Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Range of Abortion Deaths, 1913 - 1981

Emma Bickel, a 59-year-old midwife, was charged with second-degree manslaugher in the death of 19-year-old Emily Nohavec of St. Louis. On October 18, 1913, Emily first reported feeling ill. On Monday, October 20, a Dr. Reber was summoned to see her. He diagnosed her with septic peritonitis. The next day, her condition was critical and she was admitted to Rebekah Hospital. There, Dr. Garcia was called in for consultation. Drs. Reber and Garcia pursued an aggressive treatment but despite their efforts, Emily died on October 23.

Also on October 23, 1913, 22-year-old Mary Tureck died in Chicago from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

On October 23, 1920, 19-year-old Francis Karies died at Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital from a criminal abortion that had been performed in Akron, Ohio, by Dr. C. W. Milliken. The coroner recommended Milliken's arrest, but there is no record if any legal action was taken against him for Francis's death. It's not likely that any action was taken, since Milliken was free to perpetrate a fatal abortion on Iva Triplet in Akron the following year.

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.

On October 16, 1936, 26-year-old Katherine DiDonato, mother of two, was admitted to Roosevelt Hospital to be treated for complications of a criminal abortion. Katherine's husband reported that the abortion had taken place three days earlier. Detectives were told that Katherine had bought pills from drug clerk Hyman Kantor, who had then recommended Dr. Aloysius Mulholland to perform an abortion. Katherine died at 2 AM on October 23. Both Mulholland and Kantor were arrested and charged with homicide. Katherine's abortion was typical of pre-Roe abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

During the 1940s, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744 in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.>

external image MaternalMortality.gif >

Nineteen-year-old Diane Boyd lived in a state institution for the mentally retarded. There, she was beaten and raped in July of 1981, and was later discovered to be pregnant. A safe, legal abortion was arranged for Diane at National Abortion Federation member Reproductive Health Services in St. Louis. Diane's mother signed a consent form. The abortion was performed October 22, 1981. Diane died the on the 24th. >

According to suits later filed by Diane's mother, RHS staff and abortionist Robert Crist did not check for possible drug interactions before giving Diane valium and sublimaze. These drugs evidently reacted with Diane's usual medication, thorazine, causing her to stop breathing. Diane's mother said that the clinic lacked heart monitoring equipment or resuscitation equipment.

Diane was not the last woman to die after abortion by Crist. Seventeen-year-old Latatchie Veal bled to death after an abortion by Crist in 1991. Twenty-two-year-old Nichole Williams died of DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, a clotting disorder) after an abortion by Crist in 1997. Fourteen-year-old Sandra Kaiser committed suicide after a 1984 abortion at RHS, performed without her mother's knowledge or consent.

No comments: