Ketchum was a former criminal abortionist from Ypsilanti, Michigan who had relocated to New York specifically to open an abortion practice [after New York legalized abortion]. He had allowed another abortion patient, Margaret Smith, to bleed to death in his office from a hysterotomy abortion just four months earlier. A hysterotomy was like a c-section, but with the intention of allowing the fetus to die of prematurity.
Ketchum performed a vaginal hysterotomy on Carole on October 20, 1971. She was 14 weeks pregnant.
After the abortion, Carole went into shock, and was taken to a hospital. She was in shock when she arrived. Despite all efforts, Carole died before doctors could even fully assess the extent of her injuries. She left behind four children.
There are no known records of any women dying as a result of illegal abortions performed by Ketchum. The same is true of Milan Vuitch and Benjamin Munson, two other doctors who performed abortions both before and after legalization.
The number of maternal abortion deaths had actually dropped dramatically long before abortion was legalized, as a result of improvements in medicine. Indeed, the legalization of abortion has failed to prevent women from being exploited, abused, traumatized, maimed, injured and killed before, during and after abortion.
Women and girls still die from abortion, but their deaths are no longer automatically investigated by police or even always counted in the official statistics because they are no longer the result of criminal activity.
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Two Deaths from “Safe and Legal” Abortions: Would More Women Die If Not for Legalization?
5 Myths About Back-Alley Abortions
Exception or Rule? Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” Not So Rare
Abortionists Are Not Held Accountable for Mistakes