Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Unidentified Abortion Practitioners, 1929 and 1982

On September 28, 1929, 29-year-old Barbara Auer died in Chicago from complications of an illegal abortion performed at an unknown place. The person or persons responsible were never identified or prosecuted, so we can't know if she availed herself of one of the plethora of physicans and midwives practicing abortion in Chicago at that time.

Rhonda Hess was 20 years old when she underwent a legal abortion. After the procedure, she developed an infection. The infection led to problems with clotting of the blood. Rhonda was taken to Moss Regional Hospital in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she died on September 28, 1982.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

From Chicago in 1908 to Los Angeles in 1975

A Midwife's Work in Chicago, 1908

On September 23, 1908, "Mrs. G.," whom I call "Sophie," was admitted to Cook County Hospital in Chicago. Two weeks earlier, when she was ten weeks pregnant, she had undergone an abortion at the hands of a midwife. She began suffering from chills, fever, and abdominal pain about five days later. After two days of these symptoms, a physician treated her with a curettage to try to remove retained material, but this left Sophie feeling even worse.

Over the course of the ensuing week Sophie's condition deteriorated. When she was finally admitted she had a very tender, distended abdomen. Her pulse was racing at 120, her respiration a rapid 30. Her fever was 101.4. She was speaking incoherently. An internal examination found an enlarge uterus, a swollen cervix, and a purulent vaginal discharge.

On September 26, her condition was little changed. An additional surgery was attempted, involving dilating her cervix, curetting the uterus, then irrigating the uterus and packing it with gauze. The results were catastrophic. Sophie's fever spiked to 108.6, her pulse 160 and her respirations 58. She died on September 27, 19 hours after the surgery.

Yet Another Fatal Failure at Inglewood Women's Hospital, 1975

On September 13, 1975, 22-year-old Lynette Wallace underwent a safe and legal abortion at Inglewood Women's Hospital in Los Angeles County.

Early on the morning of September 27, Lynette went to the emergency room reporting abdominal pain. Staff reported that she became agitated and "difficult to handle." They put her in restraints, and she was pronounced dead of cardiopulmonary arrest at 10:53 AM.

The autopsy revealed what the abortionist should have detected -- the pregnancy had not been in Lynette's uterus but in her fallopian tube. The tube had ruptured, spilling blood and a 10-week fetus into Lynette's abdomen.

Women who seek abortion should be less likely to die of ruptured ectopic pregnancies than women who do not seek abortion. After all, the abortionist is supposed to perform an examination verifying the size of the uterus, and is supposed to visually examine the abortion tissue to be sure that the entire fetus and placenta are present. Also, a pathology examination is supposed to be done on the uterine contents to verify the presence of the entire fetal/placental unit. However, women who seek abortion are actually more likely to die of ruptured ectopic pregnancies than women who do not seek abortion. The pain and nausea associated with an ectopic pregnancy are often mistaken for ordinary post-abortion symptoms, and are ignored until the tube ruptures and the woman's life is in danger.

Lynette is one of many deaths currently attributed to Inglewood Women's Hospital (aka Inglewood Women's Clinic) in Los Angeles County. The others are Yvonne Tanner, Kathy Murphy, Belinda Byrd, Cora Lewis, and Elizabeth Tsuji.

Monday, September 26, 2016

From Chicago Doctors to The Butcher of Avenue A

Early 20th Century Chicago Deaths

Mrs. Annie Heaney, age 28, died at Post Graduate Hospital in Chicago on September 26, 1906, from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day. Like many women seeking abortions in Chicago at the time, Annie had availed herself of a physician's services. Dr. Jonathan L. Miller was arrested in the death.

On September 26, 1922, 35-year-old homemaker Mary Cybulski, a Polish immigrant, died at her Chicago home from peritonitis caused by a criminal abortion performed there that day. On November 15, Lucy Kozolwski, whose profession is not given, was indicted for felony murder in Mary's death.

