The 970s saw a massive shift in abortion laws, most notably the legalization of outpatient abortion-on-demand through 24 weeks of pregnancy in New York. Public health officials, seeing this as a way of ensuring that abortions were done safely, took a profound interest in detecting and studying abortion deaths. They did not, of course, identify women by name when publishing the results of their investigations. Hence, many of the women who died from legal abortions during the 1970s are identified by pseudonyms.

The Centers for Disease Control began to tabulate abortion deaths in 1973, after the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision struck down nearly all abortion laws. States were no longer able to prohibit abortions before 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Abortion-on-demand produced a crop of specialty facilities that focused on abortion. Some states originally required that all abortions, or abortions past 12 weeks, be performed in hospitals. Laws limiting abortions to hospitals were challenged by the abortion lobby, and by the end of the 1970s they had all be overturned and outpatient abortion, even into the third trimester, became the norm.

I have included the CDCs abortion death numbers beginning in 1973.

Women's Stories from the 1970s
Explore More by Time Frame
All Deaths by Name
1970
  • "Lori", 1970 Age: 17
    • Unspecified Maryland hospital
  • "Felicia" S, March 6, 1970 Age: 16
    • Unspecified San Francisco hospital
  • Sharon Margrove, May 21, 1970 Age: 25
    • Unspecified legal California facility
  • Pearl Schwier, July 12, 1970 Age: 42
    • St. Luke's Hospital, New York
  • Carmen Rodroguez, July 19, 1970 Age: 31
    • Lincoln Hospital, New York
  • Barbara Riley, July 20, 1970 Age: 23
    • Harlem Hospital, New York
  • Sara Lint, August 12, 1970 Age: 22
    • San Vicente Hospital, Los Angeles, CA
  • Victoria Seronka, August 27, 1970 Age: 17
    • Unspecified illegal abortionist, Ohio
  • Nancy Kierzek, September 11, 1970 Age: 21
    • Aspiring physician William Day, Massachusetts
  • "Linda Michelle Hoffman", September 22, 1970 Age: 19
    • Unspecified legal abortion facility, New York
  • Maria Ortega October 10, 1970 Age: 23
    • Dr. Armida Zepata, New York
  • Denise Holmes, December 21, 1970 Age: 24
    • Avalon Hospital, Los Angeles, CA
  • "Kimberly", December 23, 1970 Age: 25
    • Unspecified New York City legal abortion facility
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1971
  • "Mary", c. 1971 Age: 19
    • Unspecified Los Angeles hospital
  • "Amy", January 2, 1971 Age: 35
    • Unspecified legal facility in New York
  • "Andrea", January 20, 1971 Age: 26
    • Unspecified legal facility in New York
  • Doris Grant, February 15, 1971 Age: 32
    • Dr. W.W. Williams
    • Doctors' Hospital, Los Angeles, CA
  • "Roseanne", February 27, 1971 Age: 37
    • Unspecified legal facility in New York
  • "Sandra", April 18, 1971 Age: 18
    • Unspecified legal facility in New York
  • "Anita", May 12, 1971 Age: 23
    • Unspecified legal facility in New York
  • Margaret Louise Smith, June 16, 1971 Age: 25
    • Dr. Jesse Ketchum, Buffalo, NY
  • Edith Clark, June 24, 1971 Age: 29
    • Dr. Robert Livingston, New York
  • "Audrey", July 1, 1971 Age: 44
    • Unspecified legal facility in New York
  • Betty Hines, July 19, 1971 Age: 21
    • Dr. A. Mitchell
    • Doctors' Hospital, Los Angeles
  • "Vickie", August 17, 1971 Age: 23
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • "April", August 22, 1971 Age: 17
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • Janet Foster September 15, 1971 Age: 18
    • Dr. Richard Neal
    • Valley Doctors' Hospital, North Hollywood, CA
  • Cassandra Bleavins, September 19, 1971 Age: 20
    • John Wesley Hospital, Los Angeles
  • "Barbara", September 23, 1971 Age: 35
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • "Becky", October 5, 1971 Age: 18
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • "Tammy", October 13, 1971 Age: 33
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • Carole Schaner, October 20, 1971 Age: 37
    • Dr. Jesse Ketchum, Buffalo, NY
  • "Monica", November 26, 1971 Age: 31
    • Unspecified legal facility, Massachusetts
  • LaSandra Russ, December 15, 1971 Age: 20
    • Memorial Hospital of Hawthorn, CA
  • "Beth", December 29, 1971 Age: 23
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
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1972
  • "Wendy", 1972 Age: 23
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • "Nancy", 1972 Age: 16
    • Unspecified legal facility
  • "Christi", 1972 Age: 29
    • Unspecified legal facility
  • "Cindy", 1972 Age: 25
    • Unspecified legal facility
  • Kathryn Strong, January 22, 1972 Age: 26
    • Civic Center Hospital, Oakland, CA
  • Gwendolyn Drummer, January 31, 1972 Age: 15
    • Doctors' Hospital of Pinole, CA
  • "Colleen", March 8, 1972 Age: 21
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • "Connie", March 8, 1972 Age: 31
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • "Julie", April 16, 1972 Age: 14
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • "Robin", May 4, 1972 Age: 21
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • "Roxanne", May 13, 1972 Age: 17
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • Pamela Modugno, May 17, 1972 Age: 18
    • Monsey Medical Center, New York
  • "Sara", June 18, 1972 Age: 22
    • Unspecified legal facility, New York
  • Margaret Davis, July 15, 1972 Age: 33
    • Dr. Christopher Dotson Windsor Hills Hospital, Los Angeles County, CA
  • "Dawn", August 1972 Age: 29
    • Unspecified hospital
  • Kathryn Morse, September 3, 1972 Age: 20
    • Bel Aire Memorial Hospital, Los Angeles County, CA
  • Natalie Meyers, October 27, 1972 Age: 16
    • Dr. Milton Gotleib
    • San Vicente Hospital, Los Angeles, CA
  • Twila Coulter, November 14, 1972 Age: 21
    • Unspecified California hospital
  • Beverly Agnes, December 21, 1973 Age: 21
    • Unspecified physician in Monsey, NY


1973 (CDC: 25 legal, 19 illegal, 3 undetermined, 47 total)
  1. "Vanessa", 1973 Age: 35
    • Unspecified legal facility
  2. "Donna", 1973 Age: 19
    • Unspecified legal facility
  3. "Dorothy", 1973 Age: 44
    • Unspecified legal facility
  4. "Eleanor", 1973 Age: 20
    • Unspecified legal facility
  5. Evelyn Dudley, March 16, 1973 Age: 38
    • Dr. T.R. Mason Howard
    • Friendship Medical Center, Chicago, IL
  6. Julia Rogers, April 28, 1973 Age: 20
    • Dr. T.R. Mason Howard
    • Friendship Medical Center, Chicago, IL
  7. Linda Padfield, June 18, 1973 Age: 28
    • Dr. Benjamin Munson, Rapid City, SD
  8. Kathy Murphy, September 8, 1973 Age: 17
    • Inglewood Women's Hospital, Los Angeles, CA


1974 (CDC: 26 legal, 6 illegal, 1 undetermined, 33 total)
  1. "Teresa", c. 1974 Age: 19
    • Unspecified legal facility
  2. "Pamela", c. 1974 Age: 38
    • Unspecified legal facility
  3. "Malorie", 1974 Age: 35
    • Unspecified legal facility
  4. "Ellen" of the CDC, 1974 Age: 22
    • Unspecified legal facility
  5. "Faith", 1974 Age: 21
    • Unspecified legal facility
  6. "Erica", 1974 Age: 20
    • Unspecified legal facility
  7. "Betty", c. 1974 Age: 29
    • Unspecified legal facility
  8. "Beverly", c. 1974 Age: 21
    • Unspecified legal facility
  9. "Brenda", c. 1974 Age: 31
    • Unspecified legal facility
  10. Linda Fondren January 20, 1974 Age: 21
    • Dr. Mohammad Pourtabib
    • Pre-Birth, Chicago, IL
  11. Evangeline McKenna, January 28, 1974 Age: 38
    • Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, Los Angeles, CA
  12. Bonnie Fix February 12, 1974 Age: 38
    • Fresno Community Hospital, Fresno, CA
  13. Janet Blaum, March 11, 1974 Age: 37
    • Dr. Sidney Knight, New Orleans, LA
  14. Wilma Harris, June 20, 1974 Age: 17
    • Dr. Milan Vuitch
    • Laurel Clinic, Washington, DC
  15. Carole Wingo, July 22, 1974 Age: 22
    • Mercy General Hospital, Detroit, MI
  16. Gina Gardner, July 27, 1974 Age: 17
    • Dr. James R. Lund, West Pasco, FL
  17. Dorothy Brown, August 16, 1974 Age: 37
    • Friendship Medical Center, Chicago, IL
  18. Dorothy Muzorewa, August 23, 1974 Age: 25
    • Women's Aid Clinic, Chicago, IL
  19. Maria Lira, October 16, 1974 Age: 19
    • Riveria Hospital. Los Angeles, CA


