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Editorial: Keep Abortion "Safe" and Legal?

[The majority of this article was written in 1992 (one section has been added in 2007). It is posted to show how much information a normal American could find regarding the dangers & deceptions of abortion 15 years ago.]

by Sue Turner, M.Sci.

On a beautiful morning in April, a woman entered a Birmingham abortion center to eliminate her "problem". She never dreamed there would be complications from this "safe and legal" procedure; but before 8:00 a.m., she was rushed via ambulance to a local hospital where it was determined her uterus had been perforated and there was damage to a kidney. This woman lost her baby and her kidney.

More and more frequently, this basic scenario is repeated as ambulance drivers, doctors, nurses, and other ER personnel become more and more frustrated by the substandard way in which women are treated in many abortion centers. Many abortionists fly or drive across state lines to abortion centers for one afternoon each week or month and perform abortions for hours, one about every fifteen minutes. Just imagine how much of a "Physician-Patient Relationship" can occur in fifteen minutes…

A local abortionist is nearing his 80th birthday; another is a reported cocaine user…

An abortionist in Washington State died of AIDS a few years ago. According to news reports, he knew he had AIDS in 1988; but he continued to perform abortions on women through January 1991. The Feminist Women's Health Center where he worked performed about 2000 abortions each year; these thousands of patients were NOT notified, according to health officials (Tri-City Herald, 3/7/92).

 

Often, it has been reported that medical tools are not sterilized between uses. How many of these women were exposed to his HIV virus, or to the diseases of other patients?

News reports from a Maryland abortion center noted that one woman died and another was left in a coma. A spokeswoman for the National Abortion Federation stated: "We had hoped it wouldn't get national publicity because of the political nature of all this" [Nat Hentoff, The Voice, 6/1/91]. We're sorry! All this time, we've been under the impression that pro-abortion advocates CARE about women and are CONCERNED  about their health. We didn't realize that they just don't want us to know that women are being maimed and dying from legal abortions because of the "political nature of all this"…

Many of us have read or seen the hair-raising accounts of Abu Hayat's botched abortions in New York, such as the little Rodriguez girl who was born soon after an abortion, missing an arm. Some of us may have missed the accounts of the 21-year-old (August, heart attack) and a 13-year-old (January, allowed to choke on her own vomit leading to a heart attack) who died at Eastern Women's Center in New York City in 1991.

Columnist Roy Kerrison of the New York Post wrote in November: "A woman may have the right to choose in New York, but thereafter, she's on her own. Nobody gives a damn about her fate – especially the radical feminists who make abortion their siren call." [New York Post, 11/22/91] By the way, Hayat appealed the Health Department decision to revoke his license in February and so will retain his license for 75 more days, or until the appeal is heard [Washington Post, 3/13/92]. How many more women will be physically shredded during this time?

Suzanne Logan, 26, of California, must now be fed through a tube in her stomach and is confined to a wheelchair, after her "safe and legal" abortion in 1989; she spent two months in a coma following the abortion [Life Insight, 1/92].

According to Legal Action for Women, a teen had an abortion in 1989 without her parents knowledge and during the abortion, part of her intestine was suctioned out. Also, in 1989, a married woman had repeated infections and bleeding after her abortion until a hysterectomy was required [Legal Action for Women, 9/5/89].

In Texas, 17-year-old Latachia Veal died in 1991 at the hands of abortionist Dr. Robert Crist, who possesses a history of malpractice suits [Family Voice, 2/92]. Another Texas abortion business faced a suit following the death of Denise Montoya after her late-term abortion in 1988 [District Court of Harris County, Petition No.89-16747]. At yet another Texas abortion business, Glenda Davis died three days after her "safe and legal" abortion in 1989 [District Court of Harris County, Petition No. 89-028771].

