Friday, January 02, 2009

1929: Abortion kills teen

Mary Strugnall, age 17, died January 2, 1929 from an abortion performed that day, apparently by Dr. Joseph A. Harter. Harter was held by the coroner on February 28. His brother, a student named Irving Harter, and Vernon Keyser, the baby's father, were arrested as accessories. Dr. Harter was indicted for homicide, but was acquitted on June 26. The source doesn't say why Harter was acquitted -- whether because the jury didn't believe he had done the abortion, or because of technicalities.

Mary's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was attributed to a physician.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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