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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.
illegal - doctor
SUMMARY: Ruth Weir, age 26, died on February 16, 1920 from complications of an abortion perpetrated in New Jersey by Dr. Maurice Sturm.
On February 16, 1929, Mrs. Ruth Weir, of East Orange, New Jersey, died at Orange Memorial Hospital of
contracted through a criminal abortion.
Dr. James R. Chamberlain testified that he had examined Ruth at her home and had admitted her to the hospital due to a septic condition. Dr. James Wilson testified that he had treated Ruth in the hospital during late January and that she was suffering from septicemia.
was arrested and charged with first degree murder when Ruth implicated him in a deathbed statement. Mrs. Frieda Sanger testified that Sturm had sent Ruth to her home to recuperate. Sturm admitted to performing the abortion, but insisted that it had not been illegal because it was necessary to save Ruth's life.
During the trial, Sturm's nurse, Gertrude Halloway, responded to questions with answers like, "I don't know," or "I don't remember" until the judge threatened to prosecute her for perjury. She was removed from the courtroom, and her attorney later contacted the District Attorney, requesting immunity in exchange for her testimony. She later admitted that she had lied to protect him and that she had seen him perform the abortion.
The District Attorney claimed that Sturm failed to keep proper records, including concealing names and appointments of patients.
After his arrest, Sturm alleged that District Attorney William D. Ryan and Judge Hanley of the District Court had come to his home and demanded $10,000 or they would prosecute him "to the limit."
Sturm, who was later acquitted of the manslaughter charge in Ruth's death, said that that $1000 he had given the judge after DA Ryan's resignation was a gift and not part of the bribe money.
This case raises several important points we would do well to remember:
The majority of criminal abortions were performed by
, not amateurs.
If the doctor thought the abortion was necessary to save the mother's life, all he had to do to protect himself from prosecution was keep adequate records.
When an abortionist killed a patient before legalization, the law would look at him closely and not shrug the death off as unimportant.
We don't know if Strum kept poor records on Ruth because the abortion was illegal, or because he was a quack who just kept poor records.
New York Times 3-19-30, 3-31-30, 3-22-30, 3-26-30, 3-27-30, 3-28-30, 4-10-30)
"Threatened by Judge, Nurse Confesses She Lied to Save Doctor,"
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
, Mar. 29, 1929
"Dr. Sturm Indicted In Death of Woman,"
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
, Apr. 11, 1929
"Judge Named In Physician's Extortion Tale,"
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
, Mar. 25,1930
"Nurse Acts as State Witness Against Doctor,"
Jamaica (Long Island) Daily Press
, undated clipping
"Charges Judge Sought Bribe,"
, Mar. 26, 1930
"Dr. Strum Acquitted of Manslaughter,"
Trenton Evening Times
, Mar. 28, 1930
"Sexual Blackmail: A Modern History," Angus McLarn, 2002
abortionists -- female
abortionists -- male
delay in transport
delay in treatment
district of columbia
former criminal abortionist
illegal - doctor
illegal - midwife
illegal - nurse
illegal - paramedical
illegal - post roe
illegal - unknown
illegal - untrained
national abortion federation
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