Monday, February 13, 2012

Promised Marriage, Delivered to Death, and A Midwife's Fatal Handiwork

Jemima Beneway's finance, John Olmstead, told Jemima's parents that he wanted to take her to his parents' home in Connecticut for the wedding. They agreed, and at half-past nine on February 4, 1858, Jemima's happy friends and parents fondly saw the couple off at the train station, heading for New York City. But the couple never proceeded to Connecticut for the wedding. Instead, Olmstead took Jemima to a "house of ill fame" in New York, where she died on February 13 from an abortion performed by Dr. Milton W. Gray.

Anna P. Fazio, age 20, underwent an illegal abortion performed about February 2, 1929, at the Chicago home of midwife Marie Zwienczak. Anna died on February 13. Zwienczak was arrested March 1, as recommended by the coroner. Stephanie Paczkiewicz was booked on February 23 as an accessory, but was not mentioned in the verdict. Zwienczak was indicted for homicide by a grand jury. She was tried, and was sentenced on June 20 to 14 years at Joliet Penitentiary.

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