Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mostly Chicago, Including a Possibly Legal Abortion from 1906

Extortion Complaint Uncovers Abortion Death, 1943

On February 14, 1943, Amelia Cardito, 34-year-old mother of 4, underwent an illegal abortion at the office of Dr. Anthony Renda. Amelia died nine days later in a New York hospital.

Renda, author of three books on obstetrics, may have been a smart doctor, but he was a stupid criminal. He implicated himself when he called police to complain that Amelia's widower, James, was shaking him down for $2,500 to cover hospital and funeral expenses. Police were able to observe Renda paying Cardito $1,000. Mr. Cardito didn't face any extortion charges, but Renda was sentenced to 7 years in Sing-Sing for Amelia's death.



An Unidentified Chicago Perp, 1928

On February 23, 1928, 26-year-old waitress Martha S. Watson , a Wisconsin native, died in Chicago from an illegal abortion. The person or persons responsible were never identified or prosecuted.


A Doc Implicated in Chicago, 1917

On February 23, 1917, 28-year-old Miss Bertha Dombrowski, who worked as a maid, died at Chicago's Garfield Park Hospital from a uterine perforation caused by an abortion. Dr. John L. Van Valkenburg was implicated.


Physician-Husband Perpetrates Fatal Abortion, 1916

Twenty-six-year-old doctor Lester Lemuel Long married Helen Turner, daughter of Circuit Judge Chester M. Turner and his wife, Emma (Follette) Turner, of Cambridge, Illinois, in December of 1915.

By February of 1916, the young couple's associates and neighbors began gossiping about a premature baby bump. Socially snubbed, the couple elected to get rid of the impending baby. Long made three surgical abortion attempts, and Helen grew successively more ill. Lester called in two other doctors, who refused to render aid until both husband and wife agreed to sign a document admitting to the abortion attempts. The aid of the other physicians came too late (not surprising, given sanitation and the state of medicine at the time), and Helen, 25 years old, died at home on February 23, 1916. The physicians contacted the police.

News coverage painted a pathetic picture of the young man, so distraught at his wife's death that it took the police five minutes to calm him down enough to tell him he was under arrest. He reportedly was seen while in jail pacing his cell, weeping and crying out, "Can she live? Can she live?"

Lester was held by the Coroner and indicted by a Grand Jury on March 15, but the case never went to trial.


An Unidentified Chicago Doc, 1908

"Mrs. H," whom I dubbed "Dottie," underwent an abortion at the hands of a physician on February 18, 1908. Two days later she began to suffer from vomiting and abdominal pain. Three days after that, on February 23, she arrived at Cook County hospital "in stuporous condition." Her vital signs were of concern but not enough to be alarming: Pulse of 120, respirations of 28, and a temperature of 98.6. Two hours after admission her respiration rate was the same and her temperature slightly lower at 98 degrees. Her pulse, however, had shot up to 160. Dottie was clearly decompensating. She died that same day.


Possibly Legal Abortion Death in Chicago, 1906

Profile shot of a scowling elderly white man with glasses and thick, white hair cut short
Dr. George Fosberg
On February 23, 1906, Bessie Orme died at her home on Fifty-Fourth place in Chicago. Dr. George Fosberg said that he had performed an abortion on her in an attempt to save her life. He had then tried to insist that she be taken to a hospital, but when the family refused, he withdrew from the case.

Dr. Frank J. Otis took over her care and was the attending physician at the time of her death. He testified, "I was summoned the day of her death. An examination showed that she was suffering from inflammation of the abdominal organs, and that an operation had been performed. I notified the health department, and when I was asked the contributory causes of death I told of the operation."

A coroner's jury was unable to determine whether or not Fosberg had been attempting to save Bessie's life when he performed the procedure, so the verdict was issued as open. This left Fosberg free in 1916 to be implicated in the abortion death of Pauline Hill. For reasons I've been unable to determine, that case never went to trial either.


Fosberg lost his license to practice medicine after being convicted of bank fraud. After his release from prison he opened a boarding house, where he perpetrated a fatal abortion on Geraldine Schuyler in 1944.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

1994: Texas Teen's Gruesome Death

Raise your hand if you've heard about how abortion just has to be legal, or else women would have to face them grisly back-alley abortions.

Of all the justifications for the current state of abortion in the United States, this is the one that probably steams me the most, personally. I've reviewed about 6,000 abortion injury and death cases. I've gone through boxes of nothing but autopsy reports on young women and girls dead for no good reason. The idea that it's okay to kill some women legally in order to prevent other women from being killed illegally gets to me.

We can start with Jammie Garcia.

When the documents for Lime 5 were pouring in, I was an abstracting machine. I had a three to four foot stack of documents in my office on any given day that I had to plow through, skim, highlight, read, summarize. I learned to be very detached and clinical, to just get the words and ideas and not let it get to me. But Jammie Garcia got to me.


The first document I reviewed was a March 1994 report on an inspection done in response to a patient death in a clinic owned by Dr. Moshe Hachamovitch. The report said that the staff were inadequately trained in how to properly sterilize instruments. The administrator, Kristen Hing Fehr, was evidently aware of the fact that the autoclave used to sterilize instruments was not functioning properly. As for the instruments themselves, "two loop forceps, two tenaculums and one curette were found to have small particles of dried brownish-dark red material on them. Three speculums were found to have small particles of dried clear material on them." "The only sterilized abortion tray in the procedure room was found to contain a curette with a loop whose edge was visibly jagged instead of smooth." (Source: Travis County District Court Cause No. 94-07517)

Untrained staff? Dirty instruments? Indifferent administration? That's not enough to even get my attention. I'd read one report in which the inspectors asked the staff to demonstrate that the emergency generator was functioning properly. The generator caught fire. I'd seen reports of dogs in clinics, bloody bare mattresses, drunken abortionists falling on the floor. So Moshe Hachamovitch's little abortion mill didn't stand out for its flaws.

Then there was the case of the patient whose death had brought on the inspection. She was identified as 15-year-old "J.G." That was a bad one. It was always hard to read details on a death, but dead kids get to me. I have a daughter myself.

"J.G." had her abortion performed by John Coleman* at Hachamovitch's A to Z abortion facility on February 18, 1994. Four days later, on February 23, she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of a Houston hospital, with spiking fever, chills, nausea, pain, respiratory distress, a distended abdomen, low blood oxygen levels, and foul-smelling discharge. An examination revealed inflammation and a tear in her cervix.

This was all tragic, very sad, but again, typical for what I'd see in an abortion death. I dutifully wrote up the case while Mona tried to get more information.

She got a copy of the autopsy report.

When I hear about how we need legal abortion to prevent those horrible back-alley abortions, I can see Mona and me sitting and reading that autopsy report. Mona came across the hall with Jammie's autopsy report in one hand, and another autopsy report in another. She wanted me to really grasp how swollen and boggy Jammie's organs were. Jammie's liver and lungs weighed twice what they should have weighed.

Then Mona and I sat down together and read the rest of the autopsy report. By the time we were done, we were both crying, telling each other, "She was unconscious by then. She had to have been unconscious."

