Friday, December 03, 2021

December 3: Nurses Close Door to Silence Screams

 At 11:45 am on December 1 or 2, 1977, 29-year-old Jacqueline Bailey was injected with saline by Dr. Airo Tunde Eboreime for an instillation abortion at the 22-bed Pacific Glen Hospital in Los Angeles County. She was 20 weeks pregnant. 

Five hours after Jackie expelled the dead baby, her condition appeared grave. 

Two patients who were in the same room with Jackie at Pacific Glen told investigators about what they observed. Jackie was writhing in pain, they said. She cried out for help but her cries were ignored, and somebody shut the door so that nurses wouldn't be able to hear her. 

The call button at Jackie's bed was broken, so she asked another patient to use her own call button. By the time a nurse came in, Jackie's eyes were wide open in a glassy stare.

The nurse believed that Jackie had gone into cardiac arrest and summoned an ambulance. When medics arrived at 12:47 a.m., Jackie had no vital signs. The nurse who was trying to revive Jackie was unable to say how long the patient had been unattended. 

The other patients, the medic, and Pacific Glen's own records all concurred on one thing: No physician at Pacific Glen attended to Jackie at all after the saline was injected. The first physician to see her after the abortion was initiated was one who arrived after medics had begun providing care.

The medics transported Jackie the 12 miles to Memorial Hospital of Glendale. Doctors at Memorial suspected a uterine laceration, so they performed exploratory surgery. The bleeding was so profuse that they then performed a hysterectomy in a last-ditch attempt to save her life. Jackie died at 4:25 a.m. on December 3. 

The attending physician said that he had found 3,500 to 4,000 ccs of old blood in Jackie's abdomen. The autopsy report found that Jackie's uterus had ruptured during the abortion, and that her uterine artery had been lacerated. She had bled to death from her injuries. 

Her grandmother, Hassie Holden, demanded an investigation. She told the Los Angeles Times that she didn't even get notified that Jackie was in trouble until about an hour before her death, when Eborieme called to tell her that Jackie was in serious condition from a hemorrhage. "My son was getting ready to go to the hospital when we got another call that she was dead." 

Mrs. Holden also said that Jackie's brother had mistakenly gone to Pacific Glen looking for her and got the runaround from staff. The family never found out that she had been taken to another hospital until they got the $84 ambulance bill. 

Only Jackie's common-law husband, James Walker, had even known about the abortion, which made her death come as even more of a shock to her grandmother and other family members.

Eight of nine jurors at the inquest held that Jackie died "at the hands of others, other than by accident," while the holdout held that Jackie's death had been accidental. Dr. Gerald Bernstein of Women's Hospital told the Los Angeles Times that in his opinion, "the patient did not receive appropriate medical care and this was an avoidable death." Jackie should have been taken to surgery as soon as signs of hemorrhage were detected, he said.

Due Jackie's death, as well as the 1975 death of Cheryl Tubbs, authorities announced that they would investigate how many of Pacific Glen's abortion patients were discharged home versus transported to other hospitals to be treated for complications. 

Medi-Cal patients were funneled to Pacific Glen Hospital through Pacific Glen Family Planning Clinic after referrals by social workers at the county health office. Pacific Glen performed roughly 517 abortions per month. A social worker at the office admitted that they had concerns about the care patients were getting but continued to refer them because Pacific Glen accepted Medi-Cal. 

Recently added sources:

Thursday, December 02, 2021

If Roe is Overturned: The Hunt for a Corpse

The SCOTUS might be preparing to overturn Roe vs. Wade. The only thing we know is how the abortion lobby will respond. They're ready for those states where abortion will be curtailed in any way, and especially those where abortion is illegal. We've seen this sort of thing play out before. We need to be prepared.

We need to take a lesson to prevent needless tragedy -- a specific needless tragedy that the abortion advocacy movement desperately needs to regain momentum.

It's important to note up front that it is not the average pro-choice citizen who is gearing up to create and exploit a tragedy. It's Big Abortion -- an unholy alliance of population control zealots, abortion practitioners, eugenicists, and third-wave feminists. They are putting the pieces in place, and average prochoice citizens are being primed to play their part in protecting Big Abortion's interests under the guise of protecting women.

Big Abortion is losing traction. The main thing they need to regain momentum is a corpse. If you think they're not gearing up to produce one, think again. We only need to look back to 1976.

Lessons From the Past

In 1976, the Hyde Amendment went into effect, banning the use of Federal funds to pay for abortions except to save the mother from an immediate threat to her life. The measure was named for its author, Congressman Henry Hyde. Abortion advocates had been keening from the moment the Hyde Amendment was up for vote. They painted a ghastly picture of coathanger-impaled women littering the streets as poor women were driven to desperation by lack of "access," just as today abortion enthusiasts are keening about what will happen if we start actually holding abortion clinics up to standards more rigorous than what you see in a bus station men's room.

When the Hyde Amendment went into effect, abortion advocates ramped up the hysteria and waited for a death, any death, they could hang around Henry Hyde's neck. On October 3, 1977, the Big Abortion vultures got what they'd been waiting for: a dead woman they could use as leverage in the fight to once again force taxpayers to fund elective abortions.

On September 26, 1977, 27-year-old Rosie Jimenez had shown up at the emergency room of McAllen General Hospital in the Texas border town of McAllen, suffering from septic shock caused by an infection from an illegal abortion. She was put in intensive care, but died on October 3.

The initial response of the abortion lobby to news of Rosie's death was little short of euphoric. They had their trophy, their dead woman whose face they could hide behind in order to push for the restoration of tax money flowing into abortion clinics.

An Unexpected Investigation

One voice stood out from the crowd: Ellen Frankfort, author of Rosie: the investigation of a wrongful death. Ms. Frankfort was disgusted with the bulk of the prochoice movement, who seemed content to pounce on Rosie's death and then milk it for political gain. She began an investigation into what had led Rosie to her death, and she found a lot that neither the Centers for Disease Control nor abortion advocacy organizations had been willing to look for, since all they'd wanted was political leverage. Unlike Ellen Frankfort, they weren't looking for the real culprit behind Rosie's death: they'd had a bogeyman in mind even before she'd died, in the form of Henry Hyde.

