hoppert died after an abortion recommended due to a congenital heart problem.
  • Christin Gilbert died after an abortion George Tiller holds was justified on grounds of maternal health.
  • "Molly" Roe died in July of 1975 when her doctors made the dubious decision to perform a saline abortion to improve her chances of surviving a lupus crisis.
Doctors will sometimes push for an abortion due to maternal conditions that do not make pregnancy nearly as risky as the woman is led to believe. Dr. Thomas Murphy Goodwin wrote about several examples in "Medicalizing Abortion Decisions," First Things, March, 1996:

Case #1: A 21-year-old woman, 19 weeks pregnant, had been referred for "immediate abortion" after being diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. The patient was very distraught at the thought of aborting her baby so she was referred to Goodwin's practice for a second opinion. A second medical evaluation found that the patient's heart condition was mild and she was able to continue her pregnancy and have her baby.

Case #2: A 25-year-old woman, 12 weeks pregnant, was diagnosed with narrowing of a heart valve. Her physician recommended abortion, but Goodwin's practice suggested that the woman have a procedure done to correct the heart condition, since it could be performed safely during pregnancy. Her doctor expressed concerns about his liability if the patient did not abort. Goodwin did not learn of the final outcome of this woman's pregnancy.

Case #3: A 38-year-old woman, 11 weeks pregnant, was referred by her pastor. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was told that she should abort her baby so that she could undergo chemotherapy and actually had the abortion scheduled. Goodwin's practice reviewed the chemotherapy regimen with her and explained that though the long-term effects were unknown, it seemed to be well tolerated by the fetus when administered in pregnancy. The patient's doctor did not want to assume liability for the case so Goodwin's practice managed her chemotherapy. She delivered a healthy baby.

Case #4: A 20-year-old woman, 18 weeks pregnant, was diagnosed with kidney disease that seemed to be due to a new onset of lupus. Her doctor recommended that she undergo an abortion, both for her own health and to avoid any harm that might come to the fetus due to medications. The patient did not want to abort her baby. Goodwin's practice told her that although her chances of carrying her baby successfully to term were slim due to her condition, abortion would have an unpredictable effect on her own health. The patient was able to continue her pregnancy. Goodwin's practice repeatedly had to demonstrate to other physicians that certain diagnostic tests they wanted to do would not be likely to harm the baby and thus could safely be performed during pregnancy. The patient was thus able to pursue care for her own condition without having to abort her baby. Sadly, she went into premature labor at 27 weeks and her baby subsequently died from infection at one week of age.

Goodwin lamented that many women wound up undergoing unwanted abortions of wanted babies because they were misinformed by their doctors. Some of these doctors were merely -- albeit inexcusably -- ignorant, but others recommended abortion purely to avoid potential liability. This sort of bullying into unwanted abortions should be common ground for people all across the political spectrum.

Sources: California Certificate of Death, File # 61-081581; San Diego County Coroner's Report # 37646, genealogical research

Friday, July 22, 2022

July 22, 1974: Demerol Overdose Kills Mom During Abortion

On July 22, 1974, twenty-two-year-old Carole Yvonne Wingo's sister-in-law drove her to Mercy General Hospital for an abortion.

Despite the name, Mercy was not a general hospital. It was an abortion hospital. It was also a hospital in big trouble even before Carole's death.

The Michigan Public Department of Health had cited Mercy for 43 violations of nursing standards and 12 violations of physical plant standards in October of 1973, and had withheld their license. Among the violations were that the operating room lacked a cardiac monitor, a resuscitator, and a defibrillator. The facility was allowed to stay open until their license expired at the end of June. The owners then bought some time by appealing the health department order. Thus the place was still in operation when Carole decided on abortion.

Staff told Carole's sister-in-law to return in two hours. When she did, staff told her that Carole was still sleeping and that it was against hospital policy to awaken a patient. She called at one-hour intervals, and each time was told that Carole was still asleep. 

When she called at 4:30, staff told her that the doctor was talking to Carole in her room. When she called at 5:30 they told her to come to the hospital and speak to the doctor. When she arrived, they told her that Carole was dead.

Carole's mother filed suit against the facility and doctors David Northcross, Chuk Nwokedi, and Robert Wolf on behalf of the family, including Carole's four-year-old daughter. 

Michigan death certificate #9644

July 22, 1949: Teen Found Dead on the Floor

On July 22, 1949, at around 10:40 p.m., Alma Deery, age 16,  was found dead on the floor of her bedroom in her grandmother's home in Sheeder, Pennsylvania

Alma's father Earl W. Deery, age 46, was arrested along with his wife, Mary Gladys Deery, age 37, and Mary's sister, Myrtle Lahr, age 31. Earl and Mary Gladys were charge with attempted abortion causing death, aiding and abetting an abortion, and conspiracy to do an unlawful act. Myrtle was charge with aiding and abetting an abortion, conspiracy to do an unlawful act, and accessory before and after the fact. Each was held on $3,000 bail

Alma's boyfriend, James Souch, age 21, was arrested for aiding and abetting an attempt to commit an abortion but the charge was dropped and he signed out on a $500 bond as a material witness.

Alma's death certificate says "Causes unknown at this time pending further investigation."


Thursday, July 21, 2022

July 21, 1886: Abortifacients from a Druggist Husband

On July 21, 1886, Mrs. Fred Winkleman was found dead in her Cincinnati home from a botched abortion. The last survivor of the Miller family, she had a small fortune of $13,000 which she had given over to Fred at their marriage four months earlier. Winkleman was arrested and freed on $5,000 bail. Police believed that Fred, a 26-year-old druggist, had intended his wife's death in order to have free use of the money. The scant news coverage seems to indicate that Fred had perpetrated the abortion himself. A headline in the Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal, "Poisoned His Bride," is the only indication of the means of the abortion. I've also been unable to determine whether he was ever prosecuted.

July 21, 1907: Grieving Husband Implicates Midwife

On July 21, 1907, 21-year-old homemaker Madeline Paffrath died at German American Hospital in Chicago. Before her death she took an oath with her hand on the Bible, vowing never to divulge the names of the two women who had perpetrated an abortion on her. 

Madeline's husband, John W. Paffrath, did not have so charitable a view of the women who had brought about his wife's death. He named Agnes Schustzner (Harcone Scheutner, according to the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database) as one of the two perpetrators. Other witnesses, saying that Schustzner was drunk at the time of the abortion, named Alice Gustafson as the first to attempt an abortion on Madeline. 

The coroner's jury held the two above-named midwives, along with midwife Alice Rastone.

July 21, 1916: Fatal Abortion Perpetrated by Boyfriend

Elizabeth Radcliffe and Roy Hinterliter
Late in the evening of July 21, 1916, 21-year-old farmer Roy Hinterliter showed up at the sanitarium in Olney, Illinois with a young woman, Miss Elizabeth Radcliffe, slumped over onto his lap in his buggy. He asked for medical help for her, but Elizabeth, age 17, was immediately pronounced dead. 

It was eventually learned that the young Paoli girl had died at a rural trysting spot near a bridge, where investigators found signs of a struggle. Imprints of Elizabeth's hands and Hinterliter's feet were found in the sand. After Elizabeth had died, Hinterliter had loaded her body into the buggy and ridden into town with her.

An autopsy confirmed pregnancy, but showed no external signs of violence and all her reproductive organs appeared normal. However, upon cutting open her heart, air escaped. One news report stated that the doctor "found the heart so filled with air that it made a hissing like a plugged rubber ball when a pin was stuck into it." There was so much air in Elizabeth's brain that it floated when placed in water. There were no lung lesions to explain the air in Elizabeth's bloodstream.

