Abortion Advocates Still Peddle Misleading Story on Becky Bell’s Death

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 16, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Advocates Still Peddle Misleading Story on Becky Bell’s Death Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 16,

Cincinnati, OH (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates and their willing accomplices in the media continue to peddle the misleading story that an Indiana teenager supposedly died from an illegal abortion because she didn’t want to tell her parents about her pregnancy. Becky Bell became a cause for pro-abortion groups 19 years ago despite the fact she never had an abortion.

Abortion backers said Bell proved their point that parental involvement laws put teenage girls in danger.

Jennifer Branch, a pro-abortion Cincinnati attorney, put forward the myth again in an interview with the local City Beat newspaper on Wednesday.

"The last woman who had any publicity was the minor in Indiana who didn’t want to let her parents know — and she had an illegal abortion and she died," Branch claimed. "It’s been a long time and so people aren’t educated by the reality of what happens when abortion becomes illegal."

The newspaper identified the girl Branch referred to as Becky Bell, "who, even on her deathbed, was too embarrassed to tell her parents what happened."

However, it appears Branch and the liberal rag may need a little education about the circumstances surrounding Bell’s death.

When Bell died, abortion advocates dubbed Becky the "first known victim of parental consent laws," launched massive media campaigns, and enlisted her parents to hit the talk show and lecture circuit to denounce parental notification and consent laws all over the country.

That received significant attention until National Right to Life received a copy of the post-mortem report, which showed no sign of either induced abortion or infection in or near the reproductive organs.

Instead, the report showed Bell died from a deadly and fast-acting form of pneumonia that had nothing to do with her pregnancy or her reproductive system.

She had contracted this especially lethal form of pneumonia at about the same time that she apparently had a miscarriage — though the two were not related.

Various doctors have confirmed that Bell did not die from an induced abortion.

The physician who personally examined Becky’s body, Dr. John Pless, head of forensic pathology at Indiana University Medical Center, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper in September 1990 that "I cannot prove she had an illegal abortion. I cannot prove she had anything but a spontaneous abortion [miscarriage]."

Dr. Curtis Harris, president of the American Academy of Medical Ethics, examined the post-mortem report and consulted with four leading medical experts.

Together they agreed with Pless that Bell had an incomplete miscarriage, not an abortion, and the pneumonia that killed her was unrelated to her pregnancy.

The Cincinnati City Beat Newspaper included nothing about the post-mortem examination of Bell’s death nor comments from pro-life advocates refuting Branch’s claims in its article.

ACTION: Contact the City Beat with your views about the biased reporting at Cincinnati CityBeat, 811 Race St., 5th Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Phone: 513-665-4700, Fax: 513-665-4369, or email editor John Fox at [email protected]