Sunday, February 18, 2007

Just a freaky coincidenece?

In New York in 1956, a scrub nurse by the name of Leobaldo Pejuan was sentenced to prison for the abortion death of Jacqueline Smith the year before.

In the Homicide in Chicago database, I found the 1914 abortion death of Lillie Giovenco, for which a Dr. Leopold Pijan was arrested.

Now, Leopold and Leopoldo aren't exactly your everyday names. Ditto for Pejuan and Pijan.

The spelling of names on the Homicide in Chicago database can also be off, because the database took information from handwritten records. Illegibility of the original handwriting could easily lead to misspellings. I've seen names spelled different ways on a single page of the database.

So I'm wondering if the Dr. Leopold Pijan from Chicago, having lost his license for the death of Lillie Giovenco, went to New York and got work as a scrub nurse that allowed him to continue to ply his abortion trade. If he was a young man when Lillie died, it's not unreasonable for him to still be in practice as an abortionist forty years later.

When I go back to my mom's, I'll have to dig through the basement for my papers and see if I can find the original New York Times articles on the death of Jackie Smith, to see how old Leopoldo Pejuan was.

There is more food for thought in that database than I had expected to find.

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

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Lee said...

In 1955 in NYC my cousin, Jacqueline Smith, was murdered as a result of an abortion performed by Leobaldo Pejuan at the request of her boyfriend, Thomas G. Daniels. I was a child at the time and only have faint memories of this family tragedy. I would appreciate any information, news articles, etc. about this case. Thanks,


Christina Dunigan said...

Hi, Lee,

Everything I have is at the link. Click on Jacqueline's name. The sources are:

New York Times, 1-12-56, 1-13-56, 1-14-56, 1-28-56, 5-30-56, 6-27-56, & 6-28-56; "Two Men Held in Abortion Death", The Oklahoman, January 12, 1956; "Court Convicts New Yorker of Abortion Death"

You should be able to look these up on microfilm in any university or large city library.

Also, if you're in Pennsylvania, you can go on Westlaw at the State Library in Harrisburg. There might be a way to search for the criminal case and get more details. If you like, I'll give it a try next time I have a chance.