Leaving behind a son who just had his first birthday, a Chicago woman died Friday from complications during an abortion at a local Planned Parenthood clinic.
The woman, Tonya Reaves, 24, was pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m. Friday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She was taken to the hospital from a downtown Planned Parenthood clinic located at 18 S. Michigan Ave.
"It happened so fast," the victim's twin sister, Toni Reaves told Chicago's WBBM-AM Newsradio via the Tribune.
"She was just fine one day — and then the next day she was gone. We're just trying to figure out what happened," Toni said.
But Planned Parenthood of Illinois isn't saying much.
Citing privacy laws, the organization explained while they care deeply about the health and safety of each and every patient: "We do not publicly discuss private patient matters and we follow HIPAA laws that forbid the disclosure of patient information," said Planned Parenthood of Illinois President and CEO Carole Brite in a statement.
What we know so far comes from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. An autopsy conducted Saturday listed hemorrhaging as the cause of death; a “cervical dilation and evacuation,” which she received at the clinic and intrauterine pregnancy (a normal pregnancy) and were listed as contributing factors in her death, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Dilation and Evacuation:
According to WebMD, Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is one of the methods available for a second-trimester abortion. Second trimester surgical abortions are also performed for miscarriages.
The procedure, usually lasting 30 minutes, is done to completely remove all of the tissue in the uterus. A device is often inserted in the cervix 24 hours before the procedure to help slowly open (dilate) the cervix.
Authorities didn't say when Reaves had the procedure, the Chicago Tribune reported.
When WGN-TV Chicago reached the Reaves’ family Sunday night, they declined further comment.
Why It Is Done
• A D&E is sometimes recommended for women diagnosed in the second trimester with a fetus that has severe medical problems or abnormalities.
• A woman who is pregnant as a result of rape or incest may not confirm the pregnancy until the second trimester because of her emotional reaction to the traumatic cause of the pregnancy.
• A woman who doesn't have access to an affordable abortion specialist in her area or whose access is slowed by legal restrictions may take several weeks to have a planned abortion. When an abortion is delayed, a D&E may be necessary.
Shocked and saddened
Brite sent condolences on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Illinois to her family. "While legal abortion services in the United States have a very high safety record," Brite added, "a tragedy such as this is devastating to loved ones and we offer our deepest sympathies."
A Pro-life group also sent condolences.
"Abortion deaths like this are completely avoidable," said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, in a statement Sunday, the Christian Post reports. "When a woman bleeds to death after an abortion, it is usually an indication of error on the part of the abortionist coupled with a delay in calling for emergency assistance."
"Our heartfelt prayers go out to the victim's family at this time of tragic loss," Newman added.
Referencing the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights group that focuses on sexual and reproductive health research,The Chicago Tribune writes that less than 0.3 percent of abortion patients experience complications that require hospitalization.
Reaves was engaged to be married and had one son – Alvin – who just had his first birthday, CBS News reports.
“We were born the same day” her sister, Toni said. "She was my other half."