Thursday, March 17, 2011

1907: Dying declaration implicates doctor

On March 17, 1907, Paulina Schneider died at St. Francis Hospital in Peoria, Illinois, from complications of a criminal abortion.

Paulina gave a deathbed statement implicating Dr. Robert Emery in her abortion. Paulina's mother had also fingered Emery.

For reasons not given in the source document, Emery -- identified as "Old Doctor Robert Emery" -- was found not guilty.

Note, please, that with 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, seeAbortion Deaths 1900-1909.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

Sources: "Aged Peoria Doctor Acquitted of Grave Charge", The Quincy Daily Journal", July 10, 1907

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