On March 16, 1869, Magdalena Philippi died of complications of an abortion performed on her, evidently by a Dr. Gabriel Wolff. Although Magdalena was four or five months pregnant, prosecutors had no way of proving that she had felt movement in the fetus, so they could not prosecute Dr. Wolff. The next day, a bill was introduced in Albany to eliminate the quickening distinction in prosecuting abortion cases. This would make it easier to prosecute abortionists like Wolff.
On February 16, 1929, Mrs. Ruth Weir, of East Orange, New Jersey, died at Orange Memorial Hospital of sepsis contracted through a criminal abortion. Dr. James R. Chamberlain testified that he had examined Ruth at her home and had admitted her to the hospital due to a septic condition. Dr. James Wilson testified that he had treated Ruth in the hospital during late January and that she was suffering from septicemia. Dr. Maurice Sturm was arrested when Ruth implicated him in a deathbed statement. Mrs. Frieda Sanger testified that Sturm had sent Ruth to her home to recuperate. Sturm admitted to performing the abortion, but insisted that it had not been illegal because it was necessary to save Ruth's life. The District Attorney claimed that Sturm failed to keep proper records, including concealing names and appointments of patients. Sturm, who was later acquitted of the manslaughter charge in Ruth's death, alleged during his trial that a judge had demanded bribe money from him to dismiss the case, but that $1000 he had given the judge was a gift and not part of the bribe money.
Reports on death of Evelyn Dudley, age 38, alleged that she was treated at Friendship Medical Center in Chicago on March 16, 1973. Later, at home, she collapsed in the driveway. She was taken to a hospital, where attempts to save her failed. Her death was due to shock, hemorrhage from a ruptured cervix and vagina, from "remote abortion." T.R. Mason Howard stated that Evelyn was treated at Friendship for infection sustained in an abortion in Detriot. But Evelyn's brother stated that she had come to Chicago specifically to have the abortion. Julia Rogers and Dorothy Brown also died after abortions at Friendship Medical Center.
Norma Greene, age 34, went into cardio-respiratory arrest in a Winston-Salem hospital on March 16, 1981. Her death certificate indicates that the arrest was caused by a pulmonary embolism following a recent abortion.
Here's a question for the pro-choice: Are only the first two deaths unacceptable tragedies? Or are all four simply examples of how all surgery has risks?
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