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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.
In mid-March, 1915, 19-year-old saleslady
died at a Chicago home after an abortion perpetrated that day by Julia Patera, whose profession is not given. She was held by the coroner but the case never went to trial.
In mid-March, 1915, 22-year-old homemaker
died at her Chicago residence from an abortion perpetrated there that day. Before her death, Elinor named Dr. Julia Patara as the guilty abortionist. Patara was indicted for Elinor's death by a Grand Jury, but the case never went to trial.
On Cook County death records, Patera is listed as a midwife rather than a physician. I have yet been unable to determine if Patera was mis-identified as a doctor in the Homicide in Chicago database, or if, like many female obstetricians of the time, was referred to as a midwife because of her specialty.
Patera was born Julia Svoboda on January 1, 1854 in Starahute, Czechoslovakia. She died at age 74 on August 11, 1928 in Chicago. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Canton Svoboda and the wife of Charles Patera.
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