Anjelica Duarte, a 21-year-old, had an abortion in Las Vegas in 1991; when she arrived at the hospital, she had lost about 90% of her blood according to the hospital spokesman. Anjelica died [Las Vegas Review-Journal/Sun, 11/2/91]. Sandra Milton, 28, died in Ohio as a result of a 1990 abortion which lacerated her uterus and resulted in massive hemorrhaging [Life Insight, 1/92]. Debra Gray, 34, of Maryland, died following her 1989 abortion [The Washington Post, 8/13/90, from HLI Reports, 1/92]. Maria Cardamonne died following her botched abortion at Magee-Women's Hospital in Pennsylvania in 1989 [Pittsburgh Press, 9/26/91].

Erica Richardson, 16, died in 1989 hours after her abortion in Maryland, because of perforations to her uterus resulting in hemorrhaging. She aborted her baby without her parents' knowledge [Prince George's Journal, 5/23/90, The Frederick Post, 5/24/90]. Gladyss Estanislao, 28, died in 1989, 17 days after a suction abortion in Maryland. She had a tubal pregnancy which the abortionist failed to diagnose [Malpractice suit, HCA No. 91-240, Health Claims Arbitration Office of Maryland].

Angela Hall died in Birmingham in June, 1991, of cardiac arrest due to septic and cardiogenic shock following her abortion. Also in Birmingha, Ann D. died following her abortion. Other deaths have been reported and are still being investigated.

It was noted in Life Insight that "The next time abortion advocates build a memorial to women injured by what they term 'back alley' abortions, they would do well to also commemorate victims of legal abortions."

How many maternal deaths result from abortion each year in the U.S.? No one knows because abortion is usually not noted as a factor on the death certificate. In Alabama, death certificates only record whether or not a pregnancy existed within the last 42 days. The family may not have known that the woman was pregnant. Thus, unless one happens to stumble across this information – if it's even recorded – it goes unnoticed.

Presently in Birmingham, for example, some of the immediate emergency situations are spotted by concerned individuals who follow up on the case. However, since ambulance drivers are told by the abortion center personnel to turn off their sirens a block away and go to the back doors, many such emergencies are probably unseen.

Also, a large percentage of serious injuries and deaths do not occur at the abortion site, but occur hours – even days or weeks – later, as the women suffer from slower hemorrhaging or infection. Infections often result because all the pieces of the baby were not removed during the abortion.

Pro-abortion advocates often announce that abortion is safer than childbirth. What they are doing is comparing presently reported (and those actually recorded)  abortion-related maternal deaths to the total number of maternal deaths. However, total maternal death statistics include deaths from abortions! Total maternal death statistics also include deaths from accidents, homicides, tubal pregnancies, and other causes, up to 12 months after birth! When the facts are known, it is easy to see that this comparison is neither valid nor honest.

There are organizations which monitor reported abortion death/injury cases throughout the nation. According to Charles Wysong of American Rights Coalition in TN, "Based on our statistics, the number of women who die from abortion each year is at least between 200 to 300. The Center for Disease Control's number of 6 to 8 is a statistical disgrace."

Several groups have formed to help women who have been injured by abortion. The American Rights Coalition can be reached at 1.800.634.2224. Legal Action for Women, LAW, can be reached at 1.800.U.CAN.SUE.

PART II

The failure of national medical associations to recognize immediate and long-term complications of abortion has allowed a "conspiracy of silence" to develop in America, especially concerning the outcome of subsequent "wanted" pregnancies in women who have undergone induced abortions.

A study, Effect of Induced Abortion on Subsequent Reproductive Function, carried out by the New York State Department of Health for six years, was published in 1980. The study group consisted of 20,296 women who aborted their first pregnancy and whose second pregnancy outcome was measured for analysis. A like number of controls was matched for "age, race, number of previous pregnancies, and socioeconomic status."

Almost 92% of all the abortions were performed in a hospital; over 65% of the abortions were performed at less that 12 weeks gestation and almost 90% of all the abortions were performed by 18 weeks gestation.

When compared to women who delivered their first pregnancy, increases among women aborting their first pregnancy were recorded for higher rates of fetal deaths, prematurity, low birth wieght, and complications of labor and pregnancy.

