I once asked a girl out on a date in the early to mid- 1970's when I lived in Kankakee, Illinois. I was a baby teacher at Bishop McNamara. The girl in question was easy on the eyes, working on a Masters Degree at University of Chicago and lived in the Lakeview neighborhood. Because she was a more than physically fetching woman and I am and remain a shallow and goatishly inclined ID-impelled male breeder, I was attracted to say the least. My better angels were awakened later in the evening.
I drove into Chicago in my 1968 reptilian green Chevy Chevelle and picked the young woman up on Sheridan Road. She worked as a volunteer at Planned Parenthood situated across from my Alma Mater Loyola University of Chicago. I took her to an Indian restaurant on Clark Street - The Bengal Lancer I believe -great tandoori chicken. Immediately conversation turned to a Woman's Right to Choose. I was against it. How could I? Easy. My uncle Larry Hickey welded shut the doors of an brand new incinerator at Cook County Hospital used solely to burn the bodies of aborted children. Cook County Board President George Dunne was pissed but he later promoted Larry "Bud" Hickey to Chief Engineer of Cook County. " They are not children; they are unwanted tissues." The girl got uglier and it was not the lighting. Few things put me off my feed, but an ugly woman tops the pile.
Prior to her grilling about Women, Choice, Patriarchy, and Tissue, I had thought that this broad resembled Faye Dunaway. My post-prandial opinion was that she was about as sexually and spiritually appealing as Bela Abzug with a cold sore.
I was never a strident Pro Lifer. Abortion is murder and no amount of Hegelian parsing and hair-splitting can make it anything else. America accepted the killing of unwanted children. That seems to have been the beginning of our problems as a people. If you can swallow a fetus, you can eat anything. Never acquired the taste myself.
Today Megan Twohey of the Chicago Tribune wrote a stone-cold sober piece on the fact that the State of Illinois is not getting reports on abortions. I do not know where Ms. Twohey stands on the issue, but she writes a clear and cold-blooded report.
Why does the information matter?
The confidential reports are "very important from both a demographic and public health viewpoint," according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which surveys abortion data collected by the states.In addition to illuminating trends in unplanned pregnancies and documenting access to abortion, the reports have helped to reveal that certain procedures carry higher risks of complications and that dangers increase exponentially as the pregnancy progresses.
In Illinois, reporting also provides an opportunity to monitor all doctors who perform abortions. Not all abortion providers are licensed as such. The Department of Public Health has licensed 14 providers as ambulatory surgical treatment or pregnancy termination specialty centers.
But licensing is different in other settings where abortions are performed, including at clinics where surgeries account for less than 50 percent of their business and at private physicians offices.
It is unclear which providers are making reports.
The New York-based Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research organization, conducts its own accounting across the country. Its information is widely viewed as more accurate than what is collected by state regulators because the organization makes extensive efforts to identify abortion doctors and follow up with them.
It was Guttmacher that located 37 providers in Illinois in 2008, and it is Guttmacher that has consistently counted thousands more abortions per year than the number recorded by state regulators.
A Tribune examination of the reporting data collected by the state revealed missing information.
Providers often did not specify, as required, whether a complication was a tear of the uterus or another specific problem.
In certain medical malpractice cases reviewed by the Tribune, women said they were never informed by their provider that the abortion was unsuccessful and later underwent challenging pregnancies, painful deliveries and other complications.
Others suffered anesthesia-related problems, hemorrhaging and infections, according to the suits.
The federal government also identified gaps in Illinois' abortion surveillance system, saying that more than 15 percent of reports in 2007 did not specify how far along pregnancies were and what type of procedure was used.
Jakubek said the numbers of abortion providers documented by Illinois regulators and Guttmacher are different because they use different counting methods. The research organization's tally includes hospitals, clinics and physicians' offices. Jakubek said the 26 providers identified by state regulators "only includes facilities," but declined to elaborate on her definition of facility.
The problem of underreporting isn't limited to abortion, said John Lumpkin, who left the Department of Public Health in 2003 after serving as director for 12 years. But the agency lacks the funds to address it, he said.
"Whether it's flu, food poisoning or pregnancy termination, we knew there was underreporting going on," said Lumpkin, who now directs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Care Group. "The health department doesn't have the resources to follow up with every doctor's office that is reporting food poisoning or flu, nor did it have resources to follow up with every provider of pregnancy termination."
Stanley Henshaw, a Guttmacher researcher, has explored abortion reporting problems and "lax enforcement" across the country.
Some providers feared that reports would fall into the hands of anti-abortion protesters or competitors, even though breaches of confidentiality are rare.
Today, Henshaw theorizes it is the shoddiest operators who are not reporting the abortions they perform. Either they refuse to comply or are so off the radar they are unaware of the requirement.
Abortion's Dominatrices Planned Parenthood are some cold blooded parsers:
"It is useful public health information. … We'd hope all providers would comply," said Carole Brite, president of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.
At the same time, Planned Parenthood could not confirm for the Tribune whether it had reported the 2002 death of Stevenson's wife, only that it had reported the 2008 death of another patient. The organization said it had no reason to believe the 2002 death was not reported but that the records were in storage.
And Family Planning Associates said it could not confirm whether it had reported three deaths, in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
A woman who identified herself as a manager of the Women's Aid Clinic of Lincolnwood would not comment on a 2009 death.
The Tribune identified these deaths as part of its review of malpractice suits.
Providers are required to report all abortion-related deaths to the state, not just those in which the death was directly caused by abortion or those involving wrongdoing on the part of health care workers.
Megan Twohey of the Chicago Tribune may be opening a can of gore like the one spilled all over Philadelphia. This article might shed some light on the subservient elected chattel in the service of Planned Parenthood - most elected officials and nearly all Democrats.
Planned Parenthood has a history of fronting its blood letting with well-made-up and fashionable women. What they do really makes them as ugly as a bald dog playing in pile of bloody guts.