Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two anniversaries from the 19th Century

Miss Emily LeBinney, "whose family is said to be wealthy and to move in fashionable circles," died the evening of April 7, 1896, in the New York practice of midwife Mary Schott. Emily's cousin, George May, consulted with Miss Minnie Meyer, who served as a go-between. May arranged for Mrs. Schott to perform an abortion. He also paid for the procedure. Emily's baby was born alive during the abortion, and Arthur Robbins, whose relationship to the other parties is not given, threw the living child into the river. May, Robbins, Schott, and Meyer were all arrested. Mr. Fox of Dover N.J. was identified as the father of Emily's baby.

Dr. Charles P. Wood admitted that Elvira Woodward had come to his house in Manchester, New Hampshire, on April 1 and remained there until her death on April 27, 1871. He said that she'd expelled a dead fetus on April 3, and that she suffered from puerperal fever. Elvira took ill, languishing and finally dying on April 27, at about 2:30 PM, at Wood's house. (Read the rest here.)

I have no information on overall maternal mortality, or abortion mortality, in the 19th century. I imagine it can't be too much different from maternal and abortion mortality at the very beginning of the 20th Century.

Note, please, that with overall 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 on this era, see Abortion Deaths in the 19th Century.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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