SUMMARY: Stella Saenz, age 42, died April 13, 1968 from complications of a legal abortion performed in a California hospital.

Stella V. Saenz, age 42, was one of the growing number of safe-and-legal abortion deaths that were to soon almost completely replace illegal abortion deaths in the United States over the coming decade.

Stella had arranged for a legal abortion in the spring of 1968. At that time, California allowed legal abortions, but only in hospitals.

On April 11, she was admitted to Los Angeles County General Hospital with sepsis.

Doctors administered penicillin. Stella went into anaphylactic shock; neither she nor the doctors had realized that Stella was allergic to penicillin.

Doctors tried to treat both the infection and Stella's reaction to the penicillin, to no avail. She died on April 13.

The California Department of Public Health classified Stella's death as both a drug reaction death and a legal abortion death.


external image Abortion+Deaths+Since+1940.jpg

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion


Sources: California Certificate of Death 68-083706; Los Angeles County CoronerÂ’s Report 68-3820


  1. 1900s
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  3. 1920s
  4. 1930s
  5. 1940s
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  9. 1980s
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  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
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  42. ectopic
  43. embolism
  44. falsifying forms
  45. fetal indications
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  48. george tiller
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  50. hemorrhage death
  51. hospitals
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  53. illegal - midwife
  54. illegal - nurse
  55. illegal - paramedical
  56. illegal - post roe
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  58. illegal - untrained
  59. illegal abortion
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