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James Garner’s mother died of a botched abortion, like too many other women

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Two obituaries published this weekend show how little progress America has made on abortion in the last several decades.

The death of actor James Garner saddened fans across the country. Born James Scott Bumgarner, the 86-year-old Rockford Files star overcame mental and physical abuse from his stepmother – who would regularly beat him with whatever was handy and force him to wear dresses as a form of emasculation – to become one of the most beloved stars of his day. In his autobiography, The Garner Files, he revealed that he had no memory of his birth mother, who died when he was four years old.

“It wasn't until I was fifteen that my cousin Betty told me my mother died of uremic poisoning after a botched abortion,” he wrote. “I have no idea whether my father was involved in the decision to have the abortion or whether he blamed himself for her death. We never talked about it in the family.”

After 1973, the back alley abortionists simply came out of the shadows, hung out a shingle, and continued business as usual.

Reading between the lines, Garner seems to have wondered whether his years of harrowing abuse could have been avoided if his father had intervened. (He also mentions the fact that his mother was a Christian Scientist and, thus, shunned conventional medical treatment.)

The same day Garner died, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran the obituary of Dr. Michael Freiman. Born Seymour Milton Freiman, the 85-year-old became infamous for performing the first legal abortion in Missouri after Roe v. Wade.

The obituary says Freiman referred women to abortionists in places where the procedure was legal before Roe, then pushed to open an abortion facility as soon as possible after the 1973 decision.

He celebrated its grand opening by performing seven abortions in one day.

He, too, had a backstory:

Michael Freiman was a teenager when his cousin had an abortion. It was the 1940s, and abortions were illegal. His cousin had found one of those clandestine places women sought out when they couldn’t find a willing doctor.

The operation was botched. The cousin died, and the abortionist dumped her body on the parking lot in front of an emergency room.

His cousin's tragedy continues to occur too frequently in his chosen industry, with doctors sometimes arranging for injured women to be transported to the ER in their employees' cars to divert attention from their incompetence. 

When they call an ambulance, they often withhold vital information that costs time – or someone's life – as in the case of Tonya Reaves, the 24-year-old Chicago woman who died from a botched abortion in 2012. Planned Parenthood let her bleed for five-and-a-half hours in its facility, then sent her to the emergency room without telling the physicians the cause of her symptoms. Instead of administering life-saving treatment, doctors had to waste precious time determining the cause of the injuries for themselves. In the end, Reaves died of an incomplete abortion, perforated uterus, and needless delay.

The Thomas More Society filed a complaint charging that Planned Parenthood's “abandonment of a patient” led to Tonya Reaves' death.  

Unfortunately, abandonment is standard operating procedure in Big Abortion. Dr. James C. Anderson, M.D., said not a single abortionist ever told him of the cause of the medical problems he had to fix when caring for butchered post-abortive women in his 30 years of practice.

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The well-funded industry is now fighting against bills requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, a move lawmakers hope will reduce patient abandonment of the sort that killed the late Dr. Freiman's cousin.

Their callous decision to place money over the lives of others, pre- or post-natal, should surprise no one. Before Roe v. Wade, abortions were not typically performed by carnival barkers but by bottom-feeding physicians out to make a quick buck. After 1973, the back alley abortionists simply came out of the shadows, hung out a shingle, and continued business as usual.

Meanwhile, the death toll mounts. Participants at the 2013 National Memorial Service for the Preborn, just before the March for Life, read a litany of names of women who had died from legal abortion, led by Reaves. The list was both necessarily incomplete and interminably long.  

With these two obituaries, we may add two more.

And the victimized women, the tears of family members, the profits of the abortion industry, and the deaths of innocent children will continue to multiply until each one of us decides that there have been enough obituaries, written and unwritten, caused by abortion. 



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