Wednesday, March 23, 2011

1907: Another fatal Chicago abortion

On March 23, 1907, Mrs. Dora Swan, age 24, died at Englewood Union Hospital in Chicago from the effects of a criminal abortion.

Mrs. Louise Achtenberg, whose profession is not given, was held responsible by the coroner, but there is no record that charges were filed.

Dora's abortion was unusual in that it was not performed by a physician.

Note, please, that with ordinary 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

Sources: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database

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