SUMMARY: Kathryn Strong, age 26, died January 22, 1972 from complications of an abortion performed at Civic Center Hospital in Oakland, CA.

In June of 1967, then-Governor Ronald Reagan signed a bill legalizing abortion in California. The earlier law, passed in 1861, had allowed abortion only if intended to save the mother's life. The 1967 law allowed abortions in case of the mother's physical or mental health or for young teens pregnant through rape or incest. The mental health provision essentially allowed abortion on demand, since the woman could simply assert that she would kill herself were she not permitted the abortion. Abortions had to be performed by qualified physicians in an accredited hospital and could only be performed up to 20 weeks. The bill also allowed the establishment of dedicated abortion hospitals.

One of the purported beneficiaries of the new law was 26-year-old Kathryn R. Strong, a native of Idaho. On January 21, 1972, she went to Civic Center Hospital in Oakland, California for a legal abortion that was to be performed by Dr. Harold Van Maren. I have not been able to determine the grounds for Kathryn's abortion. During the procedure, her uterus was perforated.

According to her medical records, she suffered extensive hemorrhage and shock. She died the following day, leaving behind a three-year-old son. It's difficult to judge if Kathryn's death was due to malpractice, since perforation was a known complication which could happen even if the abortion were performed with care, but, of course, could also be caused by carelessness.

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



Sources: California Certificate of Death # 72-014193, Alameda County (CA) Superior Court Case # 447479-5


  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