Tuesday, August 04, 2009

1900: Abortion by midwife proves fatal

On August 4, 1900, Mrs. Mary Borglun died in her home from complications of an abortion performed there that day. Mrs. Mary Kempfer was arrested that same day and held without bail by a Coroner's Jury. Kempfer's employment status was listed as nurse or midwife.

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 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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