The decision of nine

Pregnancy-related deaths will only increase if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade

(News4usonline) – On the afternoon of July 21, 1929, a nineteen-year-old woman was taken to the rural, county hospital in Alva, Oklahoma. She was the eldest daughter of thirteen children, a student at the Northwestern State Teachers’ College, and an employee at the Callison Grocery.

She was kind and loving. She had a lot of friends and a close family. Unfortunately, the young lady perished shortly after her arrival at the hospital. The newspaper obituaries referred to her cause of death as a “brief and serious illness.”

The family whispered about how this healthy, happy, beautiful young person passed away. Discussions about single, pregnant women making personal choices about their bodies and their families were not discussed in public at that time.

: More than a thousand people attended a march in Philadelphia on October 2, 2021, to defend Roe Vs Wade. Credit: Joe Piette via Flickr

The taboo topic that was publicly forbidden was the talk of a woman shedding herself from impregnation – even though death or severe injury due to unsafe abortions happened a lot in those days.

Ninety-three years later after the woman’s passing, and after almost fifty years of legal and safe abortion access in the United States, this country may return to a time when pregnancy-related deaths were commonplace.

If Roe vs. Wade, the heralded court case that have allowed women the right to choose whether or not to get an abortion, is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, those pregnancy-related deaths will continue.

A University of Colorado Department of Sociology and Institute of Behavioral Science study, published in the Duke Demography in December 2021, states that a nationwide abortion ban would cause an annual 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths. Black women would experience this travesty at a greater increase of 33 percent.

: More than a thousand people attended a march in Philadelphia on October 2, 2021, to defend Roe Vs Wade. Credit: Joe Piette via Flickr

The young girl referred to here in this story was my great-grandaunt, Sylvia Reed. (Standing next to my great-grandfather, Henry Reed, in the photo.) Our relationship may sound very distant, but as a child, I knew many of my great-grandfather’s siblings. Most still lived in and around the Oklahoma Panhandle county seat of Alva – one of his brothers even lived right across the street.

I fondly remember eating the big, juicy strawberries in his front yard on hot summer days. My great-grandaunt, Velma Reed, (pictured to the right of Sylvia) looks just like me at that age. If Sylvia had access in 1929 to safe family planning choices, there is a very good chance that I would have known her as well. But that wasn’t the case.

Globally, as many as seven million women are hospitalized annually from unsafe abortions with many unable to get pregnant again and at least 23,000 of them dying. Studies from non-profit organizations like the Guttmacher Institute show that abortion numbers will not decrease if abortion becomes illegal in the United States, only the number of safe abortions.

Sylvia and Velma Reed

Think about your own family and who will no longer be there if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe vs Wade. Your aunt? Your sister? Your daughter? Your niece? Your mother? Think about the capable, loving, brilliant women that you know.

Is it logical for someone else to make decisions about their family and their body? Does it seem fair to you that nine people can take away the basic rights of more than 150 million citizens of this country? If it does not, talk to your friends and family, co-workers, and contact your elected officials. (

Source: Lela Reed, Great Grandmother of author and Sister-In-Law to Sylvia Reed. [2] Amanda Jean Stevenson; The Pregnancy-Related Mortality Impact of a Total Abortion Ban in the United States: A Research Note on Increased Deaths Due to Remaining Pregnant. Demography. 1 December 2021; 58 (6): 2019–2028. doi: [3] Russell Falcon: How many women die from unsafe abortions? Nexstar Media Wire. 1 May 2022. As reported by KTLA News:

Featured Photo Caption: United States Supreme Court. Courtesy photo