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Read This First:
How can you know how much you can trust what you are told by a prolife or prochoice organization's communications? How do you know if what a web site or newsletter says is accurate or not?
There is one easy rule to follow: Truthful sites provide reliable sources for their information.
As you look over the information on the Cemetery of Choice, you'll find that whenever possible, I provide either links to information or actual copies of documents such as news articles and death certificates. In other cases, I at least cite my sources in a way that they can be researched and verified.
Are other sources as reliable? Do they tell you where they got the information upon which they are basing their claims? If they don't, why not?
If there are conflicting claims, such as prolife versus prochoice assertions about the death of
, check to see which site provides more reliable sources. In Becky's case, prochoice sites provide only assertions made by other abortion rights organizations or statements made by Becky's parents, who were recruited and coached by abortion-rights organizations. Prolife sites typically quote a crucial source: Becky's actual autopsy report,* which shows her reproductive organs to be perfectly healthy. Which sources can you trust?
Consider also the case of
. Prochoice pages typically post the following unsubstantiated story verbatim:
Pauline Shirley and her six children were living with her mother in Arizona while her husband sought work in California. After an illegal abortion, she began to hemorrhage and was hospitalized. She needed massive transfusions. While Pauline’s mother searched the community for donors, Pauline bled to death.
I looked deeper and found an original and reliable source: Pauline's death certificate, which indicated that she died not from an induced abortion but from a miscarriage. Perhaps a family member saw "incomplete abortion, spontaneous" and didn't understand that a spontaneous abortion is the medical term for a miscarriage. My write-up of Pauline's death actually includes an image of the death certificate. Whose word is more trustworthy: the one based on the actual death certificate, or the unsubstantiated one repeated uncritically?
Never, never take anything you are told without question. Check the original sources.
*I read Becky Bell's autopsy report myself shortly after abortion-rights groups began taking them on speaking engagements around the country. I'm still trying to find an online copy and as soon as I find one I will share it, as I share my other sources.
Abortion Deaths - N
Each woman's story includes whatever documentation I can find to substantiate her death.
Explore More by Time Frame
All Deaths by Name
, April 19, 1939 Age: 27
Midwives Josephine Williams and Adele Sassen convicted of first-degree manslaughter
December 30, 1924 Age: 21
Possible lay abortionist implicated; outcome of case unknown to me
July 9, 1993 Age: 33
Multiple internal lacerations; slipshod care; filthy facility
Dr. David Benjamin, Metro Women's Center, convicted of murder
May 22, 2000 Age: 38
15th of 16 deaths at NAF member chain Family Planning Associates
October 16, 1923 Age: 19
Second of two deaths linked to Dr. Charles Klinetop
Outcome of case unknown to me
June 15, 1984 Age: 14
Dr. E. Wyman Garret's license revoked
Sent home with uterine perforation; died of sepsis
February 24, 1919 Age: 37
February 12, 1916 Age: 28
May 11, 1994 Age: 15
Sent home from Midtown Hospital with fetal bone retained
Died of Strep B infection
February 16, 1918 Age: 34
Verified self-induced with catheter
March 19, 1867 Age: 38
Physician arrested; outcome of case unknown to me
October 23, 1913 Age: 19
Midwife Emma Bickel confessed, then recanted; conviction
February 12, 1936 Age: 32
Second of three deaths linked to Dr. Justin Mitchell
Third victim died during trial
Convicted of manslaughter
January 25, 2010 Age: 37
Risky abortion performed as outpatient; severed artery; bled to death
Multiple failures in care; Dr. Robert Hosty disciplined by medical board
The Colonial Era
The 19th Century
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