Saturday, March 31, 2012

1926: Chicago Midwife's Fatal Handiwork

On March 31, 1926, 24-year-old Louise Maday died at Chicago's West End Hospital from complications of an abortion performed at an earlier date. Midwife Amelia Becker was held by the coroner on April 27.

A "Mrs. Becker" advertised in the Chicago Tribune as a physician specializing in "obstetrics and female diseases." She noted a "Pleasant home for ladies," indicating that likely she performed inpatient abortions on her premises. She was not, however, as blatant in her advertising as Lucy Hagenow aka Ida Von Schulz, who advertised that she was a specialist in "all difficult female complaints" using a "new, successful, scientific method."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Two Early Chicago Deaths

On March 29, 1912, 36-year-old Mary F. Abrams died from an abortion perpetrated by Mary D. Lunnemeyer that day. Lunnemeyer's profession is identified only as "abortion provider", so it's likely that she was a lay abortionist. She was arrested March 29 and held to a Grand Jury, but the case never went to trial.

On March 29, 1924, 30-year-old Etta Marcus died at Chicago's Francis Willard Hospital (pictured) from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day. The coroner concluded that Dr. William J. Wick had performed the fatal abortion at his office. However, on April 10, Wick was acquitted.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1942 & 1975, Both Equally Dead

On March 28, 1942, 19-year-old Cleo Florence Moore died at New Rochelle Hospital in New York from peritonitis from an illegal abortion. Upon admission, Cleo told authorities that she had taken some pills to induce the abortion, but before her death she changed her story and said that Dr. Frank F. Marino had performed the fatal abortion. Read the whole story here.

On March 25, 1975, 18-year-old Sharon Floyd went to Associated Concern in Chicago for a safe and legal abortion. Three days later, she died of pelvic infection and blood poisoning. On July 1, 1975, public health officials closed Associated Concern, which was one of the abortion mills featured in the Chicago Sun-Times "Abortion Profiteers" series.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Two Pre-Legal Deaths

Clara Jane Bell Duvall was a 32-year-old married mother of five, aged 6 months to 12 years. She and her family were living with her parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, according to the National Organization for Women, due to financial problems. NOW says that Clara attempted a self-induced abortion with a knitting needle. Though she was seriously ill and severe pain, NOW says, Clara's doctor delayed hospitalizing her for several weeks. Her death, at a Catholic hospital on March 27, 1929, was attributed to pneumonia.

Clara Duvall seems to be the woman described in the chapter, "Marilyn," in The Worst of Times by Patricia G. Miller. Marilyn was Clara's daughter. There are differences in Marilyn's story and in the story NOW relates, but so many other details match that it is unlikely that they're describing different women.

Marilyn gives her mother's name as Claudia, and says she sang with the Pittsburgh light opera company. Clara/Claudia's association with the opera company may also explain the elegant portrait on NOW's site -- a portrait that a poverty-stricken and desperate woman would have been unlikely to afford.

Marilyn describes poignantly the difference between her life before her mother's death and her life after losing her mother. The loss was truly shattering for the entire family.

Marilyn said that her mother had gotten help from a friend for a successful abortion between the births of two girls. Marilyn didn't have any details of the first abortion, and got what she knew about the fatal abortion from her sister Eileen, who had spoken at length with their mother when she was hospitalized.

NOW's story differs from Marilyn's in many aspects, however:
  • NOW has the family living with the woman's parents; Marilyn said that they were living in a large house owned by the woman's parents.
  • NOW indicates that the family were too poor to afford a home of their own. Marilyn said that they lived in a large house, and that her father was an editor of one of Pittsburgh's daily newspapers, and that he did freelance public relations for sports events. Marilyn also said that one of her mother's friends was the wife of a well-known Pittsburgh industrialist. This is not a likely friendship for a destitute woman forced to move her family of seven into her parents' home. Marilyn also said that her mother was laid to rest in a magnificent mahogany casket with a satin lining, hardly the sort of burial a poverty-crushed widower could afford for his dead wife. Marilyn also said that the casket lay in the parlor, not a room that poor people were likely to have. In fact, Marilyn describes how shocking it was, after her mother's death, to go live with poor relatives. Poverty was a new experience for the child. In fact, Marilyn describes a riverboat outing the family took before her mother's death. She described how the girls were dressed in matching navy blue coats with red satin linings, and her brother had a jacket and tie.
So there are two possibilities:
  1. Clara Bell Duvall and Claudia are two different women, both with five children, both of whom lived in homes owned by their parents, who both performed knitting-needle abortions in the same city in the same month, and who both died in hospitals and both had their deaths wrongly attributed to pneumonia.
  2. Clara and Claudia are the same woman, and but NOW turned her from a prosperous matron and opera singer into a wretched slum mother in order to make her situation seem more desperate.
I have been unable to verify the circumstances of Clara's death, other than that she did die on that date in that hospital.

On March 27, 1940, 20-year-old homemaker Mary Ann Maria Page of Alton, Illinois, died from a botched criminal abortion. The Coroner's jury identified the perpetrator as 69-year-old Dr. C.E. Trovillion, also of Alton, former managing officer of Illinois state hospitals.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Safe and Legal in New Jersey, 1986

Gail Wright was 29 years old when she underwent a legal abortion. She was 20 weeks pregnant.
After her abortion, she developed sepsis. She died of adult respiratory distress syndrome on March 26, 1986, leaving behind a husband.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lethal Abortionists: Doctor, Unknown, Dentist

On March 24, 1905, 28-year-old Ida Alice Bloom, a Swedish immigrant working as a domestic servant, died suddenly in Chicago from an apparent criminal abortion. Dr. Julius N. Goltz as arrested as a principal, and James McDonald as an accessory. Both men were held without bail by a coroner's jury.

On March 24, 1915, 31-year-old Frances Kulczyk died at her Chicago home from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

On March 21, 1947, Ilene Lorraine Eagen was brought to Mankato, Minnesota, to the dental office of W. A. Groebner for an abortion. Court records indicate that Ilene was pressured into the abortion by her paramour, Raymond Older, who refused to marry her and threatened her with bodily harm if she refused an abortion. After the abortion, Ilene became violently ill and lost consciousness. Groebner and Older failed to seek or provide properly care for the sick woman. Instead, Older took Ilene to his service station in Granada, Minnesota and kept her there through the remainder of the night, into the morning of March 22. Older allowed Ilene to languish without medical care. She died March 24, leaving a seven-year-old daughter motherless.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Illegal in Chicago, Legal in New York

On March 23, 1905, Mrs. Ida Pomering, a 30-year-old German immigrant, died in Chicago from an abortion performed earlier that day. Dr. Apollonia Heinle was held by the coroner's jury for Ida's death.

On March 23, 1907, Mrs. Dora Swan, age 24, died at Englewood Union Hospital in Chicago from the effects of a criminal abortion. Louise Achtenberg, whose profession is not given, was held responsible by the coroner, but there is no record that charges were filed. Achtenberg, identified sometimes as a midwife and sometimes as a doctor, was implicated in three other Chicago area abortion deaths: Florence Wright 1909, Violet McCormick in 1920, and Madelyn Anderson in 1924.

On March 23, 1917, 19-year-old Mary Conners died at Chicago's County Hospital, (pictured, left) refusing to name the abortionist who had fatally injured her that day, thus ensuring that whoever had killed her would remain free to kill again. This loyalty to abortionists above concern for the well being of other women is a trait common to pro-choice thought that persists to this day in the form of refusing to report or take action against seedy abortionists like Kermit Gosnell until the situation blows up and it's no longer possible to look the other way. Because of this perverse propensity among the prochoice, it will always be contingent upon the prolife to find and stamp out abortion quacks.

Lynn McNair, age 24, was 23 weeks pregnant when she was injected with saline by Dr. Edward Rubin at Jewish Memorial Hospital. The first injection of saline failed to kill the fetus, so Lynn was given a second injection. After this second dose, Lynn went into contractions and slipped into a coma. She died March 23, 1979 of a pulmonary embolism of amniotic fluid, leaving two children motherless.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

1983: Doctor-Recommended Abortion Kills California Teen

Barbara Hoppert was a sixteen-year-old high school sophomore when she checked into Loma Linda University Hospital for an abortion. She was in the second trimester of her pregnancy, having the abortion on the recommendation of her physician, because of a congenital heart condition.

The abortion was performed on February 22, 1983.

During the procedure, Barbara's heart stopped. Physicians were unable to revive her, and she was pronounced dead on the operating table.

The following comment was posted on the RealChoice blog:
It's been almost 24 years since I was at the Loma Linda Hospital and was roomed with Barbara Hoppert, but not year goes by when Feb 22nd rolls around and I don't think of her. She died that day during her abortion procedure. I just now put her name into google and found your article on her. It was barely 4 sentences and seemed as cold as her death. She was once alive and had such a sad end and dramatic story. It still brings me to tears today thinking about her last night alive... how she was treated by her own family and the staff at the hospital. We watched Square Pegs that night on tv. And she told me about the boy who had impregnated her... She left early the next morning and I wished her good luck... An hour later a woman came to the room, later I found out that was her "real" mother whom Barbara thought was her sister. She missed seeing Barbara that one last time.... Barbara's story is very tragic. I am so very sad that she was so alone her last night alive. I was her only comfort and I was a complete stranger. Don't know how comforting I was other than I cried with her and listened.... Knowing the pain she was in.... She remains in my prayers. Just thought you should know she was more than just part of your cause.
Thanks to this woman who came forward to share this memory of Barbara.

Barbara's was not the only tragic death caused by doctors who recommended (or excused) abortion as a life-saving or health-preserving option for the mother:
  • Allegra Roseberry was pushed into an abortion in order to obtain experimental cancer treatment.
  • Anjelica Duarte sought an abortion on the advice of her physician, and ended up dying under the care of a quack.
  • Christin Gilbert died after an abortion George Tiller justified on grounds of maternal health.
  • Erika Peterson died in 1961 when her doctors obtained her husband's permission to perform a "therapeutic" abortion.
  • "Molly" Roe died in 1975 when her doctors made the dubious decision to perform a saline abortion to improve her chances of surviving a lupus crisis.
Additional reading on maternal health and doctor-recommended abortions:

Beware "Maternal and Fetal Indications"
How some doctors push unnecessary and unwanted abortions.


Protecting Yourself and Your Unborn Child
Tips on how to avoid being funneled into an unwanted and unnecessary abortion.


When Pregnancy Threatens a Mother's Life
How life advocates can help those women whose lives are threatened by pregnancy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chicago Deaths, and Why So Many There

On March 21, 1911, 33-year-old homemaker Katherine "Kate" Kammer died at a "medical facility" from an abortion performed by "midwife." This indicates that Kate died at a known abortion establishment, though the perpetrator being identified as a "midwife" also means that the perpetrator could have been an obstetrician, and was almost certainly female.

On March 21, 1916, 33-year-old Anna Krause died at her Chicago home from an abortion perpetrated that day by midwife Anna Kidicas, who was held by the Coroner but acquitted on trial.

On March 21, 1927, 25-year-old Nancy Dawson, an immigrant from England, died on-site from a criminal abortion performed that day. Dr. J.F. Peck and midwife Christine Sedwig were indicted for felony murder on April 1.

You might wonder many there are a disproportionate number of Chicago abortion deaths at the Cemetery of Choice.

The primary reason is that Illinois in general, and Cook County in particular, kept and maintained open records. Of all areas of the United States, Cook County, Illinois, is the easiest place for researchers to find out anything about deaths and births that took place there.

I also suspect that Chicago was a fairly friendly place for abortionists. It is to Chicago that abortionist Lucy Hagenow (pictured, right) fled in 1888 to avoid going to prison for having killed two women in San Francisco. In spite of her propensity to injure and kill her patients, she was able to finagle her way out of going to prison from 1888 to 1907 in spite of having killed at least two patients. When she was released in 1925 she killed at least five patients in a single year and one more the following year. Clearly, somebody was turning a blind eye to the goings-on at Hagenow's practice, much like the authorities later turned a blind eye to Kermit Gosnell's appalling practice in Philadelphia in the post-Roe era.

Pro-lifers need to lose the idea that criminalizing abortion will be enough to fix the problem of mothers and babies dying, and pro-choicers need to lose the idea that legalizing fixed the problem of seedy abortionists and maternal deaths. It would help, as well, if pro-choice leaders became more concerned with the "safe" part of "safe and legal."

Of course, accomplishing with abortion what William Wilberforce and the abolitionists did with slavery (making it not merely illegal but unthinkable) would virtually eliminate the problem. Until people get the idea out of their heads that killing their children is a way to help women, there will always be abortionists, and it will remain the job of pro-life leaders and ordinary citizens, both pro-life and pro-choice to keep them in check. As we've seen with Lucy Hagenow and Kermit Gosnell, (pictured, left) pro-choice leaders can't be counted on to do anything but tolerate quackery in the name of "access."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Amateur and Professional from the Early 20th Century

Anna Gosch's boyfriend, Mr. Edwards, admitted that he knew Anna, that they'd had a sexual relationship, and that she had called him to tell him that her period was late. He admitted that he went to Kearney, and got a hotel room with the intent of performing an abortion, which he did using a catheter that Anna had stiffened with a wire for that purpose. A physician, Dr. Cameron, was called on Thursday, March 15, and saw Anna twice a day until the Monday before her death, at 2 or 3:00, at which time he consulted with another physician, and concluded that Anna was going to die. She died on Tuesday, March 20, 1906, at 6:10 PM. Edwards was convicted of homicide.

On March 20, 1926, 19-year-old Alice Annalora died at the County Hospital in Chicago from complications of an abortion performed that day. Dr. Wilford Vine was booked for Alice's death, as was her husband, Joseph Annalora. Vine was indicted for felony murder. Ultimately, the coroner was unable to determine the legal status of the abortion that killed Alice, so Dr. Vine and Mr. Annalora were released.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Professional Abortionists' Work in 1867, 1907, 1916, and 1932.

Mary E. Noble, age 38, died at her home on March 19, 1867. She had been separated from her husband, Ayers, due to her involvement with another man, George Carson. She had moved to New York from Jersey City with her son, D.W., to help to keep her pregnancy a secret. Mary's lover helped to arrange the abortion, giving the doctor, Wm. F.J. Thiers, alias Dr. Dubois, a down payment of $10 toward a $35 abortion. It took Thiers three tries to successfully abort Mary's unborn baby. She took in on February 21. Her lover fetched in Thiers several times to care for her, but after two treatments Thier, like many modern safe-n-legal abortionists, had washed his hands of her, so Carson found another doctor whose efforts to save Mary ultimately failed. Mary's husband had been summoned to her bedside when she took sick, but she died before he could reach her. Before her death, she had confessed the abortion to her brother-in-law. The coroner's jury concluded that Mary had died from pyemia, "resulting from an abortion produced by the prisoner. They further hold Amelia Armstrong, alias Madame Dubois, as accessory before the fact." When the police went to arrest Thiers, they had found his home "sumptuously and comfortably fitted up." There were four women there who admitted that they were there for abortions, and "An examination of the premises resulted in the discovery of an immense collection of letters ... in relation to malpractices."

On March 19, 1907, Mrs. Bessie Simons, age 30, died at her Chicago home from complications of a criminal abortion performed there that day. Dr. C. D. Hughes was arrested in the death.

On March 19, 1916, 30-year-old Carolina Petritz died at the Chicago office of midwife Paulina Erlomus, who had perpetrated the fatal abortion there that day. Erlomus was held by the Coroner but the case never went to trial.

Geraldine Easley, age 19, admitted before her death on March 19, 1932, that she had undergone a criminal abortion. Since Dr. James W. Eisiminger and Dr. Richard E. Thacker had been responsible for a string of other criminal abortion deaths in the Oklahoma City area, suspicion in Geraldine's death naturally leaned toward the two known quack abortionists.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Two Early 20th Century Chicago Deaths

On March 18, 1913, 25-year-old homemaker Mary Brubaker died in her Chicago home from an abortion perpetrated that day by Dr. H.W. Case. Case was held by the Coroner and indicted by a Grand Jury April 15, but the case never went to trial.

On March 18, 1914, 28-year-old dressmaker Irene Ridgeway died at Garfield Park Hospital (pictured) in Chicago from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator. Garfield Park Hospital was a privately owned hospital founded by physicians, and provided legitimate medical care.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Was Legalization an Improvement?

On March 17, 1907, Paulina Schneider died at St. Francis Hospital in Peoria, Illinois, from complications of a criminal abortion. Paulina gave a deathbed statement implicating Dr. Robert Emery in her abortion. Paulina's mother had also fingered Emery. For reasons not given in the source document, Emery -- identified as "Old Doctor Robert Emery" -- was found not guilty.

Though the verdict might have indeed been a case of exonerating an innocent man, it might also reflect loopholes in the abortion law that made conviction difficult, such as a requirement that the prosecution prove that the woman was pregnant or had felt the baby move.

Fast forward to our enlightened days of safe, legal abortion.

Cycloria Vangates underwent an abortion
on March 13, 1976, performed by Dr. Paul Glassman. She suffered a cervical laceration. The Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine found that Glassman failed to adequately treat Cycloria's injury. She died on March 17.

