Criminal in Chicago: 1907 On April 4, 1907, Mrs. Norma Beck, age 32, died at Lakeside Hospital in Chicago from septic peritonitis caused by a criminal abortion perpetrated at the office of Dr. Thomas J Balhatchett on March 24. Dr. James W. Walker and Dr. H. N. Richter had attended Normal at the hospital, and relayed Norma's deathbed statement to police. She directly implicated Balhatchett. Some of her relatives and friends also spoke to the police, fingering Balhatchett. Balhollchett was held by the coroner's jury and indicted, but there is no record that the case went to trial.
Norma's abortion was usual in that it was performed by a physician. The assertion by abortion-rights organizations is that before legalization, the world of abortion was a world of rusty coathangers and untrained quacks is an insult to the abortion-minded women of yesteryear. It presumes that they were all so mentally unhinged or utterly mindless. The vast majority sought out professionals of the same caliber they'd go to for any other gynecological or obstetric issue. Safe and Legal in Alabama: 1985 Mary Bradley, a 41-year-old mother of four, underwent a safe, legal 20-week abortion performed Dr. George Wayne Patterson in March of 1985. Because of severe bleeding, she was admitted to a hospital and had a total hysterectomy on March 28. Mary developed blood clotting and respiratory difficulties, and finally died on April 4, 1985. According to official documents, another Alabama woman, Janyth Caldwell, died after an abortion performed by Patterson.