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5, by Mark Crutcher. An expose of the American abortion establishment.
I’m tooting my own horn with this recommendation, since I was part of the team that made Lime 5 a reality. But as a participant in the process, I can vouch for the content: every fact presented was meticulously researched, checked, re-checked, and checked again.
One caveat, though: Despite the intense verification efforts, I discovered two errors in the tens of thousands of pieces of information in the book. On page 58, ARS 28 is blamed for the deaths of two 27-year-old asthmatics two years apart. After the book went to press, we discovered that there was an error on a source document, and that this document actually referred to the 1984 death, and not to a second death. The other error was a typographical error that proofreaders failed to notice, because they weren’t as familiar with the source documents as I was. On page 46, “Suzanne” is cited as dying at the age of 24. She was actually 34.
The greatest fault I find with Lime 5 was our decision to use psuedonoms for everyone in the first two chapters, because I now find it difficult to find cases when I want to refresh my memory about the facts. As one of the LDI employees that made that decision, I appologize for the inconvenience. Believe me when I say I’m regretting it now.
Another complaint is the index. It’s virtually useless for finding specific cases. Sorry.
I would also like to note that the cases cited in the book were not the most egregious cases; they were chosen because they were representitive. When I first read the final draft, I was dismayed that many cases I considered especially poignant had been left out. Had we included all the cases we could substantiate, Lime 5 would have been the size of the Manhattan phone directory. Mark made the final editorial decisions about how many cases to omit, and which cases to omit, and I direct any complaints to him.
Necessity and Sorrow: Life and Death in an Abortion Hospital, by Magda
Denes. A prochoicer’s eyewitness account of one abortion facility.
“Reknown is no guarantee of skill. Skill is no safeguard aginst cruelty. Patients are utterly vulnerable to the mental health of their helpers. The helpers should, therefore, be watched like potential enemies.”
Denes describes herself as “a proabortionist with a bad secular conscience.” In an attempt to emotionally come to grips with her own abortion, Denes decided to immerse herself in an abortion hospital and see what she could see. And what she saw wasn’t what the abortion establishment wanted advertised. Denes’ book is immensely popular with prolifers because it provides them with a way to say, “See? I told you so!” The picture Denes paints is neither particularly grim nor particularly rosy. It is typical. Nothing more, nothing less. Only one section no longer represents typical modern American abortion practice: Due to the annoying tendancy of fetuses to survive saline and other instillation procedures and be born as crippled babies, abortionists gradually changed over to methods such as D&E and the “Partial Birth Abortion,” which directly kill the fetus if performed by a skilled practitioner. Some abortionists still use saline -- some on an outpatient basis, despite the grave risks -- but the saline wards are gone.
Woman Has The Right To Know The Dangers of Legal Abortion, by Anne Saltenberger.
A compilation of abortion injuries and deaths.
Saltenberger’s groundbreaking work deserves high praise. It is tragic that this book never became widely read outside prolife circles.
When we wrote Lime 5, we obtained each of Saltenberger’s original source documents, but since we didn’t use every case we could substantiate, there is a lot of overlap without Lime 5 totally supplanting Every Woman.
Every Woman also wins out over Lime 5 for readability. Saltenberger had the knack for taking a dry case out of a medical journal and making the reader fully aware that a living, breathing woman suffered this ordeal. Saltenberger’s own story, which she tells in the opening pages, is also worthwhile reading, and it explains why the cases are written up in such a “there but for the grace of God go I” tone.
of Choice, by Kevin Sherlock. One researcher’s work uncovering abortion
dangers and deaths.
Kevin Sherlock taught the Lime 5 team a lot of his research methodology, and his skill at digging shows in Victims of Choice. Victims is easier to use as a reference tool than Lime 5 because Kevin uses everyone’s real name. His individual case studies focus entirely on deaths.
But Kevin doesn’t shop at immediate effects. He did extensive research, and draws the inevitable conclusion that women who have had abortions are more likely to suffer complications and even die during subsequent pregnancies. This might explain why, in this age of modern obstetrics where even women with multiple organ transplants can safely give birth, prochoice women have such an exagerated sense of danger. If among their circle of aquaintences are a high proportion of women who have submitted to abortions, they will also hear of more complications and deaths from childbirth than women who distance themselves from abortion.
