Sunday, August 14, 2022

August 14, 1984: Grist for the Abortion Mill

Inglewood Women's Hospital was one of the abortion hospitals that sprang up after California legalized abortion in 1967, allowing them to be done on demand as long as they were performed in hospitals. Even after 1973, when Roe vs. Wade overturned the California law requiring abortions to be performed in hospitals, women routinely spent the night either for observation or because they were undergoing multi-day saline abortions.

The Legalization Fairy did not sprinkle safety dust over Inglewood. In 1973, 17-year-old Kathy Denise Murphy was the first abortion patient die. The next was 22-year-old Lynette Wallace, who died in 1975. Elizabeth Tsuji followed in 1978. Then Cora Mae Lewis died in 1983.

Yvonne Tanner died next. The 22-year-old mother of one had an abortion performed by Stephen Pine and/or Morton Barke July 10, 1984 at Inglewood; Yvonne went into a coma immediately after the abortion, and died August 14, 1984. Her death certificate indicates coma, hypertension, and urinary tract infection. (death certificate, LA Superior Court Case No. C555261)

The last known death at Inglewood was Belinda Ann Byrd, a 37-year-old mother of three who died in 1987. 

One month after Belinda Byrd's death, Inglewood was closed for three days by the state. It immediately re-opened as West Coast Women's Medical Group, a clinic. As a clinic, the new entity was not required to have a state license. 

Of the young women who died at Inglewood Women's Hospital, Lynette Wallace, Cora Mae Lewis, Yvonne Tanner, and Belinda Byrd were Black, Elizabeth Tsuji of Asian descent, and Kathy Murphy most likely white. To say that this hospital was particularly deadly to young Black women would be an understatement.

Watch "Grist for the Abortion Mill" on YouTube.

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