Sunday, September 03, 2017

Put it in a gift bag

This undercover video of an abortion clinic owner lamenting the problem of disposing of all those dead fetuses is very educational.



For all the callousness of her "put it in a gift bag" comment, I would be totally behind making disposition of fetal remains the mother's problem. If she takes abortion drugs and expels the fetus at home, it's her problem. What do they do with the remains? Flush them? Bury them in the back yard? Bring them back to the clinic? Is there a disposal fee if they bring the fetus back to the clinic for disposal?

Here's an article regarding a study done in the UK regarding women's thoughts and experiences relating to what happens to the aborted baby's body: Q&A: Disposal of fetal tissue after abortion.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Abortion Providers: No Place to Share

Every year, the National Abortion Federation -- sort of an abortion provider's guild, if you will -- gathers for an annual meeting in which they share with one another the trials and triumphs of their business. A recently released video looks at a topic they've brought up before: Nobody understands what it's like to be the person actually doing the abortion. Those who actually do the abortions feel marginalized and shut out even by their own political allies.

"Our stories don't really have a place in a lot of pro choice discourse and rhetoric, right?," laments Dr. Lisa Harris, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of Michigan, during a panel discussion.

She delves into the details of what her audience clearly appreciates. "The heads that get stuck that we can't get out. The hemorrhages that we manage. You know, those are all parts of our experiences. But there's no real good place for us to share those."

Indeed. Most of us, when we go home to our families and friends, can complain about the difficult day we've had at work. A cashier can share the story of a rude customer. A truck driver can lament about the idiot in a Camaro who cut him off. An attorney can grouse about the troublesome ruling a judge made.

Even people with jobs that tend to be yucky can find time to vent with family and friends. A trash collector might not discuss the maggots over dinner, but he could bring it up with friends on a fishing trip. A surgeon wouldn't bring up a huge tumor at a cocktail party, but she could bring it up over yard work, perhaps.

But under what circumstances could one discuss fishing around inside a woman's body with forceps, trying desperately to pull out a human head?


Dr. Uta Landy, founder of the Consortium of Abortion Providers, relates another experience common to them all, judging from the chuckle it elicits: "An eyeball just fell down into my lap, that that is gross!"

Nobody's going to want to hear at all. Not even people who are adamantly pro choice. Perhaps especially not people who are adamantly pro choice. Loose eyeballs and stuck heads aren't the sort of things one wants to be thinking about when asserting abortion as a mere exercise in bodily rights.

Imagine if you will, a pro choice rally regarding late-term abortion laws. What's being discussed? Women's circumstances. A teenager who put off admitting that she was pregnant. A mom learning that her unborn child has a serious illness or disabililty. A family facing financial hardship.

Imagine that Dr. Ann Schutt-Aine, Director of Abortion Services for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, puts her two cents in. It's tricky to avoid breaking the law against doing "partial birth abortions," defined in the law as pulling the living fetus out feet first past the umbilicus (umbilical cord), and then killing the partially-birn fetus.

She wants to explain how she manages to avoid breaing the law when a live fetus starts to come out whole. "If I'm doing a procedure, and I'm seeing that .... it's about to come to umbilicis, then I might ask for a second set of forceps, hold the body at the cervix, and pull off a leg, or two, so it's not PBA."

Her fellow activists aren't exactly going to gather around her and express their sympathy for how hard it is to stop in the middle of delivering a live baby in order to yank off a limb or two.

Talking about the real flesh-and-blood fetus being dismembered, and the real flesh-and-blood mother hemorrhaging on the abortion table, tends to turn people off of the whole idea of abortion.

Tends to.

Talcott Camp, Deputy Director of the ACLU Reproductive Health Freedom Project evidenly found the NAF event eye-opening but not off-putting.

"I'm like -- Oh my God! I get it! When the skull is broken, that's really sharp! I get it! I understand why people are talking about getting that skull out, that calvarium."

And at some level, Dr. Lisa Harris hopes that there are lots of folks out there like Ms. Camp, who can hear the gory details and still retain an enthusiasm for the abortion-rights cause.

"Given that we actually see the fetus the same way," Dr. Harris says, "and given that we might actually both agree that there's violence in here, ask me why I come to work every day. Let's just give them all the violence, it's a person, it's killing. Let's just give them all that."

She speaks with the confidence that comes from believing that the violence is justified. No doubt her fellows at the NAF meeting agree with her that the violence of abortion is justified. If they weren't able to convince themselves of that, very few of them would be able to stomach doing a second abortion after looking at the mangled human remains produced by the first.

I'd love to see the discourse move in that direction. The entire prolife movement would love to see the discourse move in that direction. Let's by all means look squarly at the violencd that is abortion and ask if it's justified. But there are two groups of people who will never get onto that bandwagon: Those who need to maintain public support for abortion-on-demand, and those who need to keep their businesses afloat by convincing as many women as possible that abortion doesn't involve the destruction of a human being.



NOTE: YouTube keeps yanking the video, so please let me know if I need to go grab another link.






Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fatal Abortions in Different Eras

Scanty Info on Safe-and-Legal Death

Little is known about Sharon Margrave, but on May 21, 1970, she died following a safe and legal abortion in Los Angeles County, California. She was 25 years old, a native of Oregon.


Third Known Death of a Gertrude Pitkanen Patient
A B&W portrait of a middle-aged, plump white woman with round eyeglasses and short, curly, dark hair.
Gertrude Pitkanen
On May 21, 1939, 37-year-old widow Hilja Johnson of Butte, Montana, died at Butte's Murray Hospital from septic complications of an incomplete abortion. Since her death certificate says, "Infection from gas producing bacteria," she most likely died from a Clostridium perfringens infection, most commonly known as gas gangrene.
A surgical nurse, Gertrude Pitkanen, admitted at the coroner's inquest that Hilja had come to her office, and that she had later visited Hilka at her home and advised her to go to a hospital. Pitkanen was charged with murder in Hilja's death.

She fled, but was located about a year later, living near Columbia Gardens. She was brought to court in a wheelchair, pleaded innocent, and was jailed in lieu of $5,000 bond. The charges were dropped in 1940, for reasons not reported.< Pitkanen had earlier been charged with the abortion deaths of Violet Morse (August, 1929) and Margie Fraser (October, 1936). The fact that Pitkanen had married a former Butte police detective might explain the lack of prosecution in spite of the multiple deaths.


Mystery Abortion in Pittsburgh

According to her husband, Baptist, 26-year-old Pittsburgh homemaker Mary Jane Douds had been in ill health for four years. When he'd come home from work on the morning of Monday, May 18, 1900, he found her sick in bed. He wanted to call a doctor, but “she would not have it.” Baptist figured that his wife must be menstruating, since she always had difficult periods.

When he came home on Saturday, he found Mary Jane in even worse condition. He sent for Dr. Staub, who treated her four or five times before recommending that she go to the hospital on Sunday. Mary Jane refused, asking for her old doctor, Dr. Heurits of Turtle Creek, who came to the house at about noon.

Heurits examined Mary Jane, and said “there was no danger for her to keep quiet and she would be all right in a few days.” He prescribed medication for Mary Jane, but she couldn't keep it down.

Baptist sent for another doctor, J.J. Green, who arrived at about 8:30 on the evening of May 20, then sent for his assistant, who stayed to provide care to Mary Jane under Green's supervision until about 3 a.m. She got weaker and finally lost consciousness a few minutes before her death at around 9:00 a.m. On May 21.