Kevin also recounts the political roadblocks thrown in the path of his research. It is telling that the CDC readily shares its data with prochoice researchers over the years, but bends over backward to prevent Kevin from gaining access.
He also includes a chapter in which he compares the number of deaths he uncovered for a ten-year period with the number of deaths reported by the CDC, and shows his research coming up with at least 30% more deaths. If his calculations are correct, the implications are staggering.
Kevin’s prose is sometimes vitrolic, his explanations sometimes difficult to follow, but Victims of Choice offers a wealth of information and is well worth the price. Kevin also published a companion book, The Scarlet Survey, that contains information he didn’t think belonged in Victims. The Scarlet Survey is more in-your-face (the tone sounds almost like a lurid true crime magazine), but nevertheless contains a vast amount of useful information. It includes a lot of what might be called “character rap sheets” on abortionists, detailing what trouble they manage to get themselves into when not busy botching abortions.
Search for an Abortionist, by Nancy Howell Lee. In-depth exploration
of how women chose and arranged abortions before Roe v. Wade.
Lee’s sample of aborting women may not be representitive of all women who availed themselves of abortions prior to Roe. After all, it consists of every one she could find and convince to cooperate. Nevertheless, Lee debunks a lot of myths about criminal abortions. Many of her findings about women seeking abortions before legalization probably still apply, particularly her observation that the single greatest factor influencing whether a woman will decide to abort is her perception of what her peers would do in her situation.. This one finding alone can account for the skyrocketing abortion rate in the decade following legalization, as abortion was seen as more and more commonplace and universal.
Story of Jane, by Laura Kaplan. A former criminal abortionist tells
the story of the abortion syndicate she and her friends established in
Chicago in the years prior to Roe.
Although Kaplan paints her picture with the romantic and rosy hues of hindsight, she nevertheless tells a story worth hearing. Of course I can not vouch for the accuracy of her story -- Jane kept no records, after all. The story of the Mother’s Day fiasco the Jane syndicate arranged in Philadelphia is accurate in those specifics that made their way into public record.. It is what she omits that interests me -- such as the fact that Harvey Karman (given the psuedonom “Jordan Bennet”), managed, along with all his other unsavory adventures, to kill a woman in California by performing an abortion on her in a motel room with a nutcracker.
For all the warm fuzzies -- the Jane syndicate was universally caring and compassionate, their clientele universally pampered and grateful -- I have often wondered if the Jane syndicate itself wasn’t responsible for the plethora of abortion complications prochoice doctors reported seeing in the Chicago area in the years immediately before legalization.
Still, Jane is a far cry from the stereotypical greasy old man with a coat hanger, and probably far more true to life.
of Conscience, by Carole Joffe. Profiles of doctors who facilitated
and performed abortions prior to legalization.
In C.S. Lewis’s fantasy, That Hideous Strength, one of the first assignments of a young man initiated into a nefarious plot to take over the worls is to “rehabilitate” a scientist who had been executed for murdering his wife. Knowing this, I find it ironic that Joffe wrote this book in order to “rehabilitate” (that is, change public perception of) criminal abortionists and their associates.
Some of these doctors, like Richard Spencer, simply set up business doing criminal abortions. Others, like Alan Guttmacher, finagled politically to establish new laws and loopholes in laws to facilitate legal abortions.
Of course, the tone of the book would lead one to believe that each of these champions of choice would never so much as have an overdue library book. Their motives are pure, their ideals unshakable, et cetera ad nauseum. But Joffe does admit, for instance, that one of Spencer’s patients died after his tender ministrations, so the facts are probably fairly accurate.
Like The Search for an Abortionist, Doctors of Conscience is an important read for anybody who wants a more balanced view of pre-Roe days than the mass media have been providing.
Scarlet Lady (Alternate title: Blood Money), by Carol Everett. A former
abortion clinic owner bares her soul.
Carol Everett is candid and outspoken in this tell-all story of how she became an abortion magnate, and how she walked away. Like the other inside accounts of abortion I recommend, The Scarlet Lady presents a fairly typical abortion operation. The details of how Carol exploited “do-gooders,” recruited abortion patients from local middle schools, and sold abortions to women whether they were pregnant or not should make your skin crawl.
Is the story accurate? At Life Dynamics were were able to verify the most damning event Carol describes: her complicity in the death of an abortion patient, and the cover-up afterward. We’ve been able to verify the kinds of practices she describes in abortion facilities all over the country. So I would say yes, the story is accurate. It might change your mind about sex ed in the schools.
America, by Bernard Nathanson. The first confession of a former abortionist,
written while he was still doing the occasional abortion.
Pro-choicers beware. Nathanson’s tale of deciet and manipulation might leave you leary of trusting prochoice groups. Nathanson was pivitol in the founding of NARAL (then the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws), and his tales of the politics are highly enlightening.
Nathanson’s style is lively and acerbic. He paints a vivid picture of Harvey Karman, inventor of the Karman Cannual and the “Super Coil.” Since I was able to verify every one of Nathanson’s throw-away comments that I ever looked into (Karman’s exploits, the death of Linda Padfield, Larry Lader’s inventive ramblings), I believe that the story Nathanson tells is accurate.
Nathanson’s adventures at “CRASH” (Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health) are frightening and thought provoking. Nathanson describes an interview with a CRASH administrator just prior to his taking the helm. She said the doctors were “atrocious... sadists, drunks, incompetents, sex maniacs, theives, butchers and lunatics... half of them don’t even wash their hands anymore before doing an abortion, let alone scrubbing. They refuse to use masks or caps, and their mustaches are dragging into the suction machines. I swear, one of these days we’re going to lose one of those guys right into the suction trap and the lab is going to tell us the tissue is pregnancy tissue and the abortion is complete.” Yes, his descriptions of staffers are far more colorful than what I’ve found tell of elsewhere. But then, my information on most abortion facilities comes from health inspection reports, depositions, and medical board reviews, which do not lend themselves to drawing character sketches of the people involved.
Don't let the fact that this book is so old deter you: everything in it holds valid today, with the exception of Nathanson's chapter about "spurious" pro-life arguements. The logic he tried to debunk has proven chillingly valid. Read it and weep.
the Shooting Begins, by James Davison Hunter
Hunter explores the "culture war" with a focus on abortion. The chapter, "What Americans Really Think About Abortion" is refreshing and insightful, and a must-read for all concerned citizens.
Women: Silent No More, by David Reardon
Reardon's groundbreaking research into the effects of abortion on women. Methodologically sound, very readable, informative. Also available in hardcover.
To Be Your Own Detective, by Kevin Sherlock
An excellent handbook for digging up dirt on your neighborhood abortionist. Also available on IBM compatable disc.
Practice, by Warren Hern
The difinitive how-to book, excellent for malpractice attorneys, legislators, and researchers. Very graphic -- not for the squeamish.
Aspects of Stress Following Abortion, by Ann Speckhard
A detailed analysis of post-abortion stress.
Private Choice: Abortion In America in the Seventies, by John Thomas
Don't let the title fool you -- this book is as relevant today as it was when it was written. Noonan explores court decisions relating to abortion and provides an excellent analysis.
Your Baby When Others Say No! by Madeline Picora Nugnet
The book that never should have had to be written. An excellent resource for anyone helping pregnant women.
Woman's Book of Choices, by Rebecca Chalker, Carol Downer, and Suzann Gage
Lessons in manipulation, this book is an excellent peek into how the prochoice mind works.
Feminism Yesterday and Today, by Mary Krane Derr
A collection of prolife feminist writings, from the founding mothers of feminism to contemporary writers.
Choices, by Frederica Matthewes-Green
Focus groups of post-abortion women, exploring in depth the reasons women have abortions and what we can do to help women avoid abortion.
and Answers, By Jack and Barbara Willke
The classic prolife reference handbook.
and Social Justice, by Thomas Hilgers
An excellent anthology full of great information.
the Shadow of the Curette, by Colin P. Harrison
An excellent analysis of how perceptions of abortion changed, with the unwitting help of abortion opponents.
Investigation of a Wrongful Death, by Ellen Frankfort
Although I disagree with Frankfort when she blames Rosie's death on the Hyde Amendment, her excellent book nevertheless is the only glimpse I've ever seen into the Centers for Disease Control's investigation of abortion deaths.
of women and girls who made the terminal choice
How Many Women Die?
From Back-Alley Butcher to Abortion Provider: The Adventures of Jesse Ketchum
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