The percentage of complications (eclampsia, preeclampsia, abnormal uterine bleeding) during the second pregnancy (2.62%) was more than double that of the control group (1.21%). The rates of complications during labor were up to 3 times greater than in the control group. Low birth weight increased by 46% in whites and by 58% in non-whites who had aborted their first pregnancy. Infant deaths (up to 28 days after birth) increased by 40% in whites and 28% in non-whites over the control group.

A similar study of 2,409 women by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development completed in 1981, found similar adverse effects when contrasting second pregnancies of women who aborted their first pregnancy, with women who delivered their first child. "An induced abortion of a first pregnancy prior to 14 weeks puts the subsequent pregnancy at 1.57 times the risk for a bad outcome (fetal loss, stillbirth, low birthweight, short gestation) compared to a woman whose second pregnancy was preceded by a live birth."

Abortion Denial

It is also interesting to note that many women deny ever having had an abortion. Two federal studies in 1982 and 1983 found that only 40.0% of 6,040 women aged 14-24 and 47.0% of 7,969 women aged 15-44 actually acknowledged to the interviewers that they had undergone abortions. In other words, 60% of women in the Labor Department poll lied about having an abortion, and 53% of women lied in the Public Health Service poll. Why are they lying?

This massive denial behavior among females having "safe and legal" abortions cannot be a sign of personal satisfaction. Many women still give false names/addresses to abortion providers even though the procedure has been legal nationwide since 1973. [from "A Pro-Life Medical Response to ACOG's January 1990 Publication: Public Health Policy Implications of Abortion", William Colliton, M.D.; J.F. Hillabrand, M.D.; N.P. Murphy, M.D.; B.N. Nathanson, M.D.; H. Ratner, M.D.; J.M. Stanton, M.D; A.L.L. Stafford, VA, 1991]

Sometimes abortion supporters argue that abortion must be safe because there are so few malpractice suits against abortion providers. However, if women hesitate to admit they even had an abortion, it is not likely they will want the publicity that a lawsuit could bring.

Where Have All the Abortionists Gone? Lawsuits and License Revocations, Perhaps? 

Women are beginning to come forward and more lawsuits are pending against abortion providers nationwide. In fact, abortion centers have been closed and continue to close because the numbers of legitimate lawsuits are ruining the "goldmine" which the abortion providers so greedily sought. A few examples of such lawsuits follow.

In Briston, TN, an abortion business was sued for $10 million because it supplsedly violated the parental notification law [The Abortion Injury Report, 11/91].

Parents of the 13-year-old who died at Eastern in New York City in 1991 were awarded $1.2 million in damages [The Abortion Injury Report, 11/91].

Two malpractice lawsuits at West Side Clinic in Texas accused the abortionist of perforating the woman's uterus and not responding quickly to a medical emergency so that she almost died. The second lawsuit claimed a botched abortion resulted in extreme pain, discomfort, fear, depression, guilt, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and other physical manifestations.

Theodore Amshoff, Jr., is a trial attorney who has handled abortion malpractice litigation for many women, including a 19-year-old
who suffered severe heart damage as the result of an infection she sustained in a New York abortion business; a 20-year-old who required a total hysterectomy and colostomy following a botched abortion which ripped her uterus and tore her bowel; two women who sustained perforations of the uterus; several women who were given incomplete abortions; and on behalf of an 18-year-old who died following an abortion in a major Eastern university teaching hospital [Life Insight, 1/92].

On January 29, 1988, Dr. Mickes aborted Nancy Sabot's 12-week-old preborn baby in Fargo, North Dakota. Two days later, Nancy was devastated as her baby's face, arms, and rib cage fell on the kitchen floor. She brought a lawsuit against the abortion center and Mickes.

In another case in Fargo, Tammy Green stated that she lay bleeding in the abortion center for 4-6 hours before they transferred her to a hospital because the center personnel did not want pro-life people outside to see the ambulance. By the way, these two cases occurred at the only abortion business in Fargo, which was once featured on a weekly television magazine as a wonderful medical center being attacked by vicious "anti-choicers".

In Mobile, a family won a $10 million lawsuit against an abortionist following the death of their daughter. However, they have not received any of this money yet because the insurance company refuses to pay.

