Saturday, June 06, 2009

1907: Woman dead, midwife blamed

On June 6, 1907, Mrs. Julia Williamson, age 29, died at her Chicago home from complications of an abortion performed there that day.

A midwife named Emily Redemski was held by the coroner's jury, but acquitted by a judge for reasons not given in the source document.

Julia'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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