Isabel Roe

Isabel Roe1980s, 20s, hemorrhagedeath, infectionSUMMARY: “Isabel,” age 22, died in 1981 after an abortion.

Abortion advocates often criticize prolife activists for not having ever-so-scientific sources, instead relying on lawsuits and news articles. Well, today I’ll bring you a case from the Centers for Disease Control — not exactly a hotbed of prolife activism. Life Dynamics calls this woman “Isabel” on their “Blackmun Wall,” so I’ll refer to her as “Isabel” as well.

The CDC Abortion Surveillance Annual Summary for 1981 describes the death of this 22-year-old mother of one. She was believed to be 12 weeks pregnant when she went to a doctor’s office for an abortion.

The doctor told the CDC that Isabel was “uncooperative” during the abortion, so he recommended hospitalization to complete the procedure. Isabel and her mother requested that he medicate her further and try again. The doctor reported that Isabel “began to buck and began severe violent gyrating movements,” so he suspected a perforation and suggested hospitalization. He said Isabel and her mother refused. He said that he monitored her for three hours, and that her vital signs were stable so he sent her home.

The doctor said he called repeatedly to check on Isabel and that her mother reported she was “comfortable, resting well, feeling fine.” He said that she did not keep her follow up appointment.

Four days after the abortion, the doctor said, the mother called at 4AM, saying that Isabel was “not looking well.” The doctor said he went to the home, found Isabel sitting up, lethargic but responsive. He summoned an ambulance. Isabel became unresponsive during the trip to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to the CDC, the death “was attributed to uterine perforation, intra-abdominal hemorrhage, and peritonitis.” No autopsy was performed. The CDC attributed the death to the possiblity that Isabel was more than 12 weeks pregnant, the lack of cooperation of Isabel and her mother in refusing hospitalization, and the doctor continuing the procedure in his office despite the patient’s lack of cooperation.

I would add that I personally am somewhat skeptical of the doctor’s recall of events. If Isabel was “bucking and gyrating,” and she and her mother requested more medication, might the doctor not have been providing adequate anesthesia? And if the anesthesia was inadequate, and if the pregnancy might well have been more advanced than 12 weeks, what other inadequacies might there have been in his care of the patient?

  1. 1900s
  2. 1910-1919
  3. 1920s
  4. 1930s
  5. 1940s
  6. 1950s
  7. 1960s
  8. 1970s
  9. 1980s
  10. 1990s
  11. 19th century
  12. 2000-2009
  13. 20s
  14. 30s
  15. 40s
  16. NAF
  17. abortifacient
  18. abortion
  19. abortion mill
  20. abortion mortality
  21. abortionists
  22. abortionists — female
  23. abortionists — male
  24. alabama
  25. anesthesia
  26. arizona
  27. black women
  28. botched abortion
  29. california
  30. chicago
  31. colorado
  32. connecticut
  33. cover-up
  34. death
  35. deaths
  36. deception
  37. delay in transport
  38. delay in treatment
  39. district of columbia
  40. dumped body
  41. ectopic
  42. embolism
  43. falsifying forms
  44. fetal indications
  45. florida
  46. former criminal abortionist
  47. george tiller
  48. georgia
  49. hemorrhage death
  50. hospitals
  51. illegal – doctor
  52. illegal – midwife
  53. illegal – nurse
  54. illegal – paramedical
  55. illegal – post roe
  56. illegal – unknown
  57. illegal – untrained
  58. illegal abortion
  59. illinois
  60. inadequate documents
  61. inadequate equipment
  62. inadequate resuscitation
  63. incomplete abortion
  64. indiana
  65. infection
  66. kansas
  67. legal abortion
  68. llinois
  69. louisiana
  70. maryland
  71. massachusetts
  72. maternal indications
  73. maternal mortality
  74. michigan
  75. mills
  76. missouri
  77. mortality
  78. national abortion federation
  79. new jersey
  80. new mexico
  81. new york
  82. north carolina
  83. ohio
  84. oklahoma
  85. pennsylvania
  86. planned parenthood
  87. pre-roe legal
  88. previous misconduct
  89. prostaglandin
  90. quackery
  91. questionable stories
  92. ru-486
  93. rupture
  94. saline
  95. secret abortion
  96. self-induced
  97. suicide
  98. teens
  99. texas
  100. wisconsin