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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.
Dusan Zivkovic performed the fatal abortion on 35-year-old Brenda Benton at Biogenetics in Chicago. Brenda died on April 20, 1987.
Brenda Benton's survivors sued
after her death, claiming that
(pictured) 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
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
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.
(1989) also died after abortions at Biogenetics.
Sources: Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 89L 2906, Death Certificate No. 607697a
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