Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Two Deaths from the Pre Roe Era

I have scant information on the May 1, 1925 abortion death of 26-year-old Mary Sayers. She died at a Chicago residence from a criminal abortion performed on her that day. Midwife Edna Marie Dietrich was arrested the following day.

Far more information is available regarding the 1928 death of Bessie Kouns. On Saturday, April 14, 1928, Dr. T. D. Goodman was called to see her, and found her in a great deal of pain, with considerable swelling and tenderness of the lower abdomen from peritonitis. His treatment was not effective, so on the 17th he had her admitted to Stephenson Hospital in Ashland, Kentucky. There, Bessie's condition continued to deteriorate. On April 24, the peritonitis had caused bowel obstruction, requiring surgery. Prior to the surgery, which Bessie did not expect to survive, she made a deathbed statement to Dr. Stephenson indicating that she had submitted to an abortion perpetrated by a drunken, abusive quack of a doctor named H.C. Dorroh. Despite the surgery, Bessie died on May 1. Dorroh was convicted in Bessie's death, but on appeal the conviction was set aside and a new trial ordered.

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