Sunday, August 19, 2012

Five 20th Century Abortion Deaths

Cook County Hospital, 1914
On August 19, 1917, 31-year-old seamstress Anna Lindquist died at Chicago's County Hospital from a criminal abortion perpetrated that day by nurse/midwife Katherine Schmidt. Schmidt was tried in Anna's death but acquitted on February 28, 1918.

Elise Stone went to the practice of Dr. A. H. Yates on August 15, 1917, for a "criminal operation." Elise remained there for three or four days before being sent home, where she died. On her death certificate, her death was attributed to "congestive chill." But concerned citizens complained to the County Attorney, A.G. Nichols. Nichols ordered Elise's body exhumed and an autopsy performed; thus the real cause of her death was discovered. Yates would go on to perpetrate the fatal abortion on Katherine Cross later that year.

Ruth Haught, a 30-year-old widow, died at University Hospital in Hobart, Oklahoma, on August 19, 1937, of blood poisoning from an apparent self-induced abortion.

"Dawn" was 29 years old and 7 weeks pregnant when she underwent a legal abortion at a hospital in August of 1972.Local anesthesia was administered and a suction abortion was performed. After the abortion, Dawn went into convulsions. Doctors at the abortion hospital, and at another hospital, attempted to resuscitate her, to no avail. Doctors believed that she might have been given an overdose of local anesthetic. Strangely, during the autopsy, the medical examiner found a significant amount of blood in Dawn's abdominal cavity, but no evidence of a uterine perforation.

Documents regarding Tami Suematsu, age 19, alleged that she underwent a safe and legal abortion by Vern Wagner at Riverside Family Planning Center August 19, 1988. Tami went into bronchial spasm and asthma-related respiratory failure then cardiac arrest. She was transported to a hospital, but died shortly after arrival. Riverside Family Planning was a Family Practice Associates Medical Group facility. Other women known to have died at FPA facilities include: Denise Holmes, age 24, 1970; Patricia Chacon, age 16, 1984; Mary Pena, age 43, 1984; Josefina Garcia, age 37, 1985; Lanice Dorsey, age 17, 1986; Joyce Ortenzio, age 32, 1988; Deanna Bell, age 13, 1992; Susan Levy, age 30, 1992; Christina Mora, age 18, 1994; Nakia Jorden, 1998; Maria Leho, 1999; Kimberly Neil, 2000; Maria Rodriguez, age 22, 2000; and  Chanelle Bryant, age 22, 2004.

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