Chicago, 1918 and 1927
On August 29, 1918, 23-year-old homemaker Mabel Johnston died at Chicago's Cook County Hospital
of blood poisoning caused by an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Nathan
Smedley and Dr. Emma Warren. Both were arrested and arraigned but the
case never went to trial.
On August 29,
1925, Katarzyna Tobiasz, age 31 or 32, died at Chicago's St. Mary's
Hospital from an abortion performed on her that day. A
woman whose name is spelled once as Barbara Kolur and elsewhere as
Barbara Kar was held by the coroner on August 31 for Katarzyna's death.
Kolur/Kar's profession is given as nurse or midwife. On July 5, 1927, she was indicted by a grand jury for felony murder in Katarzyna's death.
August 18, 1926, 22-year-old Myrtle Shall's friends and her
fiance, Bruce Armstrong, brought her to West Penn Hospital in
Pittsburgh. She had been feverish and in pain for the past three weeks,
and now she was in shock.
Bruce, who said
he'd known Myrtle for six or seven years, knew only that his fiancee was
terribly ill but didn't know why. Her mother, Alice Phillips, on the
other hand, was able to tell the doctor more. Myrtle, she said, had
attempted a self-induced abortion when her period had been two weeks
later. At first her vaginal bleeding was a welcomes sign that the
abortion had worked, but when it continued for three weeks, accompanied
by fever and pain, her family and friends had become concerned.
Myrtle had been
perfectly well prior to inducing the abortion. Now she was vomiting and
the doctors found her to be weak and anemic, with a rapid pulse and
respiration and an alarming blood pressure of 136/100. In spite of all
of the doctors' best efforts, Myrtle died at 9:15 p.m. on Sunday, August
fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Florence Kruse became pregnant as a result
of statutory rape by Corwyn Lynch. Somebody arranged for an abortion,
which was performed on August 29. Florence died that day.
Dr. James Aldrich
was arrested on murder by abortion charges that day for the girl's
death. However, the coroner's jury was unable to confirm that Aldrich
had performed the abortion, and he was released. Florence's father,
Louis C. Kruse, was booked as an accessory. However, on September 17,
both men were cleared by the coroner, and on September 19 they were
released. The coroner did, however, recommend that Corwyn Lynch be
charged with murder. There is no record that Lynch was charged. Florence's mother, Amanda Kirsch Kruse, was not implicated.
Diane Watson was 27 years old when she went to Hedd Surgi-Center in Chicago for a safe and legal abortion on August 29, 1987. Although Diane was over 12 weeks pregnant, Rudolph Moragne proceeded
with the abortion, in violation of state regulations prohibiting
outpatient abortions after 12 weeks.
Diane had seizures and went into cardiac arrest at the clinic. Moragne
and the other physicians present -- Henry Pimentel, Ester Pimentel, and
Calvin Williams -- failed to perform CPR.
Diane's autopsy report attributed her death to "seizures due to anesthesia
during an abortion," and made note of the recent pregnancy. Diane's
death certificate, however, not only makes no mention of the abortion,
but has the "no" box checked for whether or not the decedent had been
pregnant during the previous three months.
Diane's family filed suit. A doctor reviewing the case said that Moragne
and Hedd staff "deviated from the accepted standards of care [and]
failed to appropriately and timely diagnose and treat intraoperative
complications which resulted in her death."
Another abortion patient, Magnolia Reed Thomas, bled to death when Moragne failed to diagnose her ectopic pregnancy when she came to him at Hedd for a safe, legal abortion.