Please, God, let her have been unconscious.

Jammie's body was wracked with abscesses, spreading infection that had entered her body through the damage the abortion had done to her uterus. Her brain was swollen. As near as Mona and I could figure, Jammie's fetid fluids had made their way up through her damaged bowels and into her lungs.

Nobody's little girl should have to die that way.

I'm sorry, but nobody can convince me that Jammie's death was an improvement on the old back-alley abortions. No drunken, trenchcoat-clad pervert with a rusty coathanger could have done more damage, could have killed her any more horribly.

I will never understand the stubborn instance that when a pregnant woman faces challenges, somebody has to die. Why? Why, with so many adoptive homes for her child, did Jammie have to die? Why, with so many prolife pregnancy centers standing by to help her, did Jammie have to die?

Abortion laws didn't kill Jammie Garcia. An abortionist did. Does the fact that he did it in a legally operating "clinic," with medical instruments instead of with a coathanger, make her any less dead?

Abortion advocate dismiss girls like Jammie. "These things happen," they shrug. "All surgery has risks."

Why does that not comfort me? Or, perhaps more to the point, why would it comfort anybody? Why is that good enough for the self-appointed guardians of girls like Jammie?

Women -- and little girls like Jammie Garcia -- will continue to die, as long as they continue to perceive abortion as an escape. And they will continue to perceive it as an escape as long as there is a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign shouting from the rooftops the wonders and benefits of safe-n-legal abortion.

The way to end the horrible abortion deaths isn't to make excuses for the abortionists who kill girls like Jammie. The way to end the horrible abortion deaths isn't to promote abortion -- it's to end abortion. And the way to end abortion is to start caring about the women more than about politics. Abortion needs to be feared, dreaded, shunned, recoiled from, rejected, not held up as a right and celebrated. And we need to start thinking less about lifestyles of the rich and famous, and more of the life of the mother.

*I have since learned that Coleman was so sickly that he himself died on the day of Jammie's funeral. ("28 lawsuits name abortion clinic owner," Arizona Daily Star, January 18, 1999)

NOTE:
Five other patients are known to have died either under Hachamovitch's direct care or under the care of an employe at one of his clinics.

Tanya Williamson
This young woman was inadequately monitored in recovery and allowed to lapse into respiratory arrest. She died on in September of 1996

Luz Rodriguez
Allowed to bleed to death in 1986 under Hachamovitch's direct care in the Bronx.

Christina Goesswein
Hachamovitch brought her to his office at 4 a.m. to treat grave complications.She died in October of 1990.

Lisa Bardsley
Bled to death on the way home from her safe, legal abortion at one of Hachamovitch's facilities in Arizona in 1995.

Lou Anne Herron
Her pleas for help went unheeded as she bled to death in Hachamovitch's Arizona abortion clinic in 1998.

1983: "Medically Indicated" Abortion Kills Teen

Barbara May Hoppert was a sixteen-year-old high school sophomore when she checked into Loma Linda University Hospital for an abortion. Barbara was in the second trimester of her pregnancy. She was having the abortion on the recommendation of her physician, because of a congenital heart condition.

The abortion was performed on February 22, 1983. During the procedure, Barbara's heart stopped. Physicians were unable to revive her, and she was pronounced dead on the operating table.

The following comment was posted on the RealChoice blog:

  • It's been almost 24 years since I was at the Loma Linda Hospital and was roomed with Barbara Hoppert, but not year goes by when Feb 22nd rolls around and I don't think of her. She died that day during her abortion procedure. I just now put her name into google and found your article on her. It was barely 4 sentences and seemed as cold as her death. She was once alive and had such a sad end and dramatic story. It still brings me to tears today thinking about her last night alive... how she was treated by her own family and the staff at the hospital. We watched Square Pegs that night on tv. And she told me about the boy who had impregnated her... She left early the next morning and I wished her good luck... An hour later a woman came to the room, later I found out that was her "real" mother whom Barbara thought was her sister. She missed seeing Barbara that one last time.... Barbara's story is very tragic. I am so very sad that she was so alone her last night alive. I was her only comfort and I was a complete stranger. Don't know how comforting I was other than I cried with her and listened.... Knowing the pain she was in.... She remains in my prayers. Just thought you should know she was more than just part of your cause.

Thanks to the woman who came forward to share this memory of Barbara.

Barbara's was not the only tragic death caused by doctors who recommended (or excused) abortion as a life-saving or health-preserving option for the mother:
  • Allegra Roseberry was pushed into an abortion in order to obtain experimental cancer treatment.
  • Anjelica Duarte sought an abortion on the advice of her physician, and ended up dying under the care of a quack.
  • Christin Gilbert died after an abortion George Tiller holds was justified on grounds of maternal health.
  • Erika Peterson died in 1961 when her doctors obtained her husband's permission to perform a "therapeutic" abortion.
  • "Molly" Roe died in 1975 when her doctors made the dubious decision to perform a saline abortion to improve her chances of surviving a lupus crisis.

The whole idea of abortion for the life of the mother is based on misconceptions, both about caring for pregnant women and about what constitutes an abortion. Watch this video to learn more.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Doctor's Deadly Work in Georgia, 1929

On February 21, 1929, 26-year-old Virginia Clark died of complications of a botched, illegal abortion perpetrated in Georgia. G. W. Wilbanks and W. A. N. Jones were charged with murder in her death. Wilbanks was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and the following information comes from the Westlaw commentary on his appeal.

Virginia was treated prior to her death by a Dr. McArthur, who testified as to her dying declaration. He said that Virginia told him that when she learned that she was pregnant, she told the man responsible that "something would have to done about it." He made arrangements for an abortion to be performed by a doctor. The paramour brought the doctor to Virginia, and he used medicine and instruments on her. The procedure was so painful that Virginia asked him to stop, so the doctor administered chloroform. According to Dr. McArthur, Virginia told him that this abortion "was what had butchered her up and was killing her."

Virginia didn't tell her mother, Mrs. Goodwyne, about the abortion. Mrs. Goodwyne testified, "She (Virginia Clark) said that she went to the theatre [in Atlanta] or something, and it seemed like there was something broke, and she said she thought she wouldn't be able to get back to the hotel, but she did."

Wilbanks tried to get his conviction overturned on the grounds of the difference between what Virginia told her mother, and what she told Dr. McArthur as she lay dying.

Virginia's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

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.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

A 1973 Death I Learned of Recently

About December 14, 1973, 21-year-old Rockland Community College student Beverly Agnes went to a Monsey, New York doctor's office for a safe, legal abortion. She was about five months pregnant.

The doctor chose the risky saline instillation abortion method that had become popular in the United States in New York and California in the years immediately before the Roe vs. Wade decision legalized abortion-on-demand nationwide. This abortion method involves using a large syringe to remove as much amniotic fluid as possible from the womb and replace it with a strong salt solution that poisons the fetus and gives it strong chemical burns both internally and externally. The visible effects on the skin have led to saline-aborted fetuses to be dubbed "candy-apple babies" for their raw, red skin. (Graphic image here).

