On Christmas day of 1934, the nude body of a young woman was found in a thicket near a highway south of New York City. She had been dead between 12 and 24 hours.
Laura and Joseph Devine, whose 19-year-old daughter, Loretta Wilson, had been missing since December 19, contacted authorities and were able to positively identify the body.
Loretta had left home at noon on the 19th, telling the landlady that she was going to see a doctor.
Loretta's family had reported her missing on the 20th.
When an autopsy revealed the cause of death as abortion, Loretta's husband of two years indicated that he had not even been aware that Loretta was pregnant.
A physician, John H. Becker Jr., who admitted to having examined Loretta on December 17, was charged with homicide in the death. He denied performing the abortion.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
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