Glassman's license was finally revoked for three years beginning in 1981. He later recovered his license on the condition that he undergo close supervision and not perform any more abortions. Glassman moved to Missouri, but his attorney revealed to the Florida Board of Osteopathic medical Examiners that Glassman performed 17 abortions while visiting in Fort Lauderdale, in an effort to prove that the ban against Glassman performing abortions was unnecessary. Glassman also faced a 1978 Florida conviction for felony grand larceny involving filing insurance claims for a faked automobile accident. Glassman paid out $386,875 to Cycloria's survivors, according to a malpractice liability search.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Seven Anniversaries, 1869 - 1981

On March 16, 1869, Magdalena Philippi died of complications of an abortion performed on her, evidently by a Dr. Gabriel Wolff. Although Magdalena was four or five months pregnant, prosecutors had no way of proving that she had felt movement in the fetus, so they could not prosecute Dr. Wolff. The next day, a bill was introduced in Albany to eliminate the quickening distinction in prosecuting abortion cases. This would make it easier to prosecute abortionists like Wolff.

Harriet "Hattie" Reece was a 25-year-old primary school teacher in Browning, Illinois. Her husband, Frank, was also a teacher and principal at the school where Hattie taught. They had been married two and a half years in 1899, when the events unfolded that ended Hattie's life on March 16. And the finger pointed at Dr. James W. Aiken, who seemed to be a bit of a George Tiller precursor -- somebody who would find a "life of the mother" case in any pregnancy. It's a long, complex story, and you can read it by clicking on Hattie's name.

On March 16, 1915, 26-year-old homemaker Hazel Carr died in her Chicago home from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

Also on March 16, 1915, 19-year-old saleslady Hazel Wilcox died at a Chicago home after an abortion perpetrated that day by Julia Patera, whose profession is not given. She was held by the coroner on March 20 but the case never went to trial.

On March 16, 1924, 35-year-old Selma Jefferson.jpgHedlund died in Chicago's Jefferson Park Hospital (pictured) from complications of an abortion performed that day. The sources says that she died at the crime scene. Nobody was ever positively identified as the abortionist. However, a Carl Carlson, indicated as a person known to Selma, was arrested as an accomplice.

Evelyn Dudley, age 38, underwent an abortion at Friendship Medical Center in Chicago on March 16, 1973. Later, at home, she collapsed in the driveway. She was taken to a hospital, where attempts to save her failed. Her death was due to shock, hemorrhage from a ruptured cervix and vagina. T.R. Mason Howard (pictured) stated that Evelyn was treated at Friendship for infection sustained in an abortion in Detroit, but Evelyn's brother stated that she had come to Chicago specifically to have the abortion. Julia Rogers and Dorothy Brown also died after abortions at Friendship Medical Center.

Norma Jean Greene, a 34-year-old divorcee, went into cardio-respiratory arrest in a Winston-Salem hospital on March 16, 1981. Her death certificate indicates that the arrest was caused by a pulmonary embolism (tissue or air in the lungs) following a recent abortion.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 15, 1915: A Bad Day in Chicago

On March 15, 1915, 22-year-old homemaker Elenora Cassidy died at her Chicago residence from an abortion perpetrated there that day. Before her death, Elinor named Dr. Julia Patara as the guilty abortionist. Patara was indicted for Elinor's death on March 15 by a Grand Jury, but the case never went to trial.

Also on March 15, 1917, 24-year-old waitress Celia Steele died at Chicago's Jefferson Park Hospital from complications of an abortion. The Coroner was unable to identify the guilty party.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

1905, 1930, 1989: Equally dead

On March 14, 1905, 27-year-old seamstress May Putnam died at Chicago's Monroe Street Hospital from complications of an abortion. May had been brought to the hospital two days earlier, in critical condition, and the police were notified and identified Dr. Lucy Hagenow (pictured) as the guilty abortionist. Hagenow was also responsible for the deaths of Marie Hecht, Lola Madison , Annie Horvatich , Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, Elizabeth Welter, and Mary Moorehead.

On March 14, 1930, Alberta Beard, age 29, died at the office of Dr. Davis Lucas from an abortion performed there that day. Lucas was arrested on May 24, on recommendation of the coroner. Lucas was indicted for felony murder in Alberta's death on August 7.

On March 7, 1989, 31-year-old mother of two Glenda Davis died from injuries sustained in an abortion perpetrated by by Robert Hanson at Aaron Family Planning March 11, 1989. During the abortion, Glenda suffered a 1.5 - 2 inch long wound to her uterine artery and vein complex, causing massive bleeding. After a delay, staffers decided to transfer Glenda to the hospital after loading her into a staffer's car. With the IV still in her arm, Glenda was driven to HCA Memorial Hospital. She had no blood pressure and almost no pulse upon arrival, and remained in a coma until her death.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

1909: Lena Oppendal Succumbs to Midwife's Fatal Efforts

On March 13, 1909, Mrs. Lena Oppedal, age 37, died in Chicago from peritonitis caused by an abortion. A midwife named Carrin Bakke was held to a grand jury and indicted for murder but the source document doesn't indicate that there was a trial.

Note, please, that with overall public health 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.
external image Illegals.png

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

Monday, March 12, 2012

Two More Chicago Anniversaries

On March 12, 1909, Cook County native Kate Blust, age 22, a homemaker, died in Chicago from peritonitis caused by an abortion. Midwife Emma Novak was held without bail for the crime of murder by abortion. She was indicted for murder but the source document doesn't indicate that there was a trial.

On February 4, 1928, 24-year-old Julia Agoston underwent a criminal abortion in Chicago. On March 12, Julia died at St. Elizabeth's Hospital. On March 31, Dr. Anton Feher, Dr. Helen Moskowitz, Susie Kosmos, and Julia's husband Manhart Agoston were held by the coroner. The physicians were held as principals. The two laypersons were held as accessories. Moskowitz was indicted for felony murder on November 23.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Emma Jonas, Catherine Mau, Janet Blaum all Suffer Same Fate

On March 11, 1915, 40-year-old homemaker Emma Jonas died at Chicago's German American Hospital after an abortion perpetrated by Cecelia Styskal. Though Styskal was arrested and held by the Coroner, the case never went to trial.

