To the editors:
What was the point of Mildred Taylor's account of her "Day in New York" (June 19)? Was it that women should be grateful they no longer have to fly out of state to get their "little beasts" killed?
If so, I wonder what kind of story a young Chicago girl would have written about her "safe legal" abortion last New Year's Eve right here on Chicago's south side. We'll never know, because she wasn't as lucky as Mildred. She died six hours later after an emergency hysterectomy. Poor Lamby.
She didn't have to go to some old brownstone where none of the staff looked "like real medical people." She went to a clinic that looks like the real thing from the outside, but the unfortunate 18-year-old probably had a different opinion of it when she was forced to leave "while in shock (from massive loss of blood) and unable to care for herself." She was in her second trimester, but the doctor employed first trimester techniques.
Accused of "flagrant and obvious malpractice," he is still free to repeat the crime while awaiting trial. We've come a long way, baby!
But this is 1987 and that happens only rarely, you say? Don't believe it.
Consider what Mildred did when she realized she was bleeding to death. Did she return to the Brownstone Gang for help? Of course not. Her one objective was to get home to a real doctor. One who knew her. One who cared. Someone who doesn't kill babies for a living.
That's what happens with most botched abortions, which is why an accurate account of them is impossible. Victims of them go straight to their own family doctor or to the emergency room of a hospital.
If it's a perforated uterus and leads to pelvic abscess, sepsis, and death, the official report lists pelvic abscess and septicemia as the cause of death, not abortion. If the mother is hemorrhaging, gets a transfusion and hepatitis, and dies months later, abortion isn't listed as the cause of her death.
If nondisclosure and nonreporting of venereal disease is the rule, not the exception, how much more pressure is there on the doctor not to disclose that this or that complication or death was related to an induced abortion?
If your anonymous author is suggesting that the tootsies in today's clinics no longer lie to "patients" as they did to her back in '73, she's mistaken. That pink plastic uterus factory is still turning them out by the thousands but, like the two she was shown, they're still unreal. They don't include a replica of the little baby inside, the "thing" that gets torn apart, limb by limb, when that "small vacuum cleaner" is turned on, as it is more than 4,000 times a day here in America.
Just think of all the fetuses floating down our civilized cities' sewers and all the anonymous mothers saying good-bye to them, thanking everyone, forgiving, blessing. Hail women's right to choose!
Illinois Right to Life Committee
"Mildred Taylor" replies:
Lionel Trilling once said, "Where misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood."
However, since you ask, one of the points I was trying to make is this: If abortion is made illegal--the goal of the Right to Life people--women will once again be forced to leave the relative safety of their own real doctors, who know them and care about them, and put themselves at the mercy of abortion mills like the one I described.
(Incidentally, I notice that, as usual, you are dumping all the guilt and shame of abortion on women. Consider this: every time a woman has an abortion, a man has one too.)
Anyway, thanks for reading.