Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Three "Back Alley Butchers" and a Safe and Legal Provider

A Shady Doctor in 1884

Twenty-five-year-old Lizzie Cook, a domestic servant, died suddenly on July 27, 1884, in Lockport, New York.Dr. Ira T. Richmond (alias of Dr. Ira Butler) was arrested. Richmond, age 46, had come to Lockport a year earlier and opened a sanitarium, "which died for want of patronage." This might be due to the fact that, as the Chicago Inter Ocean reported on July 30, 1884, Richmond "had a dubious character among physicians."

Evidently Lizzie's brother-in-law, William, had taken her to Richmond's practice, where she was examined in his presence and diagnosed with dropsy and blood poisoning. Two days later, she was put to bed at Bowen's house at about 11:00 at night, and remained there sick for nearly three weeks before her death in the afternoon of July 27. Richmond attended to her on a daily basis, sometimes visiting more than once a day, during that time.

By Saturday evening, her body had already been packed in ice and taken to her parents' home. She was buried on Monday morning after a large funeral. "The secrecy in getting her body removed to her home created suspicion," so her body was exhumed that afternoon for an autopsy that revealed signs that she had died from a surgically performed abortion.

Richmond was immediately arrested and charged with either first degree murder or first degree manslaughter, according to differing sources. He pleaded not guilty, insisting that Lizzie had not been pregnant when she died and had died of dropsy and blood poisoning. "The evidence is strong against him, however," said the July 30, 1884 Cincinnati Enquirer. Sentiment against Richmond was so strong there fears that he would be lynched.

Richmond was convicted of first degree manslaughter on October 21, 1884. I have so far been unable to determine if his Canadian wife's testimony about his doings there was admitted into evidence. The jury recommended mercy. After requesting and being denied a new trial, Richmond/Butler was sentenced to six years of hard labor at Auburn Prison.


A Doctor Indicted, 1920

On July 27, 1920, 38-year-old homemaker Adelaide Fowler died at her Chicago home after a criminal abortion. Dr. Barney Welty was arrested, and indicted by a Grand Jury on August 1 but, for reasons I have been unable to determine, the case never went to trial.

Safe and Legal in Florida, 1974

Gina Gardner, a 17-year-old cheerleader at Gulf Comprehensive High School in West Pasco, Florida went into convulsions almost immediately after Dr. James R. Lund administered the local anesthetic Lidocaine. That was the fourth time he administered the drug to Gina while she was still under the effects of an initial dose of Demerol for her abortion. Gina was hospitalized but died the following day, July 27, 1974.

Gina's mother, Patricia Kennedy, had to wrangle to even bring the case to court because of a recently-passed Florida law regarding medical malpractice cases.

An Erstwhile Back-Alley Butcher, 1985

Dr. Bejmanim Munson
Eighteen-year-old Yvonne Mesteth was the second of two patients to die of infection after safe and legal abortions by South Dakota abortionist Benjamin Munson. (The other was Linda Padfield.) Yvonne was in the second trimester of her pregnancy when Munson performed the abortion in his Rapid City clinic. She developed an infection, kidney failure, and adult respiratory distress syndrome. She died on July 27, 1985. Despite having already killed Linda Padfield, Munson was welcomed into the National Abortion Federation.

Munson is the third former criminal abortionist I've learned of who had a clean record -- no patient deaths -- as a criminal abortionist, only to go on to kill two patients in his legal practice. The others are Milan Vuitch (Georgianna English and Wilma Harris) and Jesse Ketchum (Margaret Smith and Carole Schaner).

Monday, July 25, 2016

Chicago Abortions, 1911 and 1930

Katherine Collins, 23 years old, died on July 25, 1911 at Chicago's Lake Side Hospital from an abortion committed by an unidentified perpetrator. There were so many physicians and midwives practicing abortion in Chicago at the time that it is likely she availed herself of one of them.

On July 16, 1930, homemaker Evelyn Dellorto, age 20, underwent an illegal abortion believed to have been performed at the office of Dr. Frank Psota. Evelyn died on July 25, leaving behind her husband, James. On August 1, Psota was booked for murder by abortion even though the coroner's verdict was "undetermined." Psota was indicted, and held on $10,000 bond by Judge Lyle. On December 10, he was acquitted of the murder charge for reasons I've been unable to determine. Evelyn's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was attributed to a physician.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Doctor in 1929, a Lay Abortionist in 1931

Dr. Sven Windrow, Chicago, 1929

On July 16, 1929, Dr. Sven Windrow performed an abortion on 19-year-old Emmy Anderson at a Chicago location. Emmy died on July 24. Dr. Windrow was held by the coroner on July 25. Jacque Lagrave, age 67, was held as an accessory. Windrow was indicted February 6, 1929 for felony murder. Emmy, a native of Colic, Sweden, worked as a maid. Her abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Mrs. Sophie Layton, Raleigh, 1931

Mrs. Sophie Layton of Raleigh, North Carolina, was sentenced to five years for the abortion death of 20-year-old Miss Celia Roberts of Granville County. Celia had gone to Raleigh in July of 1931 for an abortion, which was perpetrated on July 22. She was taken to a hospital in Oxford, where she died on July 24 after naming Layton as her abortionist.

