Shirley Payne

Shirley Payne30s, 1980s, florida, quackery, delayintransport, hemorrhagedeathSUMMARY: Shirley Payne, age 33, died January 4, 1983 after an abortion performed by Dr. Hipolito Barreiro at Women’s Care Clinic in Miami, FL. Since Barreiro did not have an active license, Shirley was counted as an illegal abortion death by the CDC.

On January 4, 1983, Albert Payne got a phone call from a family friend, Debbie Manning, who worked at the emergency room at a Miami hospital. Debbie gave Albert some shocking news: His 33-year-old wife, Shirley Yvonne Evans Payne, mother of their three children ages 3 to 12, was dead. She had bled to death from an abortion.

“No way my wife is pregnant,” Albert had responded. He called the day care center. Shirley had never showed up to pick up the children.

Shirley had undergone what she expected to be a safe and legal abortion at Woman’s Care Center in Miami. She was 16-18 weeks pregnant.

Shirley suffered a perforated uterus. Dr. Hipolito Barreiro made a frantic call to another doctor he knew, Nsibide Ipke, who had a practice 10 blocks from the clinic, wanting Ipke to come over and fill out clinic forms. “You’ve got to come sign. I’m not licensed.”

Ipke, who said that he’d believed Barreiro to be licensed, went to the clinic to see what was going on and found Barreiro trying to attend to Shirley before calling an ambulance.

When paramedics arrived on the scene, they reportedly found Shirley with an IV in her arm, lying on a couch, bleeding heavily.

Shirley arrived at the hospital in critical condition due to delay of transfer. An emergency hysterectomy was performed to try to save Shirley’s life, but she bled to death in surgery. She was the second patient from that clinic to die in less than three weeks, and the fourth to die in less than four years.

Barreiro continued to call Ipke after Shirley’s death, trying to get him to say that he had done the abortion.

Ruth Montero (August, 1979), Maura Morales (May, 1981) and Myrta Baptiste (December, 1982) also died from abortions at the clinic, owned by Hipolito Barreiro. Trained in Argentina and West Africa, but not licensed in U.S. Barreiro evidently perpetrated Shirley’s fatal abortion without documenting this fact on her clinic records.

Ikpe recorded one of the many calls from Barreiro and handed the tape over to the police.

After Shirley’s death, authorities lame ted that they were powerless to oversee abortion facilities in Florida. “We have no authority to look into sanitary conditions or whether a clinic’s location is near a hospital,” a licensing and certification official told a reporter for Florida Today. A clinic could only be investigated in the event of a complaint or a patient death, the official said, and that the only permissible grounds for state action would be if the abortion had been done by somebody other than a licensed physician.

While authorities told reporters that greater state oversight could protect women from unsavory abortion clinics, the clinic owners indicated that such a law would be a form of anti-abortion harassment. The Florida Abortion Council, an organization of abortion clinic owners, had gotten a US district court to strike down a 1980 Florida law that would have allowed state oversight.

While asserting that state oversight wasn’t needed, FLAC representative Patricia Baird Windle said that FLAC had denied membership to Women’s Care Clinic because of patient deaths in August of 1979 and 1981.

For more background on lawsuits against the clinic, read “Abortion Clinic’s Files Seized,” Miami Herald, January 7, 1983.


  • “Fourth Woman Dies After Abortion at Miami Clinic,” Miami Herald, Jan. 5, 1983
  • “Miami police tie 4th death to abortions,” The Times-Picayune, .Jan. 6, 1983
  • “4th Woman Dies In Abortion Clinic,” The Daytona Beach Morning Journal, Jan. 6, 1983
  • “Clinic Owner is Held After Latest Death,” Miami Herald, Jan. 8, 1983
  • “2 die in 17 days at Miami abortion clinic, Florida Today (Cocoa, FL), Jan. 8, 1983
  • “Clinic owner held in abortion death,” The Mobile (AL) Register, Jan. 10, 1983
  • “Miami Abortion Clinic Closed Down,” The Ocala Star-Banner, Jan. 11, 1983
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology September 1986
  • CDC Abortion Surveillance 1983




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