Its war on a woman costs Planned Parenthood $2 million

Remember Tonya Reaves, the woman who died in 2012 from a botched abortion in a downtown Chicago Planned Parenthood Clinic?

It has taken several years, but her family finally got justice when Planned Parenthood, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation agreed to pay $2 million in a wrong death settlement to Ms. Reaves surviving son.

Tonya Reaves

Tonya Reaves

Funny thing, though. While Ms. Reaves death did receive some notice when it happened, the settlement award has received none that I can find among the mainstream media.

It was on July 20, 2011 that the 24-year-old died after a late-term abortion at Planned Parenthood’s Loop Health Center from uncontrolled bleeding. According to reports, the center delayed for more than five hours to transport Ms. Reaves to the hospital, where she reported faced additional delays.

Let me say it again: She was left to bleed for more than five hours at the clinic.

As the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm noted in a statement:

After the botched abortion took place, Tonya Reaves was left to bleed for five and a half hours in the Planned Parenthood clinic without medical treatment. Furthermore, when Ms. Reaves was finally transferred to the hospital, it took several more hours for her to be treated properly, which indicates that Planned Parenthood did not provide the hospital with sufficient information regarding Ms. Reaves’ condition. The autopsy after her death revealed that Ms. Reaves had suffered perforation of the uterus.

This is either craven indifference or, at best, appalling incompetence.

So, here’s the deal: The abortion industry–it’s leading practitioner being Planned Parenthood–regularly insists that abortion is completely safe, that we need a virtually unregulated industry (like we have in Illinois) because without it we would have to return to the days of (unregulated) “back-alley” abortions.

Having been a member of the mainstream media for almost my entire professional life, I’m at a total loss to understand why this story has received no mention–none that I can find–in the mainstream or Chicago media. Critics of the mainstream media routinely charge that such omissions (and other sins of commission) are the result of a left-leaning media bias.

I want to resist the kind of thinking that ascribes such a widespread bias to an entire profession. But I’m hard put to come up with another reason for the media’s failure to take notice of this important story. Until I see otherwise, I guess I just have to agree with the observation is that the media have intentionally ignored the story because it deviates from their preferred narrative.


Do you think that your abortion clinic is “safe, clean and skilled?”

Houston Clinic Loses License for Doing 268 Illegal Abortions Breaking Pro-Life Law

Thomas More Society calls the payment “hush money.”

Media ignore the settlement.

Tonya Reaves autopsy report.

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  • I also read your other 2012 post on this tragic story. Sadly, it seems as though you're dead set on exploiting this poor woman and her family as a means to bolster your pro-life stance. Is it possible that this settlement wasn't as a big a news story as you'd like because there are thousands of settlements every year due to horrendously botched medical procedures? Are you fighting to hear more about those in mainstream media as well, or just this particular one to serve your cause?

  • In reply to Christine Arreola:

    My cause? How about better inspection of abortion clinics? If you have followed this story, you will know that the state has been somewhat, ahem, lax in its determination to ensure that all abortions are safe. You'll also know the history of the abortion industry's opposition to reasonable regulation. You'll also acquaint yourself from the groundbreaking Chicago Sun-Times series "Abortion Profiteers" and how the industry opposed reasonable reforms to address the widespread problems the series disclosed. Can you confidently say in light of the state's less than aggressive enforcement of its rules that similar conditions don't exist today?

    You can accuse me of following this story because of my pro-life views, but can pro-choicers justify their inclination to ignore it? I guess if pro-lifers don't follow it, no one will.

  • In reply to Christine Arreola:

    It is appalling that you are so willing to sweep this woman's story under the rug because of your pro abortion agenda. The mainstream media also did it's best to ignore the story of Kermit Gosnell's house of horror in Pennsylvania, and a like story in Maryland. The abortion lobby continues to fight tooth and nail to prevent any regulation of abortion clinics. Dead and maimed women are just collateral damage to the abortion absolutists.

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    In reply to Christine Arreola:

    It is noteworthy because this needless loss of two lives occurred only because at some point in our culture we acquiesced to the notion that to slaughter one of our own for the sake of convenience is an acceptable practice. That foolish pride that tells somehow in the last 100 years we have intellectually "progressed" to such a state of wisdom that we can disregard the very laws of nature, that nearly every species on earth respects...that you are responsible for the life you create.

    I dont mean to put words in his mouth, but I believe we are all fighting to end an inhumane practice (or "choice" if it makes it easier for you justify) so monstrous that its not even conceivable to the rat, the jackal or the weasel.

  • In reply to Paul Winters:

    My goal here isn't to change your opinion. I will not change yours as you will not change mine. However, in your attempt at an eloquent comment, I couldn't help but chuckle at your comparison of human beings discussing women's health with the actions of rats, jackals and weasels. It is common for rodents to eat their young. Weasels may kill and eat siblings as well as their offspring. In fact, one of my pet rats ate their entire litter. These animals might not perform medical procedures, but they do eat each other. Some food for thought.

  • What happened to Ms. Reaves was a horrible tragedy. Though nothing can make up for the loss of a human life, Planned Parenthood has paid a price. The fact is only 3% of Planned Parenthood's services are for abortions. And none of these are paid for by the federal government. Christine Arreola is absolutely right. Your example of medical malpractice is very selective and shamefully self-serving.

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    In reply to Aquinas wired:

    For what matters to PP, do abortions represent 3% of their gross each year? Easy answer is no.

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    In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Of course when you count every pamphlet individually as "what they do " it is pretty easy to understate the fact that they Mostly do abortions. The only thing more misleading would be to count each word in those pamphlets as more thingsthey do.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Aquinas, I'm surprised that someone as intelligent as you went for this--shall we say?--misdirection? According to PP's own reporting (we have to depend on them because reliable national figures are not kept by many regulators), 3 percent of its services are, indeed, for abortions. In this calculus, an abortion is counted the same as any other "service" even (undefined) minor ones.

    But PP doesn't report what percentage of its gross income derives from abortions. One (pro-life) estimate is that it ranges up to 37 percent.

    Politfact checked out this ( and other claims (some wild ones from the pro-life side) and concluded that the 37 percent figure is possible. But cautions that the figures come from PP. Furthermore, if the total revenues, from government grants and other sources, are counted, then the percent could fall to 13 percent.

    Even so, 13 percent is a lot more than 3 percent. Plus, if PP wanted to be totally transparent about the issue, it could clear it up with full disclosure--but it won't. Plus, PP is indisputably the nation's largest abortion provider so any attempt by this organization to minimize that has to be put in its larger context. Plus, as you know, federal grants and other dollars are fungible, so they, in effect, subsidize abortions by freeing up money that would otherwise go for abortion to be used for other activities.

    Again, the central issue, in Illinois and I presume many other places, is: just how well are the abortion clinics regulated? Those truly concerned about the women's health should be as aggressive in getting that answer as they are in protecting a woman's right to have an abortion.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    By no means am I advocating abortion, but I see a flaw in your last argument regarding percentage of revenues. What percentage of an orthopedic surgeon's revenue come from surgery versus office visits? A surgeon may see over 30 patients a day in their office, but will actually scrub in on far fewer cases in a week. However, those surgical procedures drive up their revenues. I assume the same holds true for planned parenthood. They may not make as much money distributing birth control, but it obviously is a much larger percentage of their daily operations.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    However did you come up with that comforting number of 3%? Even the most rigorous investigators find it nearly impossible to find the legitimate number of abortions performed there. I'm sure you remember their claim that most of their services were for mammograms and it was discovered most of the clinics didn't even have the equipment. PP. likewise receives tax-free status so it is, by default, receiving government aid. PP just sued Alaska to prevent their ban on tax-funded abortions.
    Your curious choice of that great theologian and empiricist belies your reasoning. Poor Thomas is turning over in his grave.

  • In reply to emer83:

    I'm sure my namesake has much better things to do in heaven than to worry about a comment on a blog. But I can't imagine how my limited response would offend him in the least. BTW there is no ban on tax-funded abortions under the circumstances of rape, incest, danger to the life of the woman, or medical necessity.

  • Two million dollars is not an unusually large settlement for the medical malpractice wrongful death of a young adult. Nor are three years an unusually long time to reach a settlement in such lawsuits. You suggest that Planned Parenthood will pay the $2 million, but that is unclear, since Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation were also defendants in the lawsuit and joined in the settlement.

    If you were the editor of a major news outlet, where would you place this story?

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Page One.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    You confirm DonnaJeanne's observation.

  • This certainly is a tragic story. However, it is no different than the other medical malpractice and/or wrongful death verdicts handed down daily. We generally don't hear about them either. It is clear to me from the post and your further comments that this is about your anti-abortion agenda and nothing more. And that is sad and inexcusable.

  • In reply to DonnaJeanne:

    What is sad and inexcusable are pro-choicers who choose to ignore the harm done to women because of their rigid ideology. The reason that pro-lifers believe that this needs attention because it isn't any run-of-the-mill medical malpractice, as you would have it. It flies in the face of all the propaganda about abortion providers being competent and careful. Pro-lifers emphasize it but because pro-choicers such as yourself choose to ignore it--leaving it to pro-lifers to make an issue out of it.

  • To those that are pro-life, what is the solution to abortion? Are you suggesting the females should have their babies and just give it up for adoption instead?

  • In reply to Richard S.:

    Why are you going off point? Whether Ms. Reaves wanted to have her baby, keep it, give it up for adoption or end her pregnancy isn't the issue here. Here is a woman who had exercised her choice and, because of malpractice, paid for it with her life.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Going off point, the story is about abortion. You pro-life people don't want a mother to abort her baby, but it seems like after the baby is born you could careless about what happens to it.

    People have surgery every day and some die from routine surgery as well. It happens.

  • In reply to Richard S.:

    "You pro-life people don't want a mother to abort her baby, but it seems like after the baby is born you could careless about what happens to it."

    What's your evidence for this absorb, insulting stereotype? That some pro-life people might disagree with levels of federal domestic spending is not any evidence. You need only examine the level of social, medical, familial and economic services provided by, say, the Catholic Church. But you anti-life people keep repeating this canard as if it is truth. Say if it often enough and it becomes the truth.

    By the way, I believe you meant to say, " couldn't care less...."

  • Speaking of "Madness" Dennis...the "Pro-Choice" Democrats run every major Government operation in the State of Illinois, yet have neglected to pay social service providers on a timely basis for many years now, all the while blowing taxpayer money on State Owned Hotels and early retirement programs for State Workers.

    If the Pro-Choice people are so worried about the care of newborn babies born into poverty etc, why do they keep voting Democrat?


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