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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 - O
Each woman's story includes whatever documentation I can find to substantiate her death.
Explore More by Time Frame
All Deaths by Name
July 17, 1901 Age: 23
Physician admitted guilt to family, then killed himself
October 11, 1913 Age: 28
Physician arrested; no trial
March 9, 1914 Age: 34
Physician arrested, no trial
, January 10, 1942 Age 36
4th death linked to Dr. Emil Gleitsman; another woman died before trial; murder conviction
June 24, 1908 Age: 36
Physician arrested but acquitted; midwife convicted
, February 18, 1883 Age: 28
Well-connected physician arrested; judge dismissed charges
July 11, 1919 Age: 33
Physician convicted of manslaughter
March 2, 1914 Age: 32
March 13, 1909 Age: 37
Midwife arrested; death due to ruptured ectopic pregnancy
January 10, 1913 Age: 31
February 23, 1906 Age: 26
First of three abortion deaths linked to Dr. George Fosberg; coroner's jury unable to determine if abortion was legal or illegal
October 10, 1970 Age: 23
Fetus pushed through uterine wall into abdomen during legal abortion
June 8, 1988 Age: 32
6th of 16 to die at NAF member chain Family Planning Associates; sent home with retained fetal parts, died of sepsis
, December 16, 1998 Age: 29
One of three deaths at NAF member Eastern Women's Center; failure to establish proper airway; catastrophic brain damage, incapacitated, died after nearly 6 years in nursing home
Doris Silver Ostreicher
, August 24, 1955 Age: 22
Lay abortionists pleaded no contest
The Colonial Era
The 19th Century
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