Given the gruesome effects on the fetus, one can imagine the risks to the mother, which include cardiac arrest, brain damage, and death. Japan, Sweden, and the Soviet Union had all abandoned the saline abortion method as far too risky. Doctors in the United States, however, did not heed the warnings sounded by doctors in other countries. Those in New York were particularly cavalier about potential maternal injures and deaths. Like many of his fellows in the Empire State, Beverly's physician did the saline instillation in his office as an outpatient procedure.

Beverly sickened after the saline was injected into her body. Around December 16, she was admitted to Nyek Hospital. There, doctors discovered that Beverly's doctor had accidentally injected the saline into the uterus itself rather than into the amniotic sac. The damage to the tissues of Beverly's uterus caused an overwhelming infection. Doctors at Nyek Hospital performed a hysterectomy to remove Beverly's festering uterus, and administered massive doses of antibiotics.

Their efforts were all in vain. The infection finally ended Beverly's life on December 21.

Medical Examiner Dr. Frederick Zugibe noted that saline instillation was "quite a common technique" for abortions, and that what Beverly suffered was "one of [abortion's] hazards. He declared that there was "no evidence of criminality." Neither the Medical Examiner's Office nor law enforcement ever released the name of the doctor whose carelessness cost Beverly Agnes her life.

Beverly's death was the third legal abortion death in the same New York county since the state had legalized outpatient abortion-on-demand on July 1, 1970. Edith Clark had died in June of 1971 and Pamela Modugno in May of 1972.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Deliberate Overdose and Other Abortion Tragedies

Deliberate Overdose Kills Patient

When 23-year-old Stacy Ruckman had just gotten a new job when she went to Scott Barrett for a safe and legal abortion on February 20, 1988. Unfortunately, she didn't know how he anesthetized his patients at Central Health Center for Women in Springfield, Missouri.

Barrett began the abortion at around 5 p.m. During the abortion, Stacy stopped breathing, Barrett and his staff were unable to revive her.

Another source had Stacy on the table for half an hour without mishap, but collapsing when she got off the table at 6 p.m. This story is less than credible, since abortions don't usually taken an entire hour.

Staff called an ambulance, but the medics found Stacy in full cradio-respiratory arrest, with unresponsive pupils. The resuscitation attempts made by paramedics included suctioning "copious amounts of blood" from Stacy's airway, inserting an endotrecheal tube, administering medications and oxygen, putting in an IV, and using a defibrillator.

They transferred Stacy to the emergency room, where she had a racing pulse and fixed, dilated pupils. She was unable to breathe on her own. The hospital transfused her with packed red blood cells and gave her additional IV fluids, but her EEG "revealed findings consistent with brain death"

Stacy's parents, who hadn't even known she'd been pregnant, rushed to the hospital to find that they daughter they'd loved so well was gone. They agreed with the doctors to remove life support, and Stacy was pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m.

That night when we walked out of the hospital I just felt like I left part of me in there. Part of me was dead,'' Stacy's mother Judith said. You carry a child for nine months and something like that happens, you feel like you lost part of yourself, part of your body. And you're never going to get it back.''

Stacy's father requested an autopsy, which found toxic concentrations of Lidocaine in Stacy's blood. Her serum level, as tested in blood drawn 2 hour after the abortion, was 8.1 ug/ml, or more than five times the therapeutic level of 1.5 ug/ml. An expert who testified later estimated that, based on how fast the body metabolizes Lidocaine, the amount in her system at the time of the abortion could have been as high as 16 ug/ml, over ten times the therapeutic dose.

In order to rule out other causes of death, the coroner examined ten times the normal number of specimens, looking for signs of an amniotic fluid embolism. He could find no such evidence. He also found no evidence of "any naturally occurring disease process which could account for Ms. Ruckman's death." What he did find was "history of a grand mal seizure and cardiac arrest after a 'therapeutic' abortion at 13.8 weeks gestation." Stacy also had suffered cerebral and pulmonary edema (swelling of the brain and lungs), pulmonary hemorrhage (excessive bleeding in the lungs), clotted and unclotted blood in her mouth and nose, around 55 cc of bloody fluid surrounding her lungs, and another 200 cc's of bloody fluid in her pelvic cavity.

Stacy's parents sued. An anesthesiologist was asked under oath to give any and all possible medically valid reasons for administering that high a dose of Lidocaine; he repeatedly answered that he could think of none. The only reason he could think of -- not a medically valid one -- was to speed up the abortion. Barrett's nurse testified that he tupically did 35-40 abortions per day, at $300 each.

She, and other staff, also testified that Barrett routinely gave patients massive dosed of Lidocaine in order to render them unconscious.

The court found that Barrett altered or falsified Stacy's records in attempt to cover his culpability. The Medical board likewise implicated Barrett in Stacy's death.

A jury awarded Stacy's parents $25.3 million for the wrongful death of their daughter -- $330,000 in actual damages, and $25 million in aggravated damages. However, Barrett carried no insurance and was not represented at all during the trial; he himself failed to show up.

Scant Info on Chicago Abortion

On February 20, 1927, 23-year-old Angenita Hargarten died in her Chicago home from an abortion performed there that day. Midwives Anna Trezek and Frances Raz were held by the coroner, Trezek as the principal and Raz as her accomplice.


Travel Plans Lead to Fatal Abortion

Ada Williams, about 27 years old, was living in Denver in early 1916 when she got a letter from her mother in Nebraska. Nearly 50, Ada's mother was going to give birth soon and feared that she might die in childbirth, so she asked Ada to come to her.
Ada, pregnant herself, decided to have an abortion before she left in order to facilitate the journey. With her husband, Thomas, she went to Dr. Noble O. Hamilton on Sunday, February 13, asking about proceeding with the abortion Ada had already discussed with him. Hamilton told her to return the following day, and told Thomas to bring $25, which was how much he charged for delivering a baby and seemed to be a fair amount to charge for aborting one.
Ada returned as instructed at about 9:40 in the morning. Hamilton later admitted that he examined Ada, including a vaginal exam, and inserted a medicated tampon, but denied that he had performed any abortion.
On Tuesday morning, Thomas stopped by Hamilton's office on the way to work and paid $10 toward the abortion. After Thomas had gone, Ada got up and went to visit a friend, who later reported that she seemed ill.

Wednesday came and Ada stayed in bed, where she labored and delivered a dead three-month fetus. She sent for Hamilton, who wrapped the dead baby in paper and burned it in the stove. He gave aftercare instructions and left.

On Thursday, Ada was showing signs of going septic. Hamilton diagnosed her as having typhoid fever. The next day he brought in a Dr. Gundrum to consult about the typhoid diagnosis but said nothing about the abortion, not even to claim that Ada had miscarried.

Dr. Monson came to check on Ada on Friday and found her in grave condition. Hamilton still tried to keep the abortion a secret but Monson managed to ferret out the information from Ada somehow. He admitted Ada to a hospital, where she died of sepsis the evening of Sunday, February 20.

