When Abortion Is Fatal

Pro-life demonstrators were picketing a Chicago abortion facility not long ago, when a 13-year-old girl named Deanna Bell arrived for her appointment. The demonstrators tried to persuade her to consider alternatives. But Deanna was adamant, and they watched her disappear into the facility. They never saw her alive again. A little later an ambulance roared up to the facility, lights blazing, sirens blaring. But it was too late. The ambulance left empty, and its place was taken by a police wagon. Moments later, police officers emerged from the clinic, carrying a stretcher with a still body wrapped from head to foot. The next day, the newspapers told the story: Deanna Bell was dead. During the abortion, some of the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby leaked into her bloodstream, causing sudden heart failure. Abortion activists say they want to keep abortion safe and legal. Well, it is legal, but it's far from safe. Deanna's story is not unique. For example, in just one year (1989), in one suburb of Washington, D.C., three women died following legal abortions. Erica was a 16-year-old girl who had an abortion without telling her parents. During the procedure her uterus was perforated, and she died on her way home. Gladyss was a 28-year-old woman who died when an abortionist failed to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy. She believed the abortion had been successful and didn't even know about her life-threatening condition. Until it was too late. Debra was 34 years old when she went into cardiac arrest during an abortion. She was rushed to a hospital, but it was too late. All three of these cases were reported in newspapers and received wide publicity throughout the state of Maryland. Yet here's a strange fact: When the Centers for Disease Control reported abortion-related deaths for that year, it listed none for the state of Maryland. In fact, for the entire country, the CDC listed only one confirmed death from abortion. How come? How did officials overlook three known cases? There are several possible reasons. First, in most states abortion reporting is completely voluntary—which means the official data collected is just about worthless. Second, autopsy reports often cover up the true cause of death. For example, when Erica died, the autopsy report listed her death as an accident. And third, when a woman develops compli¬cations from an abortion, where does she seek medical help? From the abortionist? Not on your life. She goes to her regular doctor. As a result, abortion clinics rarely have to deal with their mistakes. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist, admits that before abortion was legalized he and his colleagues used to exaggerate the number of deaths from illegal abortions. Today it looks like abortion activists are covering up the number of deaths from legal abortions. The case for abortion is based, from beginning to end, on lies and deceit. So yes, abortion is safe—but not for the woman. It's safe only for the abortionist, who is never forced to confront his mistakes. Even when his patient's life is at stake.


Chuck Colson



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