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"Gail" Roe

Life Dynamics lists Gail on their "Blackmun Wall" of women killed by safe and legal abortion.

Gail was 23 years old when she approached a physician for an abortion in 1975. Gail was 12 - 13 weeks pregnant.

Gail had two children. Her only pre-existing condition was active drug abuse. The doctor scheduled an abortion in six weeks. This was not unusual in the mid 1970s, before mid-trimester D&E abortions became common. The early second trimester was considered a "grey zone" during which the fetus was too big for a suction abortion, but the amniotic sac was not yet big enough to perform a saline abortion.

By the time the abortion was performed, Gail was 18 weeks pregnant. Saline was injected to kill the fetus. Thirty-five hours later, Gail lost consciousness. Staff caring for her were unable to detect a pulse.

Gail was taken for emergency surgery. She was hemorrhaging from a large hole in her uterus. The fetus and placenta were removed and doctors attempted to suture the hole, to no avail. Finally, they performed a hysterectomy.

Despite this surgery and the administration of seven units of blood, Gail remained in intensive care for five days, before she finally died.


Source: CDC Abortion Surveillance, Annual Summary 1975, Issued April 1977 75-9493

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