Tuesday, October 06, 2009

1904: Abortion death blamed on doc

On October 6, 1904, Mrs. Mary Lawson died at Passavant Hospital in Chicago, from complications of a criminal abortion. Dr. Alois Rassmussen was sentenced to fifteen years at Joliet for the murder, but was able to get a new trial. In this second trial, he was acquitted.

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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