Monday, July 22, 2013

Abortion Deaths Through Over a Century

I've been unable to learn almost nothing about 25-year-old Sharon Margrove other than that on May 21, 1970, she died following a safe and legal abortion in Los Angeles County, California.

Elizabeth Radcliffe
Late in the evening of July 21, 1916, 21-year-old Roy Hinterliter showed up at the sanitarium in Olney, Illinois with an unconscious young woman, Elizabeth Radcliffe, in his buggy. Elizabeth, age 17, was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. An autopsy confirmed pregnancy, but showed no external signs of violence and all her reproductive organs appeared normal. However, upon cutting open her heart, air escaped. There were also signs of air embolism in the brain. There were no lung lesions to explain the air in Elizabeth's bloodstream. The Chicago Tribune reported that a hypodermic syringe, minus the plunger, had been inserted into Elizabeth's artery, admitting the air. Hinterliter was held without bail, and under guard for fear of a lynching, after the coroner's jury verdict. The case caused a sensation not only for the nature of the crime, but because Elizabeth was the county's first murder victim in 20 years.

On July 21, 1907, homemaker Madeline Paffrath died at German American Hospital in Chicago. She was approximately 21 years old. The coroner's jury determined that she had died from an abortion performed. They held two midwives -- Alice Rastone and Hacrone Schuetner -- responsible.

“Phoenix, July 21, 1891 -- Mrs. Alice White, the victim of the sensational abortion case, died this afternoon. Dr. Helm's bondsman immediately withdrew and he was again taken to jail. A warrant is out for the young man interested in the case.” The accused abortionist, Dr. Scott Helm, was described as "one of the best and most prominent physicians in Phoenix." Clearly Alice got the same kind of care in a criminal abortion that she would have gotten from a doctor doing the "safe and legal" kind.

On July 21, 1886, Mrs. Fred Winkleman was found dead in her Cincinnati home from a botched abortion. The last survivor of the Miller family, she had a small fortune of $13,000 which she had given over to Winkleman at their marriage four months earlier. Winkleman was arrested and freed on $5,000 bail. Police believed that Fred Winkleman, a 26-year-old druggist, had intended his wife's death in order to have free use of the money.

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