Evidently Hinterliter had told Elizabeth that he had arranged for two doctors to perpetrate an abortion. 

Elizabeth's sister-in-law, Mrs. Bert Fancher, had suspected that the girl was pregnant. When pressed, Elizabeth confirmed the suspicion but told her, "I'll soon be out of this trouble." 

Two boys were spotted in town trying to hide a package. They were arrested, and told police that Hinterliter had asked them to get rid of the contents of the package -- a catheter with the plunger missing. They said that they had been with Hinterliter in the drug store when he'd bought it. He had told them that a doctor had told him how to use it. 

It eventually came out that Hinterliter had taken out the plunger and instead blown into the catheter -- with which he had accidentally punctured a vein. Thus he blew a quantity of air directly into Elizabeth's blood stream. She would have died almost instantly.

Hinterliter was arrested and immediately began refusing food. When this news reached his mother, Emma, she went into an emotional breakdown. The family was prosperous financially and hired a judge as his defense attorney. In spite of this, the young man remained in jail without bail while awaiting trial.

Elizabeth's brothers, John, Robert, and Edward, travelled to Olney to assist in the investigation. John and Robert had to return to the family farm near Rego, Indiana, to help their septuagenarian parents.

Hinterliter insisted that he was not responsible for Elizabeth's pregnancy and that the guilty man had framed him with the help of Elizabeth and one of her friends. He asserted that she had complained of faintness then collapsed into his arms while they were ridding in his buggy. The state asserted that Elizabeth had died under an oak tree on a rock road two miles south of town during the abortion attempt.

Hinterliter was sentenced to prison for Elizabeth's death.


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

July 20, 2012: Another Young Black Woman Dies at Planned Parenthood

Tonya Reaves, age 24, was engaged to be married and had a toddler son at home when she went to Planned Parenthood at 18 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago on Friday, July 21, 2012.

The facility advertised abortions up to 18 weeks. The procedure was initiated at 11:00 a.m. The method chosen for the abortion, D&E, is typically used for abortions between 14 and 18 weeks. It is possible that a miscalculation of the fetal age led to what happened next -- a hole poked in Tonya's uterus.

Although the injury would have happened close to 11:00 Tonya wasn't taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital until 4:30.

Regardless of the source of the perforation, Tonya was returned to surgery, where “an uncontrollable bleed was discovered.” She was pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m. The CDC's article noted, "Deaths from hemorrhage can be eliminated by preventing uterine trauma during abortion and by rapidly diagnosing and treating hemorrhage if it occurs." Planned Parenthood, for some reason, failed to prevent the uterine trauma and failed to rapidly diagnose and treat Tonya's hemorrhage.

Tonya was rushed to Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago and pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m. 

The Centers for Disease Control published back in 1983, "Deaths from hemorrhage associated with legal induced abortion should not occur." In every hemorrhage death they investigated, "Lack of adequate postoperative monitoring or treatment of hemorrhagic shock" was a factor. Tonya's death was no exception. Her abortion was performed at 11:00 a.m., but she remained at the facility for hours until finally an ambulance was called, taking her to the hospital at 4:30 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., doctors performed an ultrasound, followed by another D&E procedure, though it is unclear whether they were removing retained tissue or aborting a second fetus. Tonya had continued pain and bleeding, so a second ultrasound was performed, revealing a uterine perforation. It is unclear whether this was a perforation from the initial D&E at Planned Parenthood or from the follow-up at the hospital.

 The abortion giant has a lot of explaining to do.

I would also like to know why the four most recent abortion deaths I know of at Planned Parenthood are all of Black women.

Thanks to Operation Rescue for Tonya's autopsy report and other documentation.

July 20, 1970: Doctor-Recommended Abortion Kills Young Mom

Barbara Riley was 27 years old when, under guidance of doctors, she agreed to undergo a safe and legal abortion and tubal ligation. She had given birth to three living children, but her last pregnancy had ended in the delivery of a stillborn child.