When convicted and sentenced to ten to eleven years, Hamilton swore his innocence. The verdict in the Ada Williams case was upheld on appeal.
 

An Inadequately Documented Deathbed Statement

An inquest was held in the February 20, 1856 death of Catharine DeBreuxal.

A witness testified that Catharine suffered "a violent hemorrhage" at
Dr. Cobel's house in New York, where she had remained for a few days. The medical examiner concluded that Catharine had died from an infection.

"An effort was made by the defense to show that the deceased was a woman's bad character; but the evidence on that point was not admitted on account of its irrelevance."


The coroner's jury called for the arrest of Cobel, as well as of Francis Legoupil, as an accessory.  Cobel had been permitted to confront Catherine on her deathbed, challenging her and asking whey she had named him as her abortionist. She replied, "Because you operated on me."

Cobel was acquitted in April because Catharine's deposition was not taken formally before her death, and there was no further evidence that Cobel was the guilty party. He remained free to be charged with the abortion death of Amelia Weber two years later.

Deaths After and Before Legalization


Failure to Diagnose Leads to Death

Magnolia Thomas was a 35-year-old mother of two when she went to Hedd Surgi-Center in Chicago for a safe, legal abortion performed by Rudolph Moragne on February 19, 1986. Moragne failed to note that the fetus was growing in Magnolia's fallopian tube, rather than in her uterus. After Magnolia was discharged from the clinic, the undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy ruptured, and Magnolia was rushed to the hospital. There, doctors did everything they could to save her, but she died from blood loss and shock on February 19, 1986.

This was Magnolia's third abortion. Multiple abortions are a known risk factor for ectopic pregnancy. Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually //more// likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners.

Another patient, Diane Watson, died of anesthesia compliations after she'd undergone a safe, legal abortion by Moragne at Hedd.


A Midwife's Fatal Work

Ida Prochnow, a 35-year-old German-born homemaker, died in St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Chicago on February 19, 1906, from septicemia caused by an abortion performed earlier that day. Midwife Maggie or Madaline Motgna was arrested in the death.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Doctors' Work Over a Century Ago

Injured While Her Abortionist Was Awaiting Trial

On February 18, 1916, Beulah Hatch, age 24, died at Mercy Hospital in Denver. Dr. Bennett Graff, already out on bond while awaiting trial for the February 2 abortion death of Ruth Camp, was believed to have perpetrated the abortion that likely killed Beulah. Both women, in fact, were in Mercy Hospital at the same time, which means that Beulah's abortion must have been perpetrated prior to Ruth's death.

Beulah had gone to Denver about six weeks prior to her death, installing herself in a rooming house and then entering Graff's care. He had her removed to the Panama rooming house, where he had offices. She remained there at the rooming house until her condition deteriorated to the point where somebody sent for her husband. Mr. Hatch summoned the family physician, Dr. Andrews, who came to Denver from Longmont. He examined Beulah and had her transferred to the hospital. Once she was there, Andrews transferred her to the care of a local physician, T. Mitchell Burns, who attended her until her death.

The Physician-Fiance

A Victorian-era portrait of a beautiful, elagant-looking young white woman with dark hair, pearl drop earrings, and a lace collar
Kittie O'Toole
At about 2:00 p.m. on February 18, 1883, 28-year-old Irish immigrant Kittie O'Toole died at the office of Dr. C. H. Orton, her betrothed, in Milwaukee.

Orton attributed Kittie's death to an epileptic seizure. Orton's neighbors, however, found the death suspicious and demanded an investigation.

The coroner's jury found Orton culpable for two murders -- of Kittie and of her unborn baby -- for having perpetrated a fatal abortion.

Orton, a widower more than 60 years of age, was a prominent politician and a doctor of longstanding in the community, which makes it interesting that in late April a municipal court judge suddenly dismissed all of the charges against Orton.

Names and More Info on Two "Jane Roe" Deaths

In my ongoing research for the Cemetery of Choice, I have identified and gained more information about two of the women whose deaths I had previously known of only through medical journal articles.

"Annie" is Edith Clark. Edith traveled from her home in Newark, New Jersey to the Sparkhill, New York office of Dr. Robert Livingston to avail herself of the new law, for a first-trimester abortion on June 24, 1971.

Shortly after she was given an injection of Innovar for anesthesia, Edith went into cardiac arrest, and attempts to revive her failed. She left behind three children.

Edith was the first woman to die in New York's Rockland County from a newly legalized abortion. The second, 18-year-old Pamela Modugno, died in May of 1972 after an abortion in one of the many freestanding abortion facilities that opened immediately after New York decided to permit outpatient abortion-on-demand up to 24 weeks.


Pamela had previously been identified with the psuedonym "Danielle." She was 18 when she traveled from Massachusetts to New York for a safe and legal abortion.

The abortion was performed at the newly-opened Monsey Medical Center on May 17, 1972. Minutes after the abortion was completed, Danielle was dead. She'd developed arterial and venous air emboli (air in her blood stream). Medical Examiner Frederick Zugibe, who performed the autopsy, classified Pamela's death as "accidental," and said that the abortionist's choice of a suction procedure was medically sound. However, he also indicated that the suction device might have actually created the fatal air bubble if it had encountered an unspecified anomaly of anatomy.

Pamela's father, Thomas, sued the facility for performing the abortion negligently and for "assault and trespass" committed by performing surgery contrary to a law in effect at the time that required parental consent for any non-emergency surgery on a patient under the age of 21.

The 1970 liberalization of abortion had made New York an abortion mecca until the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling that abortionists could legally set up shop in any state of the union. The facility where Pamela underwent her fatal abortion had opened just two days after New York legalized outpatient abortion-on-demand.I haven't been able to determine yet if the director, Dr. Lester Lando, performed Pamela's fatal abortion.


I am still hoping to get more information about the following deaths:
  • "Kimberly", December, 1970, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Amy", January, 1971, massive pulmonary embolism
  • "Andrea", January, 1971, overwhelming infection
  • "Sandra", April, 1971, committed suicide due to post-abortion remorse
  • "Anita", May, 1971, bled to death in her home during process of outpatient saline abortion
  • "Audrey", July, 1971, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Vicki", August, 1971, post-abortion infection
  • "April", August, 1971, injected with saline for outpatient abortion, went into shock and died
  • "Barbara", September, 1971, cardiac arrest after saline injection for abortion
  • "Tammy", October, 1971, massive post-abortion infection
  • "Beth", December, 1971, saline injection meant to kill fetus accidentally injected into her bloodstream
  • "Roseann", February, 1971, vomiting with seizures causing pneumonia after saline abortion
  • "Connie", March, 1972, cardiac arrest during abortion
  • "Julie", April, 1972, holes torn in her uterus and bowel
  • "Robin", May, 1972, lingering abortion complications
  • "Roxanne", May, 1972, given overdose of abortion sedatives
  • Thursday, February 16, 2017

    The Gamut of Illegal Abortions

    A Doctor's Work, 1929

    On February 16, 1929, Ruth Weir, of East Orange, New Jersey, died at Orange Memorial Hospital of sepsis contracted through a criminal abortion

    Dr. James R. Chamberlain testified that he had examined Ruth at her home and had admitted her to the hospital due to a septic condition. Dr. James Wilson testified that he had treated Ruth in the hospital during late January and that she was suffering from septicemia.