A Justice of the Peace, I. E. Harris, was arrested "on charges of advising and procuring the operation." He turned state's evidence and identified Layton as the abortionist -- though on her deathbed Celia had sworn that Harris had nothing to do with her situation.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Safe and Legal in California, 1961

Erika Peterson, age 28, was admitted to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California on July 11, 1961, due to trouble breathing. She was diagnosed with pneumonia and placed in a tank respirator. Erika was at that time in the first trimester of pregnancy. Her physicians made the decision to abort her child as soon as she was well enough to undergo the abortion. Abortion was, at that time, legal only to try to save the life of the mother.

On July 21, Erika's condition had improved, and her husband signed the consent form for the abortion, which was scheduled to take place two days later.

The abortion was started as scheduled on July 23. Erika went into cardiac arrest during the procedure and was unable to be resuscitated. The abortion that was intended to save her life ended her life instead.

After autopsy, it was believed that Erika's original illness was caused by a hereditary disease that was exacerbated by the medications she was taking for her schizophrenia.

Erika's was not the only tragic death caused by doctors who recommended (or excused) abortion as a life-saving or health-preserving option for the mother:

  • Allegra Roseberry was pushed into an abortion in order to obtain experimental cancer treatment.
  • Anjelica Duarte sought an abortion on the advice of her physician, and ended up dying under the care of a quack.
  • Barbara Hoppert died after an abortion recommended due to a congenital heart problem.
  • Christin Gilbert died after an abortion George Tiller holds was justified on grounds of maternal health.
  • "Molly" Roe died in 1975 when her doctors made the dubious decision to perform a saline abortion to improve her chances of surviving a lupus crisis.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Illegal and Legal, 50 Years Apart

A Probably Lay Abortionist in New York, 1925

Very little is on record about the July 22, 1925 death of 17-year-old Gertrude Wynants. According to the New York Times, Gertrude died from a criminal abortion. Mrs. Margaret Shott Higgens, age 25, was indicted for manslaughter in Gertrude's death.

An Abortion Hospital in Detroit, 1974

On July 22, 1974, twenty-two-year-old Carole Wingo died of a Demerol over dose during a safe and legal abortion at Mercy General Hospital in Detroit. Despite the name, Mercy was not a general hospital. It was an abortion hospital. It was also a hospital in big trouble even before Carole's death.

The Michigan Public Department of Health had cited Mercy for 43 violations of nursing standards and 12 violations of physical plant standards in October of 1973, and had withheld their license. Among the violations were that the operating room lacked a cardiac monitor, a resuscitator, and a defibrillator. Carole's mother filed suit against the facility and doctors David Northcross, Chuk Nwokedi, and Robert Wolf.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

An Assortment of Perpetrators Over More Than a Century

Abortifacients From a Druggist Husband, 1886

On July 21, 1886, Mrs. Fred Winkleman was found dead in her Cincinnati home from a botched abortion. The last survivor of the Miller family, she had a small fortune of $13,000 which she had given over to Fred at their marriage four months earlier. Winkleman was arrested and freed on $5,000 bail. Police believed that Fred, a 26-year-old druggist, had intended his wife's death in order to have free use of the money. The scant news coverage seems to indicate that Fred had perpetrated the abortion himself. A headline in the Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal, "Poisoned His Bride," is the only indication of the means of the abortion. I've also been unable to determine whether he was ever prosecuted.

Midwives in Chicago, 1907

On July 21, 1907, 21-year-old homemaker Madeline Paffrath died at German American Hospital in Chicago. Before her death she took an oath with her hand on the Bible, vowing never to divulge the names of the two women who had perpetrated an abortion on her. Madeline's husband, John W. Paffrath, did not have so charitable a view of the women who had brought about his wife's death. He named Agnes Schustzner (Harcone Scheutner, according to the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database) as one of the two perpetrators. Other witnesses, saying that Schustzner was drunk at the time of the abortion, named Alice Gustafson as the first to attempt an abortion on Madeline. The coroner's jury held the two above-named midwives, along with midwife Alice Rastone.

An Amateur Abortionist, 1916

Late in the evening of July 21, 1916, 21-year-old Roy Hinterliter showed up at the sanitarium in Olney, Illinois with a young woman, Miss Elizabeth Radcliffe, slumped over onto his lap in his buggy. Elizabeth, age 17, was immediately pronounced dead. It was eventually learned that she had died at a rural trysting spot near a bridge, where investigators found signs of a struggle. Imprints of Elizabeth's hands and Hinterliter's feet were found in the sand. After Elizabeth had died, Hinterliter had loaded her body into the buggy and ridden into town with her.

