Thursday, January 07, 2016

On January 7, 1901, 21-year-old Juliet Pottinger died in her home at 520 Wood St., Chicago, from an abortion performed there that day. Dr. Maggie Becker was arrested April 24, based on a coroner's verdict that day. Becker was held to grand jury, tried, convicted, and sentenced to 14 years in Joilet Penitentiary. It had taken the jury five hours to reach the verdict. Though the actual deathbed statement Juliet had given was not admitted as evidence, both Juliet's husband and her mother were permitted to testify about things Juliet had said to them before dying. Juliet's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

The January 7, 1922 death of Irene Michaelson of Philadelphia presents ground for head-scratching. Irene reportedly died of peritonitis at City Hospital in Atlantic City, New Jersey, after leaping from the second-story window of the Bricker Sanitarium, "in the heart of the most exclusive residential section of Atlantic City." Dr. William H. Bricker Jr., of Philadelphia and Atlantic City, was captured in Philadelphia. At trial, he, was found guilty of performing the abortion that killed Irene and was sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison, and fined $5,000. News coverage says, "Bricker collapsed when sentence was pronounced." Now I must research a bit more about who Irene was, and why she jumped.

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