On May 9, 1901, Jessie Matteson, a homemaker, died from an illegal abortion in Chicago.
Jessie's husband, Guy, was arrested, as was Dr. J.B. Butts, who was held by Coroner's Inquest on May 16.
The charges were dropped by a judge in June.
Jessie's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.
Note, please, that
with ordinary 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.