Monday, March 23, 2015

The Fatal Work of Three Doctors and a Mystery Abortionist

On March 23, 1905, Mrs. Ida Pomering, a 30-year-old German immigrant, died in Chicago from an abortion performed earlier that day. Dr. Apollonia Heinle was held by the coroner's jury for Ida's death.

On March 23, 1907, Dora Swan, age 24, died at Englewood Union Hospital in Chicago from infection caused by a criminal abortion that had been perpetrated on March 16. Dora, wife of a railroad worker, had been living with her mother at the time. Dr. Louise Achtenberg, who was identified as the abortionist, was called to the home several days after the abortion to attend to Dora. It wasn't until the family physician was consulted that Dora was hospitalized. Though Actenberg was held responsible by the coroner, but there is no record that charges were filed. Achtenberg, a doctor identified as a midwife due to her obstetric work, had been implicated in the 1909 abortion deaths of Stella Kelly and Florence Wright. She was also implicated in the 1921 abortion death of Violet McCormick. Later, in 1924, it was Dr. Louise Achtenberg who was held responsible for the death of Madelyn Anderson.

On March 23, 1917, 19-year-old Mary Conners died at Chicago's County Hospital, refusing to name the abortionist who had fatally injured her that day.

Lynn McNair, age 23, died March 23, 1979 after an abortion performed by Edward Rubin at Jewish Memorial Hospital in New York, NY.  Lynn was 23 weeks pregnant when she was injected with saline by Dr. Edward Rubin at Jewish Memorial Hospital. The first injection of saline failed to kill the fetus, so Lynn was given a second injection. After this second dose, Lynn went into contractions and slipped into a coma. She died March 23, 1979 of a pulmonary embolism of amniotic fluid. She left two children motherless.

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