Sunday, December 16, 2007

Anniversary: The Fast Eddie of the Back Alley Era Strikes Again

On December 16, 1925, 22-year-old Miss Bridget Masterson died in her Chicago home from a botched abortion. Police were able to question Bridget prior to her death, but she refused to implicate anybody. John O'Malley, a boarder and the father of Bridget's baby, committed suicide by gas after learning of Bridget's death. He left a note implicating "a lady doctor at 310 W. North Ave."

This was the address of Dr. Lucy Hagenow.

Hagenow was arrested, but it is unclear when, since the date of her arrest is noted in my source as being the day prior to Bridget's death. Hagenow was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury on January 5, 1926.

There were a number of deaths in Chicago attributed to either a Lucy Hagenow or a Louise Hagenow. I believe these to be the same woman. The deaths include Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Mary Moorehead, Jean Cohen, Elizabeth Welter, and Marie Hicht. Hagenow seems to have been the "Fast Eddie" Allred of her day, butchering women left and right but getting off the hook again and again.

Many current and former legal abortionists report having been inspired to become "safe and legal" abortion providers because of having seen so many injured women go through Chicago's hospitals. Perhaps this is because the Illinois judicial system and/or Chicago judges were so lenient with abortionists like Hagenow. Does anybody know if other jurisdictions were so cavalier about setting quacks free to kill again?

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

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