Grace Wolf, a young married woman, traveled from her home in Lansing to the office of Dr. C. Allen Snyder in Dubuque, Iowa, on November 19, 1917. She arrived at about 8:00 in the evening. Shortly after leaving, she took ill, and her condition deteriorated until her death on December 3.
The defense argued that Grace was unhappy about her pregnancy and had made several attempts to abort before going to Dr. Snyder. Dr. Snyder said that she was already suffering from fever and septicemia when she arrived at his office, and that he treated her only briefly.
Grace had made a dying declaration, written up by an attorney and signed by her, indicating that Dr. Snyder had performed an abortion on her. However, her father was called as a defense witness, and he said that Grace recanted her statement before her death. Other witnesses said that Grace had a cough for several days before her visit to Dr. Snyder.
The autopsy had found evidence of recent pregnancy and a puncture in Grace‘s uterus.
Dr. Snyder was convicted of manslaughter, but the conviction was overturned on appeal.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
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