Thursday, June 25, 2009

Anniversary: Woman dead, doctor shunned

On June 25, 1911, 20-year-old Mrs. Anna L. Mueller died from a criminal abortion performed by Dr. George Lotz. Lotz was arrested July 5. He was indicted for felony murder.

There is no record that he served time for the crime, but Leslie Reagan indicates that he was expelled from the Chicago Medical Society after admitting guilt in Anna's death.

Anna's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Note, please, that with overall public health 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 information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.

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

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