Thursday, March 24, 2016

Typical Abortion Deaths a Century Ago

Typical Late 19th Century Abortion

On March 24, 1870, Catherine "Kate" Shields died in Jersey City from an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Charles Cobel. "The infamous doctor was arrested, as was also one Patrick Waterson, charged with having outraged the person of the unfortunate girl." The coroner's jury also reprimanded Mrs. Downes, who kept a Jersey City boardinghouse, for failing to properly look after Kate.

During the coroner's inquest, a letter from Cobel to Waterson was produced, in which he demanded $25 for the abortion, threatening to sue if he did not get his fee. Waterson testified that his only knowledge of Kate was that there had been a servant by that name working in the boardinghouse. However, on her deathbed Kate named him as the only man she had ever been with.

Cobel had already been held responsible for the 1856 death of Catharine DeBreuxal, the 1858 death of. Amelia Weber, the 1865 death of Emma Wolfer. He was later implicated in the 1875 death of Antoinette Fennor.

Two Typical Early 20th Century Chicago Abortions

On March 24, 1905, 28-year-old Ida Alice Bloom, a Swedish immigrant working as a domestic servant, died suddenly in Chicago from septic peritonitis caused by an apparent criminal abortion perpetrated on or about March 15. Dr. Julius N. Goltz as arrested as a principal, and James McDonald as an accessory. Both men were held without bail by a coroner's jury. Alice's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

On March 24, 1915, 31-year-old Frances Kulczyk died at her Chicago home from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator. Most Chicago abortions of that era were perpetrated by either doctors or midwives.

No comments: