Friday, September 21, 2007

Two anniversaries before Roe: Mary and Barbara

On September 23, 1899, Mary Kakacek died in her Chicago home from complications of an abortion performed that day by midwife Annie Stonek. Stonek was held without bail by the Coroner's Jury.

"Barbara" was 35 years old when she traveled from Michigan to New York for a safe and legal abortion in 1971. She was 20 weeks pregnant. Within 24 hours of being injected with saline for the abortion, she went into convulsions, then her heart stoped. Efforts to save her failed. She died on September 23, 1971, leaving behind five children. The autopsy could find no anatomical cause of death. Nobody was arrested, since killing women like Barbara was no longer a crime in New York.

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