Green diagnosed her cause of death as septic peritonitis from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Claim of Medical Necessity and Other Pre-Legalization Deaths

A Claim of Necessity

Dr. Claude C. Long ran a rather fishy medical practice in San Francisco. He, his wife Isabel, and a relative named Ann Fisher, were charged with the May 20, 1937 murder of 26-year-old Genevieve Arganbright. Genevieve was, according to her husband, Perry, about 2 1/2 months pregnant at the time of her death. She had been in good health, athletic, and in the habit of taking long hikes, dancing, swimming, and playing tennis.

On the evening of Genevieve told her husband she going for her abortion, which she had scheduled by phone the previous day. She brought with her $50 that she had borrowed to pay for the abortion.  That was the last time Mr. Arganbright saw his wife. Nobody at Dr. Long's practice called to tell him that his wife had died on the operating table.
Dr. Long did, however, have Mrs. Fisher make a phone call to a Dr. Goldsand, who verified that Genevieve was dead and refused Long's request that he sign a death certificate.  The next call made from Long's office was to an undertaker's office. When two employees arrived to collect Genevieve's body at about 2:30 the morning of the 21st, Dr. Long wasn't present. Mrs. Long and Mrs. Fisher said that Dr. Goldsand had been the attending physician and that he would sign the death certificate in the morning.
The men took Genevieve's body to the mortuary, where the embalming was done in the morning. But when no relatives called to finalize arrangements, and nobody produced a death certificate, the undertaker notified the coroner.

While things were getting squirrely at the mortuary, Dr. and Mrs. Long were making tracks to a hotel.

While all this was going on, nobody had even tried to contact Genevieve's husband. It wasn't until later that day, when the police arrived, that Mr. Arganbright learned that his wife was dead.
Dr. and Mrs. Long were arrested at the Cecil Hotel on May 22.

The prosecution argued that the abortion had not been medically indicated by Genevieve's heart condition, and that even if it had been, Long's lack of due diligence had caused her death anyway. If the abortion had been elective, and thus illegal, Long was guilty of murder in Genevieve's death. If the abortion had really been to try to prevent Genevieve's death from pregnancy stress on her heart, but had been negligently performed, Long was guilty of manslaughter. And if the abortion had been medically indicated and properly performed -- if Genevieve had died from her pre-existing heart condition -- then Long was not guilty of any crime.

Long did not deny that he treated Genevieve on May 20. He said that she had not come specifically for an abortion, but was certain that she was pregnant, and that she was constantly tired, with chest pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath, all indications of heart problems. Long said that he then informed Genevieve that her heart was in very bad shape and that he recommended an immediate therapeutic abortion to prevent her death.

Expert testimony agreed that Genevieve did indeed have mitral stenosis, but there was no agreement on whether or not it warranted an abortion. The surgeon who performed the autopsy, and a pathologist from the coroner's office, both testified that Genevieve's heart was not at all enlarged. Her mitral stenosis seemed stable, and their expert testimony was that Genevieve would have likely tolerated pregnancy and delivery quite well.
Dr. Carr, the pathologist, testified that a patient sick enough to require an abortion would also have been too sick to simply perform one on the spot; a conscientious physician would have sought a consultation with a cardiologist, and would have hospitalized the patient for some time before the abortion in order to ensure that she was strong enough to survive the surgery. He also noted that the agony of having one's cervix ripped off would be enough in itself to cause shock in a patient with a weak heart.

All of these factors were indicative of lack of due diligence on Long's part in performing the abortion, regardless of his reasons for performing it. At the very least, if he really was performing the abortion due to concerns about Genevieve's heart problems, he was guilty of manslaughter for performing an outpatient surgery and ripping his patient's internal organs so badly.

Long was granted his request for a new trial, and his conviction overturned, on the grounds that the judge had improperly instructed the jury, placing the onus on the defense to prove the abortion had been medically indicated, rather than on the prosecution to prove that it had not been.


One of Three Dead Patients of Dr. Justin Mitchell
A middle-aged white man with dark hair and a high forehead, wearing a light colored suit and dark tie
Dr. Justin Mitchell
In May of 1934, 22-year-old Mary Schwartz asked Marie Hansen, a coworker at the Illinois Meat Company in Chicago, to help her arrange an abortion. Marie took Mary to Dr. Justin L. Mitchell's office south of Chicago's meatpacking district. Marie had undergone an abortion at Mitchell's hands three years earlier, and, telling him that her friend “wants to get fixed up,” she negotiated a discount from the usual price of $50 to $30. Marie co-signed on a $25 loan, and lent Mary $5 “in dimes” from her own money.

The next morning, the two women again went to Mitchell's office. Marie waited outside during the abortion, then took Mary home with her to recover. That evening, Mary took ill, so Marie called Mitchell and told him that Mary “was bad sick.” Mitchell told Marie to give Mary castor oil, and place warm towels on her abdomen to help with the pain. This did not alleviate Mary's pain, so on Marie took her back to Mitchell's office on Thursday evening and Friday morning.

At 4:00 Saturday morning, Marie was very concerned and called Mary's lover, Joe Henja, who was a foreman at the meat plant. Joe complied with Marie's request that he come right away and get Mary. He called his own doctor then rushed Mary to a hospital, where Mary died on May 20, 1934.

 Mittchell was later implicated in the abortion deaths of Alice Haggin and Mary Nowalowski in 1936.


Two Deaths in One Month

On May 20, 1870, Matilda Henningsen died at No. 182 East Seventh Street in Brooklyn. Matilda's sister, Henrietta Henningsen, testified that she recognized clothes and other items belonging to her sister. Matilda had been sick about two months earlier, and had been treated by Dr. Herzog and Dr. Kennerer. Shortly after having taken ill, Matilda told Henrietta that she'd gotten an invitation to go to Williamsburgh, and that was the last Henrietta had seen of her sister.
Dr. Joseph B. Chshman testified as to the post-mortem examination he had performed. He said he found all the evidence of uterine infection and resulting peritonitis, resulting from an abortion.
Mr. A. A. Wolff, from Denmark, purported to be a physician, but is not identified as such in the source document. Six fetuses, along with various instruments, were found in his office. The jury determined that Wolff had performed the fatal abortion.

Wolff was also implicated in the abortion death of Henrietta Ullman less than a month after Matilda's death.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Habitual Killers

Nearly all of today's deaths are connected with facilities or practitioners with multiple abortion deaths to their discredit.

One of Three Deaths at Detroit NAF Member

Bald, middle-aged physician in his lab coat, with light from venitian blinds shinging on his face
Dr. Alberto Hodari
Chivon Williams, just days short of her 17th birthday, died on May 19, 1995 after an abortion performed by National Abortion Federation member Alberto Hodari in Detroit. According to a lawsuit, a suction abortion was performed on Chivon at about 11:30 a.m. She was discharged from the facility at about 1:10 p.m. even though she reported stomach and chest pains. A short time after returning home, she was found unresponsive, and pronounced dead at 5:17 p.m. Fieger Times, a newsletter put out by the law firm representing Tamiia's family, states that Chivon had been in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Hodari was also implicated in the abortion deaths of 15-year-old Tamiia Russell and of Regina Johnson.


