Sixteen-year-old Erica Richardson was brought to Dr. Gene Crawford by her aunt on March 1, 1989 for a safe, legal abortion. Erica's aunt reported that Crawford left the girl unattended for four hours after her abortion, then at 11PM 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.Erica's mother had not known that her daughter was going to have an abortion. I can only imagine the family and personal turmoil caused by this deadly secret.
Elizabeth Tsuji, a 21-year-old Cal State student, underwent a safe and legal 8-week abortion at a Planned Parenthood on November 11, 1977. She called the clinic in December to report that she was still not menstruating, but staff assured her that the abortion had been successful. On February 1, 1978, Elizabeth confirmed that she was indeed still pregnant, five months along. The Planned Parenthood clinic referred her to Inglewood General Hospital for a saline abortion. That evening, she packed a nightgown and told her family she was going to spend the night at a friend's house. That was the last time they saw her alive. Elizabeth underwent the abortion on February 2, and died that day. Two autopsies were performed, neither of which could find a definitive cause of the young woman's death. Abortionist Morton Barke was somehow involved, although documents aren't clear what his role was. Barke also worked at the unsavory San Vicente Hospital. He is known to have been a partner at Inglewood and to have been involved in the deaths of Yvonne Tanner and Lynette Wallace. Other women who met their deaths at Inglewood include Kathy Murphy, Cora Lewis, and Belinda Byrd.
I am very curious as to the advantage Jammie, Tanya, Luz, Christina, Lisa, Lou Anne, Erica, Elizabeth, Yvonne, Lynette, Kathy, Cora, and Belinda had over the supposedly less fortunate women who preceded them in death.
On Saturday, February 16, 1918, Nikola Wojnovvich said, his 26-year-old wife, Mary, seemed unwell after dinner, very unstable on her feet. Nikola asked her what was wrong, and she said that perhaps she had caught cold. She asked him to help her to bed. He sent for Dr. Zabaranko, who examined her and prescribed some medication.Over the ensuing days, Mary's condition continued to worsen, so on February 21, Zabaranko sent her to Pittsburgh's South Side Hospital, where Dr. S. A. Beddall admitted her for treatment for “incomplete abortion and pelvic peritonitis due to self inflicted abortion at home 2 weeks ago.”After Mary's death, at about 2:00 on the morning of Saturday, March 2, Dr. Henry Klinzing jotted a note to the coroner on a prescription pad saying that Mary, a homemaker and Croatian immigrant, had made a deathbed statement to him on March 1, saying “she inserted a stick of wood into the uterus to bring on menstruation feeling she was pregnant. From this she developed a pelvic peritonitis and subsequently a septic pneumonia from which she died.”
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.
|Abortionist Lucy "Louise" Hagenow|
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. In fact, due to improvements in addressing these problems, maternal mortality in general (and abortion mortality with it) fell dramatically in the 20th Century, decades before Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion across America.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion