Thursday, February 09, 2017

Early 20th Century Midwives in Chicago

Contrary to popular belief, the abortions before legalization were not typically of the coathanger variety. Most were performed by medical professionals. This was especially the case in Chicago, where midwives and physicians competed for customers.

Today's anniversaries are two of those dad deaths.

On February 9, 1913, 30-year-old milliner Elizabeth Spalding died at Rhodes Avenue Hospital in Chicago of septicemia caused by an abortion perpetrated that day by midwife Caroline Sandberg. Sandberg was tried but acquitted on July 9.

On February 9, 1911, 47-year-old homemaker Elizabeth Martin died at German American Hospital in Chicago from sepsis caused by of an abortion perpetrated at 1310 Eddy Street. Mrs. Schutner, identified as a midwife (which means she might have been an obstetrician) was held by the Coroner's Jury and indicted, but the case never went to trial.

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