It is interesting to note that most abortionists do not carry real malpractice insurance. During the 1990s and early in the new millenium, many abortion centers purchased bogus malpractice insurance from the fraudulent Atlanta company Professional Liability Insurance Co. (PLIC), also called UniMed, in order to pass state requirements.

William Ledee III, a 64 year-old Atlanta resident, is the fraudulent malpractice insurer who has been widely used among abortion facilities nationwide. Ledee's company advertised medical malpractice coverage but had no loss revenues or other assets to pay out claims. Ledee pled guilty in August 2006 of wire fraud, mail fraud, interstate transport of money taken by fraud, money laundering and using false financial statements.

Jane Bovard, president of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers and owner of Red River abortion center in Fargo, told state officials that PLIC/Unimed has issued malpractice insurance policies with abortion businesses across the nation. "The latest revelation that abortion centers gain other's confidence by using a bogus malpractice insurance company says more about the abortionists than the fly-by-night scam artists," Wendy Wright [Senior Policy Director for Concerned Women of America] said. "The bogus company takes money, but abortionists take babies' lives, wound women's bodies and souls, and charge for the service."

Vicky Conroy of Legal Action for Women told LifeNews.com that abortion practitioners rate on the high end of malpractice risk indexes, which leads to high premiums. Others may list a different specialty, such as dermatology, to obtain less expensive premiums, according to low-cost insurers, as Unimed advertises itself. In her experience of representing women hurt by abortion, Conroy notes that the use of fraudulent malpractice insurance adds insult to injury for women who obtain abortions, in addition to the realization that the abortion practitioner's assets are in other names or in offshore accounts, making it impossible to collect, even after winning the lawsuit.

Ledee will head to prison in Atlanta for five years and 10 months and will forfeit $10 million in cash and real estate including a home in Hilton Head, federal prosecutors told AP. [Legal Action for Women (LAW) – http://www.legalactionforwomen.org; Concerned Women for America – http://www.cwfa.org; 21May07, LifeNews.com]

In 1990, research indicated that there were seven abortion malpractice lawsuits pending in Mobile County. In Birmingham, 2 cases were pending against one large abortion center, and 8 cases were brought against another abortion business during the 1980s. One local abortionist has apporximately a dozen lawsuits pending against him at this time.

Dr. Stephen Weber had his license revoked in New York two years ago and faced similar action in Connecticut for performing an abortion on a patient without her permission or knowledge [New York Post, 3/7/92]. Eight women in Minnesota filed complaints against Dr. Mildred Hanson alleging they were brutalized during their abortions [Communique, 4/10/92].

In an attempt to defend the alleged safety of surgical abortion, abortion advocates usually point to abortion centers woned and operated by Planned Parenthood. Yet, Dr. Fred Pulver, the former medical director of Planned Parenthood in Schenectady, New York, surrendered his medical license after he was charged with attempting to abort a 27-week-old child who was born alive five days later. He was also charged with misconduct for his care of the woman (Robert Whitaker, Albany Times Union, 11/1/91].

Dr. Mildred Hanson, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, had a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against her by a woman who had an abortion in her private practice in Minneapolis. Maki claims Hanson committed assault and battery. Four staff workers held down Maki's arms and legs during the abortion, resulting in permanent and progressive numbness in her hands and feet. Maki also states that Hanson would not anesthetize her, that Hanson would not stop the abortion when Maki requested it, and that Hanson threatened to gag her and send her to the psychiatric ward [Life, Inc., 2/92, from Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MS].

Legal action like this, taken by women who have been harmed by abortion providers, seems comparable to legal action taken by a woman against her rapist. Even though the damage has already been done, she is willing to testify against the rapist in order to stop him from attacking and injuring other women.

That is the reasoning behind bringing lawsuits against abortion providers. Not only must they stop killing and maining to appear in court, but lawsuits make the abortion industry less profitable and may even put the abortion providers behind bars for a time, or convince medical boards to revoke their licenses, thus protecting other women from damage.

Organizations have formed to help women who have been injured by abortion. The American Rights Coalition can be reached at 1.800.634.2224. Legal Action for Women, LAW, can be reached at 1.800.U.CAN.SUE.