Sunday, September 14, 2008

Two criminal anniversaries.

On September 14, 1925, 19-year-old Elizabeth Welter died in the Chicago office of Dr. Lucy Hagenow from complications of an abortion performed that day. Lawrence Vail or Vaily was identified by the coroner as responsible for the pregnancy, and the coroner recommended his arrest. The coroner also recommended the arrest of Dr. Hagenow. However, because Vail refused to give a statement, police were unable to gather enough evidence to arrest her. 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, Bridget Masterson, Nina H. Pierce, Mary Moorehead, Jean Cohen, Marie Hicht, and Lola Madison.

On September 14, 1928, 20-year-old Stella Wallenberg died from a criminal abortion performed in Chicago. Loretta Rybicki, identified as a "massaguer", was held by the coroner for murder by abortion. Dr. Nicholas Kalinowski was held as an accessory. Rybicki was indicted for felony murder on November 15.

Who was the more typical criminal abortionist, Dr. Hagenow, or Loretta Rybicki?
Hagenow. Most criminal abortions were done by doctors.
Rybicki. Most criminal abortions were done by amateurs.

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

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