Monday, April 26, 2010

Three pre-legalization anniversaries

On April 26, 1908, 32-year-old Mrs. Cora Johnson died in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion. Mrs. Dietrich, whose profession was only given as "abortion provider", was arrested, but acquitted for reasons not given in the source document.

On April 26, 1914, eighteen-year-old Florence S. Lindquist died in a Chicago home where an abortion had been performed on her. Dr. Arthur Schulz, who lived at the home in question, was arrested for her death. Florence's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

On April 26, 1926, Mrs. Fern Strecker, age 26, died at West Suburban Hospital from an abortion performed that day. The coroner fingered Elizabeth Schade, who was operating an illegal abortion business at a Chicago location. Aside from her abortion work, Schade's profession is not given.

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 and Abortion Deaths 1910-1919, and The Bad Old Days of Abortion.

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