Thursday, July 21, 2016

An Assortment of Perpetrators Over More Than a Century

Abortifacients From a Druggist Husband, 1886

On July 21, 1886, Mrs. Fred Winkleman was found dead in her Cincinnati home from a botched abortion. The last survivor of the Miller family, she had a small fortune of $13,000 which she had given over to Fred at their marriage four months earlier. Winkleman was arrested and freed on $5,000 bail. Police believed that Fred, a 26-year-old druggist, had intended his wife's death in order to have free use of the money. The scant news coverage seems to indicate that Fred had perpetrated the abortion himself. A headline in the Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal, "Poisoned His Bride," is the only indication of the means of the abortion. I've also been unable to determine whether he was ever prosecuted.

Midwives in Chicago, 1907

On July 21, 1907, 21-year-old homemaker Madeline Paffrath died at German American Hospital in Chicago. Before her death she took an oath with her hand on the Bible, vowing never to divulge the names of the two women who had perpetrated an abortion on her. Madeline's husband, John W. Paffrath, did not have so charitable a view of the women who had brought about his wife's death. He named Agnes Schustzner (Harcone Scheutner, according to the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database) as one of the two perpetrators. Other witnesses, saying that Schustzner was drunk at the time of the abortion, named Alice Gustafson as the first to attempt an abortion on Madeline. The coroner's jury held the two above-named midwives, along with midwife Alice Rastone.

An Amateur Abortionist, 1916

Late in the evening of July 21, 1916, 21-year-old Roy Hinterliter showed up at the sanitarium in Olney, Illinois with a young woman, Miss Elizabeth Radcliffe, slumped over onto his lap in his buggy. Elizabeth, age 17, was immediately pronounced dead. It was eventually learned that she had died at a rural trysting spot near a bridge, where investigators found signs of a struggle. Imprints of Elizabeth's hands and Hinterliter's feet were found in the sand. After Elizabeth had died, Hinterliter had loaded her body into the buggy and ridden into town with her.

An autopsy confirmed pregnancy, but showed no external signs of violence and all her reproductive organs appeared normal. However, upon cutting open her heart, air escaped. One news report stated that the doctor "found the heart so filled with air that it made a hissing like a plugged rubber ball when a pin was stuck into it." There was so much air in Elizabeth's brain that it floated when placed in water. There were no lung lesions to explain the air in Elizabeth's bloodstream.

Two boys were spotted in town trying to hide a package. They were arrested, and told police that Hinterliter had asked them to get rid of the contents of the package -- a catheter with the plunger missing. They said that they had been with Hinterliter in the drug store when he'd bought it. He had told them that a doctor had told him how to use it. It eventually came out that Hinterliter had taken out the plunger and instead blown into the catheter -- with which he had accidentally punctured a vein. Thus he blew a quantity of air directly into Elizabeth's blood stream. She would have died almost instantly.


Profession Unknown, 1923


On July 21, 1923, 28-year-old Mrs. Mary Federowicz died at Chicago's St. Mary's Hospital from complications performed that day. Mrs. Anna Mithnewicz, whose profession was not given, was identified by the coroner as the person responsible, but no arrest was made. It's likely that Mary had availed herself of one of the many physicians or midwives who practiced abortion in Chicago at the time.

Planned Parenthood, 2012

Tonya Reaves, age 24, was rushed to Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago and pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m. on Friday, July 21, 2012. She was taken there from the Planned Parenthood facility at 18 S. Michigan Avenue, which advertises abortions up to 18 weeks. Tonya had undergone a D&E abortion, which indicates that she was likely between 14 and 18 weeks pregnant, although a misdiagnosis of fetal age might be the underlying cause of the injury.

The Centers for Disease Control published back in 1983, "Deaths from hemorrhage associated with legal induced abortion should not occur." In every hemorrhage death they investigated, "Lack of adequate postoperative monitoring or treatment of hemorrhagic shock" was a factor. Tonya's death was no exception. Her abortion was performed at 11:00 a.m., but she remained at the facility for hours until finally an ambulance was called, taking her to the hospital at 4:30 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., doctors performed an ultrasound, followed by another D&E procedure, though it is unclear whether they were removing retained tissue or aborting a second fetus. Tonya had continued pain and bleeding, so a second ultrasound was performed, revealing a uterine perforation. It is unclear whether this was a perforation from the initial D&E at Planned Parenthood or from the follow-up at the hospital.


Regardless of the source of the perforation, Tonya was returned to surgery, where “an uncontrollable bleed was discovered.” She was pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m. The CDC's article noted, "Deaths from hemorrhage can be eliminated by preventing uterine trauma during abortion and by rapidly diagnosing and treating hemorrhage if it occurs." Planned Parenthood, for some reason, failed to prevent the uterine trauma and failed to rapidly diagnose and treat Tonya's hemorrhage. The abortion giant has a lot of explaining to do.



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