Saturday, September 03, 2016

Abortion Deaths: 19th Century and 20th Century

Mary Visscher died on September 3, 1859 after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Elizabeth Byrns or Dr. Mary Smith in Brooklyn.

Mary, who worked at a hoop-skirt factory in Brooklyn, was keeping company with a man named Mr. Wright. On August 23, 1859, she left the home of Mrs. C. Perrine, where she had been a boarder, saying that she ws going first to Jersey City, then to Philadelphia. She asked Mrs. Perrine to keep the trip a secret. Mrs. Mary Sherman, who owned the hoop-skirt factory, said that Mary had come to her saying she was going to New Jersey and Philadelphia and asking her to keep the trip a secret. Like Mrs. Perrine, Mrs. Sherman had no idea that Mary might be pregnant.

Mary did not, however, go to New Jersey or Philadelphia. She instead went to the "stylish" house of two female physicians, Elizabeth Byrns and Mary E. Smith, who practiced midwifery. Byrns and Smith said that Mary had come to their home to be treated for back pain due to a fall, and that they'd not even know she was pregnant until after the abortion, which they attributed the abortion "to the imprudence of deceased herself." The abortion took place on August 27, and Mary "lingered" until her death from peritonitis on Saturday, September 3.

The coroner's jury decided that Byrnes had performed the abortion, with the prior knowledge of Smith, who was charged as an accessory before the fact. I have so far been unable to determine the outcome of the case.

After California legalized abortion on demand in 1970, a Texas company began selling abortion referrals and air fare. Twenty-year-old Kathryn Morse was one customer.

Kathryn was admitted to Bel Air Memorial Hospital in LA County on September 1, 1972. (Until Roe v. Wade, California abortions were performed in hospitals, and many hospitals opened specializing in abortion.) John Dupont initiated a salineabortion on her. Kathryn developed a 102 degree fever, then expelled the dead baby just after midnight on September 3. Kathryn's blood pressure rose, she went into shock, and was pronounced dead by Dupot at 9:40 AM. An autopsy found sepsis, and gangrene of the ovary.

The abortion lobby would tell you that although Kathryl's death is tragic, far more women would die if abortion wasn't legal. The facts simply don't support that assertion. As you can see from the graph below, abortion deaths were falling dramatically before legalization. This steep fall had been in place for decades. To argue that legalization lowered abortion mortality simply isn't supported by the data.

No comments: