Back Alley Abortion – NY Times Commenter Remembers

Clinton, MA | May 19

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, some states will make abortion illegal. If women can’t get a legal abortion, some will get an illegal abortion. And some of them will die. I know, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes. It was the mid-1970s and abortion was illegal in Massachusetts. She was a 16-year old girl from a blue-collar, Catholic family in Fall River. I was a young respiratory therapist working in the ICU of a Boston-based academic medical center. She arrived via helicopter, rather than an ambulance, from her local hospital because when she showed up at their ER, she was in full-blown septic shock. Which was the result of an illegal abortion. Since she and her boyfriend didn’t have the wherewithal to take her to New York City – the nearest locale where she could get a safe, legal abortion – she chose the alternative. And paid for it with her life. It took her three days to die. If she had lived – if she had been able to obtain a safe, legal abortion – she would be in her late 50s today, probably with children or even grandchildren of her own. So, spare me your pious rhetoric about being pro-life until you’ve sat at the bedside of a teenager, just starting out in life, whose body swelled up to twice its normal size, whose skin turned black, whose face was unrecognizable, and whose organs literally dissolved as they were consumed by the bacteria. All because the state, in its infinite wisdom, forbad her from obtaining a safe, legal abortion.


Comment from this article:
Where Abortion Access Would Decline if Roe v. Wade Were Overturned
By Quoctrung Bui, Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz
May 18, 2021