On February 13, 1929, 30-year-old Catherine Mau went to the office of Chicago midwife Anna Heisler for an abortion, which she was seeking because, according to her friend, "she had three children and her husband was out of work and she could not support another one, and that her husband was sickly." Afterward, Catherine took sick at home. Her friend assisted the midwife in providing aftercare that did nothing to help. Finally Catherine's husband, Frank, called a doctor to report that his wife was in great pain. This doctor told Catherine Mau that she was near death. Mau reportedly said, “What will my children do?” A few days later, on March 11, Catherine died from infection.

Sidney Knight was facing a number of criminal abortion charges in 1973, when Roe v. Wade made them a moot point. He hung out his shingle and began performing abortions legally. In March of 1974, Janet Blaum went to Knight's New Orleans facility for a safe and legal abortion. Five days later, on March 11, she was dead of brain hemorrhage. Janet's ex-husband sued Knight on behalf of the couple's children, alleging that Knight had administered a fatal dose of anesthesia while preparing Janet for the abortion.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Abortionist Fans: Lights on, Nobody Home

Let's not let the FaceBook event to appreciate abortionists lie neglected. Pop on in and suggest an abortionist that you think best exemplifies everything abortionists are and do. Just google your favorite abortionist and post a link with a line.

Suggestions:

  • Child pornographer George Kabacy
  • Alberto "Licensed to Lie" Hodari and his three dead patients
  • "Fast Eddie" Allred and his Empire of Death
  • LeRoy Carhart, who is just so globally deplorable that there's no end of stuff to post about him
  • Kirstin "The Human Rubber Stamp" Neuhaus
  • Steven Chase Brigham, who is breathing a sigh of relief now that Maryland officials decided they're not ready to let a jury decide if he snuffed viable third-trimester babies in Maryland or New Jersey
  • Blast from the Past Harvey Karman and his Super Coils
  • While we're at it -- Milan Vuitch was a prochoice icon and erstwhile criminal abortionist, and he killed two safe-n-legal patients
  • Ditto Benjamin Munson

I'm sure y'all can think of more. If you need ideas, you can go to the Cemetery of Choice and search for more recent abortion deaths, and just post about their "providers."

Let's remind these clueless individuals just who it is they're holding up as heroes.

So -- Is the Modern "Provider" a Hero?

On March 10, 1929, 18-year-old Alline Brown, nee Lavell, died in Chicago from a criminal abortion. The culprit was never identified or brought to justice. She left behind her husband, Arthur.

Let's move forward, shall we, to the post-Roe era, to the age of stalwart heroes of reproductive health care, those brave and compassionate providers who are honored today.

Eighteen-year-old Erna Fisher's mother held her hand as Dennis W. Miller performed a safe and legal abortion on her on March 10, 1988. During the abortion, Erna suddenly sat up, went into convulsions, and began to vomit.
Miller continued with the abortion while Erna choked to death on her own vomit. When an ambulance crew arrived, they found Erna's airway still full of vomit. Miller was making no attempt at resuscitation, but was holding Erna in his arms. Miller had already settled six malpractice cases in the Kansas City area. He had failed the Missouri state medical exam three times before finally giving up. It took nine tries for him to pass the exam to be licensed in Kansas.

But hey, he's an abortionist. That makes him a hero.

Friday, March 09, 2012

My Answer to the Celebration Artwork

As I noted earlier, abortion advocates have developed a series of posters to celebrate how wonderful abortion is.

Well, I'm coming up with my own poster series. I'll post them as I create them. Feel free to share them. Maybe we can even turn them into greeting cards to mail to all the organizations that think abortionists are heroes.












Prepare to "Celebrate" Abortionists!

Abortion enthusiasts have not yet given up on the idea of March 10 as a day to "appreciate" abortionists. From the "You can't make this shit up" category I present the Stop Patriarchy blog's joyous anticipation of the festivities of the day.

They even provide -- I kid you not -- PDFs of greeting cards to print out and mail to your local abortionist! They come in four different designs. On the inside, each has the same inspirational message:

Thank You, Heroes

Day in and day out, you make the unseen sacrifice.

You are there for women in some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives, and you value them for all that they are. You know better than many the reality of women's lives, and you commit yourselves to their health. You face anger, lies, and even threats for what you do, but you keep doing it, because you know better than many the costs of giving up, and giving in.

For this we thank you.

For this we treasure you.

For this we promise to defend you.

For this we promise to tell people this truth:

Abortion providers are heroes.


Yeah, I know. Pass the barf bag.

Now let's look at the artwork.

This one, "Gather," celebrates the herbal abortifacients that were sold in the 1800s. You know, herbal abortifacients like the ones that killed Cordelia Calkins in 1859, Aurora Heaton in 1866, Mary Donigan in 1870, and Delia May Bell in 1889, among so many others.

And it's not like these homey herbal concoctions stopped being lethal with Roe. Kris Humphrey managed to do herself in with a pennyroyal regimen in 1994, as had a Colorado woman in 1978.

Granted, the card in question focuses on abortifacients containing aloe, but you get the idea.

I'm a bit perplexed, though, as to why an admonition to "gather" an herbal abortifacient for private home use was considered an appropriate theme for celebrating the modern, technologically-advanced abortionist. Maybe it's just a nostalgia thing.

Then there's "Praise," which celebrates, of all people, notorious 19th Century abortionist Madame Restelle, noting that she was "one of over two hundred abortionists practicing in New York City."

Yeah, celebrate New York City abortionists. We can start with the ones of Madame Restelle's day. How about Restelle herself, who was fingered in the death of Mary Rogers?

Well, Restelle was never definitively linked to any abortion deaths, but the same can't be said of her fellow New York abortion "providers" of the era.

There was Dr. Charles Cobel, implicated in the 19th Century abortion deaths of Emma Wolfer and Amelia Weber, and possibly the death of death of Catharine DeBreuxal as well.

Dr. Edward M Browne committed the fatal 1862 abortion on Clementina Anderson. Midwife Johanna White was charged in the 1874 abortion death of Christine Siefred. Midwife Caroline Kraft was fingered in the 1893 abortion death of Bertha Kern.

New York city abortionists, of course, continued to ply their trade after the turn of the century. In 1921, Dr. Simeon B. Minden performed a fatal abortion on Catherine Riga. Dr. Allen F. Murphy was sentenced to 2-10 years in Sing-Sing for the death of Alice Corbett in 1939. Dr. Anthony Renda went to Sing-Sing for the 1944 death of Amelia Cardito. Gynecologist Mandel M. Friedman was charged with homicide in the 1962 death of Barbara Covington, a Florida socialite.

With legalization, New York City abortionists really ran amok, performing dangerous saline abortions -- sometimes as outpatient procedures -- and otherwise just scraping women and girls out and sending them home to die.

New York City abortion quackery continues pretty much unabated, with the death of Alexandra Nunez in 2010 being the most recent one I'm aware of. Abortionists are what they always have been, and their cheerleaders find them worthy of celebration anyway.


The final card is a bit ironically creepy, considering the goings-on in Philadelphia with Kermit Gosnell. This card admonishes us to "cooperate" and celebrates the "Jane" collective in Chicago, formed by a bunch of women who wanted to facilitate abortions and ended up getting the likes of Harvey Karman to train them to perpetrate the abortions themselves.

You see, "Jane" wanted to give Harvey a batch of women to test his new "super coil" abortions on. Their Chicago practice was raided so they loaded up their test subjects -- all poor minority women -- on a bus and hauled them off to Philadelphia, where Harvey and a buddy worked in Gosnell's mill to pack the women full of plastic springs. One woman had to be hospitalized in Philadelphia, and others were hospitalized on return to Chicago.

At least none of Harvey's patients died. The same can't be said for "Jane's" buddy Kermit Gosnell, who killed Semika Shaw and Karnamaya Mongar. It's a stunning tribute to willful ignorance that a link to this quack would be offered up as a way to appreciate what these "heroes" do for women.

Two Doctors' Fatal Handiwork

On March 9, 1914, 34-year-old homemaker Elizabeth O'Donnell died in the Chicago office of Dr. Alvin C. Hirster, who had performed an abortion on there there that day. Hirster was held without bail by the Coroner, and was indicted on March 15, but the case never went to trial.

On March 9, 1921, Iva Triplett died from septic complications of an abortion Dr. C.W. Milliken had perpetrated on March 1. Iva left behind a widower and children. The May 4, 1921 Elyria, Ohio Chronicle Telegram described Milliken as a "prominent democratic politician." The year before Iva's death, Milliken had performed an abortion on Francis Karies, who died in Chicago. The March 21, 1921 Lima (Ohio) News notes that Milliken was also charged with performing a fatal abortion on Florence Cobb. He was held on $10,000 bail in each case, Iva's and Florence's.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Six Anniversaries

Twenty-two-year-old Mary A. Bellville died Friday, March 8, 1889, from complications of an attempted abortion. A week before her death, Miss Bellville made a deathbed statement that Arthur B. Roosa had helped her to abort another pregnancy the previous June, "furnishing the instrument and instructing her in its use". Roosa, Miss Bellville said, was the father of both aborted children. He had not helped her with the second, fatal abortion. News coverage attempted to quell rumors that any local physicians, or any party other than Miss Bellville herself, "had any part in this criminal act."

On March 8, 1920, 33-year-old Christine Hetland died at Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital, from an abortion believed to have been perpetrated by Dr. John M. Klinck. He and a man named Carl Blomgren were held by the coroner but both cases were stricken off.

Ozella Ann Skains (pictured), a 24-year-old telephone operator from Dallas, Texas, was found dead on a street in Oak Park, Illinois, on March 8, 1954. Her family sued Ozella's finace, Dr. John C. Gobischel, a 26-year-old chiropractor, and his friend, George J. Malek. They were both also arraigned for murder by attempted abortion. Gobischel had become engaged to marry Ozella when he'd been stationed near Dallas. Her family hadn't even known she'd gone to Chicago until they got the call telling them of her death.

New York's "liberalized" and enlightened law brought us two deaths on March 8, 1972. "Colleen" took advantage of the new law and traveled from Michigan to New York for a safe and legal abortion. She was 21 years old and 20 weeks pregnant. Colleen had a history of asthma. During the abortion, she went into respiratory arrest and lingered until her death. "Connie," a 31-year-old who had gone into cardiac arrest during her safe and legal New York abortion on March 3, also died, leaving behind one child.

On March 4, 1975, Robert Sherman performed a safe and legal abortion on 16-year-old Rita McDowell. When Rita was discharged, her mother was informed that she would probably expel the fetus that night. Her mother called Sherman's facility on March 5 to seek care for her daughter, who was feverish and had not expelled the fetus. She said that Sherman would not speak to her, and that the receptionist told her to bring Rita in two days later. In the early morning hours of March 7, Rita awoke screaming, then collapsed in her mother's arms. Doctors at the hospital where Rita was taken removed the fetus, but she died just after midnight on March 8. An investigation into Rita's death revealed evidence that Sherman deliberately performed incomplete abortions so that he could charge more for follow-up care. Sherman was charged with murder in Rita's death, and prosecutors presented witnesses and evidence that Sherman re-used disposable medical equipment, failed to perform tests to verify pregnancy, failed to do pathology examinations of abortion tissues, allowed a nurse's aide to perform surgery, and falsified medical records.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Four Deaths from Two Centuries

Antoinette Fennor died of peritonitis March 7, 1875, from an abortion performed about February 26 by Mrs. Catherine Maxwell. Maxwell routinely performed abortions, arranging for her patients to stay in a nearby boarding home while physicians that the women themselves arranged came to provide any needed aftercare. When arrested in Antoinette's death, Maxwell said that she'd had to go into the abortion trade to stay out of the work house since her husband was feeble and unable to work to pay for rent and servants.