One of Sixteen Deaths at National Abortion Federation Member


The letters "FPA" inside a box superimposed upon a large cursive letter F
Susan Levy was 30 years old when she underwent a safe and legal abortion at the Family Planning Associates in Mission Hills, California on April 9, 1992. FPA is a member of the National Abortion Federation.  Susan, originally from Florida, was homeless and was living in a car owned by a friend. On May 19, 1992, she was found dead in that car. The cause of death was determined to be from an infection that developed from fetal tissue that was not removed during her abortion.
Other abortion patients to have died at FPA facilities include:

An "Unknown" Abortion in California

The autopsy report for 22-year-old Joan Camp attributed her death to "complications apparently as a result of a recent termination of pregnancy."  Joan had been found unconscious in the morning on May 18, 1985. She was rushed to Memorial Hospital in San Leandro, California, where doctors tried to save her life.  Their efforts were futile. Joan died the next morning, May 19, 1985, from clots in her lungs.
 
The CDC classified Joan's death as "unknown" abortion, because they could not find out where the abortion was done. The CDC does not count an abortion death as a legal abortion death unless they can verify that the person who performed the abortion was a licensed physician, or another legally qualified medical professional in states that allow non-physician abortions.


 One of Six Deaths Blamed on Dr. Lou E. Davis

Low-quality newspaper picture of a white woman, in profile, with short curly light-colored hair and a dark hat coming to a sharp peak at the back
Dr. Lou E. Davis
Irene Kirschner, age 24, died on May 19, 1932 after an abortion believed to have been perpetrated by Dr. Lou E. Davis. When police went to arrest Davis for Irene's death, they found another abortion-injured woman at her house but no sign of Davis.
 
Davis was also implicated in five other Chicago abortion deaths:  Anna Adler in 1913, Mary Whitney in 1924, Anna Borndal and Esther V. Wahlstrom in 1928, and Gertrude Gaesswitz in 1934.
 
 
One of Four Deaths Linked to Dr. Charles Cobel 
 
On May 19, 1858, 28-year-old Amelia Weber died at the home of 58-year-old Dr. Charles Cobel in Brooklyn and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery. The undertaker testified that Cobel had engaged him to perform the funeral, and that he had collected Amelia's body from Cobel's garret. Cobel attributed Amelia's death to paralysis.

"[F]rom the privacy of the burial and other mysterious circumstances surrounding the case, the body, six days after interment, was ordered by the Coroner to be exhumed for medical examination."

The witnesses at the inquest included Amelia's husband, who kept a hotel in Schobaria County, New York. Testimony indicated that Amelia had left her home and three children in Warrenville a few days before her death, supposedly to visit friends in Brooklyn and to do some shopping. Instead, Amelia went directly to Cobel's house, arriving on May 8.

The inquest findings included:

"Dr. Cobel received an application from Mrs. Weber, who had left home for that purpose with her husband's consent, on the 8th instant, to produce an abortion upon her person, he did so, and violent inflammation supervened, which baffled his skill. He then called Dr. Kertachmann, pretending that the lungs were the seat of disease, but it was to no purpose."

The autopsy revealed noting at all wrong with Amelia other than an abdominal infection caused by the abortion and bringing about her death.

Cobel was indicted for manslaughter in Amelia's death on November 30, 1861. On January 23, 1862 he was tried and found not guilty of manslaughter in the second degree, but guilty of the misdemeanor charge of using instruments on a pregnant woman with intent to cause abortion.

Cobel successfully appealed the misdemeanor conviction on the grounds that he couldn't simultaneously be guilty of performing the abortion yet not guilty of causing Amelia's death by performing the abortion. Cobel, a known abortionist, was also implicated in the deaths of Antoinette Fennor, Catharine DeBreuxal, and Emma Wolfer.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Was Anna Albers Really Responsible?

On May 16, 1916, 25-year-old Lucile Bersworth died in Chicago's German-American hospital after telling authorities that Dr. Anna Albers had perpetrated an abortion on her.

She also mentioned a man named Fred Krause, so he might have been her baby's father.

Though Albers was held by the coroner and indicted by a Grand Jury, the case never went to trial. She was rather a respectable physician, at least as of 1912, so she seems an unlikely abortionist.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Safe and Legal in New York

"Roxanne" was 17 years old when she decided to take advantage of New York's new abortion law, and traveled there from Michigan to have a first-trimester abortion in a doctor's office. The doctor gave her sedatives and local anesthesia to begin the abortion on May 13, 1972. But before the abortion could be started, Roxanne started to have convulsions and went into cardiac arrest.  Roxanne was taken to an area hospital, but she was declared dead on arrival.  An investigation into the case revealed that the doctor had exceeded the recommended dose of the local anesthesetic.

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 "Roxanne," 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:
  • Pearl Schwier, July, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • Carmen Rodriguez, July, 1970, salt solution intended to kill the fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • Barbara Riley, July, 1970, sickle-cell crisis triggered by abortion recommended by doctor due to her sickle cell disease
  • "Amanda" Roe, September, 1970, sent back to her home in Indiana with an untreated hole poked in her uterus
  • Maria Ortega, October, 1970, fetus shoved through her uterus into her pelvic cavity then left there
  • "Kimberly" Roe, December, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Amy" Roe, January, 1971, massive pulmonary embolism
  • "Andrea" Roe, January, 1971, overwhelming infection
  • "Sandra" Roe, April, 1971, committed suicide due to post-abortion remorse
  • "Anita" Roe, May, 1971, bled to death in her home during process of outpatient saline abortion
  • Margaret Smith, June 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Annie" Roe, June, 1971, cardiac arrest during anesthesia
  • "Audrey" Roe, July, 1971, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Vicki" Roe, August, 1971, post-abortion infection
  • "April" Roe, August, 1971, injected with saline for outpatient abortion, went into shock and died
  • "Barbara" Roe, September, 1971, cardiac arrest after saline injection for abortion
  • "Tammy" Roe, October, 1971, massive post-abortion infection
  • Carole Schaner, October, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Beth" Roe, December, 1971, saline injection meant to kill fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • "Roseann" Roe, February, 1971, vomiting with seizures causing pneumonia after saline abortion
  • "Connie" Roe, March, 1972, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Julie" Roe, April, 1972, holes torn in her uterus and bowel
  • "Robin" Roe, May, 1972, lingering abortion complications
  • "Danielle" Roe, May, 1972, air in her bloodstream

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Century and More of Fatal Abortions

1994: Safe, Legal Abortion Kills Teen in Atlanta

Fifteen-year-old Sara Neibel went to Midtown Hospital in Atlanta for a safe and legal abortion at 17 weeks. She was given a clean bill of health and sent home.

The next day, she reported a severe headache, sore neck, neck stiffness, and trouble seeing. Her parents began the drive to take her to the hospital. On the way there, Sara began screaming and behaving strangely. When they got to the hospital, she refused to get out of the car. She was disoriented and stuporous upon admission.

Sara went into respiratory arrest, and was admitted to the ICU. She was pronounced dead May 11, 1994. The cause of death was determined to be Group B Streptococci Meningitis caused by infected amniotic fluid in her bloodstream. The autopsy performed on Sara found dead tissue and a fetal bone fragment in her infected uterus.


1992: Antiquated Abortion Method Proves Fatal in Brooklyn

"Melissa" is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a safe and legal abortion. Melissa was 27 years old and five months pregnant when she checked into Lutheran Medical Center of Brooklyn on May 1, 1992. For some reason, her doctor chose the dangerous and antiquated saline abortion procedure. She died of complications on May 11.


1981: Sloppy Practices Kill Student in Long Island

A lawsuit filed by the father of Barbara Dillon, a 22-year-old college student, alleged that Barbara underwent a safe and legal abortion performed by Dr. Mark Silver at Long Island Gynecological Group April 18, 1981. Barbara's father said that the pathology report identified placental tissue, but no fetal parts. This meant that something had gone wrong, and that Barbara needed medical care, but nobody contacted her to tell her this.

Barbara suffered pain and bleeding from May 5. She went to the emergency room and was treated with antibiotics and advised to see her family doctor. She was in severe pain later that day, so her roommates called the emergency room again. They were told to give the antibiotics more time.

Barbara's pain did not abate. On May 10, her roommates got a neighbor to take Barbara to the university health center. Barbara was unconscious upon arrival, with no respiration, blood pressure, or pulse, and was rushed to the emergency room. There were delays finding a doctor from the clinic who would aid the emergency room physician in addressing Barbara's symptoms. She went into irreversible shock and died on May 11. It turned out that Barbara had an ectopic pregnancy which the clinic had failed to detect. Barbara's father also sued Silver over his daughter's death.

Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually more likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners.


1884: Unidentified Perp Kills Young Chicago Woman

On May 11, 1884, a young woman who had given her name as Alice Brown died at the Chicago residence of Mrs. R. A. Hough. She was identified as 20-year-old Lottie Hudson of Austin, Illinois.

She had gone to Chicago to live with a man identified as C. O. Owen, "a printer who already had a wife and family." He was boarding with Lottie's mother, Mrs. Hudson, who had visited Lottie twice at Mrs. Hough's home during her illness.

It was determined that Lottie had died from blood poisoning due to an abortion, believed to be perpetrated by a doctor whose name neither Lottie nor Mrs. Hough either could or would divulge.

On the day of the funeral, Mrs. Hough went to Mrs. Hudson's house and "was decidedly uneasy during the forenoon." At 11 a.m., Hough asked Mrs. Hudson to leave with her because the police would soon come to arrest them since they'd not called in a doctor to attend to Lottie as she was dying.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Legal or Illegal? A Chicago Abortion in 1901

At 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, 1901, Jessie Matteson, a 22-year-old homemaker, died from an illegal abortion in Chicago. She had been sick for about a week. Jessie's husband, Guy, was arrested, as was Dr. J.B. Butts, who was held by Coroner's Inquest on May 16. Jessie and Guy had only been married since the previous Thanksgiving. Guy was described in the Belvedere Daily Republican as "connected with a Chicago publishing house."

Jessie was a 1899 graduate of South Belvidere High School. She was a teacher in the Witbeck and Hicks schools prior to her marriage.

Butts held that while he did perform an abortion on Jessie, he had only done so because she had health problems that would have made childbirth dangerous. During their trial, the judge dismissed the charges against both Jessie's husband and Dr. Butts on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence for a conviction.

Monday, May 08, 2017

A Bag to Breathe Into and Other Abortion Deaths

A Paper Bag Is Not Medical Care

On May 2, 2009, 18-year-old Antonesha Ross went to Women's Aid Clinic of Lincolnwood, Illinois. She had an ultrasound performed that showed that she was 13 weeks pregnant. She made a down payment for an abortion to be performed on May 8, at which time she would pay the additional $390 that was due.

She returned as scheduled. Dr. Josephine Kamper performed the abortion, while CRNA Lawrence Hill administered anesthesia.

During the abortion, Antonesha's blood oxygen saturation fell to between 80% and 90%, and she began to cough up blood through her mouth and nose. An employee gave her a bag to breathe into.

Needless to say, this wasn't any help, and Antonesha went into cardio-respiratory arrest. She was not provided with proper resuscitation and she died, leaving behind 1 1/2-year-old Antonio and 6-month-old Antwane.

Her parents, Maria and Anthony Ross, sued on behalf of the children, and accepted the settlement of annuities offered by the defendants.

Antonesha was the third patient I know of to have died after abortions at Women's Aid Clinic. Kathleen Gilbert and Dorothy Musorewa had both been sent home to bleed to death.


Screaming

Claudia Caventou, age 33, underwent a safe, legal first-trimester abortion at Mercy Medical Clinic in Los Angeles on May 8, 1986, performed by H. N. Fahmy.

Claudia's boyfriend was in the waiting room during the procedure. Staff told him that everything was okay, and suggested that he leave and get something to eat. Since he'd heard Claudia screaming earlier, he decided to stay.

Several hours later, he heard the doctor come out and tell his staff to call 911. Claudia was taken to a hospital where she underwent emergency surgery for what doctors thought was a perforated uterus. It turned out that Claudia's pregnancy had been in her fallopian tube, which had ruptured during the abortion. Efforts to save Claudia were futile, and she died later that day.

Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually more likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners.


One of Four

Twenty-four-year-old Maura Morales was eight weeks pregnant when she went to Woman's Care Center in Miami for a safe and legal abortion on May 8, 1981. When she was in the recovery room, her heart went into spontaneous ventricular fibrillation -- irregular heartbeats not capable of effectively pumping blood. Maura was taken to a hospital, but died that day. Maura was the fourth woman to die at the same facility. The others were Shirley Payne, Myrta Baptiste, and Ruth Montero.


A Mystery Perp

On May 8, 1928, 27-year-old Margaret Barnts died from a criminal abortion performed by Pauline Zickerman. The defendant was indicted for felony murder on May 15, 1928. Her profession is not mentioned.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Chicago Doctors in the Early 20th Century

The most common profession of abortionists in the illegal era were physicians. Chicago was a particularly genial place for these practitioners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to police corruption. Even multiple dead patients were not enough to take a physician-abortionist permanently off the streets. We will see this in the cases we remember today.

Dr. Louise Achtenberg

On May 6, 1924, 24-year-old Madelyn Anderson died at Chicago's Washington Park Hospital from a criminal abortion perpetrated that day. On May 13, Dr. Louise Achtenberg was arrested for Madelyn's death. Achtenberg was indicted for felony murder on May 15.

Achtenberg already had a bad record as a criminal abortionist. In 1907, Dora Swan had died in a Chicago hospital after an abortion by Louise Achtenberg. "Louisa Achtenberg," identified as a midwife, had been implicated in the 1909 abortion death of Florence Wright. An abortionist identified only as Achtenberg was implicated in the 1921 abortion death of Violet McCormick.

It would seem that the same woman, Louise Achtenberg, was responsible for all four deaths. She was identified as a midwife in 1909 -- a term commonly used to describe obstetricians, particularly if they were female.

Dr. Warner

The year was 1920. Frances Collins was a 34-year-old homemaker mother of a 16-year-old and a 6-year-old when she discovered that she was pregnant. She informed her husband, Jerome, then asked a friend where to go to procure an abortion. The friend recommended Dr. Warner, telling her, “Go over and see him. He might be able to fix you up.” Frances went to Warner's office on West Polk Street in Chicago some time in early April, where he did something with an instrument to have “her womb opened up.”