She was in her first trimester of pregnancy when she underwent the abortion on July 11, 1970 at Harlem Hospital. The abortion had been recommended by hospital staff because Barbara had a history of sickle cell disease. Barbara's abortion would have been completely and unambiguously legal under New York's old, restrictive abortion law because it was intended to save Barbara's life.

After the abortion, though, instead of improving, Barbara's health deteriorated. Her blood started to break down. Nine days after the abortion, July 20, Barbara died of sickle cell crisis triggered by the abortion.

The other women I've identified as dying from sickle cell crisis triggered by an abortion are Margaret Davis and Betty Hines.

Watch "Fatal 'Life of the Mother' Abortion" on YouTube.

Source: "Abortion Death Victim Autopsy Slated Today," (White Plains, NY) Journal News, July 22, 1970

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

July 19, 1970: Risky Procedure Kills High-Risk Mother

Carmen Rodriguez* was 31 years old when she underwent a 14-week saline abortion at Lincoln Hospital in New York City. A saline abortion was performed by injecting a strong, sterile salt solution into the amniotic fluid. The fetus would then swallow and inhale the fluid, causing internal bleeding. After the fetus died, the woman would go into labor.

Carmen had a history of rheumatic heart disease and two previous live births. After the saline was injected, it got into Carmen's blood stream. This caused acute pulmonary edema -- fluid accumulation in the lungs -- and Carmen went into a coma from which she never recovered. She died on July 19, 1970, leaving behind a husband along with her children.

After Carmen's death, a militant Puerto Rican group, The Young Lords, swung into action. They pointed out that doctors at Lincoln Hospital knew that Carmen had heart problems and failed to take proper precautions -- a very valid claim. After all, saline abortions had long been known to be risky to the woman's heart. They demanded the resignation of Dr. Joseph J. Smith, the hospital chief of obstetrics and went so far as to physically remove him from the hospital and create such a disturbance that 27 doctors staged a walkout until the protests could be brought under control.

Merle Goldman, spokeswoman of an abortion advocacy organization, did not share The Young Lords' outrage. Ms. Goldman said she hoped that Carmen's death wouldn't deter other women from undergoing abortions. She touted abortion's reputed safety and stressed that her group was lobbying against proposed health department regulation of abortion practice.

New York City Chief Medical Examiner Milton Helpern, on the other hand, expressed concern that ill-equipped and poorly-staffed freestanding legal abortion facilities were posing a danger to women. New York City health officials noted that just within the city's hospitals there were three maternal deaths during the first 20 days of abortion-on-demand.

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 Carmen, 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:

1970: Pearl Schwier,  cardiac arrest during abortion; Barbara Riley, sickle-cell crisis triggered by abortion recommended by doctor due to her sickle cell disease; "Amanda" Roe, sent back to her home in Indiana with an untreated hole poked in her uterus; Maria Ortega, fetus shoved through her uterus into her pelvic cavity then left there; "Kimberly" Roe, cardiac arrest during abortion

1971: "Amy" Roe, massive pulmonary embolism; "Andrea" Roe, overwhelming infection; "Sandra" Roe, committed suicide due to post-abortion remorse; "Anita" Roe, bled to death in her home during process of outpatient saline abortion; Margaret Smith, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion; "Annie" Roe, cardiac arrest during anesthesia; "Audrey" Roe, cardiac arrest during abortion; "Vicki" Roe, post-abortion infection; "April" Roe, injected with saline for outpatient abortion, went into shock and died; "Barbara" Roe, cardiac arrest after saline injection for abortion; "Tammy" Roe, massive post-abortion infection; Carole Schaner, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion; "Beth" Roe, saline injection meant to kill fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream; "Roseann" Roe, vomiting with seizures causing pneumonia after saline abortion

1972: "Connie" Roe, cardiac arrest during abortion; "Julie" Roe, holes torn in her uterus and bowel; "Robin" Roe, lingering abortion complications; "Roxanne" Roe, given overdose of abortion sedatives; "Danielle" Roe, air in her bloodstream

The bulk of these deaths were published in a report by the New York Health Department covering the period from June of 1970 through June of 1972. 