    Dr. Maurice Sturm was arrested and charged with first degree murder when Ruth implicated him in a deathbed statement. Sturm admitted to performing the abortion, but insisted that it had not been illegal because it was necessary to save Ruth's life.

    After his arrest, Sturm alleged that District Attorney William D. Ryan and Judge Hanley of the District Court had come to his home and demanded $10,000 or they would prosecute him "to the limit."

    Sturm, who was later acquitted of the manslaughter charge in Ruth's death, said that that $1000 he had given the judge after DA Ryan's resignation was a gift and not part of the bribe money.



    An Unspecified Midwife, 1925

    On February 16, 1925, 28-year-old homemaker Agnes Crowe died in Chicago's West Side Hospital from a criminal abortion performed that day. The coroner indicated that a female midwife was responsible for Agnes' death, but did not name the guilty party.


    Self-Induced in Pittsburgh, 1917

    The testimony E. G. Noah gave to the Allegheny County coroner's jury did little to clarify the circumstances surrounding the death of his 34-year-old wife, Helen. He said she'd been “flooding” on Sunday, December 14, 1917 and had gone to Dr. W. J. Connelly, who had prescribed medicine for her. She'd gone back again later and been told that she had “inflammation of the womb.”

    On February 3, he said, she'd informed him “that her monthly had just appeared and she had used a catheter to see if they would not appear.”

    On February 5, she took to her bed. Connelly came to check on her, and she told him about the catheter. He continued to care for her, finally summoning an ambulance and admitting her to Pittsburgh's Presbyterian Hospital on February 9. There she was treated for massive infection until her death at 2:58 p.m. On February 16.

    Evidently the coroner's jury was able to make enough sense of Mr. Noah's testimony to conclude that Helen died of “Puerpueral Septicemia Following Self Inflicted Abortion.”


    Unknown Profession, 1890

    On February 16, 1890, Mary Keegan died in Chicago from complications of an illegal abortion performed that day. Mary died at the location where the abortion was performed. Mrs. Annie Schneider was arrested and held by the Coroner's Jury. She is described as employed in an unidentified profession.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    Abortion Deaths, 1920s and 1971

    Safe and Legal in 1971

    Doris Grant, age 32, was admitted by W. W. Williams to Doctor's Hospital in Los Angeles for a safe and legal abortion February 11, 1971. After the abortion, Doris was bleeding. Doris' fallopian was tube removed due to ectopic pregnancy. Her bleeding persisted, and Doris remained hospitalized with massive abdominal adhesions. On February 15, an emergency hysterectomy was performed to attempt to stop the bleeding. Doris went into cardiac arrest during surgery. Doris' death was originally classified as natural due to cardiac arrest. However, after her autopsy, the cause of death was changed to excessive bleeding, and her manner of death deemed accidental. The autopsy also includes a note that "Dr. does not want to sign certificate."


    One of the Many Victims of Dr. Lucy Hagenow

    A smiling young white woman with 1920s style clothes, hair, and makeup standing in front of some shrubbery
    Nina Harding Pierce
    On February 10, 1925, Nina Ruth Harding and Logan Franklin Pierce, university students from prosperous families, ran away to Chicago and were married in a private ceremony performed by Rev. S. D. White of St. Paul's Methodist Church. They took up lodging in a small furnished room.

    Four days later, late in the evening of Valentine's Day of 1925, Logan Pierce took a gravely ill Nina the Chicago Lying-In Hospital and promptly disappeared, leaving her to die the following night, alone but for the strangers who had fought in vain to save her life. Warrants were quickly issued for the arrest of the flighty husband, and for notorious Chicago abortionist Dr. Lucy Hagenow.

    Logan was lying low, fully aware that he was in big trouble. The only immediate traces of him were telephone messages to a private club and his rooming house, asking if a telegram had come from his father.


    An unsmiling young white man wearing a coat and tie, with his light hair slicked down
    Logan Pierce
    The elder Pierce hurried to Chicago from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where he had been establishing a commercial loan bank. He arranged an attorney for his son. Young Logan, accompanied by the lawyer, turned himself in but utterly refused to answer any questions and at first even to identify the 80-year-old Hagenow, who had already been arrested. At last he admitted that he had accompanied his bride to Hagenow's practice, but insisted that he hadn't known about the abortion until she became ill.

    Hagenow's whereabouts, it seems, were never much of a secret, and she was quickly brought in.

    For her part, Hagenow admitted that Nina had come to her practice the previous Tuesday or Wednesday, but denied having performed an abortion on her.

    Hagenow was held to a Grand Jury on $35,000 bond, and Pierce on $7,500. Hagenow was charged with murder, and Logan as an accessory.

    Meanwhile, a heartbroken Robert Harding came to Chicago to collect his daughter's body and bring her back to East St. Louis for burial.

    A plump, scowling middle-aged white woman with unkempt dark hair
    Dr. Lucy Hagenow
    Hagenow, who had already been implicated of the abortion deaths of Louise Derchow, Annie Dorris, Abbia Richards, and Emma Dep in San Francisco, would go on to be linked to over a dozen Chicago abortion deaths:

    Hagenow was typical of criminal abortionists in that she was a physician.


    A Home Abortion Gone Wrong, 1920

    On May 28, 1920, Dr. E. Anderson was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Mrs. Margaret Ann Marts. He was a practicing physician in Kansas City, Missouri.

    Margaret had given birth on August 19, 1919. She recovered well, bottle-fed the baby, and began menstruating again about four weeks after the birth.

    On January 19, 1920, the family physician, Dr. Davis, was called to examine Margaret. She'd stopped menstruating about six weeks earlier, had concluded that she was pregnant, and had attempted to perform an abortion on herself with a catheter. She said that if Dr. Davis didn't do an abortion, she'd find somebody else who would because she'd rather die than give birth again.

    Upon examining Margaret, Dr. Davis found some irritation caused by the catheter, and an enlarged uterus which he attributed to pregnancy. However, in order to divert Margaret away from the idea of trying to abort, he told her that she wasn't pregnant.

    I'll go ahead right now and fault the man for lying to his patient. Refusing to do the abortion is absolutely right, as would be pointing out to his patient the evils inherent in the act -- not just killing the unborn baby, but risking injury to herself and thus risking the security of her family. But a flat out lie is just not ethical. Davis also failed to address his patient's clear state of emotional distress in any way. She was if not suicidal, certainly in a dangerous mental state that David didn't treat.

    That afternoon, Margaret turned to a Dr. Anderson, whom she'd previously never seen. He did not examine her, but made arrangements to go to her home around noon the following day, January 20, to perform "an operation." Margaret called some friends to come and assist. This wasn't nearly as shocking to people of that era as it is now. Just a year after Margaret's death a surgical textbook included a chapter on how to prep a private home for surgery.


    Dr. Anderson showed up with an assistant of his own and sterilized his instruments by boiling them at the kitchen stove. One of the Margaret's friends helped with administering the chloroform. Dr. Anderson used water and cotton during the procedure, which took about fifteen minutes.

    Four days later, Dr. Davis, the family physician, was called in to examine Margaret, who had taken to her bed and was in serious condition. She was expelling a foul-smelling mix of blood and pus. Dr. Davis found damage to her uterus, clearly from an abortion, and treated her for her infection.

    Margaret spoke to her husband of what had happened. The conversation took place shortly before she was taken to the hospital on January 24 or 25. She told him she was sure she was dying, and that she blamed Dr. Anderson. She said that Dr. Anderson had lied to her, telling her that the operation wouldn't be "very severe," and that she'd only be sick three or four days. She said she was sorry she'd gone to Anderson. She also gave her husband instructions regarding the care of their children.

    Margaret was discharged from the hospital for reasons that aren't clear in the source documents. She died in her home on February 15, 1920, two or three days after her discharge from the hospital. Dr. J.S. Snider performed an autopsy that day, and concluded that she'd died of sepsis.

    Anderson admitted that he had chloroformed and operated upon Margaret  on the 20th of January, but insisted that he'd only been treating her for the infection and damage she'd done to herself with the catheter. He also said that Mr. Marts had assaulted him, choked him, and tried to shake him down for $500.

    The jury found Dr. Anderson guilty, and he was fined $500.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    A Community College Student and a Socialite Heiress

    Quackery at Planned Parenthood, 2007

    Edrica Karla Goode went to a Planned Parenthood in Riverside, California, on January 31, 2007, for a safe, legal second-trimester abortion. She was a little over 14 weeks pregnant.

    A nurse there inserted laminaria to dilate Edrica's cervx, although Edrica had "odiferous creamy-colored discharge", indicative of a vaginal infection, at the time. Laminaria are sticks of seaweed that absorb moisture and expand, so they would wick any bacteria or viruses from the vagina into the uterus.

    Edrica, who had not told her family about the abortion, did not return to the facility to have the laminaria removed and the abortion completed because her mental state had deteriorated overnight. She had became feverish, her mother said. She became mentally "confused and disoriented," not knowing what day it was, and started acting aggressively. She also began vomiting.

    Planned Parenthood's patient profile for Edrica said that they mailed Edrica two letters telling her that she had to return and have the laminaria removed, but Edrica's mother said that the letters never arrived. She does indicate that Planned Parenthood called, but that Edrica was too sick to take the calls.

    Edrica's family took her to Riverside County Regoinal Medical Center on February 4. A blood test there revealed the pregnancy to the physicians, but the hospital did not perform a pelvic exam because at the time Edrica was unable to consent to the examination due to confusion and inappropriate speech.

    Edrica was treated in the medical ward for five days, then transferred to a psychiatric unit, which promptly sent her back to the medical unit to have them check her for possible sepsis. There, her condition continued to deteriorate. After Edrica's boyfriend told her family about the visit to Planned Parenthood, staff at the hospital performed a pelvic examination and discovered the laminaria, along with some gauze. Edrica miscarried that day, and died the next day, Valentine's Day.

    The coroner's report attributes Edrica's death to toxic shock syndrome, prolonged retention of laminaria, and pregnancy. Which means that her death will likely be counted as a pregnancy death by health statisticians, but not as an abortion death because no abortion actually took place.

    Edrica had been a student at Riverside Community College. Her mother said that she enjoyed traveling and reading. Her mother, Aletheia Meloncon, commented, "My daughter made a choice, but she didn't choose to die." She added, "A lost dog gets more attention than my daughter did. This has really torn at my family."

    Edrica is the third known death among Planned Parenthood patients in California in the last four years. Holly Patterson, 18, died of an infection after an RU-486 abortion in 2003. Diana Lopez, 25, bled to death in 2002 after her cervix was punctured during the procedure. Edrica's mother's lawyer indicates that Planned Parenthood did not report any of these deaths to the state, as required by law.



    A Socialite's Brutal Death in 1942

    A newspaper photo of a young, plump-faced white woman with late 1930s style makeup and hair
    Florence Nimick Schnoor
    At around 4:00 p.m. on February 14, 1942, socialite Florence Nimick Schnoor, age 24, died at St. Joseph's Hospital in New York of what the coroner called a "brutal and inept" illegal abortion.

    Florence, grand-niece of Andrew Carnegie and heiress to a Pittsburgh steel fortune, had eloped with Richard H. Schnoor, sergeant-at-arms of the New York State Assembly, one week earlier. The couple had met the previous September at "a fashionable Greenwich tavern." After their elopement, they'd moved into Florence's rooms at The Maples.

    Her husband reported that he had taken her to White Plains so she could catch a train to New York for a day's shopping. Later that morning, she called and asked him to pick her up at the station. He found her obviously ill and asking for a doctor. He took her straight to the hospital, where she died three hours later.

    Doctors reported that Florence refused to discuss her case at all, much less implicate the abortionist, despite pleas from her husband.

    Investigators contacted all 200 people whose names were in Florence's address book, but were unable to gain any clues as to who performed the fatal abortion. All they were able to piece together is that Florence evidently paid $40 for the abortion, since her husband reported that she had left for New York with $50 in her purse and there had been $3 in her purse when she was hospitalized..

    Florence's husband was not implicated in her death; police believed that he had not even known Florence was pregnant.

    Standing on her Grave

    Portrait of a smiling young Black woman with long, straightened hair coiffed casually
    Edrica Karla Goode
    Edrica Karla Goode, went to a Planned Parenthood in Riverside, California, on January 31, 2007, for a safe, legal second-trimester abortion. She was a little over 14 weeks pregnant.

    A nurse there inserted laminaria to dilate Edrica's cervx, although Edrica had "odiferous creamy-colored discharge", indicative of a vaginal infection, at the time. Laminaria are sticks of seaweed that absorb moisture and expand, so they would wick any bacteria or viruses from the vagina into the uterus.

    Edrica, who had not told her family about the abortion, did not return to the facility to have the laminaria removed and the abortion completed because her mental state had deteriorated overnight. She had became feverish, her mother said. She became mentally "confused and disoriented," not knowing what day it was, and started acting aggressively. She also began vomiting.

    Planned Parenthood's patient profile for Edrica said that they mailed Edrica two letters telling her that she had to return and have the laminaria removed, but Edrica's mother said that the letters never arrived. She does indicate that Planned Parenthood called, but that Edrica was too sick to take the calls.

    Edrica's family took her to Riverside County Regoinal Medical Center on February 4. A blood test there revealed the pregnancy to the physicians, but the hospital did not perform a pelvic exam because at the time Edrica was unable to consent to the examination due to confusion and inappropriate speech.

