During early 1861, a German physician by the name of John H. Joecken was caring for Mr. Malinken, who was ailing in his Brooklyn home. On one of his visits, Malinken's 35-year-old wife, Caroline, approached Joecken privately and told him "she did not want to have so many children, and wished to know if it was possible to get rid of her present burthen. The doctor replied that it was the easiest thing imaginable, and that in eight days all would be over."
Joecken set to work on Caroline, "and by the use of drugs as well as instruments succeeded in making her very sick." Over the course of several days her condition deteriorated. She died late Monday night, February 11.
The coroner's jury concluded that Caronline had died from "pyemia, supervening upon metritis, consequent of an abortion produced at the hands of Dr. Joecken." Joecken was arrested.
Caroline's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.
In studying pre-legalization deaths, I was surprised at the number of instances I found of doctors and other abortionists blithely assuring patients that abortion would be quite easy and safe. They sounded, to my modern ears, quite indistinguishable from post-legalization abortion proponents, who can not stop trumpeting how fast, easy, safe, and reliable abortion is. The main difference is how long it will allegedly take to restore the woman to her desired non-pregnant state.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
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