Sunday, September 21, 2008

1930: Fatal Chicago abortion

On September 21, 1930, 20-year-old Matilda Kleinschmidt underwent a criminal abortion. The coroner ascertained that it had been performed on September 9, in the office of Dr. J. Murney Nicholson. On September 22, Nicholson was held by the coroner for murder. John C. Ross was held as an accessory. Nicholson was indicted for felony murder in Matilda's death.

How common was it for a woman to find a doctor to perform her abortion prior to legalization?
It was by far the most common arrangement.
It was as common as any other arrangement. About a third of women found doctors, a third found nurses or other professionals, and about a third relying on amateurs or their own hands.
It was unusual. Fewer than one woman in ten found a doctor to perform her abortion.
It was almost unheard-of.

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

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