Becky was a pretty girl — blonde hair, blue eyes, looking every inch a cheerleader. After a pregnancy scare, her parents told her that if she ever did that to them again, they’d throw her out of the house. So when 17-year-old Becky learned that she really was pregnant, she turned to her best friend Heather for help. Together they explored her options. If Becky were to get an abortion in Indiana, she would have to tell her parents. After being threatened with being thrown out of the family home, Becky rejected that option. Perhaps Becky could drive to Kentucky for an abortion. Perhaps she could go to a home for unwed mothers in California. Becky seemed undecided.
Perhaps it was the stress of the pregnancy that knocked Becky off the wagon. She had been through drug detoxification already. But off to a party she went, to forget her troubles, be with the people she thought were her friends. Becky couldn’t even remember what drugs she did at the party. She passed out in her own vomit. That’s probably where the pneumonia got started.
Becky struggled with the pneumonia, afraid to go to the doctor for fear of exposing the pregnancy. But, perhaps in an attempt to strengthen her to fight the ravaging infection in her lungs, Becky’s body rejected her unborn baby. Becky started to miscarry. Seeing the blood, Becky evidently figured that the pregnancy was over and all signs of it gone. She told her parents how sick she was. They rushed her to the hospital. After the doctor had been working on Becky for a while, he told her mother he wasn’t sure if he could save the baby. Karen, Becky’s mother, recalled that she told the doctor, “Never mind that baby! Save my baby!”
But the pneumonia, the same virulent strain that had claimed the life of Muppet creator Jim Henson, killed Becky. For some obscure reason, someone in the coroner’s office put “septic abortion” on the cover sheet of Becky’s autopsy report.
Desperate to find some meaning in their daughter’s death, the parents latched onto the term, “septic abortion.” Perhaps, like most laymen, they didn’t realize that a miscarriage is a form of abortion — what’s called a “spontaneous abortion.” That still leaves the mystery of where the word “septic” came from, since Becky’s reproductive tract was healthy and free of injury or infection. But however the idea arose, Becky’s family decided that Becky must have sought an illegal abortion. Abortion advocates caught wind of the story and recruited the parents as spokesmen against parental involvement laws.
Over the years, the story has become more and more sanitized. Becky’s drug use, her previous pregnancy scare, the fact that her parents had threatened her, fell aside. The story became an eerie parody of Dawn’s story. In the pro-choice version, Becky was the carefree, happy child who never gave her parents any worries. Becky sought an abortion to avoid disappointing her parents, but was stymied by parental involvement laws. Becky procured any one of a variety of amateur abortions. (Here the story gets fuzzy, and different organizations tell different tales — attempts to cause a miscarriage with drugs, a criminal abortionist, Becky’s own hand wielding a coat hanger — none of which had any evidence to support them.) The abortion started an infection in her uterus. The infection traveled to Becky’s lungs and killed her. “She died because of a law,” pro-choicers chant. But Becky’s death wasn’t an abortion death — it was a drug abuse death. The appropriate response would be to address the drug problem, the way parents in Plano, Texas, rallied when the children in their comfortable town began dying of drug overdoses. Becky, the girl who should have become a poster child for saying “No” to drugs, became the poster child for saying “Yes” to clandestine teenage abortions. Her death was an exploited for an utterly unrelated cause, simply because of two words on the cover of a coroner report, and the desperation of an abortion industry that was losing the lucrative teen market.
The Value of A Teenage Girl
Adapted from an article previously published at Rightgrrl
Other Underage Abortion Fatalities: