“Invisible” Abortion Deaths

One of our past posts included the stories of five women in Maryland who died as a result of abortion, and whose deaths were never counted as abortion-related in any official statistics. Here’s a link to an article about another “invisible death” on the RealChoice blog — that of 17-year-old Latachie Veal, who died in Texas on Nov. 2, 1991, as a result of abortion:

Legend has it that the Centers for Disease Control keep track of abortion deaths. The case of Latachie Veal should lay that legend to rest.

Latachie was 17 years old, and 22 weeks pregnant, when Robert Dale Crist performed an abortion on her at Houston’s West Loop Clinic November 2, 1991. According to Latachie’s family, she bled heavily at the clinic, and cried out to the staff for help. They told her that her symptoms were normal, and sent her home. Several hours later, Latachie stopped breathing. Her brother-in-law called 911 while her sister did CPR, to no avail. Latachie was dead on arrival at Ben Taub Hospital.

As the article goes on to point out, Latachie’s death was never reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This is despite the fact that Latachie’s family sued Crist and the story was picked up by both mainstream media outlets and pro-life organizations. Further, Crist apparently discussed the case at a seminar attended by the person whose job it was to tally abortion deaths for the CDC:

A lot of people very quickly found out about the abortion death of 17-year-old Latachie Veal. But did the CDC? At the 1992 National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar in Dallas, Crist spoke openly of Latachie’s death. (He did not, of course, mention her name; I’ve concluded that he’s discussing Latachie’s death, since there’s been no evidence of any another 17-year-old abortion patient of his who died in 1991.)

Present at that Risk Management Seminar, where Crist chattered about Latachie’s death, were two — count ’em — two— staffers from the Centers for Disease Control’s abortion surveillance activities area: Stanley Henshaw and Lisa Koonin.

Henshaw’s presence isn’t quite as remarkable as Koonin’s. It was Lisa Koonin, specifically, whose job it was to “verify” abortion deaths, and obtain copies of death certificates. These she was to pass on to a research fellow, Clarice Green, who would then gather the full information about the case.

In spite of all the publicity, in spite of the lawsuit, in spite of the pro-lifers shouting from the rooftops, in spite of the abortionist discussing the death at an event attended by the very woman whose job it was to notice abortion deaths, the Centers for Disease Control did not notice Latachie’s death. Their 1991 Abortion Surveillance Report, published in May of 1995, did not even make any mention of abortion mortality. And when we at Life Dynamics filed a request for information about abortion deaths, we found that the CDC counted zero — count ’em — zero — abortion deaths among women of Latachie’s race in the 15 – 19 age range. In other words, they didn’t even notice.  …

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the CDC failed to notice this highly-publicized death, discussed openly at an event attended by two of their abortion surveillance staffers, exactly what does it take to get them to notice an abortion death? And how can we even pretend to believe that any serious attempt to accurately count abortion deaths was being made?

Read the entire article here.

Christina Dunigan of Real Choice does a terrific job of documenting the deaths of women who died as a result of abortion both before and after Roe v. Wade — deaths that are often unnoticed or forgotten. A key feature of her blog is a daily post remembering women and girls who died from abortion on that date. It’s grim reading, but it also helps ensure that these women’s lives and deaths are not forgotten and raises awareness that the legalization of abortion hasn’t stopped women from being abused, exploited or even killed by abortion.

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