Watch "Risky Procedure + High Risk Patient = Dead Woman" on YouTube.

* Carmen is "Alice" Roe on the Life Dynamics Blackmun Wall


July 19, 1971: Abortion Triggers Sickle-Cell Crisis

Betty Gail Hines, a Tennessee native, was 21 years old when she was checked into Doctors Hospital in Los Angeles, California for an abortion to be performed by Dr. A. Mitchell on July 19, 1971. Mitchell had been her physician for three or four years. Betty was eight weeks pregnant.

There didn't seem to be anything wrong during the procedure. Betty was transferred to the recovery room, when she suddenly went into cardio-respiratory arrest.

Mitchell theorized that perhaps Betty had died because of a bad vial of Innovar, because the next patient who was injected from that vial also went into cardiac arrest but was successfully resuscitated.

Betty's autopsy, however, found no trace of Innovar in her system. A toxicology check was also done on the vial of medication, and found nothing wrong with the Innovar.

Betty's death was attributed to massive intravascular sickling due to underlying sickle cell disorder.

Other women who died of sickle cell crisis triggered by abortion include Margaret Davis and Sheryl Roe.

Sources: Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Report # 71-7752

July 19, 1925: A Lay Abortionist?

Very little is on record about the death of 17-year-old Gertrude Wynants of Ossining, New York.

Gertrude died on July 19, 1925, of a criminal abortion.

Mrs. Margaret Shott Higgens of Central Avenue in White Plains, age 23, 25, or 27, was indicted for manslaughter in Gertrude's death.


Monday, July 18, 2022

July 18, 1979: Sent Home to Bleed to Death

Making the Fatal Decision

Geneva Colton, age 21,was trying to make a better life for herself and her two children in the summer of 1979. She worked two jobs -- as a full-time meter maid and school-crossing guard for the Cochran Police Department and a part-time job at a restaurant. 

When she discovered that she was pregnant, she spoke to her friend Joy Fisher. Joy said, "She was a unique individual in that she was a young black woman with two children who could have had a relatively carefree life on welfare. But she elected to fight it, and she was pulling herself up by herself with no help really from anybody much except the friends around her who loved her."

Joy noted that Geneva had almost completed her GED, a vital step towards her dream of becoming a police officer.

1979 ad for Northside Family Planning
Geneva spoke to a physician in Cochran in addition to her friends, and decided that she would seek out an abortion at Northside Family Planning Service, 5575 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road N.E. in Atlanta. Joy, wanting to be a supportive friend, offered to help pay for the abortion and drove Geneva to the facility, leaving Cochran at 6:10 a.m. on July 18, 1979.

"She was in extremely good mental condition as we were going up," Joy told the Atlanta Constitution. "She was confident she had made the right decision, and she was cheerful." She spoke a lot about her two young sons.

The Facility and the Aftermath

Geneva and Joy arrived 10 minutes late for the 9:00 appointment. Coverage of the story seems to indicate that this wasn't really important and that Geneva's abortion wasn't performed right away. Geneva and Joy left the clinic at around 4:00 that afternoon.

"She was obviously in pain coming back," Joy told the Atlanta Constitution. "I stopped once to buy a pillow to make her more comfortable. She appeared to be having abdominal cramping, which they had told her she would experience."

It was about 7:30 that evening when Joy dropped Geneva off at a friend's home to convalesce. About an hour later Joy got a call that Geneva had been taken to the emergency room at Bleckley County Hospital. She had no vital signs on admission. Doctors attempted to resuscitate her, to no avail. She was pronounced dead.

The autopsy found that Geneva's uterus had been perforated. She had bled to death.