An autopsy confirmed pregnancy, but showed no external signs of violence and all her reproductive organs appeared normal. However, upon cutting open her heart, air escaped. One news report stated that the doctor "found the heart so filled with air that it made a hissing like a plugged rubber ball when a pin was stuck into it." There was so much air in Elizabeth's brain that it floated when placed in water. There were no lung lesions to explain the air in Elizabeth's bloodstream.

Two boys were spotted in town trying to hide a package. They were arrested, and told police that Hinterliter had asked them to get rid of the contents of the package -- a catheter with the plunger missing. They said that they had been with Hinterliter in the drug store when he'd bought it. He had told them that a doctor had told him how to use it. It eventually came out that Hinterliter had taken out the plunger and instead blown into the catheter -- with which he had accidentally punctured a vein. Thus he blew a quantity of air directly into Elizabeth's blood stream. She would have died almost instantly.


Profession Unknown, 1923


On July 21, 1923, 28-year-old Mrs. Mary Federowicz died at Chicago's St. Mary's Hospital from complications performed that day. Mrs. Anna Mithnewicz, whose profession was not given, was identified by the coroner as the person responsible, but no arrest was made. It's likely that Mary had availed herself of one of the many physicians or midwives who practiced abortion in Chicago at the time.

Planned Parenthood, 2012

Tonya Reaves, age 24, was rushed to Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago and pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m. on Friday, July 21, 2012. She was taken there from the Planned Parenthood facility at 18 S. Michigan Avenue, which advertises abortions up to 18 weeks. Tonya had undergone a D&E abortion, which indicates that she was likely between 14 and 18 weeks pregnant, although a misdiagnosis of fetal age might be the underlying cause of the injury.

The Centers for Disease Control published back in 1983, "Deaths from hemorrhage associated with legal induced abortion should not occur." In every hemorrhage death they investigated, "Lack of adequate postoperative monitoring or treatment of hemorrhagic shock" was a factor. Tonya's death was no exception. Her abortion was performed at 11:00 a.m., but she remained at the facility for hours until finally an ambulance was called, taking her to the hospital at 4:30 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., doctors performed an ultrasound, followed by another D&E procedure, though it is unclear whether they were removing retained tissue or aborting a second fetus. Tonya had continued pain and bleeding, so a second ultrasound was performed, revealing a uterine perforation. It is unclear whether this was a perforation from the initial D&E at Planned Parenthood or from the follow-up at the hospital.


Regardless of the source of the perforation, Tonya was returned to surgery, where “an uncontrollable bleed was discovered.” She was pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m. The CDC's article noted, "Deaths from hemorrhage can be eliminated by preventing uterine trauma during abortion and by rapidly diagnosing and treating hemorrhage if it occurs." Planned Parenthood, for some reason, failed to prevent the uterine trauma and failed to rapidly diagnose and treat Tonya's hemorrhage. The abortion giant has a lot of explaining to do.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Two Different Doctors, Two Different Eras

A Deadly Doctor in Denver, 1913

On July 20, 1913, Mrs. Emma Chandler, age 20, died suddenly from complications of a criminal abortion perpetrated the previous day. In a deathbed statement, she named Dr. J.A. Richmond as her abortionist. Her husband, Ora, a Denver grocery clerk, notified the police immediately after Emma's death.

An investigation revealed that a friend had accompanied Emma to Richmond's practice after finishing work at the offices of a lumber company. After the abortion she was driven home. Her husband returned from work and found Emma very weak. Overnight she became more and more ill. Around noon she realized that she was dying and sent for a neighbor, who she begged to pray for her. The neighbor remained by Emma's bedside, knitting and praying.

Some time in the afternoon Emma confessed about the abortion to her husband, saying she'd arranged it because she didn't want another child, feeling that her 3-year-old son was enough. Mr. Chandler sent for a doctor who lived across the street, but there was nothing he could do for her.

Maternal Indications in New York, 1970

Barbara Riley was 23 years old when she chose abortion. She had a history of sickle cell anemia and three previous term pregnancies -- two live births and a stillborn child. She was in her first trimester of pregnancy when she underwent the abortion on July 11, 1970 at Harlem Hospital. The abortion had been recommended by hospital staff because Barbara had a history of sickle cell disease.

The abortion would probably have been recommended as beneficial to Barbara's health, under New York's old abortion law; the new law just meant that they didn't need to leally justify going ahead with it. But instead of improving, Barbara's health deteriorated. Her blood started to break down. Nine days after the abortion, July 20, Barbara died. She was the third abortion-related death reported in New York State in the 23 days that abortion had been legal in New York. The other women I've identified as dying from sickle cell crisis triggered by an abortion are Margaret Davis and Betty Hines.

The 1970 liberalization of abortion had made New York an abortion mecca until the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling that abortionists could legally set up shop in any state of the union. In addition to Barbara, these are the women I know of who had the dubious benefit of dying from the newfangled safe-and-legal kind of abortion in pre-Roe New York:

The deaths on this list are disproportionately in 1971 because most are taken from a report published by the New York health department covering the first 24 months of legalized abortion in New York, which included that latter half of 1970 and the beginning of 1972.