Retroactively Safe and Legal
age 19, traveled from Youngstown, Ohio, to Duquesne, near
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 27, 1969 to have an abortion performed by a Dr.
Benjamin King. Sophia was a 19-year-old freshman at Ohio State
University. She had gotten King's contact information from her boyfriend, who
was also 19 years old. King put out word about his services on college
campuses in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
boyfriend accompanied her to King's office. They made a down payment toward the $300 fee for the
abortion. The young couple returned to Youngstown, where Sophia was admitted to South Side Hospital on December 29. She died the following day. King had perforated her cervix, causing both infection and hemorrhage.
Police had Sophia's boyfriend contact King, saying he had the rest of the money. When King came to collect, he was arrested. Though convicted and sentenced to prison, King's attorney won his freedom by citing the Roe vs. Wade decision striking down the abortion law.
A Possible Lay Abortionist in Chicago
On December 30, 1924, 21-year-old Agnes Nazar, an immigrant from Persia (modern-day Iran), died at Chicago's St. Joseph's Hospital from an abortion performed earlier that day. On January 6, 1925, Rogie Hatal was held by the coroner as the guilty abortionist. Hatal's profession is not listed. Mike Nazar, her husband, was arrested as an accessory, as was Sarah
Babian. Hatal was indicted for felony murder on February 15, 1925. Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like
antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about
abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.