The National Abortion Federation Presents: "The Butcher of Avenue A"

NAF member Abu Hayat
On September 17, 1990, 17-year-old Sophie McCoy went to the office of National Abortion Federation member Abu Hayat. Sophie was accompanied by her mother and by the husband of the operator of a facility identified as "the Willoughby Avenue Clinic." She had been referred to him, but medical board documents do not say by whom.

Sophie and her mother returned to Hayat's office the next day and paid $300 for the safe, legal abortion. Sophie was given intravenous medications which put her to sleep. She was kept about four hours and discharged with another prescription for antibiotics.

That evening, Sophie was bleeding, had abdominal pain, and was having trouble breathing.

The next day, September 19, she was taken to a hospital, reporting vaginal bleeding, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Dr. Harding, who treated her, discovered that Sophie had a perforated uterus and serious sepsis. An emergency hysterectomy was performed, but Sophie developed disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (a clotting disorder) and septic shock. Sophie died on September 26. She left a one-year-old son motherless.


Blue and white logo with text: NAF and National Abortion Federation
After Sophie's death, Hayat originally denied having treated her at all. But Sophie's mother identified Hayat by name and from a photograph.

While continuing to deny having treated Sophie, Hayat told one of the physicians who had tried to save her life that she had expelled a fetus at home and come to him for treatment, whereupon he'd sent her to the hospital. But Margie, an employee of his, recognized Sophie from a photo and said that Hayat had indeed treated the girl on two occasions. Margie added that after the second visit, Sophie's mother had called, hysterical and crying. Margie further said that she had seen medical records for Sophie at the facility, and that Hayat had argued with the referring clinic about payments for Sophie's treatment.


The case was reported to the district attorney and the New York Health Department, but nobody took any action against Hayat until he pulled the arm off an infant during an abortion attempt in 1991. 

The child, Ana Rosa Rodriguez, (pictured), was born at a nearby hospital. Her right arm was entirely absent from the shoulder. 

Hayat was arrested, charged with assault and illegal third-trimester abortion, and convicted. 


Image stating that support of the National Abortion Federation helps women to have access to "The Butcher of Avenue A." "Abu Hayat, who killed Sophie McCoy and maimed Ana Rodriguez, was a NAF member.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Selection of Physicians, 1892 - 1989

The Infamous Lucy Hagenow Gets her Start in Chicago, 1892

At about 9:00 on the morning of Sunday, September 25, 1892, 30-year-old Sophia Kuhn "died in great agony" at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. She had been brought there by ambulance the previous evening from Dr. Louise Hagenow's practice at 882 West Madison Street.

"That the woman died from the result of a most cruel criminal operation is fairly well established, and an inquest to-day will beyond question reveal the details of what has every appearance of being little less than a butchery."

A poor quality picture of a white woman of late middle age, with sharp features, wearing round spectacles and a sailor-style blouse and hat
Louise "Lucy" Hagenow
Louise Hagenow and Ellen Hellieu were arrested. Sophia's father identified them as responsible for his daughter's death. Sophie, who had been separated from her husband for about two years, had been living with her sister, Mrs. White, at the time of the pregnancy and abortion. Sophie's brother-in-law, William White, said, "My sister-in-law left home about two weeks ago. She was then complaining of being sick and in trouble. I am certain she did not go to Mrs. Hagenow and the other doctors of her own accord. There was a man in the case who must have persuaded her to submit to an operation."

While police were interviewing Hagenow, who also used the name Lucy Hagenow, at her practice, Hellieu "rushed breathless into her apartments. When she saw Dr. Hagenow's interviewer, she exclaimed: 'Don't say anything!' Then she sank exhausted upon a sofa."

Hagenow had already been implicated in the abortion deaths of Louise Derchow, Annie Dories, Abbie Richards, Emma Dep in San Francisco before relocating to Chicago in 1890.

She was implicated in the abortion deaths of Minnie Deering in 1891. Shortly after Sophie's death, Hagenow was again arrested, this time for the abortion death of Emily Anderson. Further abortion deaths associated with Hagenow's Chicago practice include:
More Chicago Physicians, 1925

On September 25, 1925, Faye McGinnis, a 23-year-old clerk, died at her home in Chicago from complications of an abortion performed that day. The coroner identified two physicians, Walter Penningdorf and Walter Voight, as being responsible. For Faye to choose a physician abortionist was common in Chicago in that era, though midwives were a popular choice as well. The doctors were arrested on September 25 and indicted for felony murder on October 15. Faye's husband, Roy McGinnis, was also arrested as an accomplice in his wife's death.

Safe and Legal in 1978

Minnie Lathan is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a safe and legal abortion. Minnie was 41 when she had an abortion and tubal ligation performed some time in September of 1978. Her uterus was perforated and her colon damaged during the procedure. She developed an infection and was hospitalized at Cleveland Clinic Hospital. She died there on September 25.


The Unsavory Leo Kenneally, 1986
Twenty-two-year-old Liliana Cortez, an immigrant, underwent a safe and legal abortion by Leo Kenneally at his Her Medical Clinic in Los Angeles on September 20, 1986. Other than having asthma, Liliana was in good health when she went for her abortion. After the procedure, she went into cardiac arrest. There was a 40-minute delay until the paramedics arrived to transport Liliana to a hospital. She died five days later.


Liliana's death was ruled a "therapeutic misadventure," which a coroner's spokesman called, "a nice medical term for a mistake." An attorney for Her Medical Clinic said, "If something like this happened at a hospital ... people would just say it was bad luck, one of those flukey things. But ... all of a sudden they make it seem like these (abortion clinics) are terrible places where terrible things happen." Donna Heim and Michelle Thames also died after abortions at Her Medical Clinic.

Septic Shock in Alabama, 1989

Debra Walton was 35 years old when she underwent an abortion in the fall of 1989. On September 24, 1989, about three weeks after the abortion, she was admitted to University Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. She was in septic shock. Despite efforts to save her, she died the next day, September 25, 1989. Her death certificate does not say where the abortion took place or who performed it.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Nurse's Fatal Work

On September 24, 1927, 35-year-old homemaker Martha Kohnke died in Chicago from a criminal abortion performed that day. Nurse Emma Schultz was held by the coroner on October 5.

Schultz had also been implicated in the abortion death of Mary Bambrick in October of 1911, but that case never went to trial.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Strange Discoveries and Inexplicable Endangerment

Chicago, 1899: A Funeral Interrupted

On Sunday, September 24, 1899, police stopped the funeral procession of 29-year-old Mary Kakacek. Her body was taken for an autopsy. The coroner's jury concluded that Mary's death in her home the previous day had been due to a criminal abortion perpetrated by midwife Annie Stanek. Mary's use of a midwife was typical of Chicago illegal abortions of the era, that were frequently perpetrated by medical professionals.

During her final illness, Mary had made a dying statement telling of her visits to Stanek, stating that she was treated harshly by the midwife. Stanek was held without bail by the Coroner's Jury.

1907: Abortion in Indiana, Death in Chicago


On September 23, 1907, 27-year-old homemaker Mabel Brock of Lake Station, Indiana, died in Chicago's John Streeter Hospital. The coroner's jury determined that she had died from an abortion perpetrated by midwife Mrs. Lobbie from Hobart, Indiana on September 5.

