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Domestic News | July 24, 2012

Chicago woman dies after botched abortion


Tonya Reaves' family mourns and tries to figure out what went wrong at Planned Parenthood facility

Tonya Reaves (Photo from Facebook)

Less than a week after the Obama administration pledged to continue funding Planned Parenthood, a woman died after having an abortion at one of the organization's facilities.

Chicago resident Tonya Reaves, 24, was pronounced dead on July 20 at Northwest Memorial Hospital just hours after going through a Dilation and Evacuation abortion at a local Planned Parenthood facility. Abortion provider use the D&E method when a pregnancy has advanced beyond the first trimester. The operation consists of opening the cervix and removing the child after it is dismembered. An autopsy revealed that Reaves died from hemorrhage following the abortion.

Her death has been ruled an accident.

Operation Rescue, a pro-life Christian activist organization, was the first to release a statement about the incident and are calling for President Obama to halt federal funding and personal support for Planned Parenthood.

"Friday's death is yet another reason why men and women of conscience across this nation cannot and will not comply with the forced funding of abortion and its intentional violation of religious liberties," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, in a news release issued on Sunday morning.

The tragic incident follows a report released last summer by The Chicago Tribune, which exposed Illinois abortion providers for failing to report complications during procedures. Although failing to report problems violates state law, Illinois officials have yet to enforce the rule. Illinois is one of 30 states with bans against "partial-birth" abortion, and does not allow abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The Loop Health Center Planned Parenthood, where Reaves had her procedure, advertises abortions up to 18 weeks.

Reaves' death in Obama's adopted hometown of Chicago comes at a time when the administration is working hard to provide funding to Planned Parenthood through the federal health care system. The country's largest abortion provider gets almost half its revenue from government grants and reimbursements. Last week, Planned Parenthood announced that it would return the favor, pouring $1.4 million into Obama's re-election campaign.

Abortion advocates have complained for years about the federal ban which prohibits the provision of second-trimester abortion procedures, claiming that it "has no exception for women's health." The Obama Administration sponsored an ad released by Planned Parenthood Action Fund last month, blasting GOP presidential hopeful MItt Romney for his 'harmful positions on women's health". At a gathering at the National Women's Law Center last fall, Obama accused Republicans and pro-life supporters of trying to "turn back the clock on women."

But Reaves' death exposes the dangers of the abortion industry, something Planned Parenthood continues to deny. Pro-life advocates have worked for years to promote state legislation that cracks down on lax medical practices in abortion facilities around the country. Abortion providers have resisted the regulations, insisting their facilities are safe for women.

Tonya Reaves was engaged to be married and had one other child, Alvin, who had just celebrated his first birthday. Her twin sister, Toni Reaves, told local media the family is trying to work through the tragedy.

"It happened so fast," she said in an interview with CBS Chicago. "She was just fine one day and then the next day she was gone. We're just trying to figure out what happened."