Thursday, March 05, 2009

1907: Fatal abortion by midwife

On March 5, 1907, Mrs. Ella Brunswick, age 24, died at St. Elizabeth's hospital in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day.

A midwife named Kunigundi Hardman was implicated in her death.

Ella's abortion was unusual in that it was not performed by a physician.

Note, please, that with issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.

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

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