After returning home, Frances summoned Jerome from his job as a printer and told him she was “unwell.” She must have indicated that the illness must have something to do with her pregnancy, because Jerome later testified that he asked her, “Natural?” She told him no, which Jerome knew meant that she had undergone an abortion, as she had, by her own admission, “done many times” before.

Frances rested afterward, and seemed to have recovered, but by the end of the month she was bleeding vaginally, “pretty hard,” as Jerome put it. He called her mother to come and care for his wife. Her condition continued to deteriorate, with Frances developing vomiting and chills.

Jerome testified that Frances never gave him any details about the abortion – but nevertheless was able to summon Warner as the doctor who had performed the abortion. Warner came to the Collins home two or three times to look after his patient, with no improvement in her condition. Finally, at the end of April, somebody summoned Joseph T. Woof, the family doctor, who hospitalized her. He testified that he knew that she'd sought abortions in the past, against his advice.

Frances died on May 6. During the autopsy, it was discovered that Frances actually had an ectopic pregnancy. Her "many" prior abortions made her high-risk for this dangerous condition, so in a way the previous abortions probably contributed to her death as much as the final one. Given the state of medicine at the time, it's unclear how likely France was to survive an ectopic pregnancy had she sought obstetric care rather than an abortion, but her efforts to have her already doomed baby killed certainly hastened her death.

Dr. Lucy Hagenow

A poor-quality picture of a middle-aged white woman wearing a sailor-style dark hat and blouse. She has small facial features and is wearing small wire-rimmed eyeglasses.
Dr. Lucy Hagenow
At 6:30 on the evening of May 2, 1907, 26-year-old Austrian immigrant Annie Horvatich asked her new husband, Michael, to accompany her to the home of Dr. Louise Hagenow. It was late by the time they arrived. Though she didn't bring a change of clothes or any type of overnight bag, she asked Mike to look after her children (She had three from a previous marriage.) and to come and see her on Saturday.

Mike, who told his story through a translator, said that he didn't know Hagenow and didn't know what his wife's purpose was in the visit -- a claim that isn't held up by the letter he says he got from her the next day assuring him that there would be no "serious happenings" during her stay.

Annie Sickens and Dies

Mike went to Hagenow's home on Saturday afternoon and found his wife sitting up in bed. She told him she was unwell and sent him home, saying she would not be returning home until Monday.

On Sunday, Mike got a phone call to go to Hagenow's place. He arrived at 10 p.m. to find his wife very sick. A Dr. Rasmussen was also present. Mike remained at Annie's side during the night, noting that by morning she appeared to be much worse. He went to the home of Mary Galavitch, who could speak English and thus serve as a translator. When Mike and Mary arrived, Hagenow met them and told them that Annie had died at 5 a.m.

The Business With the Undertaker

Hagenow gave Mike a business card for a neighborhood undertaker. Mike indicated that he'd prefer an undertaker that he knew. He sought out W.J. Freckleton, who went to Hagenow's home to pick up Annie's body at around 5 p.m. He said that Hagenow told him that he should return after dark to take Annie's body out the back way. He returned at about 9 p.m. with an assistant, and found it very difficult to get Annie's body down the narrow staircase. He said that Hagenow told him that her regular undertaker never reported any trouble getting bodies out down that staircase.

The Truth Comes Out

The funeral was held, Annie buried, and it seemed as if Mike and the children would be getting on with their lives as best they could. That changed on May 13. The Cook County coroner, attended by Annie's brother, John Sneller, exhumed Annie's body. A post-mortem examination revealed that although Annie's death had been attributed to pneumonia, her lungs had been quite healthy and normal -- as were most of her internal organs. It was in her pelvis that the true cause of death was found. Her uterus was lacerated, with the top of the uterus torn nearly off, causing fatal peritonitis. From the condition of her uterus, the doctors gauged that she had been about four months pregnant, but there was no sign of the fetus, which evidently had been successfully killed, removed, and disposed of.

Hagenow's Claims Ring Hollow

Hagenow admitted that Annie had come to her place on the 2nd and died on the 6th, but insisted that Annie had been bleeding vaginally upon her arrival. She insisted that Annie told her she had seen a doctor on the South Side who had "brought her around" (i.e. done an abortion). Hagenow's claim that she hadn't performed an abortion on Annie wasn't very credible, given her history. She advertised consistently in Chicago daily papers, ads reading, "Dr. Louise Hagenow; licensed physician; expert; twenty seven years; female diseases; a new scientific, painless method; no operation; good results...." " In short, she was an open and known abortionist.

Also entered into evidence in the trial was the dying declaration of Marie Hecht, who died from one of Hagenow's "scientific, painless" abortions in 1899, as testified to by the police officer who had taken the statement. Likewise entered into evidence was the testimony of a doctor who Hagenow had brought in to help try to save the life of a young woman Hagenow had disemboweled in the process of an abortion sometime ten or fifteen years prior to the trial over Annie's death -- which would mean this woman could have been Minnie Deering (1891), Sophia Kuhn or Emily Anderson (1892), Hannah Carlson (1896), or another as of yet unidentified woman. A police officer also testified about taking the dying declaration of Lola Madison. To top it off, during cross-examination, Hagenow admitted involvement in the abortion death of Hannah Carlson.

An Appeal Denied, a Sentence Pronounced

The appeals court noted, "had the evidence shown that Annie Horavitch was the only pregnant woman whom [Hagenow] had caused to miscarry or abort, it might not have been unreasonable to presume that she did so in good faith and for the purpose of saving the woman's life. .... [but for] 27 years [Hagenow] had been constantly engaged in producing miscarriages and causing abortions... [and] she kept a place for the treatment and care of women upon whom miscarriages and abortions had been caused and performed; ... she was surrounded at her house by men and women engaged in the business of causing and producing criminal miscarriages and abortions, and ... she had caused the death of several women upon whom she had caused miscarriages and produced abortions within a few years prior to her indictment for causing the death of Annie Horvatich ...."

Hagenow, nearly 60 years old at the time of her trial, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for Annie's death.

Hagenow, who had already been implicated of the abortion deaths of Louise Derchow, Annie Dorris, Abbia Richards, and Emma Dep in San Francisco, would be released from prison to be implicated in the abortion deaths of Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, Elizabeth Welter, and Mary Moorehead.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Doctors' Fatal Handiwork, 1990 and 1871

Bled to Death in Front of her Children, Ohio, 1990

B&W high school yearbook photo of a smiling white teenage girl with long hair parted in the middle
Sandra Milton
On April 27, 1990, 28-year-old divorcee Sandra Milton underwent an abortion, performed by Dr. Carl Armstrong at Toledo Medical Services in Ohio. (Armstrong is John Roe 67 in Lime 5.) Neither her ex husband nor her parents had known that she was pregnant.

Sandra's abortion was performed at 10 a.m., and she was discharged shortly thereafter for the 90-minute drive home to Sandusky. The babysitter stayed with Sandra and her three children, ages 10, 7, and 5, for three hours as the young mother slipped in and out of consciousness and suffered pain and abdominal swelling. Twice the alarmed babysitter called the clinic, but was told that the symptoms were normal. The third time the babysitter called the clinic, she got no response at all, and summoned an ambulance. Sandra was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital at 6:01 p.m..

The medical examiner found a one-inch uterine perforation. Her abdomen was full of blood. She had bled to death internally.


