Thursday, November 13, 2008

A 1926 abortion death and a research challenge

On November 13, 1926, 25-year-old Mary Moorehead died from a criminal abortion in the Chicago office of Dr. Lucy Hagenow. Hagenow was arrested November 13. She was sentenced to 14 years at Joliet Penitentiary, but was able to get her conviction overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court.

There were a number of deaths in Chicago attributed to either a Lucy Hagenow or a Louise Hagenow. The deaths include:

  • Lottie Lowy
  • Bridget Masterson
  • Nina H. Pierce
  • Jean Cohen
  • Elizabeth Welter
  • Marie Hicht
  • Lola Madison

    I find it hard to believe that two Hagenow women with such similar names could have been plying the abortion trade together in Chicago. I'm wondering if Lucy and Lousie Hagenow were the same woman, though it is possible that they were sisters, or mother and daughter, or aunt and niece, or cousins. I have been unable to find out, because I don't have access to Chicago newspaper archives of the time in question.

    Can anybody help me with this?

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

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