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Conscience. 1996 Autumn;17(3):23-4.

Investigation of a wrongful death.



This reprint of a 1979 article tells the story of Rosie Jiminez, a 27-year-old Mexican-American woman who died in McAllen General Hospital in Texas on October 3, 1977, from the complications of an illegal abortion. Jiminez was the first reported victim of the Hyde Amendment which cut off federal Medicaid funding for abortion. She was a daughter of migrant workers, a single mother of a 5-year-old daughter, a welfare recipient, a part-time worker, and a university student 6 months from receiving a bachelor's degree in education. When she died, she had a $700 scholarship check in her pocket, but if she had used that money to pay for an abortion, her education would have been curtailed. Initial reports to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the agency charged with monitoring the effects of the Hyde Amendment, indicated that Jiminez had obtained her abortion in Mexico to protect her privacy. Four months of independent investigation uncovered two women who had accompanied Jiminez to a lay midwife who performed the abortion in Texas. The local police did nothing with this information, and only arrested the midwife when abortion activists set up a trap in which she was recorded offering to perform an abortion for $125. The abortionist was sentenced to 3 days in jail and fined $100 but was not charged in Jiminez's death. The CDC included this information in a two-paragraph report but failed to take any other action to determine the scale of morbidity and mortality following the Hyde Amendment. The women of America must refuse to tolerate the death of a single woman because of a lack of funding for abortion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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