Off to McAllen Ms. Frankfort went, to learn all she could. She learned:
  1. Rosie had already undergone two abortions at taxpayer expense. (Hence, she had no idea what an abortion would actually cost, and had been taught that it was the government's job, not hers or her lover's, to keep her uterus empty.)
  2. (Thanks to the efforts of the abortion lobby) Rosie's friends and relatives knew that there were no more free abortions, and told her so.
  3. Her regular doctor abandoned her; he simply told her there were no more free abortions, without referring her for any help (either for a sliding-scale abortion or help with addressing her life issues that made her feel like abortion was her only choice).
  4. Rosie's cousin brought her to a lay midwife in McAllen who charged $120 to perform an abortion using a catheter, a procedure once used by doctors but since abandoned because of infection risk. 
  5. The sliding-scale abortions (that Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates pointedly failed to raise awareness about) cost $130 -- only $10 more than the illegal abortion. (This is something Rosie probably would have known if not for the fact that the government, not Rosie herself, paid for the previous two abortions.) 
  6. The day before her abortion, Rosie had spent $8 on a cake for a friend's baby shower. She had a scholarship check for $800 in her purse. (Rosie could have afforded a legal abortion; she just evidently was never told that such an option was available.)
  7. Rosie, predictably, took ill, waited to go to the hospital until she was moribund, and in spite of heroic efforts by the doctors there she died.
There is no evidence that, at any point, anybody informed Rosie of resources such as Birthright that could have helped her to address her problems without resorting to abortion in the first place.

The Reaction

The doctors reported the death to the CDC. The CDC notified their allies in the abortion lobby. Rosie's death was quickly trumpeted nationwide as proof that Henry Hyde was a murderer and that taxpayers should immediately resume funding elective abortions to prevent another such death.

It is worth reiterating, when we look at Rosie's death, that prochoice groups had been very successful in spreading the word that public funding for abortion had been cut -- Rosie's friend and cousin, as well as her physician, were well aware of this fact -- but they had pointedly failed to also pass out the word that Planned Parenthood still referred for abortions on a sliding scale, and that private funds were available. It's almost as if the public-relations departments of Planned Parenthood and other abortion-advocacy groups had deliberately increased the odds of a tragedy like Rosie's death in order to provide the corpses needed in order to prop up a drive to restore tax monies to abortion facilities.

Lessons for Today

Let's start with what we know:
  1. As long as people perpetrate abortions, there will be a certain number of women who die as a result of those abortions.
  2. If the woman dies from a "safe" legal abortion (Jennifer McKenna-Morbelli, Christin Gilbert), the abortion rights machine will minimize the death and wait for any bad press to blow over.
  3. If the woman dies from a quacktastic legal abortion (Karnamaya Mongar, Carolina Gutierrez), the abortion rights machine will do the convoluted routine of "It's all the antichoicers' fault because they regulate and inspect abortion clinics and won't give them money."
  4. If the woman dies from a politically useless illegal abortion (Daisy Roe, Kris Humphrey), the abortion machine will ignore it.
  5. If the woman dies from a nice gory "back alley" style illegal abortion, the full-blown, aggressive Blame Game will begin in earnest. It will be Rosie Jimenez all over again but with the aid of social media.
  6. If the woman didn't actually die from an abortion (Becky Bell, Savita Halappanavar), but her death can be contorted to fit the narrative, they'll get creative with the facts and pretend that the death was due to "lack of access."
It all boils down to this: Abortionists will continue to kill women once abortion becomes illegal. It's an inevitable side effect of their trade.

We are close to achieving the first state with no dedicated abortion facility. The first woman that an abortionist kills in that state will become a martyr to the abortion cause in a way we haven't seen since Ms. published the crime scene photo of Geri Santoro in 1973. But it's not 1973 any more.

In 1973, it was hard to muster a groundswell of fear and outrage because after all Geri had been dead for nearly a decade and Roe vs. Wade had just supposedly put an end forever to women's gruesome abortion deaths. (Except, of course, that it didn't, but it did put an end to prochoice outrage over women's gruesome abortion deaths.)

Abortion rights groups, from the local NOW chapter to the International Planned Parenthood Federation already have established relationships with the mainstream news organizations. The new martyr that the abortion machine creates will become the focus of a campaign that will have all the fury and media hype that Big Abortion can muster. The result will be a well-coordinated assault that will make D-Day look like it was thrown together haphazardly and indifferently.

We also need to remember that Big Abortion will find out about the dead woman long before we will. They have connections in public health agencies that we simply don't, because they began planting them there back when Planned Parenthood was still calling itself the Birth Control League. Those connections will give them adequate lead time before allowing the story to break. Public health officials will not be neutral sources of information -- though of course they will pretend to be. They will be a key part of the orchestrated media blitz, just as the Centers for Disease Control was a key player in the media campaign when Rosie Jimenez died. The specifics of which woman they manage to get killed, and under what specific circumstances, will be well known to them but will blindside us and leave us playing catch-up to find out what really happened.

Look at the traction they're gaining in Ireland from the death of a woman who was not promptly given antibiotics during a miscarriage. It took a wild stretch of the imagination to blame that woman's death on lack of "safe and legal abortion," but that hasn't stopped the abortion machine and its media lackeys. Ireland is poised to come under the control of Big Abortion. Can you imagine what they'll accomplish with a death they have actually engineered and prepared for?

I don't have all the answers, but I have a good starting point: The prolife movement already has everything in place necessary to prevent there from ever being another abortion death. We have pregnancy help centers. No woman needs to be without friends, help, and hope. The abortion machine consistently launches assaults on those who dare to reduce their customer base . Exposing this effort for what it is -- a way to fatten abortionists' purses and give more power to the abortion lobby -- needs to be a key part of our strategy to prevent Big Abortion from creating and exploiting another Rosie Jimenez.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

December 1: Forth of Six Victims of Dr. Lou E. Davis

                 Dr. Lou E. Davis                    
On December 1, 1928, 23-year-old Esther Viola Wahlstrom died in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion. Dr. Lou E. Davis (pictured, left) was held by the coroner for murder by abortion on December 12. She was indicted for felony murder on December 15. 

