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.
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. In a deathbed statement, Ella implicated a 35-year-old midwife
named Kunigundi Hardman.
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. Janke's employment
status is listed as "professional", but nothing more specific is
indicated to clarify why she would be performing an illegal abortion in a
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.