Monday, October 01, 2012

Five Deaths Over a Century

On October 1, 1908, 21-year-old Mary Rahn died in Chicago from complications of an abortion performed that day. Mrs. Frida Trappe was arrested and held by the coroner's jury on October 14. The case went to trial, but Trappe was acquitted on July 12 0f 1909. Trappe's employment status is recorded as "Outside labor force (incl. criminals)", which may be an indication that she was a professional lay abortionist.

On October 1, 1914, eighteen-year-old Lillie Giovenco died at Wesley Hospital in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion. Dr. Eva Shaver, Dr. Leopold Pijan, and Dr. John Fernow were held by the coroner in Lillie's death. Lillie's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician. The involvement of Leopold Pijan raises an interesting question to me. A man identified as a "scrub nurse" named Leobaldo Pejuan was sentenced in the 1955 abortion death of Jacqueline Smith in New York. I wonder if they are perhaps the same man. Eva Shaver was prosecuted for the 1915 abortion death of Anna Johnson, which Shaver had tried to disguise as a suicide by shooting the dead woman in the head as she lay on the floor of Shaver's home.

On October 1, 1922, 21-year-old Margaret Sullivan, nee McCarthy, died in her Chicago home from complications of an abortion performed that day. The person or persons responsible were never caught.

Brenda Banks was 35 years old and 13 weeks pregnant when she went to Hillcrest Women's Surgi-Center in Washington, DC, for a safe, legal abortion performed by Llewelyn Crooks on September 30, 1989. Brenda went into shock, and was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Doctors performed an emergency hysterectomy and transfused Brenda with 20 units of red blood cells, to no avail. She died the following day, October 1, 1989. Brenda's uterus had been perforated and several major blood vessels had been cut or severed entirely. On a side note, I have been unable to determine if the Hillcrest where Brenda had her abortion is affiliated with the Hillcrest in Pennsylvania where Kelly Morse had her fatal abortion.

Stacy L. Zallie underwent a safe, legal abortion at the age of 19, in 1999. She didn't tell her family about the abortion, but did mention that she was troubled. She sought psychiatric care, but still kept the abortion a secret. In October of 2000, about a year after her abortion and mere days before she was to serve as a bridesmaid in her brother's wedding, Stacy took her own life. After learning of the abortion and Stacy's unbearable anguish afterward, her parents started the Stacy Zallie Foundation to provide post-abortion care so that nobody else's daughter suffers the fate their daughter did.
The Zallie family takes no stand on abortion, seeking to keep their focus on providing desperately-needed aftercare to suffering women, regardless of politics, creed, or religion.

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