In late December of 1904, Stella Murgatroyd lay ailing at the home of her parents just outside Jacksonville, Illinois. At first her illness was blamed on pneumonia, but the doctor who treated her recognized the symptoms of a botched abortion and questioned Stella. She made a declaration naming the father of her unborn child, and the doctor who had performed the fatal abortion, just before her death on December 30. The postmotrem examination verified that Stella had indeed died from an abortion.
Note, please, that with overall public issues such as doctors not using
proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and
antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely
little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and
illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was
probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more
about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th
century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.
On December 30, 1924, 21-year-old Agnes Nazar, an immigrant from Persia (modern-day Iran), died at Chicago's St. Joseph's Hospital from an abortion performed earlier that day. On January 6, 1925, Rogie Hatal was held by the coroner as the guilty abortionist. Hatal's profession is not listed. Mike
Nazar, her husband, was arrested as an accessory, as was Sarah Babian.
Hatal was indicted for felony murder on February 15, 1925.
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.
the first two thirds of the 20th Century, while abortion was still
illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality, including
mortality from abortion. Most researches attribute this plunge to
improvements in public health and hygiene, the development of blood
transfusion techniques, and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.