Today marks many tragic anniversaries. Click on each woman's name to learn more about her.
"How Mrs. Seifred was Killed by Female Quacks -- The Verdict of a Jury" reads the subhead on a December 29, 1874 edition of The Brooklyn Eagle. The paper was covering the coroner's inquest into the December 16 death of Christine Seifred. Christine had been unfaithful to her husband when he was away in Europe, and when he returned and learned of the pregnancy, he left her. Christine went to a midwife, Mrs. Johanna White, "whose den is at No. 99 Station street, when an operation was performed, from the effects of which both the woman and the child died."
On December 11, 1911, 34-year-old homemaker Mary Thorning underwent an abortion performed by Paulina Bechtel. The Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database indicates that Mary died at the scene that day, but her memorial at Find-a-Grave indicates that she actually died on December 16, leaving behind her husband, John, and daughter, Ruth. (If you leave a message at Find-a-Grave, keep in mind that Mary's daughter and grandchildren are likely still alive. Show discretion.)
On December 16, 1925, 22-year-old factory worker Bridget Masterson died in her Chicago home from a botched abortion. Police were able to question Bridget prior to her death, but she refused to implicate anybody. John O'Malley, a boarder and the father of Bridget's baby, committed suicide by gas after learning of Bridget's death. He left a note implicating "a lady doctor at 310 W. North Ave." This was the address of notorious Chicago quack abortionist Dr. Lucy Hagenow.
Barbara Auerbach was 38 years old when she went to a New York hospital for a safe, legal abortion and tubal ligation, performed December 11, 1982. The autopsy showed that Barbara died on December 16 from an obstruction of her small bowel, which caused massive infection
Mary Pena underwent a safe and legal abortion at San Vincente Hospital in Los Angeles. During the procedure, Mary sustained two cervical lacerations, and because she was bleeding heavily, a hysterectomy was performed in an effort to save her life. The surgery was not successful, and at 1:50 am on December 16, 1984, she died while on the operating table. Mary was 43 years old and the mother of five. Abortion entrepreneur Dr. Edward Allred slipped Mary through the morgue without an autopsy, but Kern County Health Department found the death certificate fishy and ordered the autopsy that revealed the malpractice that had killed her.
Venus Ortiz died in a nursing home on December 16, 1998, of lingering complications of a botched abortion she underwent at age 23 in 1993 at National Abortion Federation member Eastern Women's Center. Venus had remained in a permanent vegetative state for the remainder of her life. Two other patients, Dawn Ravenelle and Dawn Mack, also died of complications of abortions done at Eastern Women's Center.
throughout her body.