SUMMARY: Carmen Rodriguez, age 31, died July 19, 1970 from an abortion performed in Lincoln Hospital in New York, NY.

"Alice" is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a safe and legal abortion. I have since identified her from an article in the New York Times: Carmen Rodriguez.

Carmen was 31 years old when she underwent a 14-week saline abortion at Lincoln Hospital in New York City. A saline abortion was performed by injecting a strong, sterile salt solution into the amniotic fluid. The fetus would then swallow and inhale the fluid, causing internal bleeding. After the fetus died, the woman would go into labor.

CarmenRodriguezMarysvilleOHJournalTribune22July1970.pngCarmen had a history of rheumatic heart disease and two previous live births. After the saline was injected, it got into Carmen's blood stream. This caused acute pulmonary edema -- fluid accumulation in the lungs -- and Carmen went into a coma from which she never recovered. She died on July 19, 1970, leaving behind a husband along with her children.

After Carmen's death, a militant Puerto Rican group, The Young Lords, swung into action. They pointed out that doctors at Lincoln Hospital knew that Carmen had heart problems and failed to take proper precautions -- a very valid claim. After all, saline abortions had long been known to be risky to the woman's heart. What responsible physician would choose to perform an abortion on a heart patient, using a technique that has been documented as potentially causing heart-damaging electrolyte imbalances?

Community activists also reported that when Carmen had difficulty breathing during the procedure, doctors assumed she was having an asthma attack. Her heart condition, they said, wasn't listed on her chart, and the treatment provided, appropriate for an asthma patient, could be fatal to a patient with heart problems.

The Young Lords distributed leaflets in the neighborhood of the hospital, denouncing Carmen's death as "murder". For 12 hours, the group occupied an administration building connected with the hospital, denouncing the hospital as "a butcher shop that kills patients".

Merle Goldman, spokeswoman of an abortion advocacy organization, did not share The Young Lords' outrage. Ms. Goldman said she hoped that Carmen's death wouldn't deter other women from undergoing abortions. She touted abortion's reputed safety and stressed that her group was lobbying against proposed health department regulation of abortion practice.

New York City Chief Medical Examiner Milton Helpern, on the other hand, expressed concern that ill-equipped and poorly-staffed freestanding legal abortion facilities were posing a danger to women. The 1970 liberalization of abortion had made New York an abortion mecca until the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling that abortionists could legally set up shop in any state of the union. In addition to Carmen, these are the women I know of who had the dubious benefit of dying from the newfangled safe-and-legal kind of abortion in pre-Roe New York:

  • Pearl Schwier, July, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • Barbara Riley, July, 1970, sickle-cell crisis triggered by abortion recommended by doctor due to her sickle cell disease
  • "Amanda" Roe, September, 1970, sent back to her home in Indiana with an untreated hole poked in her uterus
  • Maria Ortega, October, 1970, fetus shoved through her uterus into her pelvic cavity then left there
  • "Kimberly" Roe, December, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Amy" Roe, January, 1971, massive pulmonary embolism
  • "Andrea" Roe, January, 1971, overwhelming infection
  • "Sandra" Roe, April, 1971, committed suicide due to post-abortion remorse
  • "Anita" Roe, May, 1971, bled to death in her home during process of outpatient saline abortion
  • Margaret Smith, June, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Annie" Roe, June, 1971, cardiac arrest during anesthesia
  • "Audrey" Roe, July, 1971, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Vicki" Roe, August, 1971, post-abortion infection
  • "April" Roe, August, 1971, injected with saline for outpatient abortion, went into shock and died
  • "Barbara" Roe, September, 1971, cardiac arrest after saline injection for abortion
  • "Tammy" Roe, October, 1971, massive post-abortion infection
  • Carole Schaner, October, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Beth" Roe, December, 1971, saline injection meant to kill fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • "Roseann" Roe, February, 1971, vomiting with seizures causing pneumonia after saline abortion
  • "Connie" Roe, March, 1972, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Julie" Roe, April, 1972, holes torn in her uterus and bowel
  • "Robin" Roe, May, 1972, lingering abortion complications
  • "Roxanne" Roe, May, 1972, given overdose of abortion sedatives
  • "Danielle" Roe, May, 1972, air in her bloodstream

The deaths listed above are mostly in 1971 because the majority were noted in a report released by the New York health department about abortion deaths from June of 1970 to June of 1972.

As you can see from the graph below, abortion deaths were falling dramatically before legalization. This steep fall had been in place for decades. To argue that legalization lowered abortion mortality simply isn't supported by the data.

external image Abortion+Deaths+Since+1960.jpg

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Sources:
  • "Maternal Mortality Associated With Legal Abortion in New York State: Jul. 1, 1970 - June 30, 1972,; Berger, Tietze, Pakter, Katz, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 43:3, Mar. 1974, 320
  • "Abortion Death Reported in City", New York Times, Jul. 21, 1970;
  • "Abortion Curbs Put Off by City", New York Times, Jul. 22, 1970;
  • "Helpern Upholds Curb on Abortion", New York Times, Nov.r 8, 1970
  • "Abortions Prove Fatal to Three N.Y. Women," The Troy Times Record, Jul. 22, 1970
  • "Death Linked to Abortion," Portland Oregonian, Jul. 22, 1970
  • "The people run a day care center in New York," Soul City Times (Milwaukee, WI), Aug. 20, 1970

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  1. 1900s
  2. 1910-1919
  3. 1920s
  4. 1930s
  5. 1940s
  6. 1950s
  7. 1960s
  8. 1970s
  9. 1980s
  10. 1990s
  11. 19th century
  12. 2000-2009
  13. 20s
  14. 30s
  15. 40s
  16. NAF
  17. abortifacient
  18. abortion
  19. abortion mill
  20. abortion mortality
  21. abortionists
  22. abortionists -- female
  23. abortionists -- male
  24. alabama
  25. anesthesia
  26. arizona
  27. black women
  28. born alive
  29. botched abortion
  30. california
  31. chicago
  32. colorado
  33. connecticut
  34. cover-up
  35. death
  36. deaths
  37. deception
  38. delay in transport
  39. delay in treatment
  40. district of columbia
  41. dumped body
  42. ectopic
  43. embolism
  44. falsifying forms
  45. fetal indications
  46. florida
  47. former criminal abortionist
  48. george tiller
  49. georgia
  50. hemorrhage death
  51. hospitals
  52. illegal - doctor
  53. illegal - midwife
  54. illegal - nurse
  55. illegal - paramedical
  56. illegal - post roe
  57. illegal - unknown
  58. illegal - untrained
  59. illegal abortion
  60. illinois
  61. inadequate documents
  62. inadequate equipment
  63. inadequate resuscitation
  64. incomplete abortion
  65. indiana
  66. infection
  67. kansas
  68. llinois
  69. louisiana
  70. maryland
  71. massachusetts
  72. maternal indications
  73. maternal mortality
  74. michigan
  75. mills
  76. missouri
  77. mortality
  78. national abortion federation
  79. new jersey
  80. new mexico
  81. new york
  82. north carolina
  83. ohio
  84. oklahoma
  85. pennsylvania
  86. planned parenthood
  87. pre-roe legal
  88. previous misconduct
  89. prostaglandin
  90. quackery
  91. questionable stories
  92. ru-486
  93. rupture
  94. saline
  95. secret abortion
  96. self-induced
  97. suicide
  98. teens
  99. texas
  100. wisconsin