On January 12, 1900, Mrs. Ida Henry, age 26, died at the home she shared with Dr. Paulina Bechtel, from complications of an abortion Bechtel had performed on her there that day. Bechtel was held by the Coroner's Jury. Ida's abortion was typical of pre-legal abortions in that it was performed by a physician. Bechtel was also implicated in the death of Barbara Shelgren shortly thereafter, but was identified as a midwife in that case. According to Leslie Reagan, author of When Abortion Was a Crime, it was common for female physicians to be misidentified as midwives, particularly if they practiced obstetrics. Bechtel went on to kill Mary Thorning in 1911. Sadly, merely having laws on the books intended to lock up quack abortionists is not of itself enough to protect women. We will need to remain vigilant if abortion laws are ever restored.
For for those who think that legalization was the answer, read on.
Jeannie English came to
him for a safe and legal abortion on January 12, 1980. Vuitch administered general anesthesia
for Jeannie, and she never woke up. She was transported to a nearby
hospital where she died. Vuitch settled with Jeannie's family for
$150,000. When Vuitch was investigated, it was discovered that he kept
patients overnight in his home (an unlicensed facility) which he
designated "The Annexe." Inspectors also noted repeated violations of
medical standards regarding sanitation and anesthesia. Vuitch also
admitted during another case that he had lacked hospital admitting
privileges since 1963.
Vuitch was also responsible for the 1974 abortion death of 17-year-old Wilma Harris.
Vuitch is one of three abortionists I know of who started out as
criminal abortionists with clean records -- no patient deaths attributed
to them -- who went on to kill two patient by performing the supposedly
safer legal abortions. They are Jesse Ketchum (Margaret Smith and Carole Schaner) and Benjamin Munson (Linda Padfield and Yvonne Mesteth).
Shirley Williams was 30 years old when she underwent a safe and legal abortion in January of 1980.She suffered from infection and bleeding after her abortion. On January 12, 1980, she was pronounced dead, from hemorrhage.