Chicago, 1912: Suspicions at the Undertaking Establishment

A portrait of a young white woman of the turn of the 20th century, with very thick, dark hair in an updo.
Anna Rice
On Monday, September 23, 1912, the body of Anna "Annie" Rice was taken from the Chicago home of Dr. Maximillian Meinhardt to the undertaking establishment of E. I. Harty. Dr. Henry G. W. Reinshardt, the deputy coroner, went to Harty's business, saw Annie's body on the slab, and questioned Harty. He learned that the death certificate said that the young woman had died of pneumonia, but that her body showed signs of trauma. .Reinhardt considered this fishy and performed an autopsy. He was able to determine that Annie had died of abortion complications, but was unable to determine from examination of the body if the abortion had been self-inflicted or perpetrated by somebody else.

Another deputy coroner, David G. Gillespie, convened a coroner's jury to investigate the circumstances of the fatal abortion. He found out that Annie had gone to Meinhardt's home the previous Saturday. Meinhardt said that she was already seriously ill and he provided care for her because she refused to go to a hospital. Annie's friends and relatives, however, said she'd been in good health when they'd seen her last.

On Monday morning, Annie was so sick that Meinhardt overrode her wishes and summoned an ambulance. Annie collapsed and died right as the ambulance was pulling up. After tracking down her relatives, he said, he'd sent the body to the undertaker of their choice.

Meinhardt insisted, even after the autopsy, that the young woman had died of heart failure and pneumonia. So far I've been unable to determine the outcome of the case.

Meinhard went on to be embroiled in the August 1915 abortion death of Stella Cams at his Lake Shore Hospital and the 1917 abortion death of Emma Melvin.


Chicago, 1915: Five Doctors, One Death

Stella Cams, age 30, died on August 2, 1915. at Chicago's Lake Shore Hospital. She had been admitted under the name "Mrs. Steele."

She had been sick since July. On the 17th, her husband, Harry Cams, called Dr. Thomas J. Balhatchett to attend to his wife. Balhatchett declared that she was suffering ill effects from an accident and called in Dr. Patrick Mills. Stella didn't speak English, so Mills could not get any information from her. He found Stella to be very ill, and, not liking the situation, left Balhatchett to deal with Stella's care alone. It was then that Balhatchett called in Dr. G. A. Stetler, who evidently recognized that he was dealing with an abortion case, and that a second surgery was necessary. One of the doctors performed it.

The next day somebody asked a nurse, Jeannette Houston, to provide nursing care. She hadn't been told before arriving that this was an abortion case. She din't want to stay but did anyway, caring for Stella until her admission to the hospital on July 29.


There, Dr. Maximillian Meinhard (hospital owner and/or head of surgery, specializing in ear, nose, and throat disorders), declared that Stella was suffering from pneumonia and handed her off to Dr. Charles W. Clark, who, not having been given a medical history also diagnosed Stella with pneumonia. She died on September 23.

Stella was to be buried as a pneumonia victim, but Dr. Springer, coroner, had herd vague rumors and decided to perform an autopsy. Concluding that Stella had actually died from a septic abortion, he set an inquest date of August 27 in order to have time to gather evidence.

Meinhart had been involved with abortion-related trouble before. In September of 1912, the body of Anna Rice was taken from his home to an undertaking establishment. He told the undertaker, E. I. Harty, that Anna had died of pneumonia. Harty notified the coroner, An inquest was held and the coroner's jury concluded that Anna had died from a botched abortion. Menhardt was implicated in 1917 in the abortion death of Emma Melvin.


New York, 1971: An Antiquated Abortion Technique Proves Fatal

"Barbara" is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a legal abortion. Barbara was 35 years old when she traveled from Michigan to New York for a safe and legal abortion in 1971, taking advantage of New York's enlightened abortion law. She was 20 weeks pregnant.

The doctor chose a saline abortion, which works by injecting a strong sterile salt solution into the amniotic fluid. As the fetus swallows and inhales the solution, it experiences massive internal hemorrhaging. Once the fetus dies, the woman goes into labor. Within 24 hours of being injected with saline for the abortion, she went into convulsions, then her heart stopped.

Efforts to save her failed. She died on September 23, 1971, leaving behind five children. The autopsy could find no anatomical cause of death.

