On March 27, 1940, Mrs. Mary Ann Maria Page of Alton, Illinois, died from a botched criminal abortion. She was 20 years old.
The Coroner's jury identified the perpetrator as 69-year-old Dr. C.E. Trovillion, also of Alton, former managing officer of Illinois state hospitals.
Mary Ann's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a doctor.
During the 1940s, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744 in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
In a bizarre coincidence, another woman named Mary Ann Page died from complications of an abortion in 1977.
“Former Hospital Chief Accused of Abortion”, The Oklahoman, April 1, 1940