On October 18, 1939, Miss Alice Corbett, age 28, of Brooklyn, New York, died from complications of an illegal abortion. Dr. Allen F. Murphy was sentenced to 2-10 years in Sing-Sing for Alice's death.
On October 18, 1942, 23-year-old Harriet Lichtenberg of Brooklyn died in Royal Hospital, the Bronx, from suspected criminal abortion complications. Dr. Henry Katz was indicted for first degree manslaughter in Harriet's death.
The abortions that killed Alice and Harriet were typical of pre-legalization abortions in that they were performed by physicians.
I calculated these numbers based on Mary Calderone's presentation of the 1955 Planned Parenthood Conference on Abortion, as well as the research of Nancy Howell Lee and my own anecdotal evidence collection so I have confidence that they are probably fairly accurate.
For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:
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