Monday, November 12, 2012

Two Pre-Legalization Deaths

On November 12, 1917, 22-year-old homemaker Margaret Linstrom died at Chicago's American Hospital from an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Anna Sorenson, who was indicted and released. Sorenson had performed the fatal abortion on Emelia Gorman earlier that year, and went on to kill Margaret Crowe in January of the following year. Her chain of death ended with her own death in prison while awaiting trial after her January 15, 1918 arrest.

On November 12, 1952, Isabell Cuda died in Rockford, Illinois from complications of an abortion. An elderly midwife named Mary Murawski was convicted in Isabell's death. Isabell's mother had arranged the abortion with Murawski, because Isabell was separated from a husband who likely wouldn't provide any support for the child since he already wasn't supporting the couple's born children. Murawski agreed to do the abortion for $50. Murawski used a catheter inserted into Isabell's uterus, followed up the next day with removal of the catheter and administration of some sort of douche. Not surprisingly, this caused an infection that left Isabell dead..

Margaret's abortion, performed by an adequately equipped physician, wouldn't count as an "unsafe abortion" by current definitions. Isabell's however, would, since Mary Murawski was a lay midwife. Of course, the abortion could have been avoided altogether if her estranged husband hadn't been a deadbeat.


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