A Cut Throat and a Fatal Abortion, New Hampshire, 1871

Dr. Charles P. Wood admitted that Elvira Woodward had come to his house in Manchester, New Hampshire, on April 1 and remained there until her death on April 27, 1871. He said that she'd expelled a dead fetus on April 3, and that she suffered from puerperal fever. Elvira's condition deteriorated. She died on April 27, at about 2:30 PM, at Wood's house.

At some point as she lay dying, Elvira suffered a cut throat which led her to bleed massively. Witnesses said that the wound was a self-inflicted suicide attempt that Elvira had made even though she was clearly already dying.

A post-mortem examination left no doubt that Elvira had died from abortion complications. However, a question arose as to when, how, and by whom the abortion was perpetrated. Elvira's sister, who had visited her on her deathbed, insisted that she hadn't known about the abortion. A defense witness, Elvira's landlady, claimed that a Dr. McCooms performed an abortion on Elvira and provided her with an abortifacient.

Dr. Wood was convicted of performing the fatal abortion on Elvira. It is unclear how the prosecutor or the jury identified him, from among all the doctors who had attended Elvira, as the guilty party. Still, Elvira's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Doctors, a Midwife, and "Uncle Billy"

Oklahoma, 1937: A Midwife's Fatal Handiwork

A glamorous headshot of a beautiful young woman with short, dark hair looking over her shoulder into the camera with her large, wide-set eyes
Merl Williams
On April 24, 1937, Merl Williams of Watonga, Oklahoma, died of peritonitis. She was 21 years old, a worker in a poultry packing plant. Her death was attributed to a botched abortion.

A midwife, 57-year-old. Cordelia Moore, was charged with abortion murder. An investigation found evidence that Moore, formerly a registered nurse, had perpetrated hundreds of abortions in her home in Longdale, Oklahoma.

After her arrest, Moore "unworriedly set her glasses on the end of her nose and continued her quilting in the county jail." Her husband, John, actually got up in his cell and jigged when a jaunty tune came on the radio.

W. C. Mouse, a railroad engineer, testified that he had taken Merl to Moore's 3-room farm house on April 11, not knowing the reason for the visit. He said only that he had heard Merl ask Moore, "Will it be dangerous?" The state also gathered 14 additional witnesses in the case against Moore, including women swearing under oath that Moore had done abortions on them. The prosecutors were also investigating the possible abortion death of a married woman a few years previously.

Cordelia Moore was tried for the crime; her husband, John, was arrested but released. I have been unable to determine that outcome of any trial in Merl's death.


Oklahoma City, 1932: Two Docs' Deadly Spree

Poor qualilty profile shot of a middle-aged white man with eyeglasses.
Dr. J. W. Eisiminger
Virginia Lee Wyckoff, a University of Oklahoma student, age 21, died from complications of an abortion on April 24, 1932 Hers was one of a string of deaths in the city that year. Dr. J.W. Eisiminger, an osteopath, was tried and convicted of murder in Virginia's death. He admitted to having treated her in his office on April 3, but said that he didn't believe she was pregnant. Nevertheless, Virginia spent several days in a private home where Eisiminger kept recovering abortion patients under the care of Mrs. Luther Bryant Price. Dr. Richard Thacker, who had an abortion patient of his own die on April 24, 1932, also used Mrs. Price's home as a recovery center for his abortion patients.

Virginia was transferred from Mrs. Prices's home to Oklahoma City General Hospital, where she died of septicemia, first having told doctors there that Eisiminger had performed the fatal abortion.. A deathbed statement absolving Eisiminger was proven to be a forgery.

Eisiminger was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to murder in her abortion death. The sentence was later reduced to 15 years.
A white man of about 60 years of age, with a very high forehead, large nose, and grim facial expression
Dr. Richard Thacker
Thacker's trial for the April 15, 1932 abortion death of Ruth Hall brought out testimony concerning the death April 24 death of 25-year-old Lennis May Roach and of other patients, including Robbie Lou Thompson, and Nancy Lee.

Mrs. Roach had come to Thacker's office several times, he admitted. Thacker said that she had been in poor health and emaciated, and had a white discharge, indicative of infection, from her vagina. She also, Thacker said, had pains in her abdomen. Thacker said that he treated her with a tonic and with antiseptic tampons.

He adamantly denied that he had performed an abortion on her. However, other witnesses, including Mrs. Roach's husband, testified that Thacker had indeed performed an abortion on Mrs. Roach, causing her death. Thacker was only prosecuted for Ruth Hall's death and was sentenced to life in prison. This is probably why he wasn't prosecuted for any of the other deaths. He died in prison in 1937.


Chicago, 1920: An Unidentified Perpetrator

On April 24, 1920, Emma Shanahan died at Chicago's St. Anthony Hospital from an abortion perpetrated by a person who was not identified. Most abortionists in Chicago in that era were doctors or midwives, which makes it likely that Emma availed herself of one of these trained medical professionals.


 Hannibal, Illinois, 1893: Racist Coverage of an Abortion Death

An article on the death of 19-year-old Emma Hub underscores the racism of the time. It begins, "Uncle Billy Nickens, a well-known colored character of Hannibal [Illinois], was arrested there yesterday charged with causing the death of Emmy Hub by a criminal operation."

Emma was the daughter of Jacob Hub, a German shoemaker living just south of the Hannibal city limits. Jacob had expelled his daughter from the house due to "her wild habits", so she had moved in with a painter named Mathew Seoville.  Around April 15 of 1893, Emma took ill, and was tended by a Dr. Ebbits. Ebbits suspected an abortion and refused to treat Emma until she admitted to it. "She continued to grow worse until death relieved her suffering at 1 a.m. yesterday" -- that being April 24.

Emma had told Mathew Seoville and his wife that she had gone to Nickens' house, where he had used instruments on her to cause an abortion. She said that a girl from Illinois was also there for an abortion. Mathew had pressed Emma to write up a declaration.

The fatal abortion was reportedly Emma's second; the previous had been performed the previous October. She also had given birth to a child about two years earlier.  The article notes that Nickens was arrested, adding, "The negro has been brought up on similar charges before, but always managed to clear himself."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Chicago Doctors and Midwives, 1910-1923

Many physicians and midwives plied their trade as abortionists in early 20th century Chicago.

On April 22, 1923, 30-year-old Daisy Singerland died at Chicago's Robert Burns Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion performed earlier that day.  On June 1, 54-year-old Dr. James W. Lipscomb was indicted for felony murder in Daisy's death. I have been unable to determine the final outcome of the case.

On February 19, 1920, one of those midwives, 40-year-old Mary Simkus, evidently perpetrated an abortion on 28-year-old homemaker Sophia Krawczyk in the Krawczyk home.  After the abortion, Sophie took ill. Eventually she was taken to Cook County Hospital, where she died from sepsis on April 22.  Simka was indicted for Sophie's death, but for reasons I have been unable to determine the case never went to trial.

"Phyllis," identified in the source document as "Mrs. M.," was 46 years old when she had an abortion performed by a physician in Chicago on or around April 4, 1910.  The abortion was followed by pain, fever, and hemorrhage. On April 18, about two weeks after the abortion, she was admitted to Cook County Hospital with a pulse of 102, respirations of 24, and fever of 102. She was in a stupor upon admission, with her tongue dry and furred. Her abdomen was distended and tender. Her liver was enlarged. The lower lobe of her right lung had sounds indicating the presence of fluid.  That evening, Phyllis became delirious and had to be restrained to her bed. Staff were unable to record a pulse for her, but her temperature had risen to 102.4 and her respirations were a racing 50 per minute.  Phyllis died on April 22 from peritonitis and septic pneumonia.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Pro-Choice Icon's Forgotton Victim

1970s photo of a 30-something white man in a classroom, wearing a white turtlenedk under a dark, double-breasted jacket and holding what looks like some sort of plastic medical instruments
Self-styled "Doctor" Harvey Karman
Nearly two decades before the "Mothers Day Massacre" pulled off with Kermit "House of Horrors" Gosnell in Philadelphia, 30-year-old Harvey Karman was working at the Clinical School of the Psychology Department of the University of California at Los Angeles, seeking a doctorate in psychology. He was not licensed to practice medicine.

The Abortion

Around early February of 1955, 26-year-old Joyce Johnson told her husband, Ben, that she was pregnant. They discussed an abortion. Somehow, the couple found out about Harvey's passion for abortion, and arranged for him to practice his hobby on Joyce. His fee was $150.

On April 6, 1955, Karman met Joyce in a motel room and, using a speculum, inserted a nutcracker into Joyce in order to perform an abortion. On April 8, Joyce's husband took her to St. Joseph's Hospital. She was examined by a Dr. Moss who diagnosed her as suffering from "an infected criminal abortion." The dead fetus was still in her uterus. She expelled it while at St. Joseph's.

On April 13, Joyce was transferred to General Hospital for specialized treatment. She died there on April 21. An autopsy was performed, and Joyce's death blamed on bronchial pneumonia brought on by the septic abortion.

Karman was arrested.

The Trial

During the trial, a photograph of the autopsy was available, but the district attorney didn't display it. He instead told the jury, "you can look at it up in the jury room if you are so inclined--it's an autopsy picture--I'm not going to show it to you because some people don't like to see things like that--she was 26 years old April 6th. She was a girl in good health. She was pregnant. She wanted to do something about having an abortion for this pregnancy."

The district attorney also told the jury, "Frankly, I don't know how you feel about this matter of abortion--it is a matter of difference of opinion. Some people say well, people can't afford it, it's all right to have an abortion. Some people say if the woman's health won't stand it it's all right to have an abortion. Our law says it's all right to have an abortion if her health is of such nature she can't have a baby. Some people think abortions are all right. Some people are absolutely against all of them. If you want to know the truth, I'm pretty much against all abortions myself, I think it's a terrible thing for a girl to be talked into this."

Harvey was convicted.

The Appeal

The appeals court found it "improper for the district attorney to express his personal belief as to all abortion," but noted that since the jury was admonished to ignore the comment Karman had no grounds for appeal in the fact that the DA made the comment.

Karman's defense called a Dr. Gilbert as an expert. He reviewed the autopsy report and medical records, an opined that Joyce did not die from a septic abortion. He was paid $150 for his testimony, ironically the same amount Joyce paid for the abortion.

The defense also appealed on the grounds that the the DA unduly prejudiced the jury by bringing out in cross-examining Karman that he'd been convicted previously of a felony. The appeals court ruled that this was proper impeachment of a witness.

Karman's defense further argued that Joyce's husband and friend were improperly granted immunity after they originally refused to testify.

Karman's defense also claimed that the prosecution failed to prove that the abortion wasn't necessary to save Joyce's life. But the appeals court found that the testimony of Joyce's husband and friend that Joyce had been in good health settled that matter. Of course, pure logic would prove that matter, since Joyce was seeking an illegal abortion from an amateur in a motel room. Had her life been in danger, an ob/gyn would have been able to admit her to a hospital and perform the abortion there.

An appeals court found that the district attorney's statement that what defendant did was "absolute butchery" was fair argument on the facts, and not an unduly prejudicious statement. It came out in the case that Joyce's husband was dating another woman and therefore had an interest in Joyce securing an abortion.

The Pardon

Though Karman had finished serving his sentence before Jerry Brown was sworn in as California Governor in 1975, Brown was enamored enough of Karman's work to issue him a pardon.

Joyce's abortion was unusual in that it was performed by an amateur, rather than by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions. However, it also stands out because Harvey Karman was treated like a real doctor by the abortion establishment. He was invited to train abortionists, and was celebrated by abortion advocates for having invented a suction cannula designed specifically for early abortions. Despite being an amateur, and despite the death of Johce Johnson and the fiasco in Philadelphia, on his death Karman was eulogized .as a champion of safe abortions.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Doctors and a Pharmacy Clerk

One of Three Deaths at Chicago Abortion Mill

A middle-aged white man wearing large eyeglasses
Dr. Dusan Zivkovic
Brenda Benton's survivors sued Biogenetics after her death, claiming that Dusan Zivkovic and/or V. Perez had performed a safe and legal abortion on her on March 13, 1987. She was placed under general anesthesia for the abortion. After she was discharged, Brenda developed fever, chills, and back pain.

The suit says that 35-year-old Brenda returned to Biogenetics to report these symptoms on March 27, and that Zivkovic examined Brenda and performed a D&C before transferring her to Martha Washington Hospital. There, Brenda's survivors say, Zivkovic called in other doctors for a consult. They then transferred Brenda to Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's hospital on April 6. She died there on April 20.

Her death was due to infection and "overwhelming septicemia." Brenda's family said that Zivkovic failed to failed to determine that Brenda had had an adverse reaction to drugs he'd given her, and failed to detect and respond to her medical emergency. An expert opinion on the case attributes Brenda's death to inappropriate follow-up, and septicemia leading to fatal complications. Brenda's death certificate attributed death to hepatic necrosis due to toxicity reaction to abortion anesthesia.

"Susanna Chisolm" (1975) and Synthia Dennard (1989) also died after abortions at Biogenetics.


Dillinger's Doc Does Fatal Abortion

Poor-quality newspaper photograph of a mostly bald, middle-aged white man, in profile
Dr. Clinton E. May
Dr. Clinton E. May had crossed paths with the law when he harbored John Dillinger. In an apparent attempt to keep a low profile, he relocated to California after his release and didn't bother to get licensed to practice medicine, but rather set up housekeeping, and an abortion practice, with a woman in San Francisco using the aliases Cy Dalton and Miss Ralston,

On April 12, 1939, a woman called St. Joseph's Hospital and anonymously told a doctor there that a woman had suffered uterine damage in an abortion. The doctor said to send the woman to the hospital immediately.

The woman, 30-year-old Doris Alexander, arrived at the hospital in a taxi. She was in critical condition. There, she told hospital staff, her husband, and the police about the abortion. Based on the information Doris had provided, police raided Clinton May's apartment the following day, finding a makeshift operating table, abundant surgical instruments typically used in abortions, and parts of a human fetus of about three or four months of gestation that was not Doris' fetus.

May was arrested and taken to the hospital, where Doris tentatively identified him. She never mentioned a woman being involved in the abortion. Doris died on April 20, and police arrested a woman named Frances Zoffel, whom they said was the mysterious "Miss Ralston."

May and Zoffel were charged with murder and conspiracy. May was convicted of second-degree murder, Zoffel of conspiracy. Zoffel was able to get a new trial on the grounds that she was not "Miss Ralston" and that there was no evidence linking her to May's practice, although she had been implicated in abortion rings in the past and would be implicated again in the future.


A Doctor When the Pills Didn't Work

In Seattle, Washington in February of 1933, Mary Agnes McNeil, a 22-year-old unmarried grocery store clerk, discovered that she was pregnant. Mary informed her boyfriend of the pregnancy, and he got her some pills supposed to cause an abortion, but they didn't work. She tried another round of different pills in March.

On April 8, Mary went to a nursing home operated by a nurse to ask about an abortion. The nurse informed the woman and her lover that Dr. E. T. Martin or another doctor would be able to perform an abortion.

On April 11, Mary's boyfriend went to Dr. Martin's office and consulted with him. On Dr. Martin's instructions, Mary's boyfriend brought her back the next morning, a Wednesday, for an examination. Mary was in Dr. Martin's office for about half an hour. Dr. Martin then told Mary's boyfriend that the total fee, including a stay at the nursing home until Saturday night, would be $75. He then instructed the boyfriend to take Mary to the nursing home, which he did that afternoon.

On Friday the 14th, Dr. Martin performed a curettage on Mary to remove the fetus. The nurse claimed that she had no idea what Dr. Martin was planning to do.

After the D&C, Mary became alarmingly ill. Dr. Martin said that he himself was not in proper physical condition to care for the patient, so he summoned a Dr. Templeton. Dr. Templeton evidently cared for Mary at the nursing home until April 19, a Wednesday, when he advised staff to transfer Mary to Virginia Mason hospital. She died the following morning.

Dr. Martin, with some corroboration from the nurse, said that Mary already had a rapid pulse and fever when she first consulted with him. He also said that she was bleeding vaginally already. Dr. Martin said that Mary had told him she'd missed three periods, taken abortifacients, had fallen, and had a chronic bowel condition.

Dr. Martin testified that he'd recommended hospitalization, but that Mary wanted to avoid the possible publicity surrounding a hospitalization. It was then that he'd decided to send her to the nursing home instead. He also testified that she'd been bleeding from the 12th until the 14th, when he'd performed a curretage. He said that this curretage was necessary to treat her fever and bleeding.

Dr. Martin was convicted of manslaughter in Mary's death, but the nurse was acquitted.


A Pharmacy Clerk's Fatal Work

On April 20, 1912, 19-year-old actress and newlywed Ruth Fox died at her Chicago residence from septic peritonitis caused by an abortion perpetrated, possibly there and on that day, by Frank J. Schwartz, a pharmacy clerk. He was arrested and held by the Coroner on May 2, and indicted by a Grand Jury on November 25, but the case never went to trial. Dr. Samuel T. Baldridge was arrested but exonerated after testimony at the coroner's inquest. It is unclear why, with all the physicians and midwives running thinly-veiled ads for abortion practices, Ruth instead went to somebody who had only marginal training in a medical field.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Anniversary: Hachamovitch's Deadly Clinics

Lou Ann Herron
Those insist that legalization of abortion is necessary to keep our daughters safe might want to speak to Lou Ann Herron's father, Mike Gibb, who silently wept in the courtroom as he listened to witnesses describe how his 33-year-old daughter bled to death on April 17, 1998  after a late abortion at the now defunct A-Z Women's Center.

Seven Ultrasounds

Medical assistant Sylvia Aragon wept on the witness stand as she said that Lou Ann's pregnancy was "too far along" for an abortion. The ultrasound Aragon did on April 9 showed a 26-week fetus, but Dr. John Biskind kept ordering more and more ultrasound scans to try to get one that would document the pregnancy as being early enough for the abortion to be legal. A total of seven ultrasounds were done before an estimate of 23 weeks was obtained the day prior to the abortion. 

Lou Ann's Pleas

The abortion was performed at 1:30 p.m. Biskind, his lawyer said, noted a small amount of blood on the sheets when he checked on Lou Ann after the abortion, but that he was not concerned because bleeding is normal after an abortion. Two medical assistants, however, testified that Lou Ann was very frightened about her condition as she lay in recovery. She became combative and anxious. She reported that her legs were going numb. She cried out in pain as she lay in a puddle of blood, begging to know what was wrong with her. These, emergency physician John Gallagher noted, are all clear signs of severe blood loss. 

Gallagher, who trains paramedics for the Phoenix Fire Department, said that the records he reviewed clearly indicated that Lou Ann's condition was life threatening and that Biskind should have recognized the severity of her injuries. Her medical records clearly indicated serious trouble at 1:25 p.m., 16 minutes after Lou Ann had been taken to the recovery room. Gallagher said that had he been treating Lou Ann, he would have ordered more IV fluids and blood immediately, and summoned an ambulance to take her to a hospital where she could be treated in a properly equipped operating room.

Instead of recognizing the danger his patient was in, Gallagher noted, Biskind instead tried to calm Lou Ann and reassure her that she would be "just fine." He tinkered with her IV (complaining that there was no qualified nurse on staff to do this), and left the building at around 3:45 p.m..

Clinic administrator Carole Stuart-Schadoff had a staffer page Biskind 25 minutes later when Lou Ann's condition worsened. Biskind did not return to the clinic, but told staff to call 911. Prosecutors estimate that by the time paramedics were summoned, Lou Ann had lost 2 to 3 liters of blood.

What the Medics Found

When the rescue crew arrived, Phoenix fire captain Biran Tobin testified, Lou Ann appeared to be dead. Nobody at the clinic seemed aware of how grave her condition was, he said, and nobody seemed to be helping her in any way. The only thing that anybody had done for her was put on an oxygen mask. 

Evidently somebody had removed Lou Ann's IV, because there wasn't one in place to allow life-saving medications to be administered. Nobody had put in an endotracheal tube and started "bagging" her to ensure that her body was getting enough oxygen to sustain life. "I very quickly felt that there wasn't a lot of competent medical care going on at the time," Tobin said.

Staff told rescuers that Lou Ann's vital signs were pulse 100, and blood pressure 90/50. "It was very difficult for me to believe that they could get the vital signs of a woman who, even as we walked in the door, looked really dead," Tobin testified.

Lou Ann was pronounced dead a the hospital.

Biskind Held Accountable

John Biskind
Biskind surrendered his license to practice medicine in Arizona after Lou Ann's death in order to stop an ongoing medical board investigation of the circumstances and his handling of the case. However, this was not enough to stop the police investigation. Both Biskind and the clinic's administrator, Carol Stuard-Schadoff, were charged with homicide.  A jury of seven women and one man immediately agreed that the defendants were guilty. It was simply a matter of deciding which charges they were guilty of: the manslaughter charge, or the lesser charge of negligent homicide. It took them 4 1/2 hours to conclude that Biskind was guilty of manslaughter, Stuart-Schadoff of negligent homicide.

Only after the trial was over did members of the jury learn of Biskind's history of misconduct, including the previous death of abortion patient Lisa Bardsley. The jury foreman said that this information "makes me feel better about my decision."

One guilty party, however, was not held accountable: The clinic's owner, Moshe Hachamovitch. Hachamovitch himself performed fatal abortions on Tanya WilliamsonLuz Rodriguez, and Christina GoessweinJammie Garcia died after a safe and legal abortion at Hachamovitch's Texas facility. That's a total of six dead patients either at his hands or under his supervision.