Monday, July 04, 2016

Holiday Deaths: 1875 and 1913

An Abortifacient in New York, 1875

"The community around Oyster Bay are greatly excited over an abortion case that has been brought to light." The woman in question was identified only as Miss Bertram, so I will call her Agatha.

Agatha was engaged to a New York man. The wedding was to take place on July 4, 1875. However, Agatha became pregnant before the wedding. She purchased an abortifacient which didn't have the effect she desired, so she took some other sort of abortifacient. This second abortifacient did the job, leading to the birth of a near-term infant, which was buried in a potato patch. Agatha herself took ill and died a few days later -- mere hours before her scheduled wedding. The physician who was attending her declared the cause of death to be the abortion.

Agatha's fiance denied being the father of the dead baby. "There is a suspicion entertained of another young man". Police began an investigation into who he might be, and into who sold Agatha the fatal drugs.

An Unknown Profession in Chicago, 1913

On July 4, 1913, 33-year-old Russian immigrant Mary Goldstein, nee Solomon, died in Chicago from an abortion perpetrated by Minnie Bernstein. Bernstein is identified only as "abortion provider", so she might have been a lay abortionist, though given the proliferation of doctors and midwives practicing abortion in Chicago at the time, she might have been a trained medical professional.

Bernstein was held by the Coroner, and indicted by the Grand Jury for felony murder on September 1, but the case never went to trial.

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