On December 23, 1885, Dr. Truman Sawdy's 21-year-old daughter, Sylvia, was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ostensibly visiting the mother of Harry McDowell, the young man who had been courting her. Sylvia had left her home in Howard City by train to make the 40-mile trip on December 10. Dr. Sawdy hadn't heard of or from her since she'd left. And he was never going to hear from her again. On the morning of Christmas Eve, Harry's father came to the house and said that he'd heard from Harry. Sylvia had taken ill and wanted her mother, Cornelia, to go to her. The following day, Christmas day, Dr. Sawdy opened his newspaper and read that his daughter was dead. It came out in the trial that in November, Sylvia had consulted with Drs. Bodle, Hake, and Bradish, indicating that she was pregnant. Evidence indicated that McDowell had performed an abortion on Sylvia on December 23, and that she died that day. McDowell was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years.
"Kimberly" was 25 years old and 18 weeks pregnant when she underwent a safe, legal pre-Roe abortion in New York City on December 23, 1970. During the abortion, she went into cardiac arrest and died, leaving behind two children.