Davis had ben implicated in the abortion death of Anna Borndal only a month earlier. She'd also been implicated in the deaths of Anna Adler in 1913 and Mary Whitney in 1924. She went on to be implicated in the 1932 abortion death of Irene Kirschner and the 1934 abortion death of  Gertrude Gaesswitz.

I don't have enough information about Esther's death to make a judgment about the quality of care she received. I don't know if she died because Dr. Davis did something appalling (assuming, of course, that killing Esther's unborn baby wasn't appalling enough on its own), or if Esther was simply a victim of the quality of medical care in the age before antibiotics and blood transfusions.

December 1: The Betrayal of Susanne Logan

One example of the abortion lobby's profound indifference to women's safety is the 1992 death of Susanne Logan. What passed for "care" at the deplorable Maryland abortion mill was so appalling that even 60 Minutes stopped and paid attention.

A newspaper photo of a young woman with short, dark hair, using her splayed left hand to operate a communication device.
Susanne Logan in the nursing home
Susanne (pictured, left), a waitress originally from Visalia, California, had gone to Hillview for an abortion on September 9, 1989. There was no record of how much intravenous Brevital was administered to Susanne, or who administered the drug. Susanne was already unconscious on the table when abortionist Gideon Kioko (pictured, below) and his unlicensed nurse entered the procedure room. During the abortion, the nurse noted that Susanne's lips were turning blue. She told Kioko, who continued with the abortion. There is no record that anybody monitored her vital signs or administered oxygen.

Eventually somebody summoned emergency medical services (EMS). The EMS personnel reported that the Hillview employees seemed "very confused and did not seem to know what they were doing." EMS staff also noted that Hillview staff had put an oxygen mask on Susanne upside-down, so that she wasn't getting any oxygen.

Susanne was blue from lack of oxygen, limp, had no pulse and was not breathing. EMS workers managed to perform CPR and get Susanne's heart and lungs working again, and transported her to a hospital. Susanne remained comatose and was transferred to a nursing home. Four months after the abortion, she regained consciousness, but was paralyzed and unable to speak. She had no memory of the abortion, but was able to eventually recall having gone to the clinic.

Local prolifers visited Susanne, and bought her a device that allowed her to communicate. She was interviewed by 60 Minutes, and asked what she wanted. She replied, "To go home."

A color portrait of a heavy, middle-aged Black man in a suit and tie. He is bald and wearing eyeglasses.
Dr. Gideon Kioko
Susanne filed suit against Kioko and the clinic. Kioko briefly left Hillview to work at another abortion clinic called CYGMA Health Center, where he was made medical director. He eventually voluntarily surrendered his license in order to halt further investigation into his activities at Hillview. 

The health department slapped owner Barbara Lofton with five state health code violations, which included operating a medical laboratory without a permit and employing a nurse that was not licensed in Maryland. No action was taken against Hillview as an entity and it was permitted to keep operating.

State legislators toyed with the idea of actually holding abortion clinics to reasonable standards of care. Health officials hedged, asserting that physician licensing requirements were sufficient to protect women -- though, of course, they failed to protect women at Hillview. Acting Health Secretary Nelson J. Sabatini fretted, "Once you have a statue that requires certification or licensing, then you have an obligation that every time someone calls to go in and do an investigation. The issue very quickly becomes a question of, 'Will this process or could this process be used to limit access?'" Remember that word access. It comes up often.

In November of 1992, Susanne finally won her suit, and was awarded $2.6 million and $10,000 a month for life, to cover her expenses. Sadly, Susanne died on December 1. She went home to California only to be buried there.

Susanne's death brought the known patient deaths at Hillview to two. Debra Gray had died in 1989 after suffering injuries under circumstances similar to those which ultimately cost Susanne her life.

When 60 Minutes interviewed Barbara Radford in 1991, then-president of the National Abortion Federation, she defended the head-in-the-sand attitude the organization took toward safety issues by saying, "We want to make sure that women have choices when it comes to abortion services, and if you regulate it too strictly, you then deny women access to the service." When they asked pro-choice Maryland State Senator Mary Boergers why nothing was being done to address dangerous abortion clinics. Boergers said, "There's only so much of a willingness to try to push a group like the pro-choice movement to do what I think is the responsible thing to do because they then treat you as if you're the enemy."

That attitude toward the deplorable conditions at Hillview cost Susanne, as well as abortion patient Debra Gray their lives. This obsession with "access" at the cost of women's lives is something I've dubbed "The Compton-Carr Effect" after its most eloquent proponent, Janis Compton-Carr of the Florida Abortion Council. In 1989, an investigation by the Miami Herald revealed that Dadeland Family Planning was reusing disposable instruments, that the doctors were leaving the facility while patients were still in recovery, that there were no nurses on staff, and that "Patient recovery was monitored by employees with no formal health-care training." The stirrups on the procedure tables were covered with blood. The oxygen mask had lipstick on it from the previous patient. Abortions were being sold to women who weren't actually pregnant.

Richard Litt, who performed abortions at Dadeland until 1981, told the Miami Herald that he quit because the owners wanted him to do too many abortions in a single work day, and wanted him to do abortions too late into the pregnancy. He also complained that somebody in the clinic stole his prescription forms and forged his signature in order to get narcotics in bulk. Litt said that Dadeland "is a scum hole. I wouldn't send a dog there. They should be put in jail."

But that wasn't the worst. A dying woman was given little more than tea and sympathy. They scraped her out, handed her some oral antibiotics, and sent her home to die of raging peritonitis.

Ms. Compton-Carr led the fight to halt any state oversight of abortion facilities in the wake of the Dadeland scandal. She summed it all up to the Miami Herald:

"In my gut, I am completely aghast at what goes on at that place. But I staunchly oppose anything that would correct this situation in law."

And that "see no evil" mentality persists, as evidenced by the results we saw when prochoicers decided to turn a blind eye to Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia "house of horrors" where two abortion patients were fatally injured and uncounted numbers of viable, live-born infants killed with a "snip" to the spinal cord. 

Abortion was legalized ostensibly to prevent women from dying due to quack abortionists. But legalization proponents did nothing to protect Susanne Logan, Debra Gray, and other women who have lost their lives to abortion quackery.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

November 30: A Repeat Offender's First Known Victim

On November 30, 1927, 22-year-old homemaker Lucille van Iderstine of 1844 Cuyler Avenue, Chicago died in the Chicago office of Dr. Emil Gleitsman (pictured) from an abortion that had been performed on her that day. 

Lucille left behind a three-year-old son and  her husband, William.

Gleitsman was indicted for felony murder in Lucille's death on January 15, 1928. 

Evidently Gleitsman beat the rap on Lucille's death because he was later implicated in the abortion deaths of Jeanette Reder in 1930, Mary Colbert in 1933, Marie O'Malley in 1941, and "Maggie" Doe.

November 30: The Widower Demands Justice

At around 2:00 on the afternoon of November 30, 1874, Charles Dix went to the Madison Street Police Station in Chicago to report that Dr. W. T. Aiken had performed a fatal abortion on his wife, Mary. Mary Dix had died the previous day, November 29, at around 12:30 a.m. Detective Flynn of Madison Street Station arrested Dr. W. F. Aikin, who had his office at 343 State Street. The warrant was sworn out for Aiken's arrest. 

Charles said that about a week earlier, Dr. Aiken had come to the house to treat one of their two children, who was sick. Charles had been napping on the sofa and overheard a conversation between Mary and Dr. Aiken that sounded as if Mary was arranging for Aikin to perform an abortion on her. When Aiken left, Charles spoke to Mary about what he'd overheard and she admitted that he was right but promised not to follow through.

Mary left the house on November 29 and was gone all afternoon and into the early evening. That night Mary was in such violent pain that Charles concluded that she'd gone through with the abortion after all. 

She was doing much worse the next day, which alarmed Charles so he summoned Aiken. A servant girl walked to the Dix house with Aiken and told Charles that Aiken had said that he hoped Mrs. Dix would keep her mouth shut if anything went wrong. Charles immediately told Aikin to leave and summoned Dr. Xelonski. He cared for Mary until Friday, when her condition became so critical that he called in Dr. Fleming and Dr. Edwards to help. The three doctors were unable to save her and she died at around 1:30 on the afternoon of December 2.

On questioning, Aiken said that he had been the Dix family physician for several months, having treated both Mr. Dix and his little daughter. On November 22 Mrs. Dix had visited his office for treatment. She came again on Tuesday the 24th, when he examined her and prescribed some medicine. She told him that Dr. White, a physician in Buffalo, had operated on her. Aiken said that he advised her not to walk home but she did so anyway. On Friday the 28th he went to the Dix home and their servant told him that he wasn't to come to the house any more. Mr. Dix, he said, acted strangely and reiterated that his services were no longer wanted. The conversation Mr. Dix had over heard was Mrs. Dix, Aiken said, telling him that she'd already attempted an abortion on herself and wanted to be examined to see if the attempt had been successful. He insisted that the servant girl was of low character and that nobody should trust anything she said. 

The next morning Dr. Fleming and the County Physician, Dr. Henrotin, performed an autopsy at the house. After hours of examining Mary's body and consulting with each other and Dr. Leonard they concluded that Mary's baby had been dead about three weeks before her death.

After an intensive investigation, however, a coroner's jury found no evidence that Mary had told anybody that she'd used any kind of instrument on herself. Witnesses included Julia Brown, Anna Merrit, and Dr. Van Buren. Dr. Wickersham testified about the cause of death as observed in the post-mortem examination. Their final conclusion was as followed:

An inquisition was taken for the People of the State of Illinois... on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd days of December, A. D. 1874, before me, John Stephens, Coroner in and for said county, upon view of the body of Mary Dix, and we find that the deceased, now lying dead at 250 West Randolph street, came to her death, Nov. 30, 1874, from primary inflammation of the womb, followed by septicemia, said inflammation being the result of an effort of the deceased to produce an abortion on herself.

Aiken, age 33, was a graduate of Maryland University. He had been a doctor for fifteen years, serving as an Army surgeon during the Civil War, during which time he was wounded at Gettysburg. He came to Chicago to practice medicine after the war and lived with his wife and son in rooms adjoining his office. 

When a reporter went to the Dix house to speak with Charles, a man greeted him at the door to tell him that Mr. Dix was worn out and distraught and in no condition to speak with a reporter. The man relayed to the reporter that Mr. Dix had been alarmed when his wife had returned from Aiken's office on Tuesday and had called in Dr. Fleming, Dr. Xelowski, and Dr. E.W. Edwards on Friday. The family had moved to Chicago from Buffalo. The couple had a 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, and had three more children who had died.


Monday, November 29, 2021

November 29: All for a Hollywood Career

Virginia Hopkins Watson, an Illinois native, had been on a record-setting relay swimming team with Esther Williams in 1939. Virginia had herself set the world's fifty-meter record in 1938. 

When she was admitted to California Hospital on November 26, 1954, doctors had reason to believe that something fishy was going on. They provided care until around 8:00 on the evening of November 29, when they transferred her to General Hospital because her kidneys had shut down, requiring an artificial kidney machine that California Hospital didn't have.

The kidney machine was unable to save Virginia's life. She died shortly before midnight. An autopsy concluded that she had died from peritonitis, bronchopneumonia, and purulent pericarditis. An abortionist had punched a hole in her uterus with an instrument, leading to the fatal infection.

It wasn't until 4:15 the morning of November 30 that anybody reported the cause of her illness to the police for investigation. 

Virginia had been 32 years old and pursuing a Hollywood career, hoping to follow the trail blazed by her former teammate. However, after being offered a small movie role in "Jungle Jim" with "Tarzan" star Johnny Weissmuller, she became pregnant. Since she couldn't do the movie in a visible state of pregnancy, Virginia arranged to have an abortion on November 18. 

An investigation uncovered that she had arranged for a lay abortionist, Roger Fred Brenon, to come to her house and perform the abortion there. Brenon had only been paroled three days earlier after serving 11 months of a jail term for perpetrating abortions that hadn't proved fatal to the women.

Virginia and her husband, Arthur, had been married for about ten years. They were living in a home shared with Virginia's mother. 