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 "Danielle," 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:


  • Pearl Schwier, July, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • Carmen Rodriguez, July, 1970, salt solution intended to kill the fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • Barbara Riley, July, 1970, sickle-cell crisis triggered by abortion recommended by doctor due to her sickle cell disease
  • "Amanda" Roe, September, 1970, sent back to her home in Indiana with an untreated hole poked in her uterus
  • Maria Ortega, October, 1970, fetus shoved through her uterus into her pelvic cavity then left there
  • "Kimberly" Roe, December, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Amy" Roe, January, 1971, massive pulmonary embolism
  • "Andrea" Roe, January, 1971, overwhelming infection
  • "Sandra" Roe, April, 1971, committed suicide due to post-abortion remorse
  • "Anita" Roe, May, 1971, bled to death in her home during process of outpatient saline abortion
  • Margaret Smith, June 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Annie" Roe, June, 1971, cardiac arrest during anesthesia
  • "Audrey" Roe, July, 1971, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Vicki" Roe, August, 1971, post-abortion infection
  • "April" Roe, August, 1971, injected with saline for outpatient abortion, went into shock and died
  • "Tammy" Roe, October, 1971, massive post-abortion infection
  • Carole Schaner, October, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Beth" Roe, December, 1971, saline injection meant to kill fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • "Roseann" Roe, February, 1971, vomiting with seizures causing pneumonia after saline abortion
  • "Connie" Roe, March, 1972, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Julie" Roe, April, 1972, holes torn in her uterus and bowel
  • "Robin" Roe, May, 1972, lingering abortion complications
  • "Roxanne" Roe, May, 1972, given overdose of abortion sedatives
  • "Danielle" Roe, May, 1972, air in her bloodstream
Wisconsin, 1995: The Same Antiquated Technique Proves Fatal Again

The widower of a Wisconsin teacher killed in a safe, legal abortion has filed suit against the hospital training the resident who did the procedure. Linda Boom, age 35, went to Sinai Samaritan Medical Center in Milwaukee for an abortion on September 21, 1995.

Linda and her husband, Dennis Boom, had married in 1993 and planned to start a family. Linda learned that she was pregnant in June of 1995, but in September elected abortion because the fetus had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Linda's aunt had Down Syndrome, which Linda believed meant "no life."

Fourth-year resident Karen S. Watson administered an amnioinfusion. Linda reported pain and said she was "burning up all over." This is consistent with what a woman might experience during a botched saline abortion. Watson's supervising physician, Daniel Gilman, injected more chemicals into Linda's uterus. Dennis Boom's attorney, Patrick Dunphy, said that the two injections caused the heart damage that killed Linda 36 hours after the first injection.

Watson did not use ultrasound to guide the needle injecting the poison into Linda, and apparently she injected the chemicals directly into Linda's bloodstream instead of into the amniotic sac.

The defense, of course, says that there was no negligence. Also, the hospital says that Gilman is responsible for Linda's death, because he performed the second injection and was supervising Watson. Gilman can't be named in the suit because the statute of limitations expired before Linda's husband filed.

News coverage of the case does not indicate why Watson and Gilman chose the antiquated instillation technique for Linda's abortion. Since the late 1960s, nations such as Sweden, Japan, and the Soviet Union had abandoned instillation abortions as being far too dangerous for the mother. US abortionists began abandoning the technique in the mid-1980s.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Deadly Journey: Indianapolis to New York and Back, 1970

"Amanda" is one of the women Life Dynamics identifies on their "Blackmun Wall" as having been killed by a safe and legal abortion. After years of research I was able to identify her. To allow her family to maintain their privacy, I am giving her a pseudonym using her initials: Linda Michelle Hoffman.

Linda was a 19-year-old Indiana University sophomore and an outstanding student when she traveled from Indiana to New York for a legal abortion in 1970. She was 12 weeks pregnant. The doctor performed the abortion on September 3. He was unable to remove any of the fetus or placenta. For some reason, he did not suspect a problem. He discharged Linda and she returned home.

