Mrs. Lafavor, the 15-year-old wife of Frank Lafavor, was "the victim of ... inhuman outrage". Frank had married his young bride over the objections of her family in March of 1870. The couple had settled as tenants on the farm of Thomas McIntyre. On August 15, she went missing from her home. "The neighbors became alarmed at her absence from home and made search for her in every direction without success" until about midnight, "when she was discovered dragging herself around the corner of her dwelling more dead than alive." Two doctors came to her aid and found her to be in critical condition. She admitted that she had taken some sort of abortifacient that day, but refused to say who she had gotten it from. "Everything possible was done to restore her, but after suffering intensely for a whole week and died on Tuesday morning last [August 23] at about eight o'clock." Mrs. Lafavor's mother testified that her daughter was raised up in bed five minutes before her death to make her dying declaration, but all she was able to say ws, "Tommy gave it to me! Tommy gave it to me!" Thus the young bride's landlord, Thomas McIntyre, was charged with her death.
Mrs. Anna May Klanenberg, age 24, died at St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago
from complications of an illegal abortion on August 23, 1906. Physician J. W. Mitchell was held by the coroner's jury, and indicted,
but the source document doesn't indicate that there was ever a trial.
On August 23, 1910, Mrs. Louise Heinrich died in the New York apartment
of Mrs. Vivian Buffam, under the care of Dr. Andre L. Stapler. Stapler
cleared the case with Dr. O'Hanlon at the coroner's office, filling out a
death certificate indicating that Louise had died from gastritis. Four years later, the Coroner's Office came under investigation
concerning allegations that doctors there were taking bribes to cover up
abortion cases. Louise's body was exhumed, an autopsy performed, and
the real cause of death -- a criminal abortion -- was uncovered.
On August 23, 1927, 27-year-old Shellane Franklin died
at the scene of the crime from an abortion performed on her that day. Dr. Gordon Jackson was held by the coroner on October 28. On December 15, he was indicted for felony murder. Shellane's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician. Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like
antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about
abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.
Dorothy Muzorewa, a nurse, had recently immigrated to the Chicago area
from Zimbabwe. She went to Women's Aid Clinic for a safe and legal abortion
on June 15, 1974. The fetus didn't die, however, and Dorothy returned
to the clinic on August 21 to report her symptoms. Staff told her to
return the following day, which she did, bleeding and in pain. David Turow
examined Dorothy, diagnosed an infection, and sent her home with
prescriptions for tetracycline to control the infection and ergonovine
to control the bleeding. Dorothy's
husband said that he awoke at around 6:00 on the morning of August 23
to find his wife bleeding profusely. Dorothy assured him that she was
just menstruating, so he left for school. When he returned home, he was
alarmed by Dorothy's bleeding and called an ambulance. Dorothy
was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival
shortly after noon. Only after her death did her husband, a theology
student, learn of the pregnancy and abortion. A
witness in Dorothy's apartment described the bedroom as "wall to wall