Arthur, who had to be compelled to testify in hearings and promised immunity, wept as he told his story. When shown a photo of Virginia that had been taken in the morgue, Arthur immediately looked away and cried, "Turn it over!"

Arthur seemed to have carefully avoided learning too much about what was going on even after observing Brenon in the kitchen evidently sterilizing some instruments  by boiling them on the stove. At Virginia's instruction, Arthur also wrote a check payable to cash for $150 and gave it to Brenon. (About $870 in 2020)

After the abortion, Virginia became sick with vomiting and bleeding before passing the dead fetus. 

By November 26, Virginia had difficulty in breathing and was taken to California Hospital. 

In telling the authorities about the events that led to his wife's death, he indicated that Brenon had visited Virginia two years earlier, spent time alone with her, and went off with a check Arthur had written. During  both visits, Arthur said, he'd been under the impression that Brenon was a physician named Rogers. 

Police Officer Herman Zander said that he had questioned Brenon after Virginia's death. Brenon had hedged about whether he knew Virginia. He attributed any possible acquaintance to the fact that he and his father had been members of the club where Virginia was a swimming teacher. When Officer Zander asked Brenon if he had used a catheter and a solution of tincture of green soap to induce an abortion on Virginia, Brenon reportedly responded, "I never used a catheter before. I always used a small glass syringe."

Brenon waived trial and chose to have his case heard before Judge Clement D. Nye. Brenon was convicted of second-degree murder in Virginia's death. He received a sentence of five years to life, along with a 1- to 5-year sentence for a probation violation. 

On appeal Brenon asserted that the testimony of Virginia's husband needed corroborating evidence, since Arthur was an accomplice, not merely a witness. Arthur had claimed 5th Amendment protection during Brenon's trial. He had admitted Brenon to the house, observed him cleaning instruments, written him a check, and destroyed the cancelled check when it was returned by the bank. Brenon's appeal was denied.


November 29: Lucy Hagenow's Final Known Victim

On November 29, 1926, 25-year-old stenographer Mary Moorehead died from a criminal abortion perpetrated in the Chicago office of Dr. Lucy Hagenow. 

Hagenow (pictured) wasn't arrested until November 13 of the following year. 

Hagenow told the court that Mary had come to her office on November 5, giving her name as Margaret Sullivan. Hagenow said that she examined Mary, who had a foul-smelling vaginal discharge. Hagenow said that she concluded that Mary's unborn baby had died.

Hagenow said that she packed Mary's vagina with an antiseptic-soaked cotton ball and sent her home. She said that she told Mary that she would come by the next day with another doctor. If that doctor concurred that the baby was dead, Hagenow would get yet another doctor to come and perform an operation to remove the dead baby. 

Hagenow said that Mary paid her $50 in advance for the promised care and left, but when she went to the address "Margaret Sullivan" had provided she found only a vacant lot. That was the last she'd known of the woman, she said, until she was arrested for Mary's death.

The prosecution, however, asserted that several police officers had been present when Mary was about to go surgery in an attempt to save her life. With Hagenow present, Mary told the police that Hagenow had used instruments on her to perpetrate an abortion on November 5.

Dr. Charles H. Phifer testified that on November 7 he saw Mary at her home. She was in a lot of pain and told him that she had been to see Hagenow. Dr. Phifer concluded that Mary was in labor, though he could not determine if the unborn child was alive or dead. He said that he told Mary to consult with Dr. Hagenow.

The next time Dr. Phifer saw Mary it was at Illinois Central Hospital on November 12. She was no longer pregnant and was suffering from septicemia. 

Hagenow was convicted of murder by abortion for Mary's death. She was sentenced to 14 years at Joliet Penitentiary, but was able to get her conviction overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial in 1929. The judge, noting that there was no new evidence, dismissed the case, telling Hagenow, "You had better make your peace with God, Lucy Hagenow. I do not think your months on earth are many." 

Hagenow, who also went by the name of Louise or Louisa Hagenow, had a long and unsavory history of being involved in women's abortion deaths. The first were in San Francisco before Hagenow relocated to Chicago around 1890. The abortion deaths Hagenow was linked to include:

Sunday, November 28, 2021

November 28: A Young Bride's Fatal Decision

On November 28, 1888, an 18-year-old young woman identified in the news as "Mrs. George Libby" died in Wahpeton in the Dakota Territories.

A wedding announcement from 1887 leads me to believe that her first name was Anna.

Mrs. Libby was hospitalized before her death. She told physicians there that she had taken an abortifacient drug peddled by a traveling salesman.

After Mrs. Libby's death a post-mortem examination was done which revealed that she had never been pregnant.


  • Untitled clippings from the Wahpeton Times (November 29, 1888), Sioux City Journal (December 2, 1888), and Wessington Springs Herald (December 14, 1888)

Thursday, November 18, 2021

November 18: Betty McGeehan new materials need updated

Summary: On November 18, 1942, 26-year-old Madylon "Betty" McGeehan, an OPA stenographer who had been living in Washington DC., died at Prospect Hospital in New York of peritonitis after an illegal abortion. Dr. Joseph Nisonoff was ultimately convicted of manslaughter in her death and sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison.

Betty McGeehan

Madylon "Betty" McGeehan was a Pennsylvania girl, born to Robert and Rita McGeehan in 1916 in the city of Hazleton, not far from Allentown. She and her younger siblings, Robert and Mary, were raised by their mother.

Betty was active on the high school yearbook staff and in the oratory club. She graduated from Hazleton High School in 1934.

In 1940 she was lodging with the Falwells family and working as a senior clerk typist at the DPA office in Hazleton. 

She left Hazleton in May of 1942 to take a job as a stenographer with the War Production Board in Washington, DC. She lived there with her sister, Mary. Her brother, Robert, was a Lieutenant in the Army stationed in Columbia, South Carolina. Her mother remained behind in their Maple Avenue home in Hazleton.

Harry Takes Charge

Henry Elters was a 28-year-old unemployed accountant from Hazelton. He and Betty, then age 26, had known each other for about seven years and had come to be known as sweethearts in their community. Though they'd sometimes checked into hotels together as husband and wife, he denied being responsible for Betty's pregnancy.

Elters testified that he had contacted Dr. Max J. Weinstein, age 37, on or about October 15. The young couple had known Weinstein socially for about four years through mutual friends. Elters told Weinstein that Betty was pregnant and they wanted to know "what might be done about it." Betty made the trip about a week later to keep the appointment. Weinstein confirmed that Betty was pregnant. Elters and Weinstein consulted by phone over the ensuing days about an abortion. Weinstein told Elters that  an abortion could be arranged and would cost about $150.

On October 23, Betty went to Dr. Kushner in Washington, DC. Kushner, a reputable OB/GYN and clinical professor at Georgetown University. She gave her name as Mrs. Betty Elters and said that she'd come for prenatal care. Kushner found her to be about two and a half to three months pregnant and in good health. She paid him $20, which was  part of his fee for full obstetrical care.

Meanwhile Harry continued to make other appointments. That very day, Weinstein referred Elters and Betty to Dr. Lassman in Manhattan. The couple visited Lassman the next day but he refused to perform an abortion. Elters telephoned Weinstein to let him know. It was then that Weinstein referred the pair to 58-year-old Dr. Joseph Nisonoff. He provided Elters with the address of Nisonoff's 71st Street office, so they pair went there. The nurse told them that since Betty didn't have an appointment, Nisonoff couldn't see her. Elters went back to Hazleton and Betty returned home to DC.

Harry's Persistence, Betty's Reluctance

Elters didn't take any more action until November 7, when he called Weinstein to say that Betty "still wanted the abortion to be done" and asked Weinstein to see what he could do. He called again the next day and Weinstein gave him the address of Nisonoff's office in Queens and said that the abortion would cost $600.

Evidently Weinstein had told Elters that he'd make the arrangements, because it was he who called the Queens office and made the arrangements. He called at about 10:00 on the morning of November 10 and spoke to Nisonoff's nurse, Camille Ewald. Though not a registered nurse, Ewald had worked at the offices of Dr. Henschel and Dr. Lassman -- likely the same Dr. Lassman Betty and Elters had originally visited -- before going to work for Nisonoff. Weinstein said that he wanted to arrange an abortion and that the patient could pay $600. He also told Ewald that since Betty had been treated rudely by the nurse at the 71st Street office, he preferred that she be seen in Queens. Ewald told Weinstein that she'd have to consult with Nisonoff and to call back at noon. Weinstein did, and Ewald told him that Betty could be seen that afternoon. 

Betty and Elters went to Nisonoff's office as planned. He confirmed a healthy 10 or 11 week pregnancy. At that time, Betty balked at an abortion so Nisonoff referred her back to Weinstein. Weinstein called Nisonoff's office to commiserate, saying, "It is a shame to lose the patient. It was a nice fee."

Elters and Weinstein also spoke by phone, lamenting the fact that Betty hadn't gone through with the abortion. When the two spoke again on November 11, Weinstein said that he'd made another appointment for Betty to have the abortion at 2:00 on the afternoon of November 13. He told Elters to bring Betty to his office first. 

The next day, November 12, Elters drove to DC in the afternoon and met Betty. He dropped her off at the railroad station at about 9:00 that evening, telling her that he'd meet her in New York the following day. He returned to Hazleton. 

The Abortion

On November 13, Elters drove from Hazleton to New York, picked Betty up at Pennsylvania Station, and drove her to Weinstein's office in the Bronx. He later testified that Betty told him that she'd had some bleeding and nausea and that she'd seen a doctor in Washington -- presumably about an abortion. It's entirely possible that even at this point in time, Betty still wanted to have her baby and was hoping she could convince Elters that she'd already gone through with one so that she could back out.

The trio drove from Weinstein's office to Nisonoff's office, arriving there at around 3:00 p.m. Weinstein told Ewald that Elters had the fee. Elters counted out the $600 to the nurse, and she handed it off to Nisonoff. She then told both men to return in about an hour and a half. Weinstein retreated to the waiting room, while Elters went out for a walk.

Camille Ewald helped Betty onto the procedure table, clipped her pubic hair, and administered a vaginal douche. Ewald said that the douche water came out clear, with no sign of blood.

Nisonoff came in and administered gas to put Betty to sleep. He inserted a speculum, which Ewald held down with her right hand. Nisonoff dilated Betty's cervix with instruments. He used an instrument to draw the uterus towards him, then used curettes and forceps for fifteen or twenty minutes as Ewald observed. She testified that he pulled out "meat and little bones and things like that, like bones from the hand and bones from the feet." 

During the abortion Weinstein poked his head in to check on the progress of the procedure. Nisonoff assured him that all was well. Then suddenly Nisonoff broke out in a sweat and blood spurted from Betty's vagina onto his eyeglasses. He asked Ewald to clean them and wipe his face, which she did. He seemed nervous, with his hand trembling. He quickly asked for iodoform packing so that he could pack Betty's uterus and vagina. Ewald brought the packing, Nisonoff packed the patient, and then Ewald helped Betty to get down off the table and walk to a couch to rest. 

The Aftercare Plan

Betty complained of abdominal cramping. Nisonoff asked Ewald to take Betty with her to the home she shared with her two sisters on 42nd Street in Long Island. Ewald protested that there was no room for Betty in the three-room apartment, but Nisonoff persisted. Ewald eventually agreed.

Elters returned to the office about 45 minutes after he'd left. He encountered Weinstein in the waiting room and asked how things had gone. Weinstein assured him that all had gone well. Elters went into the office and saw Betty lying on a couch, attended by Ewald. Weinstein told Elters that Betty was going to be taken someplace for aftercare. Elters stayed with Betty for about fifteen minutes then met Weinstein outside and drove him back to his office.

At around 5:00, Camille Ewald took Betty to her home in a taxi.

At around 7:30, Betty said that she was in pain. Ewald called around to find Nisonoff, finally getting in touch with him at around 8:00. She told him about Betty's pain and cramps. He told her to remove the packing, which she did.

Nisonoff called Ewald between 11:00 and midnight to ask how Betty was doing. Ewald said that she was still in pain, but her temperature and pulse were normal.


On the morning of Saturday, November 14, Ewald went to Nisonoff's office in Queens to report that Betty was still unwell and had spent a very restless night. She asked him to come and check on the young woman. They went to Ewald's apartment together. Betty was unable to pass urine so Nisonoff inserted a catheter. Ewald said that the urine contained blood and little clots.

The doctor and nurse went back to the office. Nisonoff called Dr. Spielman, saying that he'd operated on Betty, describing her condition, and asking why she was bleeding so much. He wondered if he had perforated her bladder. Nisonoff conveyed to Ewald that Spielman didn't think Betty's bladder was perforated because such an injury would have left her unable to get off the table. He asked Spielman to examine Betty, but he refused.

At around 2:00 that afternoon, Nisonoff went to Ewald's apartment to check on Betty. He noted that her temperature and pulse seemed normal and wrote out a prescription for some medications, including morphine. Though he knew his patient as either Madylon McGeehan or Betty McGee, he wrote the prescription for "Ca. Ewald." He put Betty's correct age of 26, not Camille Ewald's age of 36, as the age of the patient.

Later that night Nisonoff called Ewald to check on Betty. Ewald told him that there had been no improvement in the young woman's condition.


On Sunday morning, November 15, Nisonoff called Ewald again for an update. She said that Betty's condition was deteriorating and asked him to come check on her. When he arrived he found that she had a fever and a rapid pulse. He told Ewald that they'd have to transport Betty to Prospect Hospital by ambulance. He called the hospital's owner to arrange for her to be admitted under the name "Betty McGee" and to receive blood transfusions.

Ewald called an ambulance that afternoon. Nisonoff agreed to reimburse her the $14 ambulance fee. Betty was removed from Ewald's apartment on a stretcher by John Myers, the owner and driver of Forest Hills Ambulance Service, and his assistant. Camille Ewald rode in the back of the ambulance with Betty. She was admitted at 3:10 p.m.

Nisonoff wrote the following admission note:

November 15, name Betty, 26 years old, married, family and personal history negative -- except for a sacroiliac -- last menstruation two months ago. Present complaint, bleeding from the vagina and pain. Examination of the abdomen tender and rigid. Temperature 100.2, pulse 116. Respiration 20. Examination: external os open and bleeding. Uterus size 10 weeks, diagnosis incomplete abortion, probably peritonitis. Patient denies criminal interference.

A diagnosis of an "incomplete abortion" could apply equally to a miscarriage or an induced abortion. He arranged for Betty to have a day nurse and a night nurse to look after her. Camille Ewald remained with Betty until she'd received a transfusion.

Somebody contacted Elters and let him know that Betty had been hospitalized.


On Monday, November 16, Betty received two more blood transfusions. Nisonoff phoned Dr. Alfred M. Hellman, a highly reputable ob/gyn Nisonoff had known for about twenty years. Nisonoff asked him to assist in Betty's care. He then called Weinstein and asked him to meet him outside the hospital at 3:00 because Hellman was going to examine Betty. 

Nisonoff and Camille Ewald picked Dr. Hellman up at his office at around 3:00 p.m. and drove to the hospital, where they found Weinstein waiting outside. Ewald and Weinstein remained in a waiting area for about twenty minutes while Hellman and Nisonoff went to see Betty.

During his trial Nisonoff testified that he'd told Hellman that Betty had come to his office on November 13 already in the process of expelling a fetus, which was partially protruding from her vagina. He asserted that he'd told Hellman that he had removed the remains of the fetus, and explored Betty's uterus to ensure that there were no retained tissues. Hellman, however, said that Nisonoff had not given him any medical history on his patient. Hellman found Betty to be " a desperately ill woman," clearly suffering from peritonitis and moribund.

Nisonoff dictated a letter to the Board of Health:

Joseph Nisonoff, 145 West 71st Street, New York, Phone, Susquehanna 7-4457

November 16, 1942.


This is to inform you that Mrs. Betty McGeehan is under my care at the Prospect Hospital, 730 Kelly Street, diagnosis, incomplete abortion and probable pelvic peritonitis or double salpingitis.

Respectfully yours,

J. Nisonoff

The End Draws Near

On the morning of Tuesday, November 17, Betty received last rites.

Elters called Nisonoff later that day to ask if he could see Betty. Nisonoff told him to come by the office and he could go to the hospital with Ewald. While Elters waited for the nurse to come to the office, Nisonoff told him to make sure he told Betty to say that she'd had the abortion performed somewhere else and to say that Nisonoff had not performed it.

Ewald arrived at the office and she and Elters drove to the hospital together. They spent about half an hour with Betty. As Elters and Ewald left the hospital they met Nisonoff outside on the sidewalk. Elters asked for a prognosis and Nisonoff told him that Betty was going to die. He stressed to Elters that it was very important that he not talk about the matter.  He urged Elters to go back to Hazleton and act normally and say that he'd not seen or heard from Betty for about a year. Camille Ewald testified that Nisonoff also told Elters to deny ever having seen any of the parties involved in the abortion -- not Weinstein, not Nisonoff, and not Ewald -- or they would all go to jail. He had Ewald get the phone number for Betty's mother.

Ewald went to Weinstein's office, where Weinstein told him not to say that he'd accompanied the young couple to Nisonoff's office.

Rather than returning to Hazleton, Elters left for Baltimore.

Meanwhile Nisonoff and Ewald returned to the office. Nisonoff called Rita McGeehan, telling her that her daughter was very ill at Prospect Maternity Hospital and that she should meet him at his office and they'd go to the hospital together.

Betty's Death

Betty breathed her last at 7:05 on the morning of Wednesday, November 18, 1942. Nisonoff wrote out the death certificate in the name of Betty McGee:

I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from November 15, 1942 to November 18, 1942 and last saw her alive at 6 A.M. on November 18, 1942. Statement of cause of death is based upon - principal cause of death: general peritonitis. Date of onset: November 16th; contributory cause of death: incomplete abortion.

Later that morning Nisonoff told Camille Ewald that Mrs. McGeehan had gone to the hospital and that Betty had died. She said that Nisonoff also told her to say that Weinstein had done the abortion in his office then called Nisonoff, who had arranged for hospitalization. She said she was also to say that she lived on 61st Street, with Nisonoff's niece, Pearl Davis Tense, who was also his nurse at the 71st Street office.

