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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.
SUMMARY: Bessie Orme died in her Chicago home on February 23, 1906 after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. George Fosberg.
Dr. George Fosberg
George F. Fosberg
of 5213 Kimbark Avenue in Chicago admitted to having performed an abortion on 26-year-old Bessie Orme. She died in her home at 155 Fifty-Fourth Place on February 23, 1906, leaving her husband, John, a widower.
Fosberg insisted that he'd performed the abortion because it was necessary to save Bessie's life. He said that he'd instructed her family to take her to a hospital and when they refused to do so he refused to provide further care.
Dr. Frank J. Otis took over her care and was the attending physician at the time of her death. He testified, "I was summoned the day of her death. An examination showed that she was suffering from inflammation of the abdominal organs, and that an operation had been performed. I notified the health department, and when I was asked the contributory causes of death I told of the operation."
A coroner's jury was unable to determine whether or not Fosberg had been attempting to save Bessie's life when he performed the procedure, so the verdict was issued as open. This left Fosberg free in 1916 to be implicated in the abortion death of
. For reasons I've been unable to determine, that case never went to trial either.
Fosberg lost his license to practice medicine after being convicted of bank fraud. After his release from prison he opened a boarding house, where he perpetrated a fatal abortion on
"Woman's Death Investigated,"
Chicago Inter Ocean
, Feb. 26, 1906
Open Verdict in Orme Case,"
Chicago Inter Ocean
, Mar. 1, 1906
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