On August 29, 1925, Katarzyna Tobiasz, age 31 or 32, died at Chicago's St. Mary's Hospital from an abortion performed on her there that day. A woman whose name is spelled once as Barbara Kolur and elsewhere as Barbara Kar was held by the coroner on August 31 for Katarzyna's death. Kolur/Kar's profession is given as nurse or midwife. On July 5, 1927, she was indicted by a grand jury for felony murder in Katarzyna's death.
In 1927, fifteen-year-old Florence Kruse became pregnant as a result of statutory rape by Corwyn Lynch. Somebody arranged for an abortion, which was performed on August 29. Florence died that day. Dr. James Aldrich was arrested on murder by abortion charges that day for the girl's death. However, the coroner's jury was unable to confirm that Aldrich had performed the abortion, and he was released. Florence's father, Louis C. Kruse, was booked as an accessory. However, on September 17, both men were cleared by the coroner, and on September 19 they were released. The coroner did, however, recommend that Corwyn Lynch be charged with murder. There is no record that Lynch was charged.
How common was it before legalization for somebody with medical training, or even a physician, to be involved in an abortion?
It was rare. Most abortions were performed without any sort of medical oversight at all.
It was seen fairly frequently. About 20% of abortions had a doctor or nurse involved in some role.
It happened about half the time.
It was the rule, rather than the exception. Almost all illegal abortions were performed by doctors, and many of the rest by nurses, midwives, or other people with medical training.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
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