The Investigation Begins

Detective Thomas M. Farrell went to the hospital to investigate Betty's death. Noting that Nisonoff had signed the death certificate he phoned him and asked him about the circumstances. Nisonoff told him that he'd been called in by Weinstein for a consultation and provided Weinstein's address at 1684 Macombs Road in the Bronx. Detective Farrell then went to the Fordham Morgue and observed the autopsy performed by Dr. Louis Lefkowitz, Assistant Medical Examiner. (Lefkowitz died suddenly and unexpectedly on March 6, 1943, a few days before Nisonoff's trial began.)

Dr. Lefkowitz noted in the autopsy:

Lying at the brim of the pelvis, free in the peritoneal cavity, between two coils of intestine is a portion of a foetus, which consists of the lower three cervical vertebrae, all the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, the ribs of the left side, and some loose tissue. The ribs on the other side, and the head, are absent. This specimen measures about 3 inches in length and is mangled. 

On the anterior surface of the uterus about 1/2 inch below the uppermost portion of the fundus is an irregular perforation, which readily admits the index finger; measures about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in diameter. It is roughly round in shape; the edges are necrotic, and ragged and from there protrudes some blood-clot. The perforation above-described penetrates the entire thickness of the anterior uterine wall, and there is some adherent placenta and membranes at the right fornix of the uterus. The remaining portion of the fundus of the uterus seems to be denuded of endometrium. There is some subendometrial haemorrhage in the internal os, which is dilated and readily admits a finger-tip. The walls of the uterus are soft and oedematous.

After observing the autopsy Detective Farrell went to Weinstein's office to question him about the first time he'd seen Madylon McGeehan. Weinstein gave the detective a card that read "Betty McGeehan -- November 15, 1942, vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, rapid pulse, Dr. Nisonoff called on consultation, admitted to Prospect Hospital."

Weinstein told Farrell that he'd gotten a phone call from Betty on November 15, requesting a consult for vaginal bleeding. He had told her that he didn't have Sunday office hours, but she insisted on being seen so he told her to meet him at his office at 11:30 that morning. When Betty arrived she was accompanied by "Henry Eltus," a man Weinstein had known for about four years. Weinstein said that due to the bleeding he did not do a vaginal examination but did take her vital signs before recommending that she see a gynecologist. He suggested Nisonoff. Nisonoff was at the wedding of his niece, Pearl Davis, who also worked as his receptionist. Weinstein managed to get hold of him and arrange for him to come and examine Betty. Nisonoff arrived at around 1:00 that afternoon, preformed a thorough examination, and recommended that Betty be hospitalized. Weinstein said that Nisonoff took Betty to Prospect Hospital in a tax

Weinstein told Farrell that he'd gone to the hospital on the 16th to consult with Nisonoff , who had told him that Betty was very ill. Weinstein said that the next time he'd gone to the hospital was Wednesday morning, only to learn that Betty had died.


At the time of Madylon's death, Nisonoff was out on $2,500 bail after being charged with performing another abortion, which the woman had survived. He had been arrested and freed on another abortion charge in 1930. During six hours of questioning, he denied any knowledge of Madylon's death. Nevertheless, he was arrested for homicide. The Assistant District Attorney asked that Nisonoff's bail be set at $150,000 because he was considered a flight risk. 

Pearl Tense, age 22, had fled to Texas but was tracked down, arrested, and held on $2,500 bail. 

Ewald was harder to track down. He was eventually located, arrested, and held on $15,000 bail. 

The manslaughter charge against Ewald was dropped and she was held as a material witness on $10,000 bail. 

NOTE: At this point I became confused by the timeline and conflicting testimony and gave up. Below are my notes. I'll catch this up next year on the anniversary of Betty's death.

On November 15, Elters was told that Madylon needed a blood transfusion. She was admitted to Prospect Hospital as Betty McGee. The admitting diagnosis was "incomplete abortion, probably peritonitis." Nisonoff sent a letter to the New York City Board of Health to that effect the following day. Somebody had called Nisonoff, who said that he guessed Madylon was "okay," and stayed at the wedding rather than come to attend to her himself. Madylon received three blood transfusions at the hospital.

A primary grounds for the appeal was that the Medical Examiner who had performed the autopsy and signed off on the report, Dr. Louis L. Lefkowitz, had died before the trial and thus could not be cross-examined by the defense. The city's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Thomas A. Gonzales, testified based on the autopsy report.

Camille Ewald arrested November 24 with Nisonoff.

After her death there, she was correctly identified by her sister, Mary, who had come came from the family home at Hazleton, PA, to claim Madylon's body.

Nisonoff was sentenced to 5 years in state prison, and Weinstein was sentenced to the city penitentiary.

As a result of the McGeehan case, the New York District Attorney's office began investigating other possible abortion rings in the city.

Nisonoff was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney James Carney. He and Camille Ewals were arrested at his apartment at 110 Riverside Drive on November 25. 

The indictment charged that Nisonoff, Weinstein, Pear Davis Tense, and Camille Ewald committed an abortion on Madylon on November 13, 1942. At the beginning of the trial charges against Pearl Tense were dismissed at the request of the District Attorney. 

Assistant District Attorney Francis X. O'Brien asserted that Nisonoff failed to provide any care to Madylon as she lay dying because he was attending the wedding of his niece, who was also his secretary.

Camille Ewald told the authorities that her boss was a professional abortionist who perpetrated between 20 and 25 abortions per week, which earned him $2,500 to $3,000. This seems a bit off, as Elters reportedly paid $600 for Madylon's abortion while if Camille was telling the truth Nisonoff would have been charging an average of about $125 for an abortion.

Joseph Nisonoff was sentenced to 5 - 15 years in state prison. Max J. Weinstein was sentenced to New York City Penitentiary for an indefinite term. On May 21, 1943 New York Supreme Court Justice Louis A. Valente granted a Certificate of Reasonable Doubt and Nisonoff and Weinstein were released on bail. His appeal ultimately failed.

Madylon's death and the subsequent investigation were covered extensively in New York, but not in her hometown newspaper. In fact, one obituary indicates that she died in Washington, D.C. of pneumonia rather than in New York. Buried in Saint Gabriel Roman Catholic Cemetery in Hazleton.