On March 7, 1908, unmarried seamstress Nellie M. Shuff, aka Mrs. E. C. Coulter, age 26, of New Berlin, Illinois, died at a Chicago residence. The coroner's jury determined that she died from complications of an abortion. Johanna White, whose profession was not given, was arrested, tried, and sentenced to Joliet for the death.

On March 8, 1919, the body of former Army nurse Inez Reed (pictured) was found dumped in a ravine near San Francisco. An investigation uncovered that she had died the previous day from an abortion performed by Dr. Ephraim Northcott, brother of infamous serial murderer Gordon Stewart Northcott. Northcott died of pneumonia in 1928 while serving a life sentence in San Quentin, where his more notorious brother would be hanged in 1930.

Gloria Small, a 43-year-old mother of six, went to Ronald Tauber for a safe ane legal abortion. Despite Gloria's obesity, asthma, chronic lung disease, and family history of high blood pressure, Tauber elected to perform the 15-week abortion at his Orlando Birthing Center on March 7, 1978. Gloria's uterus was punctured in the abortion. She died despite an emergency hysterectomy. The medical examiner said that Gloria's medical history should have precluded performing an abortion in an outpatient setting. A court-appointed panel found Tauber negligent in Gloria's death. Tauber's license was suspended the month Gloria died; this means that if the Centers for Disease Control counted Gloria's death, they would have tabulated it as a death from an illegal abortion.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Typical Abortion Deaths Across the Years

On March 6, 1928, Lucille Smith, a 24-year-old store clerk and homemaker, died at Chicago's Burrows Hospital from complications of an abortion performed that day at the office of midwife Emma Schulz. Schulz was indicted for felony murder on April 1, 1929. The following year, Schulz was arrested after the death of 23-year-old Gladys Schaffer.

On March 6, 1945, 36-year-old Beatrice Fisher took her four-year-old daughter and her mother-in-law to Seattle to get aftercare from
Dr. Frank C. Hart, who had done an abortion on Beatrice when the previous day for $100 in cash. While Beatrice was with Hart, her mother-in-law did some shopping with the little girl. On returning to Hart's building, the mother-in-law found a crowd of people gathered in the lobby around Beatrice's dead body. The coroner concluded that a clot from a gouge in her uterine wall had formed an embolism that had lodged in Beatrice's lung, causing her death. Hart was convicted of abortion and manslaughter.

A 16-year-old girl identified as "F.S." underwent a safe and legal second-trimester saline abortion on August 26, 1969. Afterward, she developed an infection and symptoms of meningitis. She continued to be treated for ten days before she was transferred to another hospital in San Francisco for further treatment. Doctors performed two heart valve replacements of F.S., and had scheduled her for yet another before she died on March 6, 1970. The cause of death was severe congestive heart failure and pneumonia.

Chatoor Bisal Singh did an abortion on Ellen Williams on March 2, 1985 at Miami's notorious Dadeland Family Planning. On March 4, Ellen returned, doubled over and rocking back and forth in pain. Dadeland owner Betty Eason gave her some tea, then called Singh, who arrived four hours later. Singh examined Ellen, then turned her over to Nabil Ghali (pictured), a known quack and pervert, who performed a second D&C and sent Ellen home with a bottle of antibiotics. On March 5, Ellen was rushed by ambulance to Coral Reef Hospital, where she was taken into surgery. She died in the intensive care unit on March 6. The autopsy revealed that she had uterine and bowel perforations, causing the peritonitis that killed her.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Unknown, Midwife, Doctor

On March 5, 1900, Mrs. Alice Koester died in German Hospital from complications of an illegal abortion evidently performed there that day by Maria Janke. Janke was arrested March 10, and held by Coroner's Jury on March 11. She was sentenced by Judge Clifford to Joliet Penitentiary.

On March 5, 1907, Mrs. Ella Brunswick, age 24, died at St. Elizabeth's hospital in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day. A midwife named Kunigundi Hardman was implicated in her death.

Gwendolyn Cliett, age 29, was about to undergo a safe, legal abortion and tubal ligation at Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia on March 5, 1980. She was 8 to 10 weeks pregnant. Before the procedure could be done, Gwendolen reacted to the anesthesia and died.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Again, Both Equally Dead

On March 3, 1916, 43-year-old Augusta Bloom, a native of Sweden, died at Chicago's Norwegian Deaconess Hospital from complications of an abortion perpetrated that day by Dr. James R. Struble at his office. He was indicted by a Grand Jury on March 21, but the case never went to trial.

Fast forward to our enlightened post-Roe era, where women need no longer die at the hands of quack abortionists.

Sixteen-year-old Patricia Chacon underwent a safe and legal second-trimester abortion at Edward Allred's Avalon Hospital in Los Angeles on the morning of March 3, 1984. Patty retained fetal tissues, and died either during or after surgery to complete the abortion. An autopsy found numerous catgut sutures in Patty's vagina and hemorrhage in her uterus. Death was attributed to a clotting disorder due to amniotic fluid that got into Patty's bloodstream during the abortion. Avalon Hospital was part of Edward Allred's Family Planning Associates Medical Group, a National Abortion Federation member. Others known to have died after abortion at FPA facilities include Denise Holmes, Mary Pena, Josefina Garcia, Laniece Dorsey, Joyce Ortenzio, Tami Suematsu, Susan Levy, Deanna Bell, Christine Mora, Kimberly Neil, Chanelle Bryant, and Nakia Jorden.

Friday, March 02, 2012

From The Bad Old Days to Our Enlightened Era

On March 2, 1906, Lola Madison, a stenographer from Salt Lake City, Utah, died from an abortion at Passavant Hospital in Chicago. She was 28 years old. In her dying declaration, Lola named notorious abortionist Dr. Lucy Hagenow (pictured) as the person who perpetrated the fatal abortion. Hagenow was also implicated in the Chicago-area abortion deaths of Marie Hecht, Annie Horvatich, Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, Elizabeth Welter, and Mary Moorehead. I am also researching two San Francisco abortion deaths charged to Hagenow, who fled to the Chicago area to avoid going to prison. She certainly found a welcoming home there.

On March 2, 1914, 32-year-old Hannah Olson, a homemaker, died in Chicago, on the scene of an abortion performed that day by an unknown perpetrator.

On March 2, 1918, 26-year-old homemaker Mary Wojnovich died at South Side Hospital in Pittsburgh. The coroner found that she had died of double pneumonia and peritonitis following a self-induced abortion performed with a stick. This made her case unusual, since the vast majority of illegal abortions were done by doctors or midwives.


Now we'll move forward from the Dark Ages into our enlightened post-Roe era.

Sixteen-year-old Erica Richardson was brought to Dr. Gene Crawford by her aunt for a secret abortion on March 1, 1989. Erica's aunt reported that Crawford left the girl unattended for four hours after her abortion, then at 11 PM carried her to the car and instructed her aunt to take her home.Erica's aunt, a nurse, instead took the girl to a hospital. Erica died of an embolism (foreign matter or air in the bloodstream) shortly after midnight on March 2.

Jammie Garcia lingered in the Intensive Care Unit of a Houston hospital, with spiking fever, chills, nausea, pain, respiratory distress, a distended abdomen, low blood oxygen levels, and foul-smelling discharge. The 14-year-old had suffered a torn uterus and cervix during her February 18, 1994 abortion performed by John Coleman at Mosche Hachamovitch's abortion facility in Texas. An inspection of the clinic after Jammie's death on March 2 found pitted and dirty instruments, an autoclave that didn't work, and an administrator who was fully aware of how bad things were.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Why I Don't Like the Ultrasound Laws

I'm all in favor of informed consent -- particularly in the case of abortion, where the stakes are so high. A lack of informed consent can lead to the death of a cherished child and the devastation that this causes to women.

However, I think that most approaches prolifers take to ensuring informed consent, including new ultrasound laws, while well-intended and helpful, are a bit off-kilter. The two problems I see are:

1. Giving abortionists too much wiggle room to circumvent the laws
2. Placing power in the hands of the state rather than the hands of the citizen

I've listened to years worth of tapes of National Abortion Federation meetings, and from their discussions I have an idea of how abortion mills work to circumvent informed consent laws. The typical approach is to tell the woman something like this:
Antichoice forces have passed a law requiring us to try to intimidate you and make you feel as guilty as possible for making the choice that is best for you. They have prepared misleading materials that we're required to offer you. Do you want to look at them?
What woman is going to say yes to that?

I can imagine similar scenes with required ultrasounds:
Antichoice forces have mandated that we offer to subject you to an intrusive ultrasound procedure and try to bully you into thinking that you're doing something wrong by exercising your right to choose. You can opt out if you prefer. Do you want to be subjected to the antichoice guilt trip?
None of this should come as any surprise. We know abortionists and their minions lie to convince women to abort. Why should we expect them to stop lying just because we've passed a law mandating that they pass out a pamphlet or read a script?

The problem of putting power in the hands of the state rather than the woman brings a multitude of undesired consequences.

The big one is that we already know we can't trust the state to look after the well-being of abortion-vulnerable women. Abortion supporters in positions of power and influence have a long history of looking the other way, from the greased palms of the illegal era to the Kermit Gosnells of today. Why should we think that they'd be any more willing to enforce informed consent and ultrasound laws?

Putting power in the hands of the state rather than the woman also plays neatly into the abortion-advocacy narrative of prolifers as mean and controlling and just wanting to bully women.

Putting the power in the hands of the women would eliminate these problems. And how can that be done?

Right-to-redress bills, as championed by David Reardon and Feminists for Life, would allow the woman to sue the pants off any abortionist for failing to provide adequate informed consent. She would not have to prove any injury. In fact, she would not have to prove anything. It would be incumbent on the offending abortionist to demonstrate that he had indeed provided appropriate informed consent. All the law has to do is define what types of information must be provided -- a clear understanding of risks, an accurate depiction of the unborn baby that would be killed, a realistic prognosis regarding any health problems in the mother or the baby, resources available to address her problems in a less drastic way and, perhaps most important of all, over half a century of research indicating that fear and ambivalence in early pregnancy are normal and typically self-limiting.

Fetal homicide bills put additional power behind these right-to-redress laws. Giving the woman the power to press charges for the murder of a child if vital information is withheld from her would have abortionists shaking in their shoes. It certainly would make them less cavalier about making glib statements dismissing the humanity of the unborn child.

The final advantages to the approach of empowering the woman is that it would force abortion advocates to reveal their real agenda -- disempowering women in order to achieve their own financial, social, or political ends. It would turn the tables, clearly showing that it is the abortion advocates, not the prolifers, who are hell-bent on imposing their values on women.

Three Young Women Nearly a Hundred Years Ago

On March 1, 1914, 24-year-old Stella Augustinyn died in Chicago, on the scene of an abortion performed that day by an unknown perpetrator.

On March 1, 1919, 22-year-old Jeanette Ruff died in her Chicago home from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

On March 1, 1919, 24-year-old Viola Parr died from the effects of an abortion that had been perpetrated on February 20 by W. G. Waters and M. T. Summerlin have been unable to determine what professions Waters and Summerlin pursued when they weren't acting as abortionists.

Note, please, that with overall public health 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 information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.

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