Remember Tonya Reaves?

She was a 24-year-old woman who died on July 20, 2012, at a Planned Parenthood facility in Chicago. As Tom Ciesielka of Life Legal Defense Foundation wrote about two weeks later:

The death of Tonya Reaves, a 24 year-old who died after an abortion at Planned Parenthood’s Loop Health Center in Chicago, has remained a mystery because employees at the Chicago Office of the Medical Examiner failed to comply with the Life Legal Defense Foundation’s request for Reaves’ autopsy report. The controversial manner of Reaves’ death on July 20th trigged a hailstorm of calls for abortion provider regulation in Illinois, one of the few states allowing abortion providers to function virtually unfettered with little or no oversight.

Dennis Byrne, columnist for, reported yesterday that “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.” Byrne also writes:

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.

A search of the the news on Google shows that the only media covering the news are, not surprisingly, pro-life outlets such as LifeNews.comLifeSiteNews, and a few others. Yet some readers commenting on the site have dismissed Byrne’s question as being exploitive in nature:

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?

Of course, Planned Parenthood would never exploit anyone, right? It’s all about women’s health and the children. Ahem. Which makes another comment come off as ironic in a rather macabre way:

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.

“Though nothing can make up for the loss of a human life, Planned Parenthood has paid a price.” Hmmm.

Meanwhile, the Pro-Life Action League and Thomas More Society have filed a formal administrative complaint with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation “with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (‘IDPR’), urging in the public interest that the IDPR undertake an immediate investigation as to whether substandard medical care led to the death last summer of Tonya Reaves…”

In five single-spaced pages with ten attached exhibits (Exhs. A-J), the complaint raises a series of questions – arising from news reports, web postings, 911 records, the autopsy report of the Cook County Coroner, and other sources – as to whether Ms. Reaves, a 24-year-old single mother, who died on July 20, 2012, after she underwent a surgical abortion at Planned Parenthood’s “Loop Health Center” facility at 18 South Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603, received unprofessional care from Illinois licensed physicians.

Thus the League and Thomas More Society have detailed a series of serious concerns about apparent inadequate and substandard care given to Ms. Reaves – concerns that are immediately prompted by critical facts of the case that have become public up to this date.

For more details, visit the Thomas More Society site.

In related news, the Life Dynamics, Inc., a national pro-life organization (Denton, Texas) is reporting that nearly 3 out of 4 of the abortions in New York City are performed on black and Hispanic babies:

The figures come from a report recently published by New York City’s health department, which reveal that 73.4 percent of all abortions reported to the city were performed on Black and Hispanic women.

According to the report of 197,046 viable pregnancies, 73,815, or about 37 percent, ended in “induced terminations” in 2012. … Stats also show that out of the 73,815 abortions reported by New York City’s health department in 2012, white women received 9,704 abortions while 22,917 were performed on Hispanic women and 31,328 were performed on Black women.  Asian and Pacific Islander women reported 4,493 abortions while unknown ethnicities were excluded from the report.

Finally, a reader pointed out that the The Hippocratic Resource, a non-profit group of life-respecting physicians and scientists based in Louisiana, has reported that while the number of abortions have been dropping, there is a rather startling fact in the mix: “Ironically, the U.S. maternal mortality  rate is now over 6 times greater for legal than for illegal abortions than it was in 1972!” But wasn’t “Roe v. Wade” necessary so that women could have “safe” abortions, etc., etc.? To state what should be obvious: there’s something about being in the business of killing that leads to death. 

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About Carl E. Olson 1220 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.