Upon her return, she suffered from pain, nausea, and vomiting, so she sought care from a physician in her community. She was admitted to the Indiana University Medical Center's William G. Coleman hospital with a perforated uterus.

Her doctor performed a lapartotomy, and found that the fetus was still inside Linda's perforated uterus. The abortion was completed and the hole in her uterus was repaired. After the surgery, she had a series of complications beginning with difficulty breathing. On September 10, doctors performed a hysterectomy. She continued to be treated in the hospital, but despite all their efforts she died on September 22.

Dr. Paul Jarrett was one of the doctors who tried to save her life. His full story is here.


A few months into my residency, I came face to face with the issue of abortion for the first time. An 18-year-old Indiana University coed came into Coleman Hospital with lower abdominal pain. She related to me that she had been to New York City earlier that day to have a legal abortion performed at a clinic there. She had gotten on a plane at 8am at Indianapolis International Airport and flown to New York. She was taken to a legitimate clinic by a cab driver. She had believed she was two and a half months pregnant, but after the doctor had unsuccessfully attempted to abort the pregnancy, he told her she wasn't really pregnant after all and sent her home. She returned to Indiana on the 4pm flight as planned.
When she returned home in terrible pain, she realized she was in trouble and for the first time, told her mother what had happened to her. Her mother contacted her own gynecologist, who in turn referred the patient to Coleman Hospital to be evaluated by the resident on call--me. 
Even though I was still wet behind the ears, I know that this pale, frightened little girl was still 10 weeks pregnant and her blood count was only half of what it should be. The private, attending doctor came in and took the patient to surgery immediately that night, where he repaired the hole that had been torn in the back of her uterus, which had caused her massive internal hemorrhage.
Over the course of the next few days, infection set in which did not respond to antibiotics, and we made the painful decision to perform a hysterectomy. Tragically, the shock from the infection severely damaged her lungs and her course was steadily downhill. As I helplessly watched, she slipped into unconsciousness and a few days later she died.
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 "Amanda," 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:


  • Pearl Schwier, July, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • Carmen Rodriguez, July, 1970, salt solution intended to kill the fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • Barbara Riley, July, 1970, sickle-cell crisis triggered by abortion recommended by doctor due to her sickle cell disease
  • Maria Ortega, October, 1970, fetus shoved through her uterus into her pelvic cavity then left there
  • "Kimberly" Roe, December, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Amy" Roe, January, 1971, massive pulmonary embolism
  • "Andrea" Roe, January, 1971, overwhelming infection
  • "Sandra" Roe, April, 1971, committed suicide due to post-abortion remorse
  • "Anita" Roe, May, 1971, bled to death in her home during process of outpatient saline abortion
  • Margaret Smith, June, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Annie" Roe, June, 1971, cardiac arrest during anesthesia
  • "Audrey" Roe, July, 1971, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Vicki" Roe, August, 1971, post-abortion infection
  • "April" Roe, August, 1971, injected with saline for outpatient abortion, went into shock and died
  • "Barbara" Roe, September, 1971, cardiac arrest after saline injection for abortion
  • "Tammy" Roe, October, 1971, massive post-abortion infection
  • Carole Schaner, October, 1971, hemorrhage from multiple lacerations during outpatient hysterotomy abortion
  • "Beth" Roe, December, 1971, saline injection meant to kill fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • "Roseann" Roe, February, 1971, vomiting with seizures causing pneumonia after saline abortion
  • "Connie" Roe, March, 1972, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Julie" Roe, April, 1972, holes torn in her uterus and bowel
  • "Robin" Roe, May, 1972, lingering abortion complications
  • "Roxanne" Roe, May, 1972, given overdose of abortion sedatives
  • "Danielle" Roe, May, 1972, air in her bloodstream