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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.
Cook County Hospital
Cook County Hospital 1875
In November of 1901, 22-year-old
, nee Gust, of Garden City, Kansas, died at County Hospital from complications of an abortion performed there that day. Dr.
Robert E. Gray
was arrested November 19 and held without bail by Coroner's Jury.
In November, 1905, 18-year-old
in Chicago from an abortion performed on November 13. A woman named
, aka Timmons, was arrested and held by the coroner's jury. She was indicted, and attempted suicide by shooting on April 6, 1906, in Michael Reese Hospital. Gibson's profession was given as "Abortion Provider", but not as midwife, nurse, or physician, so I'm guessing she was a professional lay abortionist.
In November, 1912, 33-year-old
died at County Hospital in Chicago after an abortion perpetrated that day by midwife Annie Balnoka. Balnoka was arrested and held by the Coroner on November 24, and indicted by a Grand Jury on December 15, but the case never went to trial.
In November, 1914, 25-year-old
died at Cook County Hospital in Chicago from complications of an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.
Cook County Hospital 1914
Iin March, 1917, 19-year-old
died at Chicago's County Hospital, refusing to name the abortionist who had fatally injured her that day.
In August, 1917, 31-year-old seamstress
died at Chicago's
from a criminal abortion perpetrated that day by nurse/midwife Katherine Schmidt. Schmidt was tried in Anna's death but acquitted on February 28, 1918.
In February, 1918, 27-year-old Mrs.
died at Chicago's County Hospital from an abortion perpetrated by
on November 20 of 1917.
In August, 1918, 23-year-old homemaker
died at Chicago's Cook County Hospital from an abortion perpetrated by Dr.
. Both were arrested and arraigned but the case never went to trial.
In August, 1920, 35-year-old
died at Chicago's County Hospital from a criminal abortion. Midwife
was arrested for murder, and a woman named Pearl Freese as an accessory.
In December, 1923, 40-year-old
died at Chicago's County Hospital due to a criminal abortion performed there that day. The coroner identified
as having been responsible for Sophia's death.
In March, 1926, 19-year-old
died at the County Hospital in Chicago from complications of an abortion performed that day. Dr.
was booked for Alice's death, as was her husband, Joseph Annalora. Vine was indicted for felony murder. Ultimately, the coroner was unable to determine the legal status of the abortion that killed Alice, so Dr. Vine and Mr. Annalora were released.
Midwife Sophie Mann
and her sister,
Dr. Gertrude Plenz
, were both indicted in the 1937 abortion death of 25-year-old
, the mother of a little girl. I can only find snippets about Mary's death. Evidently she went to her family doctor after the abortion. He examined her and sent her to
Cook County Hospital
in July, 1937. She died in late July or early August. Sophie , a midwife, preferred instructing her patients to take hot baths, use a hot water bottle on the abdomen, and use a concoction involving vinegar.
The History of Cook County Hospital
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