Saturday, September 19, 2009

1916: Septic abortion death

In September of 1916, Mrs. Etta E. Gardener, 22-year-old wife of Burr Gardener, died in St. Luke's Hospital in Denver, of sepsis from an illegal abortion performed in Yuma. She had been admitted as having appendicitis.

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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