Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dismally Fruitful Research

A 1930s yearbook photo of a young woman with a cap of dark wavy hair
Rena Armstrong
Using a new trick I learned by watching "Long Lost Family," I found out the name of the girl I'd dubbed "Eudora." She had died on February 28, 1930 after an abortion by Dr. Charles C. Keester in Wichita, Kansas. Her name was Rena Armstrong.

I went looking for additional information using Rena's name on a newspaper database and learned that she was far from the only abortion death attributed to Keester. The others were:

Keester had managed to avoid prosecution for one of those deaths because the woman had named him as her abortionist upon admission to the hospital rather than when clearly on her deathbed. I don't have as much information about the other deaths. 

I had wanted for so long to believe that quack abortionists had been easy to catch and imprison in the pre-legalization days. Clearly, when legal protection is again extended to the youngest among us we will need to have mechanisms for identifying and successfully prosecuting abortionists.

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