SUMMARY: Sheryl Cottone, age 23, died on July 1, 1981 after a legal first-trimester abortion performed in Iowa.

Sheryl Lynn Cottone was 23 years old when she underwent a first trimester abortion in June of 1981.

She was rushed to Veteran's Memorial Hospital in Waukon, Iowa, on July 1. She was pronounced dead on arrival.

An autopsy found that she had died from an embolism that lodged in her heart.


The following comment was left on a RealChoice blog post regarding Sheryl's death. Until I have permission to use her name, I will refer to the author as "Lauren."

listen, Sheryl was my mom. She died because of clot that formed after she had an abortion. The Dr. Said it would of killed her to have the baby. She really wanted another baby. However, she wanted to be there for the 3 kids she already had. She formed a clot due to have C Factor V Liden mutation, meaning blood prone to clots. Back in 83 they didn't know or have much information on this condition. She just might of saved my life. I now know I have same condition and can take medical precaution with surgeries, etc....

According to the Mayo Clinic website, Factor V Leiden (pronounced FAK-tur 5 LIDE-n) is a genetic mutation of one of the proteins in the blood that makes it clot properly. People with this disorder are at an increased risk of developing clots inside their blood vessels, usually in the veins. Women are at increased risk of developing blood clots while pregnant or when taking estrogen. Blood thinners can be prescribed to reduce the risk of these clots and to possibly lessen the damage caused by any clots that do develop.

If you have factor V Leiden and have developed blood clots, anticoagulant medications can lessen your risk of developing additional blood clots and help you avoid potentially serious complications. Fortunately, as Lauren pointed out, treatment options for pregnant women with Factor V Leiden are far better now than they were when Sheryl faced her difficult decision. The MayoClinic site notes:

  • Pregnancy complications. Most women with factor V Leiden have normal pregnancies. But the mutation has been linked with an increased risk of miscarriage and possibly other complications during pregnancy, including pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (preeclampsia), slow fetal growth and early separation of the placenta from the uterine wall (placental abruption). If you're a pregnant woman with factor V Leiden, be sure your doctor monitors you carefully throughout your pregnancy.

    .... There's no evidence that preventive treatment with blood-thinning medications would be effective enough to outweigh the potential risks of using these drugs during pregnancy or delivery.

I am very grateful to Lauren for sharing her story, and have invited her, if she chooses, to share more.

Source: Iowa Death Certificate 81-013385

  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