    Edrica was treated in the medical ward for five days, then transferred to a psychiatric unit, which promptly sent her back to the medical unit to have them check her for possible sepsis. There, her condition continued to deteriorate. After Edrica's boyfriend told her family about the visit to Planned Parenthood, staff at the hospital performed a pelvic examination and discovered the laminaria, along with some gauze. Edrica miscarried that day, and died the next day, Valentine's Day, just two days short of her 22nd birthday.

    The coroner's report attributes Edrica's death to toxic shock syndrome, prolonged retention of laminaria, and pregnancy. Which means that her death will likely be counted as a pregnancy death by health statisticians, but not as an abortion death because no abortion actually took place.

    Edrica had been a student at Riverside Community College. Her mother said that she enjoyed traveling and reading. Her mother, Aletheia Meloncon, commented, "My daughter made a choice, but she didn't choose to die." She added, "A lost dog gets more attention than my daughter did. This has really torn at my family."

    Edrica is the third known death among Planned Parenthood patients in California in the last four years. Holly Patterson, 18, died of an infection after an RU-486 abortion in 2003. Diana Lopez, 25, bled to death in 2002 after her cervix was punctured during the procedure. Edrica's mother's lawyer indicates that Planned Parenthood did not report any of these deaths to the state, as required by law.

    State records indicate that the clinic in question was last inspected in July of 2003. The inspection found 12 deficiencies, most involving record keeping and documentation problems that were to be corrected by Sept. 20, 2003. The file doesn't show if the corrections were made or not.

    Muted, pink tinted, blurred image of cemetery with text overlaid: When you stand with Planned Parenthood, you're standing on her grave. Edrica Karla Goode, February 16, 1985 - February 14, 2004

    Sunday, February 12, 2017

    Slipshod CPR Costs Woman her Life

    On February 10, 1987, an ambulance arrived at an outpatient surgical facility to care for an unresponsive patient. The woman had begun having asthma symptoms after her surgery. Staff had twice helped her to use her inhaler, but then she'd stopped breathing.

    The ambulance crew found the patient, 22-year-old Elise Kalat, lying on the floor. One nurse was performing CPR by pressing on Elise's abdomen rather than her sternum and another nurse was only managing to inflate Elise's cheeks, not her lungs, with the ambu-bag.

    The doctor at the facility was under the impression that the CPR was effective because he was checking for a pulse in the wrong place.

    Nobody had initiated professional level resuscitation procedures such as intubating the patient, defibrillating her, monitoring her cardiac signs on EKG, or administering cardiac medications.

    Medics took over Elsie's care. She was finally successfully resuscitated at the hospital, but due to improperly performed CPR she had suffered devastating brain injury. Her condition continued to deteriorate and she died on February 12.

    The outpatient surgical facility was a Planned Parenthood in Massachusetts.

    You don't have to oppose abortion to recognize -- and be appalled by -- incompetence that costs a young woman her life.

    Ambulance call: Unresponsive patient at outpatient clinic. Medics arrive to find one nurse performing CPR compressions on the patient's belly, not on her chest. The other nurse is inflating her cheeks, not her lungs. The woman suffers brain damage and dies. Would you proudly stand with that clinic? If you stand with Planned Parenthood, you already do.


    Three Women, Equally Dead

    Scanty Info in Fresno, 1974

    According to Life Dynamics, Bonnie Fix, a mother of four, was admitted to Fresno Community Hospital on February 7, 1974. Doctors there performed an abdominal hysterectomy on Bonnie. Codes used at the state registrar's office indicate that an abortion had been induced on Bonnie for medical reasons. Several days after her hysterectomy, Bonnie began to suffer bowel and lung problems. She suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead on February 12.


    A Mystery Abortion in New York, 1916

    On February 12, 1916, 28-year-old Anna Nicholls of Sanford Street, Ravenswood, NY, died at St. John's Hospital from an abortion. The case was turned over to the coroner for investigation.


    A Dying Declaration in Chicago, 1907

    On February 11, 1907, housemaid Nellie Walsh, a 28-year-old Irish immigrant, was brought to National Emergency Hospital in Chicago in grave condition from complications of a criminal abortion. She had been admitted to the hospital by Dr. Michael Nelson, who had been called to her home and had been alarmed by her condition. A curettage was performed at around 4:00 that afternoon to try to save her life, but her condition continued to deteriorate.

    he next day, February 12, the doctor told Nellie that there was nothing more that could be done for her, and that she was dying. Head nurse Cora Bachino asked Nellie if she'd like a priest to administer last rites. Nellie answered yes, and a priest was brought to her.

    Shortly after receiving last rites, Nellie made her dying declaration, naming Dr. Adolph Buettner of 679 Lincoln Avenue as her abortionist. She said that Buettner had perpetrated the abortion at her request on Wednesday, February 6, after assuring her that "there would be no danger."

    A stenographer, in the presence of nurse Bachino and another witness, typed up the statement. After both copies -- the handwritten one by the stenographer and the typed one, were read to her, Nellie confirmed that she understood them.

    Less than an hour later, she died.


    Buettner, who had been practicing in Chicago for a number of years, had been indicted for another abortion case seven or eight years before Nellie's death. Found guilty of manslaughter for Nellie's death, was sentenced to Joliet.

    Saturday, February 11, 2017

    Fatal Teen Abortions and Other Cases

    High Risk Abortion in a Low-Risk Setting, 1992

    DaNette Pergusson, a 19-year-old medical assistant, submitted to a safe, legal abortion on February 11, 1992, at the hands of Robert Tarnis of Phoenix, Arizona.

    Danette had a rare condition called
    Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency , a hereditary blood disorder that made her a very high-risk patient for an abortion. Dr. Thomas Murphy Goodwin, a high-risk OB/GYN, pointed out in later court proceedings that any abortion on a woman with PKD should have been done in a hospital, and special steps should have been taken to prevent possible fatal clots from forming in DaNette's blood stream.

    During the abortion, DaNette stopped breathing, and paramedics were summoned.

    The Maricopa County deputy medical examiner determined that DaNette died from a
    pulmonary embolism, which is when blood flow in the lungs is blocked by material such as a clot.


    A Teen's Secret Abortion, 1985

    It's the call every parent dreads. Ruth was no exception. Her 13-year-old daughter, Dawn, was active in the church where both her parents were ministers. The family sang Gospel songs together. Dawn was a dream child -- the kid who did her homework without being told, who liked to surprise her mother by cleaning the house. She was what's known in the vernacular as "a good girl." Her parents never expected any trouble about Dawn.

    What Ruth didn't know was that Dawn had slipped off her pedestal, had engaged in a dalliance with a 15-year-old Romeo. And when she learned that she was pregnant, she knew her parents would be crushed. She went to a teacher for advice. The teacher and a counselor arranged to take care of the whole mess so that Dawn's parents would never have to know. The boyfriend borrowed a credit card from a relative to pay for the risky, expensive, second-trimester abortion.

    The counselor at Eastern Women's Center (a National Abortion Federation member) had seen how frightened Dawn was, and had marked on her chart that she should be treated with "tender loving care." But abortionist Alan Kline had his own ideas about what constituted "tender loving care." According to the suit filed by Dawn's parents, anesthetist Robert Augente didn't administer enough anesthesia to get the frightened child through the entire procedure. About halfway through, she began to cough, vomit, and choke. Abortionist Kline put a breathing tube in Dawn's throat, put her aside, and left her unattended to lapse into a coma. Dawn was eventually rushed to the hospital, where it finally occurred to somebody to do the obvious: call Dawn's mother.

    "They told me I had to get down to St. Luke's right away, that Dawn was at that hospital fighting for her life," Ruth Ravenell later said. "I was going, 'How can she be fighting for her life? She left for school this morning, looking healthy, never been sick.' While I was there at the hospital -- they were doing tests -- I had to keep my hand pressed over my mouth to keep from screaming in horror. I kept going, 'This is all a bad dream. I am going to wake up and this will not have happened.'"


    Day after day Dawn's family gathered at her bedside, talking to her, playing tapes of the family singing together, trying to lure her back from the brink of death -- all to no avail. Dawn died three weeks after her abortion, on February 11, 1985, without ever having regained consciousness.

    The family sued and won, but as the New York Post headline pointed out, "$1.2M Won't Bring Her Back." The story featured a photo of Dawn at her junior high graduation, in cap and gown, gazing out smiling at a future she would never have.


    No Justice for Eva, 1916

    On February 11, 1916, 42-year-old Eva Krakonowicz died in her Chicago home from an abortion perpetrated that day by midwife Agnes Dzugas. Dzugas was held by the coroner and indicted by a Grand Jury on February 1, but the case never went to trial.


    An Abortion and a Suicide, 1905

    On February 11, 1905, 17-year-old Leona Loveless died in the Ischua, New York home of Dayton M. Hibner, where she had been working as a domestic for two years. She had gotten the job with the assistance of her grandmother, but over the objections of her widowed father, Abram.

    Leona reportedly had been in good health until about 5:15 p.m., when she was found in her room in great pain. She died about fifteen minutes later, and the coroner was notified and an autopsy conducted in anticipation of an inquest. Hibner quipped to the coroner that he was going to blow his brains out and end the matter.

    Whether because of this comment or because of other suspicious happenings or rumors, law enforcement sent a guard home with Hibner to stay with him pending the completion of the coroner's inquest.

    Saying he was going to feed his horses, Hibner left the guard at his house and went into the barn and got out a double-barreled shotgun. His first shot, to the chest, took a downward trajectory that wasn't fatal. He finished himself off with a second blast that took off the top of his head.

    Hibner's 52-year-old wife was left devastated. Dayton Hibner had been her second husband. Her first husband, Mr. Beebe, had died by hanging himself.

    "The coroner made discoveries after the girl's death, which, if proved, would have made the lynching of the suicide among the possibilities had he not taken his own life," the Lake Shore News noted.

    Even getting Leona's body to the family home in Wolcott proved difficult. Her grandmother, Mrs. Sherman, and her cousin, Maude Legg, only made the journey from Ischua as far as Niagara Falls before being stopped by winter storms. A relative of Maude's, who had worked for the railroad, managed to arrange a special train for the journey to be completed.


    A Shocking Journey, 1879

    On February 11, 1879, 65-year-old Henry Sammis of Northport, Long Island, got a dispatch from Inspector Murray of the Brooklyn police to go to Brooklyn immediately. His daughter, 21-year-old Cora Sammis, a Sunday School teacher from Northport, Long Island, was deathly ill.

    Mr. Sammis, a coal and lumber dealer, boarded the next train with his wife. About halfway to New York, he got a copy of the morning paper. There he read that his daughter had already died from the results of a botched abortion.

    "I was almost paralyzed with horror, and count not believe the story to be true," he told the New York Herald. Fearful of upsetting his wife, Mr. Sammis kept his composure. Pretending to be adjusting the window on the car, he let the newspaper fly.

    Once they got to the home of Mr. Sammis's sister, he broke the news to his wife. Leaving her in the care of friends, he went to the police station and was given the address where his daughter had died.

    "The old man's eyes were red with weeping" as he left the police station. He was escorted to the upstairs front room where Cora, "clad in a blue merino wrapper, lay on the bed on which she had died."

    Cora had been a lovely girl, with "luxuriant dark brown hair." But when her father saw her body, "Her features had become so shrunken and emaciated that he hardly knew her. He stooped and kissed her forehead, and, controlling himself, arose and looked at her for a long time in silence.

    The police asked him about Frank Cosgrove. Mr. Sammis said that the family knew him well. He had been courting Cora for about two years, and the couple had become engaged and had planned to marry before the spring. Cosgrove, who worked in the shipping business, had seemed to have honorable intentions, and Cora had seemed to be of a chaste disposition. A resident of Newport said, "She was the last girl in the village that I could have suppose could be tempted."

    However, in November of 1878, Cora had gone to Brooklyn to visit her aunt, and Cosgrove spent a lot of time in her company. Her parents believed that it was during this time that the liaison took place which had resulted in Cora's pregnancy.

    Cora's body was taken to the coroner's office, where an autopsy was performed "which showed conclusively that death had resulted from malpractice."

    Cora's aunt, Mary D. Betts, testified that Cora and her "alleged seducer," Frank Cosgrove, had met at her house and from there went to the home of 35-year-old Bertha Berger.

    About two hours after they arrived at the house, Berger perpetrated the abortion. Cora was to convalesce there but instead grew increasingly ill. Cosgrove, who sat up with Cora every night, grew more and more worried. He found an ad for Dr. Whitehead, who advertised that he practiced midwifery, and offered him $100 to take over Cora's care.

    Upon examining Cora, Whitehead found that she had a raging fever from a uterine infection. He declared that the case was hopeless. Berger offered him $50 to provide a death certificate but on the advice of his attorney Whitehead refused, instead notifying the authorities.

    Police came to Berger's house to question Cora, who was told that she was dying. With frequent rests she was able to give a deathbed statement, occasionally stopping "to lament her unhappy fate." As the detective bent close to hear her, Cora clasped him and asked him to pray for her and to "Spare my Frank." Her primary concern was that no harm would come to her fiancé.

    Cora said that she and Frank had rented the room for the express purpose of having Berger perpetrate the abortion. In fact, the Berger house was an abortion house. All but one of the other occupants of the house were arrested along with Berger.


    A Wife's Request, 1861

    During early 1861, a German physician by the name of John H. Joecken was caring for Mr. Malinken, who was ailing in his Brooklyn home.

    On one of his visits, Malinken's 35-year-old wife, Caroline, approached Joecken privately and told him "she did not want to have so many children, and wished to know if it was possible to get rid of her present burthen. The doctor replied that it was the easiest thing imaginable, and that in eight days all would be over."

    Joecken set to work on Caroline, "and by the use of drugs as well as instruments succeeded in making her very sick." Over the course of several days her condition deteriorated. She died late Monday night, February 11.

    The coroner's jury concluded that Caroline had died from "pyemia, supervening upon metritis, consequent of an abortion produced at the hands of Dr. Joecken." Joecken was arrested.