Sunday, December 14, 2014

Five Abortion Deaths, 1911 - 1991

There are five abortion deaths in the Cemetery of Choice that took place on this date: three illegal and two legal. Four of the five were performed by doctors.

On December 14, 1911, 34-year-old mother-of-four Ella Kettler died at German American Hospital in Chicago from an abortion that Dr. Robert H. Foster had perpetrated at his practice on December 2.  Ella, a homemaker, had named Foster as her abortionist in a deathbed statement. Foster was held by the Coroner's Jury and indicted on December 19, but the case never went to trial.

On December 14, 1916, 19-year-old Eleanor Dillon died at Chicago's Columbus Hospital from septic peritonitis caused by a criminal abortion perpetrated by Dr. M.R. Perlstein that day. Eleanor had named Pearlstein as her abortionist in a deathbed statement.

Walter Hufnagel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, noticed on Wednesday, December 4, 1918, that his wife, 19-year-old Emma Hufnagel, was sick with body aches. By Saturday, December 7, Emma's mother, Louise Jackson, was told of Emma's illness and went to visit her. Emma told her mother that, since her period had been about two weeks late, and believing herself to be pregnant, she had used a catheter on herself on November 30. On December 9, the family agreed to move Emma to her mother's house, but Emma didn't do any better under her mother's care, so they the next day they brought her to Presbyterian Hospital. In spite of doctors' best efforts, Emma died of peritonitis and septicemia at around 2:15 a.m. on December 14.

Twenty-year-old LaSandra Russ, from Berkley, California, went to Los Angeles to have an abortion on December 13, 1971. She was six weeks pregnant. At the time, abortions were legal in California as long as they were performed in a hospital.  The abortion was performed at Memorial Hospital of Hawthorne the next day, December 14.  LaSandra went into cardiac arrest almost immediately after the abortion. Attempts were made to revive her, but she was finally pronounced dead on December 15, 1971.

Edith Cote was 38 years old when she submitted to a safe and legal abortion in New York. On December 14, 1991, she was unresponsive and was taken to the emergency room at Syosset Hospital.  Hospital staff were unable to save Edith's life. Her cause of death was listed on her death certificate as pulmonary amniotic embolism after an induced abortion.

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