On May 14, 1884, a young woman arrived in Ft. Wayne, Indiana on the train from Quincy, Illinois. She was so terribly ill that the conductor of the train telegraphed for authorities to have a carriage at the depot to take her to the hospital.
She was taken to Dr. Thayer's maternity hospital, giving her name as
Cora Smiley. On May 25, she expelled a five-month stillborn baby. Though
she didn't confide in her doctors, she did tell the other patients that
she was suffering the effects of an abortion attempted on her in back
in January in Quincy by a Dr. Pixley or Pittsley.
Mary evidently seemed to be improving, because her death was described as "sudden". She evidently died on June 4 or 5.
The post-mortem examination and investigation identified the dead woman
as Mary Rice, and verified that she had died from the lingering effects
of an attempted abortion. Her family were notified, and one of her
brothers came to Ft. Wayne to take her home for burial.
Without any knowledge of why Mary underwent the abortion it's impossible to think of any factors that would have prevented the abortion. Given the state of medicine at the time and the dearth of information it's also impossible to say what might have caused her death.
I have no information on overall maternal mortality, or abortion
mortality, in the 19th century. I imagine it can't be too much different
from maternal and abortion mortality at the very beginning of the 20th
Note, please, that with 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 on this era, see Abortion Deaths in the 19th Century.