Saturday, February 07, 2015

February 6 Fatalities, 1870 - 1987

Mary Donigan, age 22, died on February 6, 1870, at the Brooklyn home of long-time friend Mrs. Bridget Dillon. Mary had come to her home on a Monday afternoon about three weeks before her death, looking sickly. After about two weeks, Mary's condition worsened. On day Mrs. Dillon went to empty the slop pail in the room and discovered a dead baby, which she described as large -- in keeping with Mary's report of having been pregnant for about eight months. Mary reported that she had paid a doctor $5 for a bottle of medicine, but refused to name this doctor. Mary likewise refused to divulge the name of her baby's father. An old woman came to help Mrs. Dillon care for Mary. Mrs. Dillon went off in search of a box to bury the baby in, but returned to Mary's room to find both the old woman and the baby gone. Over the following days, Mrs. Dillon dosed Mary with castor oil and powders from a pharmacist. Mary took such a turn for the worse that Mrs. Dillon sent for both a doctor and a priest. The doctor, Matthew F. Regan, testified that he found Mary "suffering from inflammation of the womb and the covering of the bowels." Dr. Regan prescribed some medication and returned on Saturday. When he returned at noon on Sunday to check on Mary, he found her dead. A post mortem examination found no signs of instrumentation, but plenty of signs of infection in and around the uterus. The medical examiner determined that Mary had died from an abortion.

In April of 1895, a reporter who was at the Detroit business of undertaker Frank Gibbs kicked a coffin. Gibbs scolded, "Here, don't kick that coffin. There's a body in it, and I've got $100 for keeping it." The reporter went to the health department. When the undertaker got wind of this, he hastily had the body buried at Potter's Field. The health department ordered the just-buried body to be immediately exhumed and brought to another undertaking establishment for an autopsy. The cause of death was determined to be abortion. The young woman's body was kept on public display at the funeral establishment for five days, hoping that someone could identify her. When nobody recognized her, she was returned to her grave. The first real break in the case came when a woman went to Prosecutor Fraser, saying that she'd been at the Alice B. Lane Lying-In Hospital in January and had met a young Englishwoman there who had given her name as Emily Hall. The dead woman was exhumed once again, and the informant positively identified Emily. An investigation finally revealed  that Emily had come to Detroit on January 23 and went directly to the lying-in hospital. Four days later, Dr. D. J. Seaman performed the abortion that eventually took Emily's life. The baby's body -- which the police recovered -- had been buried in the back yard. Women that had met Emily at the hospital said that the baby's father lived in Birmingham, England, and was a clergyman in the Church of England. Eventually he was identified as Jonathan Bell. He was charged in Emily's death, evidently responsible for the pregnancy and having arranged the abortion. However, authorities decided not to pursue extradition. Seaman's first trial ended in a hung jury, a second trial produced a conviction which Seaman had overturned, and a third trial ended with Seaman convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to ten years.

On February 6, 1919, 22-year-old homemaker Edna Griffith died at Chicago's Passavant Hospital from septic pneumonia initiating from complications of an abortion perpetrated by a person who was never identified.

Elizabeth "Betty" Hellman was the 35-year-old wife of an Air Force major. On January 28, 1952, Betty was admitted to the Tinker Air Force Base hospital in critical condition, suffering from pain and low blood pressure. Her red blood count was very low, and her white count very high, indicating infection. She admitted to having undergone an abortion on January 25. When questioned by investigators on January 31, Betty said that friends had referred her to a woman named Jane. She was shown a photo and identified the woman in it, 43-year-old Mrs. Jane McDaniel White, as her abortionist. She gave White's address as the place she had gone for the abortion. Betty said that White had put her off for several days while she got over her fear of undergoing the abortion. She promised White $100, but only paid her $50. White initiated the abortion with some kind of packing and sent Betty home. Betty became very ill, and called White, who with her daughter came to Betty's home and "scraped her out". After Betty gave her statement, police raided White's home. White and her daughter, Mrs. S. B. Anderson, Jr., were nowhere to be found. Betty died on February 6, from peritonitis. Her husband had managed to rush home from Tokyo in time to see his wife before she died. An autopsy verified that an abortion had been performed and had caused Betty's death. Police eventually tracked the abortionists down and arrested them for murder and procuring an abortion. This had been White's third arrest for abortion charges. She had been convicted in 1947, under the name Jane McDaniel, and sentenced to seven years, but the conviction was thrown out on a technicality based on how advanced the girl's pregnancy had been. She was charged again in 1951 but the main witness had vanished and the case had been dismissed.

Seventeen-year-old Laniece Dorsey underwent a safe and legal abortion at a Family Planning Associates Medical Group facility in Orange County, California, on February 6, 1986. FPA is a National Abortion Federation member facility. Laniece lapsed into a coma, was transferred to a nearby hospital, and died later that day. The Orange County Sheriff's Department medical examiner blamed the death on cardiorespiratory arrest due to the anesthesia, although he also found "a thick adherent layer of fibrinous material containing moderate numbers of inflammatory infiltrates" in Laniece's uterus. Laniece wasn't the first or last young woman to die from abortion at a facility owned by FPA head honcho Edward Campbell Allred. Other patients known to have died after abortion at Allred's facilities include Denise HolmesPatricia ChaconMary PenaJosefina GarciaJoyce OrtenzioTami SuematsuDeanna BellSusan LevyChristina MoraTa Tanisha WessonNakia JordenMaria LehoKimberly NeilMaria Rodriguez, and Chanelle BryantAllred's facilities remain members of theprestigious National Abortion Federation despite these deaths.

Life Dynamics lists 26-year-old Kathy Davis on their "Blackmun Wall of safe and legal abortionsCiting Kathy's death certificate, Life Dynamics says that Kathy died at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital of heart failure and hypertension following a legal abortion on February 6, 1987.

No comments: