Los Angeles Times Obituary Celebrates Man Who Made Abortions "Safer"

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 19, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Los Angeles Times Obituary Celebrates Man Who Made Abortions "Safer"

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by Tim Graham
May 19
, 2008

LifeNews.com Note: Tim Graham is the director of media analysis for the Media Research Center and was a White House correspondent for World magazine. He is a graduate of Bemidji (Minnesota) State University.

Feminist political correctness washed over Elaine Woo’s Los Angeles Times obituary honoring Harvey Karman, "a flamboyant psychologist whose invention made a key contribution to women’s reproductive health, particularly by making abortions simpler, cheaper and less painful."

The Times headline was "Harvey Karman, 84; invented device for safer, easier abortions." No one at the Times thought if the abortion was "safer" for the unborn child, just for the alleged mother, and no one must have wondered if the term " women’s reproductive health" sounded euphemistic, especially since reproducing was something that was being avoided. It’s at best "counter-reproductive."

But Woo found friends and policy allies who touted his humanitarianism for making abortion "safe" and easy, especially by inventing a tube (or cannula) which made abortion easier:

He freely demonstrated its use for doctors and other medical professionals and in 1972 was part of a humanitarian mission to terminate the pregnancies of 1,500 Bangladesh women and girls who had been raped by Pakistani soldiers. His cannula is still widely used today.

"Harvey Karman did more for safe abortion around the world than practically any other person in the world," said Dr. Malcolm Potts, Bixby professor of Population, Family Planning and Maternal Health at UC Berkeley, who accompanied Karman to Bangladesh 35 years ago.

"Karman’s name is not known, yet his ingenuity and to some extent his courage has made safe abortion available to literally millions of women around the world."

At least Woo turned to Karman’s rather mixed record for "safer" abortions in paragraph 9:

Karman also had many detractors, particularly because of his attempt to revolutionize second-trimester abortions with a device called the super coil, which was inserted into the uterus and expanded when exposed to moisture, causing a miscarriage. It caused serious complications, including hemorrhaging and infection, when it was used on about a dozen women in Philadelphia on Mother’s Day in 1972.

Woo found a feminist to decry his experimentation on women’s bodies, so that feminists would be on both sides of the discussion of his legacy.