Saturday, August 15, 2009

1909: Teen dead, doc and wife implicated

On August 15, 1909, Lillian Swing, age 15, died in Chicago from an abortion performed on August 9. Dr. Hamilton Shaver and his wife were held by the coroner's jury. The source document doesn't indicate that the case went to trial.

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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