Sunday, June 12, 2011

Anniversaries: Two fatal abortions by medical professionals

In June of 1902, Irene Wengel traveled to Tampa, Florida, where she was met by her cousin, J. Carl Christian. Christian had arranged for her to stay at the home of Dr. Frederick N. Weightnovel for an abortion. Dr. B. G. Abernathy was called in to attend to Irene after the abortion. Abernathy testified that Irene told him she'd come to Weightnovel about two weeks earlier, that she did well the first day or two after the abortion, but that she became very sick and rapidly declined.Abernathy diagnosed her Irene suffering from blood poisoning caused by retained placenta.She died on June 12. Follow Irene's name to learn more.

On June 12, 1922, Mrs. Louise Huse, age 30, died at Chicago's Mid West Hospital from a criminal abortion performed there that day. On June 16, midwife Agnes Tholl was arrested on the recommendation of the coroner.

During the first two thirds of the 20th Centurey, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality, including mortality from abortion. Most researches attribute this plunge to improvements in public health and hygiene, the development of blood transfusion techniques, and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion.

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