1975 (CDC: 29 legal, 4 illegal, 1 undetermined, 34 total)
  1. "Sophie", 1975
    • Unspecified walk-in clinic, Springfield, IL
  2. "Sherri", 1975 Age: 20
    • Unspecified legal facility
  3. "Patricia", c. 1975 Age: 16
    • Unspecified physician's office
  4. "Molly", 1975 Age: 21
    • Unspecified Massachusetts hospital
  5. "Gail", 1975 Age: 23
    • Unspecified legal facility
  6. "Georgette", 1975
    • Unspecified clinic in Champaign, IL
  7. Rita McDowell, March 8, 1975 Age: 16
    • Dr. Robert Sherman
    • Columbia Family Planning Clinic, Washington, DC
  8. Sharon Floyd March 28, 1975 Age: 18
    • Associated Concern, Chicago, IL
  9. "Susanna Chisolm", June 3, 1975 Age: 35
    • Biogenetics, Chicago, IL
  10. Beverly Moore, July 11, 1975 Age: 15
    • Chattanooga Women's Clinic, Chattanooga, TN
  11. Cheryl Tubbs, August 8, 1975 Age: 29
    • Pacific Glen Hospital. Los Angeles, CA
  12. Lynette Wallace, September 27, 1975 Age: 22
    • Inglewood Women's Hospital, Los Angeles, CA


1976 (CDC: 11 legal, 2 illegal, 1 undetermined, 14 total)
  1. "Rosa", 1976 Age: 29
    • Unspecified illegal abortion, possibly in Mexico
  2. "Gloria", 1976 Age: 35
    • Unspecified legal facility
  3. Cycloria Vangates, March 17, 1976 Age: 32
    • Dr. Paul Glassman, Miami, FL
  4. Maria Gomez, May 4, 1976 Age: 39
    • Dr. John Blodgett
    • Atlantic Family Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
  5. Diane Smith, September 11, 1976 Age: 23
    • Unspecified Chicago facility


1977 (CDC: 17 legal, 4 illegal, 21 total)
  1. "Denise", c. 1977 Age: 27
    • Unspecified legal facility
  2. Mary Paredez, April 19, 1977 Age: 26
    • San Jose Hospital, San Jose, CA
  3. Barbaralee Davis, June 14, 1977 Age: 18
    • Dr. Hector Zavalos
    • Hope Clinic for Women (NAF), Granite City, IL
  4. Rosaura "Rosie" Jimenez
    • RosieJimenez.jpg
    • October 3, 1977 Age: 27
    • Confirmed illegal abortion by midwife, McAllen, TX
  5. Louchrisser Jackson, November 4, 1977 Age: 23
    • Dr. Robert Gardner
    • Reproductive Services, Dallas, TX
  6. Jacqueline Bailey, December 3, 1977 Age: 29
    • Dr. Eboreime
    • Pacific Glen Hospital, Los Angeles, CA
  7. Mary Ann Page, December 29, 1977 Age: 36
    • Unspecified legal facility, Ohio


1978 (CDC: 9 legal, 7 illegal, 21 total)
  1. "Tasha", 1978
    • Unspecified legal facility
  2. "Fatima", c. 1978
    • Unspecified self-induced abortion
  3. "Nadine", c. 1978 Age: 32
    • Unspecified hospital
  4. Sherry Emry
    • SherryEmryTN.png
    • January 2, 1978 Age: 26
    • Dr. Arnold Bickham
    • Water Tower Reproductive Services, Chicago, IL
  5. Elizabeth Tsuji, March 2, 1978 Age: 21
    • Inglewood General Hospital, Los Angeles, CA
  6. Gloria Small, March 7, 1978 Age: 43
    • Dr. Ronald Tauber
    • Orlando Birthing Center, Orlando, FL
  7. Gail Mazo, July 12, 1978 Age: 27
    • Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York
  8. Marina Deschapell, August 17, 1978 Age: 34
    • Dr. Eduardo Elias, Miami, FL
  9. Minnie Lathan, September 25, 1978 Age: 41
    • Unspecified Ohio facility
  10. "Sherryl Parker", November 22, 1978 Age: 18
    • Verified self-induced, pennyroyal oil, Colorado


1979 (CDC: 22 legal)
  1. Lynn McNair, March 23, 1979 Age: 24
    • Dr. Edward Rubin
    • Jewish Memorial Hospital, New York
  2. Angela Scott, June 9, 1979 Age: 19
    • Dr. Jacob Adams
    • Atlanta Women's Pavilion, Atlanta, GA
  3. Geneva Calton, July 18, 1979 Age: 21
    • Northside Family Planning, Atlanta, GA
  4. Gail Vroman, July 18, 1979 Age: 20
    • Dr. Taskin Ratharathorn
    • Fort Wayne Women's Health Organization, Fort Wayne, IN
  5. Ruth Montero, August 7, 1979 Age: 23
    • Women's Care Center, Miami, FL
  6. Deloris Smith, October 24, 1979 Age: 15
    • Dr. Jacob Adams
    • Atlanta Women's Pavilion, Atlanta, GA
  7. "Faye", December 15, 1979 Age: 19
    • Dr. Andre Nehorayoff, New York

* The Colonial Era