To their credit, Northside did report Geneva's death to the Centers for Disease Control. Though epidemiologist Dr. George Rubin admitted that the five deaths in Georgia up to that point after the Roe decision did constitute a "rash" of abortion deaths, he quickly went into damage control mode, assuring the readers of the Atlanta Constitution that legal abortion is perfectly safe before they even completed a preventability study of Geneva's death -- if they even did one. 

Insurance Company Finds Fault

Northside was eventually sued by their malpractice insurer because they'd allowed one of their abortionists to continue to perform surgery even though his manual dexterity had deteriorated due to multiple sclerosis. The suit by the insurer also alleged failure to meet state health standards, failure to have enough nurses on duty, failure to have proper on-call procedures, and lack of a professional director of medical services.

Democrats Push for Abortion Safety

Rep. Billy McKinney
After Geneva's death, a George House subcommittee looked into conditions in Georgia abortion facilities, which were not regulated at the time. Representative Billy McKinney, an Atlanta Democrat, told the Atlanta Constitution, "I had a concern last week that maybe there ought to be a holding period to see if there are any complications. I wouldn't consider [such a regulation] too stringent. Maybe we have to look at how much time that the patient should be under care and not treat it like an abortion mill. I was concerned to learn that they keep them about an hour."  McKinney stressed that the committee was not trying to have any impact on the decision whether or not to proceed with an abortion, but merely to ensure that "the facility in which the abortion is performed is safe enough to protect the woman's life."

Another Democrat, Representative Betty Clark from DeKalb, agreed. "It makes a lot of sense to me. There should be some period of time for observation." 

Repeat Offenders?

The clinic where Geneva's fatal abortion was performed seems to be the same clinic where Catherine Pierce underwent her fatal abortion in 1989.

The Racial Question

As a Black woman, Geneva was nearly four times more likely to end up on the abortion table than a white woman. Once she entered that abortion clinic, her risk of death was higher than that of a white woman, for reasons that have never, to my knowledge, ever been explored. If you scroll down just through the abortion deaths noted on the Operation Rescue website, the women are disproportionately Black.

In the wake of the Dobbs decision allowing states to ban or regulate abortion, the media are repeating claims from the abortion lobby that this will disproportionately cost Black women their lives because of their higher overall maternal mortality rate without noting that this higher death risk applies to abortion as well, and the abortion lobby has never had a problem with that. In fact, the entire cluster of Atlanta abortion deaths (Geneva, Angela, and Delores) were of young Black women.

If we look at just the abortion deaths I, personally, know of at Planned Parenthood, for example, half of them -- the most recent ones, in fact -- are Black women.

Downplay by the Media and Abortion-Rights Activists

Geneva's death was one of a cluster of deaths in the Atlanta area. Teenagers Angela Scott and Delores Smith had been fatally injured within an hour of each other on June 2, 1979Interestingly enough, news coverage of this cluster of deaths tended to mention the low abortion mortality rates claimed by the Centers for Disease Control. Imagine if after a drunk driver plowed into another care and killed three people, news coverage reassured readers and viewers that driving is very safe and there are "only" 1.34 deaths per 100 million miles driven. We'd be a bit taken aback that they were minimizing the dangers of drunk driving. Funny how the same minimizing is considered normal when it's the response to abortion deaths.

As for the feminists, Feminist Women's Health Center issued a statement:

The first issue is that a legal abortion is safe. Out of about 150,000 abortions performed since the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortions, this is the first death to occur in Atlanta related to the abortion procedure itself.

I would think that the first issue would be the dead woman. But that's not how the abortion lobby thinks. They shrug off Geneva's death, dismiss Angela's death as not "related to the abortion procedure itself," and don't even glance at the comatose form of Delores Smith. They merely fall back on "If it's legal, it's safe. Don't worry your pretty little head."

Watch "Abortion in Atlanta, 1979" on YouTube.